Let’s be honest: Final Fantasy XIV was kind of a flop. Glitches, bugs, a poor interface and numerous other problems meant the game was almost unplayable when it was released in 2010. The reception was bad enough that the planned PlayStation 3 version of the game never manifested, and, in September of 2011, Square Enix‘s CEO admitted that the game had tarnished the Final Fantasy brand. Not long after that, they announced their plans to rebuild the title from the ground up.
In a press release yesterday, Square stated that the new Final Fantasy XIV will be known as A Realm Reborn, and has been not only rebuilt, but drastically changed, featuring a new world to explore and a new storyline to play through, centering on the theme of rebirth. A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV (doesn’t that just roll off the tongue) was also given a new website, which will be the place to check for new updates about the game. “All of the elements” Square promised to add are being put into the game prior to its relaunch, which include a new graphics engine, new server and data structures, a revamped interface, redesigned maps, and more gameplay variations and content. Whether or not they’ll manage to turn opinion around is yet to be seen, but it certainly can’t be any worse than what it was the first time it went live.
It’s not often mentioned, but its worth noting that Final Fantasy XI, (you know, the other FF MMO), has done quite well. It’s one of the few big-name subscription-based MMOs still kicking around, and, given that it was released way back in 2003 (in North America on the PC), that’s no small feat. This means that Square does know how to design an MMO, just that something went wrong during the development of XIV. Hopefully, this Realm Reborn relaunch will turn that around. It’s set to go live sometime late this year or early 2013, and this time around, the PlayStation 3 version will be released simultaneously with the PC version. An extremely uninformative launch trailer for the redesigned MMO (which you can watch below) has been released, but I know that, for those of you who tried XIV the first time around, it’s going to take a lot more to convince you to dive back in.