At a recent press conference in Tokyo, Japan Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada announced that Final Fantasy XIV was damaging the Final Fantasy brand, and has stated their future efforts to reform the game will likely amount to remaking it almost entirely.
Issues with connectivity, technical errors and bugs were initially sighted as the core reasons for FFXIV the lack of success, though it seems now that changes to gameplay, balance and style will likely be considered over the coming versions.
When I reviewed FFXIV during the beta I mentioned that, regardless of my personal lack of interest in the game, it would very likely go on to be a huge success as FFXI did before it; clearly I was mistaken. It seems that the vast majority of FFXI players were also unhappy with FFXIV, and that, as Wada alluded, it was not worthy of the Final Fantasy brand.
The question on everyone mind: will it be any better?
Actually, that a lie. The question on everyone mind is: why the hell are they bothering when they could be remaking Final Fantasy 7 for the PS3 instead?
And I’m inclined to agree. I do respect Square Enix for their MMORPG titles; too many developers today seem to believe that if you don’t clone World of Warcraft, you’re not going to have a chance. And I disagree completely with that sentiment. However, the current MMORPG style employed by Square Enix in FFXI and FFXIV didn’t feel right to me at all.
I played them both quite a lot — I played FFXI on 3 separate platforms — because, through it all, I’m a Final Fantasy fanboy and I’m going to play them all regardless, but if you want me to stick around then they have to adhere to the same level of quality as previous titles in the series. I don’t believe they have.
Yes, FFXI was ‘the most representative title in the Final Fantasy series’, but as I said in my review, that just means it made the most money, and that likely a factor of the recurring monthly subscription fees than it is the quality of the title. Because let face it — love it or hate it — FFXI wasn’t a Final Fantasy title and FFXIV was even worse.
If you ask me they’re going about it all the wrong way. Why try to ‘convert’ the current Final Fantasy style into an MMORPG, when you’ve got creative license to do something different entirely? Look at Crystal Chronicles. This is a fine example of taking the series down an entirely new avenue. It may not have been a particularly good one, but it was definitely something different, and a Final Fantasy MMORPG should be too.
I’d like to see Square Enix take FFXIV back to the drawing board, stop trying to cram a single-player experience into a multi-player game and instead create something entirely new. There are limitless possibilities for innovation in the MMORPG world; it companies like Square Enix that should be leading the charge. Announcing the failure of FFXIV officially is just the beginning, but it a good start. Let see where it ends up.