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.