Derek Heemsbergen
Final Fantasy XIV Takes a New Direction With Restructured Staff
Gratuitous apologies and an indefinite extension of the free trial period are only the beginning.
12.10.10 - 1:09 PM

In a long, apologetic post on Final Fantasy XIV's official website, the development staff acknowledged today that their game has failed to live up to fans' standards for the long-revered franchise. Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada personally expressed his regret in the following statement:

"Thank you for your continued interest in and support of FINAL FANTASY XIV.

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.

To realize this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our company's top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority. Not only is he one of our Group's most accomplished and experienced members, Naoki Yoshida is also a charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on FINAL FANTASY XIV.

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."

With Hiromichi Tanaka stepping down as producer and Yoshida taking his place, the new team is also set to include staff that worked on Final Fantasy XI, including Akihiko Matsui, Nobuaki Komoto, Hideyuki Kasuga, and Hiroshi Takai. Matsui in particular has been credited with revitalizing Final Fantasy XI by taking over as its Battle Director, so his involvement should prove to be beneficial.

After two more planned updates before the end of this year, the staff intends to keep players informed about the state of development for Final Fantasy XIV, and will extend the free trial period until they are satisfied with what they have created. While it may prove difficult to win back the trust of disillusioned players, taking these drastic measures is (in this editor's opinion) a good first step towards renewing interest in the world of Eorzea.