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Square Enix Sacks FF14 Team: “It’s Free Until It’s Any Good!”

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Square Enix has sacked the team behind Final Fantasy XIV, announced the game will be free until they “can provide customers with quality service,” and indefinitely delayed the PS3 port of the game.

The announcement comes from none other than the man responsible for the mess in the first place, CEO Yoichi Wada:

While more than two months have passed since the official launch of FINAL FANTASY XIV service, we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies.

After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team.

[Spiel about the replacement team (their leader even goes so far as to admit nobody has ever heard of him) redacted]

We realize time is of the essence and are fully determined to provide our customers with quality service. It is because of this that we ask our customers to be patient until we are able to confidently present them with a concrete plan outlining FINAL FANTASY XIV’s new direction. The free trial period will be extended until that time.

Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned. For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011.

The FINAL FANTASY XIV team is working hard to bring our customers an unparalleled adventure, and we ask for your continued understanding and support as we march ever diligently towards that goal.

President and CEO, Yoichi Wada

Player numbers became so embarrassing that Square Enix had to hide them, so just what state server populations are in is no longer known – given the scope of the announcement it seems likely they have declined even further.

In light of Square Enix’s other comments it seems increasingly likely the game will end up being sidelined as permanently free to play with players being nickelled and dimed for items and extras – certainly recovering from the existing PR cataclysm seems unlikely.

With the game almost universally considered a lost cause, presumably the only thing forcing Square Enix to keep throwing good money after bad is the determination of Wada to avoid the humiliating resignation which seems likely to be the company’s only chance at salvation.

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169 Comments

  • I say if they are so inclined to make up for this “fail” game-wise, they could get another movie partnership.
    It was amazing that one of the first realistic CG-like movies was on a VHS tape. If another is made and gets to theaters, I’m sure that would find them a better niche for marketing.

  • This reminds me of the situation with Ultima Online. Origin twice attempted to make a sequel (UO2 and UXO), but EA canned both of them before completion. EA’s reason for dropping both was fear that they would fracture the player base. I always resented them for that, because UO was quickly becoming outdated, and the sequels apparently featured greatly improved gameplay (especially UXO), but from a business perspective, it was probably the right move.

    The players who migrated from FF11 expecting the new game to be (basically) the same thing but with better graphics are pissed because the game is too different for them, and the players who migrated expecting something different from FF11 are pissed because it isn’t different enough. Square Enix was going to piss off one group either way, but by trying to cater to both groups at once, they’ve failed to do enough for either, and now EVERYONE is pissed off.

    It all begs the question of why. Why make a new Final Fantasy MMO? As I understand, FF11 is still doing well in Japan. I’m not aware of any vocal demand for a new game, so why give people something they didn’t ask for?

  • 2 things the game needs more than anything: ability to turn off shadows completely, and graphics that don’t look worse than 8-bit when everything is reduced to minimum. For a game that is so terribly optimized and has pretty good graphics, reducing the graphics quality is a required option and the current settings are not only insufficiently effective, but they make the game look completely terrible. I can play FFXIV with the graphics looking (far) worse than everquest 1, and it will still use 10x as much memory.

    I’m sure the content of the game sucks too, but I decided that 11 was a much better game from only a day of testing beta when the game ran like crap on a pretty good desktop.

  • Square-Enix is sitting ona potantial goldmine, and don’t have the sense to realize it….remake the older titles, for the PS3.

    Imagine FF6 and FF7, with updated graphics and improved gameplay…

  • “e deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise”

    No…no I pretty much expected this from the FF franchise nowadays.

  • Square needs Tetsuo Mizuno. He’s the REAL talent behind Squaresoft. Square wasn’t triple AAA material before Tetsuo Mizuno became their president. Under his reign we got FF5, FF6, FF7, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Mario RPG, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, and Final Fantasy Tactics. He’s the reason why Square was more popular than Enix outside of Japan(non-japanese people’s 1st impression of Squaresoft came from the Tetsuo Mizuno era of games)

    The games before never held a candle to the above, and the games that came after were ‘meh’ at best.

    Even on a shoestring budget with new devs and few resources, Tetsuo Mizuno still manages to create the impressive Mario&Luigi series for the Nintendo DS.

    Hironobu Sakaguchi is an overrated and talentless hack. And Xenogears would’ve been one giant “Disc 2” if Tetsuya Takahashi had his way with it(Xenogears running out of budget is a MYTH, a myth that was broken the moment Xenosaga came out[Xenosaga was one giant “Disc 2”).

  • Good riddance to Chinal Fantasy XIV
    This game should have never been published in the first place.

    I only hope that this means Square might finally admit that their games are unfinished polished turds and work harder on further installments of the series.

    FF12 and FF13 were so obviously unfinished as well; where is my refund and apology? This is what happens when they let a game-ignorant finance monkey instead of a creative genius be the head at Square.

    • I didn’t finish playing the FF12 I spent so much time and money on, got the collectors edition next day air plus bascially paid full price beyond for all. Got 1/3 way into FF12 restarted got into and past the tree village like place never went back since it was fighting the same monsters in the rock maze up to some city. I did not buy FF13 and am appalled it has a console bricking on saves for the PS3 I think it was. In any case Squareenix should have learned we don’t and won’t buy crap any more, unless its priced right.

  • Hold on here.

    Shouldn’t people be happy that SE is pulling all of this crap?

    I mean really. Look at when a company releases a game that is pure shit or full of bugs or whatever. What do those companies do? They might release a hastily thrown together patch or more often than not cut their losses accept the failure and move on to the next game.

    SE is actually making the effort to go out and say “We made a piece of shit, someone should have been watching this thing, we’re going to make this right.”

    Of all the things SE could have done with how poorly FFXIV has turned out they’ve actually been doing the upstanding things here. I don’t see why anyone should be complaining about a company that is attempting to do the right thing for once.

    • Yea… because taking a game that ended up poorly and attempting to improve on it is letting it die.

      They should have done the right thing and just left it a poorly developed/implemented game and started charging people to play it every month.

      That’s how you keep a game from dying right?

  • Way to distort the facts Sankaku. At any rate the fucker responsible for this shit is actually Sage Sundi (Tanaka). Thank god he is “stepping down” as he put it. Ever since that ass left the FFXI dev team that game has improved at an unbelievable rate. It was simply par for the course that he would ruin FFXIV.

  • U all talk about the “FF” where Chocobos are called horsebirds or other sort of horse poo?, the one made by chinese devs?, I’m sorry but when I heard FF was made with some sort of chinese interaction I did lost all faith in the game, is like buying a good fps made in japan, that will not happen!

    I mean, not even the clon version of Dungeon Keeper is out of China (wonder why) so what good can come out of China???

  • I alpha & beta tested this game and it was a sack of shit. All the feedback us testers gave to Squeenix was ignored. As soon as I heard about the ‘fatigue’ system I canceled my pre-order straight away. Fuck Square Enix, they’re dead to me now. Can’t do anything right.

    I’m ashamed to have wasted my time on it tbh.

  • The game and company is SHIT;
    Xenophobic design flaw.
    I’m glad one of the series I helped produced sent it to this shit hole it was.

    You want success, hire people from other nationality to work together. You learn something working with other cultures. Let alone Japan fail at game design nowadays, I rather see someone from Mythic or Blizzard or Nexon or even where I work for as one of the founding Creators of COD franchise running the reconstruction of FF14 then trusting these 3 faces on their main page.

    Right now is the perfect chance to LET them SINK.
    Don’t support this shit at all.

    Let it hit the bottom and wash away with time.
    Sometimes you should leave things as a perfect memory then have someone bring up shit that just don’t work; Example “Fantasy Earth Zero”
    SquareEnix sold it to GamePot why?

    =Listen to your customers/THEY PAY YOUR SALARIES.
    =If chess/checkers wasn’t fun who’d play it.(PvP)
    =This is the Era of PVP, AI has died.
    =AI maybe if Alice Project was involved with a MMO.

    Sure, they put some fresh new -Hand Picked- garbage in the game, if you don’t create ideas and make it happen you fail as “Professionals” regardless how long it takes. They had 10 Fucking Years of MMO practice from Final Fantasy 11, and make this dog shit. I feel sorry for Enix merging with them.

  • I don’t know what’s wrong with Square, since they’ve proven they can make a good MMO with FFXI.

    An updated FFXI would be met with happiness from pretty much the entire user base that purchased XIV. Give me back Skillchains, some form of Auction House, and the incentive to party with others, and we’ll have a good start.

  • I play ff14, but only once a day for about an hour to do the levequests…after that i go back to WoW. Square Enix really should follow Blizzard’s footsteps or have a talk with them for ideas. :/

  • Ok, this means that the game comes back to “BETA” statemnt?

    I bet that now, the only thing that can take SE out os it’s foxhole is a Final Fantasy VII remake for the PS3, just like they will be forced to do so.

  • This has been going on for a long time; FF14 was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. There hasn’t been a Final Fantasy game since 10 that lived up to Final Fantasy’s previous standards. X-2 was basically a chick flick, 12 had a terribly boring and weak story and the worst main character in RPG history, 13 was so linear and boring that it was almost unplayable, and 14 charges you a monthly fee while imposing a time limit on your EXP.

    TO their credit, I must say that FF11 was absolutely incredible and easily the best MMORPG i’ve ever played. Why they blew 14 so badly is beyond me.

    • Because they learned nothing from FFXI, such as, but not limited to:

      a) desync the console and PC version
      b) how to develop a PC specific GUI
      c) how to develop a PC MMO
      d) how to launch games with content instead of releasing empty ones and patching it in (WotG storyline is finishing up now, 3 YEARS after it was released)

      Actually, they did learn something. At least you don’t have the horrible forced partying of FFXI where you could literally spend hours with your thumb up your ass doing nothing trying to form groups.

  • Wada is the one who should be sacked. Ever since that douche took office, everything’s going down hill.

    The “team” usually means the scapegoats that tried to safe their jobs by following the orders from the top. And guess who’s sitting on top.

  • As usual, the grunts take the fall, while the CEO gets to laugh another day.

    Since I’m not sure if key planners are excluded from this ‘restructuring’ or not, I will not seal my opinions on this yet. I have to say though, that if the key planners and decision makers(a.k.a. top brass of the development team) still get to keep their day jobs; not only are they being unfair to the grunts who only followed orders. They’re also dishonest by shifting the blame to others.

    China-born developers or not, they’re but tools to get the job done. Did Q.A. and bug testers spend more time playing WOW themselves?

  • It’s about time. Although they were doing their best to basically completely redo the game in a few months, the fact is that the direction of the game was flawed to begin with. Wada also deserves blame since it was presumably his directive to rush the game out to market in the state it was in, but Hiromichi Tanaka has a history of stubborn game decisions and not interacting well with fans. I’m a bit peeved that Komoto is still in the ranking structure since, as director, part of this is also his fault, but hopefully this is the shakeup the game needs to live up to how awesome it sounded when it was first announced.

    Bummer about the PS3 delay, but the PC version should have been delayed in the first place. Maybe by the time the PS3 version comes out, the game will be fixed and the bad press from this disastrous launch will have gone away.

  • The character creation is the best I have seen but the rest is just a no-no… fixing it will need more than patches and if they managed to do that then they will then face a problem of whether they can charge players when they have been playing it for free. They need a whole new business plan for this if they want to keep the game alive.

  • Only problem (from my perspective): The best thing to happen to FFXI was FFXIV. That is, all the devs from ‘old’ XI went to XIV and new devs came to take their place (or junior members rose up the ranks or whatever).

    So if they’re firing (excuse me, “restructuring”) the XIV dev team, I can only hope that they don’t cannibalize the new XI team to fill the vacant spots.

  • How ’bout making Spunky (Punky) Knight World???
    -tip o the hat to my fav Youhei Kozou!

    Characters can be busty MILF type warriors…goal is to get rich and become queens…

    Various character archetypes:

    1. Default Phaia type. Good well-rounded combatant, good for rapid low damage blows. Easy to get overpowered/grappled. Good “Whore” value, can raise $ from whoring though converse monster bounty is usually low. Seduction power = 1 warrior companion.

    2. Priestess. High combat ability, some healing magic. Minimal seduction/whore ability.

    3. Whore Adventuress: Usually seduces a team of mercenaries to surround her and commands like a team leader. Dressed like a courtesan, including high single pole sandals and sheer thin near see through kimono. Carries pipe that doubles as blow gun and/or razor fan.

    4. Demon priestess: Who cares about “Souls” the hideous tentacled creatures from the otherworld want sex! High magic/summoning ability, low whore ability (creep men out) except in “Temple Dancing”.

    5. Erotic Dancer. City specialty adventurer, good for seduction/social climbing roleplay.

    6. Catgirl Android. Here by Loli fans threatening to bomb the server. She’s a genetic experiment hatched early. Galaxist/Blade design. She can unleash all her force in one powerful attack, but then must rest a few rounds, thus is vulnerable and needs help or will be captured. Seduction; special. Tightly bonds to one equally leveled warrior and shares all experience with him, needs frequent sex to maintain the bond. Disadvantage, in towns hostile reactions with women, esp barmaids, shopkeepers and mockery from some men. “She’s but a wee slip of a girl, you SICKO!”, “Hey, you gonna return that lil lass to SCHOOL when you are done taking her for a walk in the woods?”

      • Oh how nice, I write some neat graphics to some lousy plot and then I’m guilty for it’s failure? No, devs are not entirely guilty except maybe for not telling their superiors that their ideas were a piece of cr@p. Just remake it already and ask the small guys in your company, they probably have better ideas.

      • Ask anyone who played FF11 for long time, it is known that Tanaka always refuses to listen to the playerbase and changes the game according to what he thinks better, which most of the time is a bad addition to the game. After he moved entirely to FF14 development, FF11 updates that came after were unbelievably good.

      • The man responsible for the mess in the first place is Hiromichi Tanaka (Producer/Director) who got replaced by Naoki Yoshida.

        The game sucks right now. After playing it you will feel that the goal of the game is to piss you off.

        As a game it is not a “lost cause”. They can still fix it and make a good game out of it, but then they will have to deal with customer trust issue.

      • Actually I don’t think it’s all the developer’s fault. I mean, this CEO is the problem. IMHO games like FF should never be outsourced… They should be developed by highly paid professionals and masters of the art!

        • FF is great series of games. Up to a point. 7 changed them. I didn’t like 8,9,12,13. So…whatever they did before they went this new direction they need to do again. Fast. I’m not sure Square Enix grabbing up Tomb Raider and Dungeon Seige will help but they should have known better with FF14 by juts looking at the MMOs that are large and in charge.

      • I’m going to say this very sincerely… do not blame the devs. Blame the management direction. I cannot stress enough how much of a personal experience I can relate to you that is so ungodly similar to what is happening to them that I can just promise you that the devs themselves are not the cause of this.

        Even here in America where we’re told to share ideas, you wouldn’t believe the fear involved in risking your job to express a creative opinion to people higher than you in those positions. The chances of hitting their ego just the wrong way with the wrong wording is extreme. Now consider how that would like be in Japan, and therein lays much of the problem.

        • Anonymous
          05:16

          damn near everyone no matter how old or young knows mario, and if they dont know his name they at least know what he looks like.

          HouseLife
          05:14

          ill give it to you there, when you have a passion for something you can do shit like that, and not care, and that probably how the gt team was, that and rent in japan is fucking ludicrys for what you get, that cubical size room may have cost 1 grand depending on the area.

          but this is square and ea, when was the last non paint by numbers square game made? and this is also japan, so they are payed significantly less than the american counterpart for the most part. i believe they have a seniority system for there pay, no matter how skilled the newer talent is. being that burnt out, under payed, and with horrific working conditions (i know corporate japan has unpayed overtime that is “optional” but if you don’t do it they will find someone who will) i don’t know if that applys to square but i wouldn’t doubt it.

        • People like playing shit like Farmville because it’s aimed directly at a casual audience like old people and bored housewives. These people may not know “Zynga” the game company directly, but they know it’s games, they likewise will have no idea who ‘Mario’ is, having never played any of Nintendo’s games.

        • @alidan

          Those conditions were true, and as far as I’m aware, EA has changed its ways due to its intense scrutiny. It buys up all the companies, but it’s gotten so big that it must have responsibility for its methods.

          Several of my friends and I did exactly that for our company. We were there until midnight after having arrived at 9 AM for a good three-month stretch because the release date depended on our ability to get our work done. And honestly… it was kind of fun. I wasn’t even paid for that time, and I still would have done it. I can’t begin to express how fun it is to work in games when you are with an awesome team of great people. The game was still never released and I’m still owed money from the company I will never see.

          I still wouldn’t have traded that time for anything. We are the types of people that whiny fools who blame ‘devs’ are lumping together with the stupid business men who have no concept of games as an art form and are the reason they fail. I won’t say all devs are like me and my friends though, they can be just as bad, but no game artist does it to get rich.

        • The hell is “Zynga”? Nintendo (EAD) would be the most well known. You don’t have to like them, but they are the creators of the world’s most prominent IPs…

          I mean, just how many gamers wouldn’t recognize Mario? He’s like the Mickey Mouse of vidja games.

        • HouseLife
          19:14

          you hit most of the points. but you also have to factor in working conditions for them. if i remember right grand trismo dev it was either before 3 or before 4, but they basically lived in the studio, working and than sleeping under there desk, and this was common.

          i believe ea america a while back had people working 80 hour weeks and wasnt paying the overtime.

          you can only imagine what a combination a square ran dev team must have gone through.

          Anonymous
          23:14

          cod4 wasn’t really a fluke. if i remember right, it was a damn solid game from cod1-3 and at the time the only moder day fps games were tactical games like rainbow 6, swat, or was fear (i believe that came out before cod4)

          than cod4 came out, was a solid game, modern, and had next to no competition in the market, and lastly wasn’t set in ww2, something that at its release was done to fuckin death. cod was going to be a hit, but they had no idea how big of a hit it would be. a fluke it wasn’t, a game that came out at the right time, marketed at the right people, and had the right setting, made all the difference.

        • Wada should just jump off a bridge save the people under him some face. He’s the main reason FF14 is bad because HE won’t let it die. He forced them to make another horrible MMO styled game when after he basically said.

          “Fuck you fans, remaking FF7 is hard because I wasnt around. You fans will buy anything we make anyway so have some shit cake and shut up.”

          I agree w/ houselife strongly the CEO’s and the guys at the top basically do NOTHING. Their ego’s is basically how the industry is ran these days since COD4 came out. Everybody wants to make another COD4 but they forget COD4 was a fluke in itself. They say money is “tight” these days but still somehow have millions to push bad IP’s to death. They have the money but most of these publishers and CEO’s are too chicken shit to really stand out with their products. I’m glad these Indie game makers and Atlus hasn’t solded out.

        • The team was restructured (not sacked), and (only) the leader was sacked. The devs are not to blame. They developed what was asked of them. If anyone’s to blame, it’s whoever came up with the gameplay, the map designers, and interaction designers.

          From experience, the only way to salvage the title is to involve the players. Use an incremental development approach, so players get new features frequently.

          On the other hand, game development is a craft, and should be treated as such. From what I’ve gathered, FF14 feels like it was “engineered”: well written software without a soul.

      • “-we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise”

        Bold statement when expectations were low to begin with.

      • In another ten years, a comment like this will have a rating of +0.8 or beyond if SE can manage to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that they’ve nothing to offer.

        At the very least that’s my fear. The past has been nothing but a lineup of disappointments for me unfortunately with what consoles I had access to as far as the FF lineup is concerned. Then again I can live without an FF MMO tbh…

  • Square Enix should know by now that the “14” brings a lot of unfortune to the company, especially when “4” sounds like “death” in Japanese and Chinese, “14” sounds even worse. I never understand why Square Enix named the online FF games as 11 and 14, as if they are part of the main FF games, while they are not. Just reboot the whole online FF games and begins with FF Online 1, 2, 3 and so on.

    As for the FF games, I think that Japanese gamers are pretty loyal to the franchises they are familiar with, so big changes or even deviation of whole concept of certain game or even genre are not necessary for a big success in Japan, especially when something is not broken, then why fix it!? Okay, flaws in earlier games/prequels should be fixed, of course, but mega overhaul is totally unnecessary. All these changes are because someone from the games industry had ever said that the Japanese games industry is dead and want to mimick what the games developers do in the USA or Europe!?

    • Blizzard doesn’t see this thing, they’re too busy.
      Why do SE want to port FFXIV to PS3? MMO should be stayed in PC not console. FFXIV should be last MMO, SE will go bankrupt if they make another FF MMO.

      • Pretty sure it started out as a PC port, not the other way around, just like FFXI.

        BTW, why would they want to stay PC only when 2/3 of their sales for FFXI were console? Seems obvious where their customers are.

      • They should just do what every single other MMO has done and copy WOW exactly but with good graphics. WoW sucks as far as I’m concerned but I’m obviously not one of the millions playing that pos. I think they need to re-make FF7 with today’s graphics…add more story and maybe even a character or two. Do it and get it over with to rake in the cash then go off to try something ‘new’ again. It’s OK to sell out to keep your butt afloat to be preparing for your next iffy project. The only thing that will kill wow is old age. Everyone should already know that.

        • Come on really? Square Enix isn’t the same, before they come up with new ideas. Today all they good for is making ports of the old games of Final Fantasy & Dragon Quest games. And you want them to make yet another remake which if I look they have made more ports of there old shit than creating new ideas. As a matter of fact Kingdom Hearts there milking the hell out of that game. I don’t think they will ever count to three. By the time they do, they will screw something up.

          Squaresoft big mistake was combine with there big rival Enix. You see you need a rival to make you work hard to make a better product.
          It’s like the WWE & WCW Monday Night Wars.
          The shows where real good, until WWE buys WCW after that WWE sucks.
          What Square Enix needs is not a Final Fantasy 7 remake. What they need is for another rival to come and take there throne away from them.
          When that happens you can bet Square will do what ever it takes to get there throne back. Hopefully it won’t be another damn name using the name Final Fantasy.
          Look at the SNES era and PS1 era. Square was making lots of games that where not even called Final Fantasy everytime.