There’s a new We are Vana’Diel website designed to celebrate Final Fantasy XI turning 21 years old. Most notably, the site will host a series of interviews discussing the game’s development and growth. The latest has to do with its earliest days. Specifically, a Producer Hiromichi Tanaka FFXI interview explained how he and Hironobu Sakaguchi fought for the game’s name to not be Final Fantasy Online.
Tanaka began by noting it was Sakaguchi who started the fight to ensure FFXI would go by that name, rather than something like Final Fantasy Online. The goal was to unify and ensure people would see it as a mainline game, rather than a spin-off. When Sakaguchi left the company, Tanaka said he then convinced current Square President Yoichi Wada to allow it to be FFXI.
Here’s the full series of quotes from the interview in which Tanaka explained what happened.
With that said, Mr. Sakaguchi and I did talk about how if we made an MMORPG, it ought to be based on FF. Then when we were deciding whether to call it “FF Online” or release it as a numbered entry in the series, Mr. Sakaguchi adamantly believed it should be released as a numbered entry.
He insisted that a game with a name like “FF World” would be viewed as a spin-off rather than a main entry in the FF series, which led to a debate between him and management.
Management wanted to revoke its place as a numbered entry later on because they feared many players would be unable to play the game, as it required purchasing additional hardware on top of the PS2 console. During the debate, however, Mr. Sakaguchi left Square in 2001, and there was no one left to defend FFXI’s position as a numbered entry. (laughs) Even then, I strongly believed that future titles in the FF series should be online. Although I was approached several times by the company president at the time, Yoichi Wada, to revoke FFXI’s status as a numbered entry in the FF series, I ended up persuading him instead.
Final Fantasy XI is available on PCs. It also appeared on the PS2 and Xbox 360 for a time, though the MMORPG is no longer available on either platform.