Japanese game developer Square Enix is continuing the struggle to salvage a quality MMORPG from the disappointing mess that was Final Fantasy 14. In an effort to regain the confidence of the loyal audience that played Final Fantasy games for decades, the company is hard at work on Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. The alpha version of the new game began testing on October 29, 2012 and Final Fantasy 14 went offline for good on November 11, 2012.
The new game promises to bring back all the things fans loved about the extremely popular Final Fantasy series but with a new client, graphics engine, server and data structures, a revamped interface, redesigned maps, more gameplay variations, and additional story content.
The game, which will be available for both Windows systems and PlayStation 3, is expected to be released in mid 2013 after it completes extensive alpha and beta testing periods. In response to the severe criticism of the game, many of the original developers are no longer with the company including producer Hiromichi Tanaka, who resigned his position and left Square Enix shortly after the release of Final Fantasy XIV.
Current producer and director Naoki Yoshida was concerned about the quality of Final Fantasy 14 well before the release of the original game. After hearing the extremely negative comments of many beta testers, he was surprised the company was unwilling to consider any delay. He would have preferred Square Enix postpone the sale of the game and revamp the product, but his sage advice was ignored.
“When I heard that it was going to go on sale as planned, I thought, that will probably be a big mistake.”
Yoshida is well aware of the awesome responsibility that is resting squarely on his shoulders. He knows the future of the company may be riding on the quality of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn:
“We won’t make a mistake like FF14 again. If we did, it would be like at the level of destroying the company.”
Even if Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is able to overcome the failings of Final Fantasy XIV and Square Enix releases a high quality game, they must also contend with an economic trend that is changing online gaming. The new game will require a subscription with a monthly fee at a time when more and more quality MMORPGS are embracing Free To Play models. While it remains to be seen if gamers are willing to pay hard cash on a monthly basis to play a game that is trying to recover from a previous unmitigated disaster, we certainly would welcome another classic Final Fantasy game from Square Enix.
To celebrate the holiday season and whet gamer’s appetites, Square Enix released a new video showing a small player group fighting their way through a dungeon. Of course this is a glimpse at the alpha version of the game, but it should give you a general idea of the dungeon combat in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
As an extra treat, we also thought you might enjoy another look at the original trailer from November 11, 2012: