Final Fantasy XIV Sees Major Staff Changes, Free Trial Period Extended Again

By Spencer . December 10, 2010 . 12:39am

imageFinal Fantasy XIV has disappointed many Final Fantasy fans, a fact that Square Enix is aware of and Yoichi Wada apologies for.


The publisher plans on giving their online game a new direction starting with a new leadership team. Hiromichi Tanaka, producer of Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, stepped down from his role as a producer. Newcomer Naoki Yoshida will replace Tanaka as the new producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. Shintaro Tamai who worked on Front Mission 4 and 5 is the assistant director.


Meanwhile, players won’t have to pay any fees while the new team figures out what to do with Final Fantasy XIV. The free trial period will be extended until Square Enix outlines a plan to "satisfy" customers. The PlayStation 3 version, previously slated for March 2011, has also been delayed and won’t be released until Final Fantasy XIV’s issues are fixed.


Hiromichi Tanaka wrote this message to Final Fantasy XIV players.


First of all, I would like to apologize for our inability to fully satisfy our users with the initial release of Final Fantasy XIV. I take full responsibility for the game’s current situation, and have therefore made the decision to step down from my role as producer. A number of concerns that have been voiced by users, such as the design of the user interface, availability of tutorials and game content, and battle system functionality, represent key issues that must be addressed. While improvements are already well underway in many areas, we were unfortunately not able to incorporate player feedback as quickly as we would have liked. We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements. As these changes are our first priority, they will be commanding our full attention and efforts. It is to that end that we have put a new organizational structure into place for the development team. Under this new system, Final Fantasy XIV will see changes and additions in line with the desires and expectations of players. Though no longer producer, I will be continuing to support the development team in other capacities, and personally hope that you will continue your adventures in the realm of Eorzea.


And this is what Naoki Yoshida, the current producer and director, wrote about his new role.


I would like to take this opportunity to greet all of you—those currently playing Final Fantasy XIV, those who have taken a respite from playing, and those awaiting the PlayStation 3 release—and offer a brief word by way of an introduction.


No doubt there are very few, if any, among you who have ever heard the name Naoki Yoshida. To be sure, I have never been in the fore on any of the titles I have worked on in the past. I am, however, honored and privileged to work alongside many talented and inspiring colleagues, and with their support have enjoyed making games for a number of years. I am aware that a great many people will think the responsibility of leading Final Fantasy XIV is far too large a task for someone so unknown. After all, even my very best may seem no more than a drop in the bucket when considering the sheer scope of Final Fantasy XIV. But working together with me are the very talented and very capable development and management teams, whose dedication and motivation are unwavering. I would like to ask you to please put to rest uncertainties that you may have.


Now, more than ever, myself, the development team, and Square Enix as a whole, are committed to furthering our efforts to provide a quality service.


Everything we do will be for our players and customers.

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  • M’iau M’iaut

    At this stage, the solution really should involve shelving this current mess, taking everything down and relaunching what should be a completely new game.

    • Apollokids

      Final Nail in the Coffin XIV

    • OneOkami

      I agree. I actually had the PS3 version on preorder with a $20 worth of Amazon credit applied, I’ve since moved that credit to Ys I and II Chronicles and haven’t looked back.

      For Square Enix to so openly admit problems and go as far as replace the staff leadership just screams “STAY AWAY FROM THAT MESS” as a consumer, especially for a game that is intended to require a monthly subscription. I have no intention of trying this game now no matter how much they try to “fix” it. I also believe that failed MMO launch probably means it will ultimately fail as a whole. I would not be surprised if the population is small by the time they do “fix” it and start charging a fee. They are probably better off just treating it like a failed prototype, scrap it, and iterate again.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        I was a day one purchaser of the PC version and will honestly say was sooo looking forward to the experience. I’d busted my butt to convince the team I’d been a part of since PSOv1 on the DC to get back together. Now I’m actually glad that didn’t work out — although it had nothing to do with a fear things would turn out this bad.

        All this will end up doing is giving more fuel to the fire that Japanese devs have no place in the new worldwide gaming marketplace. It certainly shows a weakness of the Japanese style of production where one or two minds guide the entire process (vs. the team concept).

        If those one or two minds have their heads up their arses and thus blind to facts clearly in evidence, the result is Final Fantasy XIV.

  • Testsubject909

    Squeenix, how about you just close it up for now and cut your loses early, finish up everything, redo playtesting and THEN go forward…

    Or is it cheaper to have the servers up and running, utilizing direct player feedback and figures to fix up your MMO while also causing that rift you’ve dug up beneath your fans since you’ve turned into Squeenix to grow a bit more…

    Seriously. I get the odd sensation that they’re banking on the PS3 release, doing everything to meet that release and utilizing all the PC gamers as lab rats and guinea pigs. Then they’ll turn around and screw everyone up with pay to play and apply the same to the PS3 folks and hope that the free trial suckers enough people into it to form a stable enough base of players for more to get suckered in…

    And it’s not even an MMO that has a lot of promise behind it, unlike TERA and Guild Wars 2.

    • I guess if they keep it open its like a beta or something again. Though if I had bought the game I would be rather disappointed still even if given what seems like will be close to half a year or more of free play. Though the game is still on sell so I guess they bring in some money still?

    • PersonaBull

      It’s not like they’re the first company to dip into their bank account to use gamers as lab rats. Just look at the PSPGo.

      I will say, I never had much confidence in FFXIV from the start. It being a monthly subscription really hurt its chances with me, too. I’m not exactly one for MMO’s, but there’s only one monthly paid MMO I’d succumb to, and I refuse it for that same reason.

      But, I agree, throwing a new director and producer onto an already finished game really gives me no hope at all.

  • Im still waiting for this to be F2P eternally

    • Slashlen

      If they won’t charge until they fix it, it probably is going to be an eternity. It may be a while before they admit that, though.

  • karasuKumo

    At least they’re making responsible decisions.

    I still wont play it because it’s pay 2 play (well it’s not at the moment XD). The one thing I can’t stand about MMO’s are the lack of good scenery. Some of the free ones I have played looked fantastic but other it’s just tree after tree then you’re in a town and thats pretty much it throughout all of the game. From the screens this looks alright with scenery but I’ve heard complaints about copy & pasting :.

    • Copy and pasting is a non-issue, I have been playing since open beta and I still haven’t encountered this copy/paste thing.

  • Final Fantasy XIV was such a disappointment :( Such a mess and the levequest limit system is also stupid in my opinion. I’m with WildArms in that Square Enix will eventually make this F2P. But I can see them putting in an option for a subscription that will give bonuses to those who join.

  • Honestly, they can delay this for PS3 until the end of time, because I am not buying it, as long as there is a monthly subscription fee for it.

  • urbanscholar

    Considering all the hype this game had for it this has to be a big bitter pill to take. With staff changes going on you know someone screwed up big time. I knew something was wrong when myself & 3 other buddies passed on it when we’re open to playing MMOs.

  • Aiddon

    I get the feeling that SE execs are mostly to blame for this and not Tanaka. Someone had to take the fall for this mess. This is one of the biggest disasters in SE’s history

  • I feel bad for Tanaka. Having to step down from something he had spent 3 years of his life on. I know the game was a mess but they have done some improvements and it’s pretty good now. I think they were on track with the fixing of the game, changing the team was unecessary, IMO.

    • They would be on track if they had extended the beta period or something, or I think I read that people said they didnt really address peoples concerns from it.

    • neo_firenze

      Don’t feel bad for Tanaka. His influence in FFXI led to some of the worst aspects of that game, and once he left for FFXIV, XI REALLY picked up. It was noticeable how much more player friendly FFXI has become as Tanaka left, the changes have been completely geared toward making the game easy to play and fun for everyone (including a greatly enhanced solo ability), instead of some of the very limiting aspects of the earlier days. And the three Abyssea expansions from 2010 (the last of which was just released on Monday) have been really inspired – great content for small groups having fun, able to be done as large scale events, allowing players to level up fairly painlessly with newly raised level caps (game has gone from 75 to 90 this year, with level 99 to come in 2011). XI has really been fabulous in 2010, and it’s no coincidence that the refreshingly player-friendly attitude came at the same time as a new leadership team took the reins.

      FFXIV, on the other hand, is an unmitigated disaster. I upgraded a PC for it and bought the Collector’s Edition on day 1, and I had high hopes for it. But I’ve never been as disappointed by a game in my life.

      I can sort of handle it better with S-E essentially acknowledging that XIV is really a paid beta now, and I would have been willing to accept a cost of entry to try a beta on this scale. And now it looks like they’re willing to look at feedback instead of the massive egos shown by telling the players that they need to accept an utterly broken game and learn to love its rules (e.g the absurd economy system).

  • Guest

    Good, now apologize for Final Fantasy XIII

    • PersonaBull
      • Guest

        Right, because popular always means well made.

        • PersonaBull

          When did I say that? I absolutely agree that popularity does not prove quality at all. But, FFXIV was horribly received and even the company sees it as a failure, whereas FFXIII succeeded in entertaining quite a few people. The point wasn’t whether or not FFXIII was good, it was that FFXIII was absolutely nothing to apologize for.

          I’ll also note that you bringing it up was completely unnecessary to begin with, considering this is article has nothing to do with FFXIII. Just because you had a personal problem with a certain game doesn’t mean you need to whine about it in an attempt to be witty in a completely unnecessary setting.

          • Guest

            By bringing up the award thing FF13 won you are using the “if it’s popular it can’t be bad” argument in one way or another. Awards are, for the most part, popularity contests, plain and simple

            Who’s whining? Certainly not me, i just wish SE would accept what a mediocre product is FF13. Nothing against anyone who liked the game, but frankly if this is the direction the (offline) games are going to take in the main saga then it’s time for me to abandon the Final Fantasy train. To everyone else still on board, good luck.

          • PersonaBull

            Again, your words not mine. I never even finished FFXIII, though I did like it. I have a terrible habit when it comes to finishing games in the first place, so it’s really not saying much. I’m not saying it’s the best game out there by any means, but, just because you didn’t like aspects of it doesn’t make your opinion on it fact. I don’t like entire genres of games, but I wont demand Nintendo apologize for Nintendogs just because it’s not what I would care for in a game.

            They made a game. The game entertained (you know, the main purpose of making video games in the first place?) many more people than it disappointed, it would seem (hence, the User Choice Prize). It made them money in the process. If you cannot accept FFXIII as a successful venture and nothing to apologize for, that’s a problem you’ll have to deal with.

            Bringing that problem where it doesn’t belong is useless whining.

          • Guest

            You are indeed very correct that FF13 did well, sales wise and it had plenty of good reviews from fans. In that sense you are very much right about Square not having anything to apologize regarding the game.

            That still doesn’t change the fact that the game is a mediocre affair, yes, we all have different taste in things, no big surprise there, but there are elements in that game that just can’t be accepted as “good gameplay design” in any way shape or form. Let’s say that’s a debate for another time, once more, we do agree about FF13 being a good seller and getting the acceptance of several fans, notice i never contradicted those facts.

    • Some of us actually enjoyed that one. Just because you didn’t, doesn’t mean nobody did. I wouldn’t ask them to apologize for XII, even if I personally thought it was crap. Don’t assume everyone thinks like you.

  • doomspeller10

    This is quite amusing. I wonder how many investors want Yoichi Wada’s head right now, hopefully (for him) there are not Yakuza among them.

    • He’s safe if he can somehow get FF Versus XIII to release during the immediate fiscal year! (by March 2012).

      • doomspeller10

        I sense FF7 remake incoming… it’s their final attack materia.

        • And people will rejoice, followed by “Meh, this doesn’t hold a candle to FF7!” due to overly high expectations to the game.

          • Fonic

            And Square will once again use the excuse of it being too hard for a huge company like theirs to make an HD version of a 1997 game.
            I’d probably prefer an FF6 or Chrono Trigger remake anyway though.

      • It won’t be out by spring of 2012 if they don’t show much at the event next month. I can see it doing a December 2012 release like XIII though and Agito during Spring 2012.

        • I do not see how Agito wont be out in 2011. There is just no point for the event if both games are coming middle to late 2012, unless a fourth game will be announced…

    • Let’s hope there are. Wada needs to go.

  • SolidusSnake

    In the words of Nelson from the Simpsons, “HAH HAH!”

  • I know it’s the hip thing to be mad at everything Square does these days, but I think at the very least it’s commendable that they seem to be putting a major effort into saying ‘wow yeah we screwed up, let’s fix this’

    That, or maybe I’m a little TOO excited by the thought of being able to play an MMO with Akihiko Yoshida art.

  • gatotsu911

    As far as I’m concerned, this is good news. I really don’t give a damn about MMORPGs, particularly the Final Fantasy MMORPGs, about which I’ve heard mostly terrible things. I do, however, very much care about certain other properties Tanaka has worked on…

  • Polish a turd, it’s still a turd.

  • WonderSteve

    They should have outsourced the development of FFXIV to another developer with MMO experience…

    Both FFXI and FFXIV were not good MMORPG in my opinion. I think they only sold because of the “Final Fantasy” brand.

  • PrinceHeir

    aww man you know what. after finishing Xenosaga episode I just now(yes as in right now).

    i am craving for more Xeno games. will be playing episode 2 soon haven’t bought episode III, saw it at a local store will buy it next year regardless if it’s $120(New btw). hopefully the game is still there.

    why not continue Xenogears? i heard it’s supposedly a 6 game(like Xenosaga) so just do that or just rereleased it on PSN in the west. please square that’s the best you can do right now.

    FFXIV is just a failure. all the resources, time and marketing spent has been wasted on this game.

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