Reborn Anew: Final Fantasy XIV 2.0

Reborn Anew: Final Fantasy XIV 2.0

Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 is coming, and it looks a lot, lot better.

If you’re one of the people who was absolutely pumped at the prospect of a great MMO from Final Fantasy, many of you were left with a horrible taste in your mouth after playing Final Fantasy XIV. The game was released in September of 2010 and was universally panned by both critics and gamers alike for its rubbish interfaces, common problems, quest errors and general naffness, so since then Square Enix has decided to officially reshuffle the game’s developers and is now totally re-hauling the game into something that’s hopefully much better.

With a tentative release date of sometime later this year or early 2013, this reshuffle of Final Fantasy XIV should hopefully bring the doomed MMO back into the market and make this game worthy of being a numbered entry in the Final Fantasy saga.

Although it wasn’t shown properly at this year’s E3 due to the build not yet being ready (at least not to the public), we do know (thanks to the Playstation Blog) a lot more info about the title.

Version 2.0 of FFXIV is now being helmed by new director Naoki Yoshida, who was asked by the PS blog about the rather-sexy visuals you can see from early screens of the build.

“Right now it’s optimized for PC. We’re about 50% into the development of the PS3 version, but it’s pretty much how it’s going to look on the console as well,” he said. “It uses the same new graphics engine we built just for this game. This summer we’ll have an opportunity to show the PS3 version.”

FFXIV

If you’ve played Final Fantasy, you know the series is known for great graphics, engaging storylines and tons of exciting stuff to do. Final Fantasy XIV wasn’t really any of these things when it was first released, but this new version is set to bring this MMO back with a bang.

“We believe that Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 can be considered the next real Final Fantasy game in the series,” says Yoshida. “And on top of that, there’s our MMORPG community, which will consist of both PC players and also the PS3 players all over the world.”

You heard right – FFXIV’s version 2.0 will be coming to both PC and PS3.  The game was originally billed to be released for Playstation 3 anyway but was put on a rather lengthy hold after the game was universally panned. Square Enix thought it was probably a better idea not to annoy the PS3 community as well as the PC!

Yoshida was also keen to outline that the new update will delve further into Final Fantasy’s mythology, bringing summons, chocobos and moogles to the world.  The summon system has been revamped in XIV as well – instead of everyone having a summon, there will be only one version of a summon available per server, which is then usable once by a player before the summon becomes available again somewhere else. It sounds like quite a cool, dynamic system and you’ll know about the summon taking place as the sky flashes a deep red (this may only apply to Ifrit).

If you’re worried about how an MMO’s controls may end up being horrible on the Playstation 3, Yoshida has you covered. “It is a thing that didn’t have been done a lot in the past, and we have to make sure that we design an user interface and control scheme specially for these players,” he says.“And we’ll also be adding in-game tutorials and quests that will help players that might not be comfortable with MMOs, and when they play the game, they will feel like they’re playing a console game that just happens to be online.”

FFXIV Chocobo

Once the game’s 2.0 version releases on PS3 and PC, the servers will run in tandem, allowing gamers from both systems to actively play with each other.  As this is the case, gamers will not get anything exclusive for playing on the PS3 version; instead any specific new elements will be available across both platforms where PC and PS3 gamers can interact together.

The PS Blog also quizzed Yoshida on the challenge of developing an MMO with Final Fantasy levels of storyline, to which he replied: “ It is an open world in the sense that you can explore freely, but that doesn’t mean is hasn’t a main story. In this open world you have this very detailed story, which has a beginning and it has an ending. What is good is that, once that story ends, we can add new tales. That’s one of the greatest thing about an MMO: you expand a certain story or add new storylines via patches.” He also finished his quote by saying that they plan a lengthy support plan for the revamped MMO to keep things fresh.

With a world as potentially expansive as an MMO, wouldn’t it be great to see loads of nods back to other Final Fantasies pop up in the world? If you do think it would, prepare to be excited as Yoshida has revealed he plans to cram loads of stuff from all 13 previous episodes into the game, outlining first of all that Final Fantasy III’s Crystal Tower will be reborn anew.

“Basically we’re taking all the great things from the the first 13 episodes, squeezing it into the game and giving them some polish.” he says. “For example, in FFIII you were limited by the technology of the time, and we’re going to re-render that in this type of high quality graphics. So you’ll have the opportunity to re-visit these sections and see the difference between the lower quality graphics from the past and the high resolution visuals of FFXIV.

FFXIV 2

If you played FF’s other MMO, XI, you may be familiar with the struggles to find a party. For this revamp, Yoshida is addressing this issue and says you’ll always be able to find people with similar goals to your own. Alternatively you can give a big old middle finger to the world and completely go off on your own if you so choose, but Yoshida stresses that it should be extremely easy to find some new chums to play around with should you want them.

Yoshida finished his interview by stating: “We know that a lot of console players never played an MMO and they may be scared by not knowing what to do, and we want to stress that it’s very similar to an offline Final Fantasy that always had great stories, made you cry, changed your life. There will be a beta for a limited time where people will be able to try it out. And an additional factor to bring in console games are graphics: something of this quality you can’t have in any MMO title.”

There’s also going to be a public beta at some point in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

Considering I’ve never properly managed to get into an MMO and the Elder Scrolls Online isn’t really looking that great right now, I’m honestly pretty excited to see what they can do with this revamp. Judging from the direction things are going it really seems as if Square Enix has learned from their mistakes and is directing this update in a great new direction.

– Source: PS Blog

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