Posted by John on October 14, 2011

Final Fantasy XIV Subscriptions Coming Soon, PS3 Version a Year Away

Final Fantasy XIV had an absolutely disastrous launch, resulting in the development team and its leadership being replaced and subscription fees being dropped. After almost a year of allowing players to play for free, subscriptions will finally be implemented as Square Enix moves toward launching a massive update to the game dubbed “Version 2.0.”

A lengthy preview of what is to come over the next 14 months has been posted on the official FFXIV website. It includes messages from Square Enix president and CEO Yoichi Wada (who recently said the game “greatly damaged” the Final Fantasy brand) and XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida.

“In the ten months since the FINAL FANTASY XIV team’s restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game’s existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game’s new direction,” Wada stated. “Today, I am pleased to announce we can confidently present that plan to our customers. We fully realize this is but a single step towards our ultimate goal, and that to meet the high standards set in the plan, more time is required. In the meantime, however, we will not waver in our commitment to bringing players exciting and engaging content, even as the game moves through its evolution.”

The most significant and immediate thing fans will want to know is that subscriptions are being instituted in just over a month’s time, somewhere between late November and early December.

Yoshida explained that while frequent content update and patches were being made to the existing game, a large team was at work on the “new” Final Fantasy XIV. He admitted that there are numerous changes that still must be made “to achieve the desired quality of service” including restructuring the server layout, redesigning the user interface, and upgrading community features. Numerous patches and additional content will continue to be rolled out in the year ahead, but subscriptions will have to go into effect soon to make this all possible.

“Our focus will be on the theme of a story that can only be experienced in the here and now, and the dramatic changes to Eorzea will be incorporated into that storyline,” Yoshida said. “Each update will deliver an unprecedented and unrepeatable game experience. For those of you continuing to play, I promise that the release of these updates and the eventual transition to the new FINAL FANTASY XIV will both come smoothly and seamlessly.”

More details on subscriptions will be announced in the near future. Automatic renewals are being disabled for the time being so as to avoid charging players who don’t wish to pay the subscription fee.

Version 2.0 is expected to be launched between October and December 2012. (Current characters and data will be preserved; there’s no need to worry about losing progress when 2.0 comes out.) It won’t be until then that PlayStation 3 users are finally able to get in on the action with a beta.

The lone console version was delayed indefinitely as personnel changes were made. That new team team, Yoshida said today, will no longer be referred to as the new organization of the team; they are now simply the Final Fantasy XIV team.

The PS3 closed beta will be conducted beginning around next November along with a free trial period for the PC version. This is all made clear in a roadmap (PDF) that Square Enix has shared along with several other documents outlining changes to come, a timetable for when those will be implemented, and artwork and concept art for future updates.

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