While the game had some (misguided) fans when it was originally released, Final Fantasy XIV was generally considered to be an unmitigated disaster for Square-Enix when it was originally released: while MMO’s always launch with their share of technically issues, FFXIV set a new low-bar in terms of bugs and missing content. The game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida admitted as much in a recent, very candid interview with Kotaku, where he promised that a “mistake like FFXIV” would never happen again.
Here’s the TL;DR version of the interview: Yoshida stated that he thought the original FFXIV project was flawed from the very start: while the original (and still very successful and very, very profitable) Final Fantasy XI managed to find an audience thanks to its blend of Final Fantasy’s iconic storytelling and aesthetics with the best qualities of Everquest, which was the top MMO at the time of FFXI’s development, FFXIV was developed by a team who pretty much ignored all other MMO’s on the market at the time, including World of Warcraft. “I think it would’ve been good if they tried seeing what happened if they turned World of Warcraft into Final Fantasy,” Yoshida lamented. Yoshida also admitted that the original, very incomplete release of the game was a “big mistake.”
Yoshida ended the interview by stating that FFXIV’s upcoming all encompassing reboot, entitled A Realm Reborn, would not repeat the mistakes of the original FFXIV: “We won’t make a mistake like FFXIV again—if we did, it would be like at the level of destroying the company.”
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is set to relaunch on PC’s and the PS3 sometime in 2013. It’ll be interesting to see if the new FFXIV is good enough to win back players and erase the stigma attached to the FFXIV name. I’m cautiously optimistic about A Realm Reborn: Yoshida’s comments about the original release show that he and his team understand what went wrong with the original version of the game, and reports from the new version’s alpha test are mostly positive, with a lot of people saying that the new FFXIV is basically a brand new game. Here’s hoping that Yoshida and his team manage to get the series back on track.