Here's why Final Fantasy 14's upgraded characters looked so bad in its Benchmark test, and how Square Enix is improving them for 7.0's launch

Final Fantasy 14
(Image credit: Square Enix)

After Final Fantasy 14's recent Benchmark test left players less than impressed with its graphical overhaul, Square Enix has revealed how it's improving characters based on feedback.

Last month in April, the latest version of Final Fantasy 14's Benchmark test software went live, letting players get a glimpse of how their characters would look after the big new graphical overhaul is implemented this year. Unfortunately, many found their Warriors of Light looked like cursed beings with lifeless eyes, and at the time, game director Naoki Yoshida apologized for the less-than-stellar results.

Also at the time of the disappointing test, Yoshida pledged a new Benchmark test would give players a better look at their Warriors of Light with the graphical overhaul, and now Square Enix has come through on that pledge. Earlier today during a Letter From the Producer broadcast, Yoshida revealed Square Enix is working to implement feedback on character models from the Benchmark test.

Yoshida also revealed the improvements would be implemented not just in the test software, but also in Final Fantasy 14 itself, when the major 7.0 update arrives alongside the Dawntrail expansion next month on June 28. Right now, the goal is to have the improvements in the Benchmark software later this month on May 30, but Yoshida stressed this is a temporary goal, and could very easily slip given the amount of work still left to do.

Speaking of, Yoshida revealed the cursed characters was actually down to lighting difficulties, and not the character models themselves. For example, lighting caused smile lines to look weird on certain character's faces, so not only has the lighting been reworked, but certain character's mouths have been rebuilt to improve their smile lines and facial expressions.

Yoshida and company showed off some in-progress screenshot comparisons during the broadcast, two of which you can see just below. As the Reddit post's title alludes to, Miqote characters having their teeth reduced in size was a sore point among players with the graphical overhaul, and a lot of players are very glad Miqote teeth are now bigger in the improvements. 

Menphina be praised, the return of our Teef! from r/ffxiv

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean we'll be able to manually adjust Miqote teeth size when editing or creating our Warriors of Light in Final Fantasy 14. Yoshida didn't delve into specifics, but the director said this feature simply wasn't possible. Given the huge amount of work done to overhaul the character designs, I think we can let this slide.

Final Fantasy 14's 7.0 update arrives with the graphical overhaul next month on June 28, which just happens to be when the new Dawntrail expansion launches into early access, before a full launch a few days later on July 2. Elsewhere in the broadcast today, Yoshida revealed Dawntrail won't be delayed like Endwalker, because it's well into the final stage of development.

Earlier this month, Final Fantasy 14 was hit with 3 days of DDoS attacks just weeks from Dawntrail, and Square Enix was scrambling to fix the MMO's servers.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.