(First of two parts)
From the flames of the unmitigated disaster that was Final Fantasy XIV will rise the phoenix that is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. (Scratch off my list of things to do this year: use the phoenix metaphor once.)
But before we get to the promise of FFXIV: RR, let’s look back at the troubled history of its predecessor, FFXIV:
Born premature in September 2010, FFXIV came into this world ill-conceived and ill-prepared to face its core audience. The game landed with a resounding thud and was universally panned (to put it mildly) by critics and players alike. Infested with bugs and structural shortcomings, the game earned a measly 49/100 Metacritic score and 49.33% Game Rankings score.
To their credit, Square-Enix responded with concern and a genuine desire to make things right, starting with personnel changes in the dev team in December 2010. Thus Naoki Yoshida replaced Hiromichi Tanaka as producer/director.
Instead of merely fixing errors, on October 14, 2011, SE announced that they would reboot the entire game. Initially called Final Fantasy XIV 2.0, the game has since been re-titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Yoshida has been a vocal, sympathetic, and ultimately capable leader, who understands the difficulty of not only overhauling a game but also the equally difficult challenge of wooing back fans who have up and gone. Speaking to Eurogamer at this year’s Gamescom, Yoshida stated that
“Losing your fans’ trust is very easy thing to do. Regaining it is very hard. We believe Final Fantasy 14 is a starting point, and that players joining us will think ‘oh wow, this is great, I’ll see what they can do with Final Fantasy 15 or 16′. Over a long time we’ll try and regain their trust, but it is something we as a company must put effort into, long-term.”
In Part 2, we’ll discuss changes the new team has made and what features fans can look forward to in FFXIV: RR.
In the meantime, whet your appetite with the new gameplay trailer: