FFXIV Director: We Took Final Fantasy "For Granted"

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FFXIV Director: We Took Final Fantasy "For Granted"

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Final Fantasy XIV director points to internal arrogance and a lack of experience with MMO's as a source of the game's failure.

It's probably safe to say that Final Fantasy XIV wasn't received well. The game's original release was met with widespread panning from critics and fans. It had so many problems that its developers, Square Enix, apologized for its quality and have since spent more than a year rebuilding the game for a second release. There have been more than a few theories from various corners about why it performed so poorly with some, most recently, coming from within Square Enix itself.

"What I found were two things," said Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida. "The first one was us as a company being too comfortable in the Final Fantasy franchise. We took it for granted. We thought, 'Whatever game we make, players will play it.' I think that was a very big mistake we made." Yoshida also placed blame on Square Enix's poor knowledge of the current MMO environment. "We really should have studied more about the competitors in order to make a game that could win the competition in the MMO market."

Despite Yoshida's desire to adapt to the changing MMO market, Square Enix doesn't intend to embrace the free-to-play pricing model that has turned many an MMO from flop to success. When the new version of a Final Fantasy XIV, aptly named A Realm Reborn, launches it will come with monthly subscriptions the same as the original version. "I don't think there's a right or wrong having a monthly subscription on free-to-play model." Said Yoshida. "Games like The Old Republic and The Secret World, I don't say those games would've been more successful if they had been free-to-play, for example. The subscription model was unrelated to the success of the game."

Time will tell if the Square Enix's plans to push forward with a subscription model for Final Fantasy XIV will bear fruit. Even if the new version of the game is markedly better than the original, trends point toward subscription-based MMOs being less and less viable outside of a few special cases. Final Fantasy XIV has already failed once and it would a shame to see it fail again after all the work put in to fix it.

Source: Penny Arcade

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A person within the final fantasy staff that actually has the humility to say they took the Final Fantasy Name for granted? Holy fuck, I need to go see if pigs are flying.

whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

Darmy647:
A person within the final fantasy staff that actually has the humility to say they took the Final Fantasy Name for granted? Holy fuck, I need to go see if pigs are flying.

For fucking real! That just blew my mind.

OT: How in the hell haven't they just cut their losses at this point? How much money have they hemorrhaged since its release?

So many publishers and developers seem to have found their marbles again, lately. This can't be a coincidence.

I have a bad feeling about this...

Make it FTP then I'll consider playing it.

Mayabe...

I like subscriptions, as long as there is no cash store attached (WoW) and as long as there is new content released for FREE (like EvE does)... I get annoyed when I am expected to pay a sub, buy expansions while getting silly news about new stuff in the cash store.
Whats the sub for ? Servers only ?

Players dont like subscriptions because it doesnt seem to cover anything, they still have to buy the expansions and still have extras to buy outside the game.

The advantage of a proper classic WoW style subscription system was that you pay them and you can grind, earn virtually everything in the game (at the time, a long time ago the only item you could not earn or grind for was that murloc in Iron Forge which was a reward for Blizzcon attendees).

Free 2 play offers a no risk trial of a game, play it and invest what you feel you want to invest for the game BUT at the same time it takes away the effort of earning that cool look or pet, or whatever.
Wow you drop some real cash in and bought that thing, must of been hard work to gain it, you should show it off as a sign of your determination.... bleh.

A perfect example, again from WoW... before you could buy pets and shite from the store, you had to grind or get a luck drop for some of the best pets, in my time it was a miniature dragonette thingy and when you saw one it was ooooh shiny, and then you go to the marshes and grind for a few hours and give up.
Bliz came out and sold that shiny new mount that looked absolutely awesome, but when you saw that it was meh, whatever.

Subs when done properly will work, but publishers and accountants get too greedy... they want to sell the game, subs, have a store, sell expansions... and even run the RMT side of the model.

Initially I thought that Yoshida was some no-name scrub brought in by the higher ups to pin FFXIV's ultimate second failure on. And that might still have been their original intention. But not only does he really know his stuff, including knowledge of games made by other companies, which most Final Fantasy employees don't really care about, he also might be just the new, humble voice the company needs at this point.

My biggest concern/question/wonder right now is how willing FF-MMO fans will be to play what is essentially a Final Fantasy flavored WoW clone. It might end up being a really good game, sure. But my time spent in both FFXI and FFXIV taught me that there is nothing a FF-MMO player hates more than WoW. Good lord, the level of hysteria that surrounded the very idea of jumping being added to the game...

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

I remember someone in another thread saying that most publishers want a clean slate going into the next generation, because what with all the crap some have put us through they'd be worried it'll impact future sales.

Darmy647:
A person within the final fantasy staff that actually has the humility to say they took the Final Fantasy Name for granted? Holy fuck, I need to go see if pigs are flying.

But will Square-Enix ever apologize for crashing Sony's Meeting with nothing new to show and announce?
They 'announced' a new FF title as if we're supposed to be wooed by it.

I wouldn't check for any pigs with wings just yet. :/

We thought, 'Whatever game we make, players will play it.

Well, that's nice and openly admitted and all, but if internet commentaries are anything to go by, that attitude didn't exactly start with 14. At least, 13 deserves a mention too.

I have to say, I'm very impressed by how committed Squenix seem to be in trying to fix up XIV. Plenty of other MMOs have released, gotten a critical drubbing, then the publishers have just left them to die a slow death. If Squenix is worried enoug about quality that they'll essentially remake a game in order to try and appease the fans, it gives me hope that the company might one day find its footing again. As a publisher, I've got little quarrel with them, as they're still financing some great games (Human Revolution, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Sleeping Dogs). It would just be nice to see their own developers recapture some of that glory from the golden days.

One day, maybe...

I just wish they would stop making excuses that are so irrelevant and off the mark. XIV didnt fail because SE didnt understand the current MMO market. They had a 5+ year old MMO of their own in their stable. It didnt fail because it wasnt enough like the MMO competition. It didnt fail because it was banked on the FF name. The game failed because they launched an incomplete game that was developed to basically be little more than a tradeskill factory with a cut scene engine. It failed because the controls were like controlling a poser doll with a stick up its ass. It failed because it had all of what? 4 combat classes? In short it failed because the game was not anywhere near being finished but was pushed out in an unfinished state.

That does not bother me. What bothers me is the nonsensical excuses they make for it and honestly most SE properties any more. Im starting to wonder if the people writing these apologies even play the games they are apololgizing for because they always seem completely unrelated

Maybe they should try taking some classes at Learning Ennex
Or maybe remember that QA exists?

viranimus:
I just wish they would stop making excuses that are so irrelevant and off the mark. XIV didnt fail because SE didnt understand the current MMO market. They had a 5+ year old MMO of their own in their stable. It didnt fail because it wasnt enough like the MMO competition. It didnt fail because it was banked on the FF name. The game failed because they launched an incomplete game that was developed to basically be little more than a tradeskill factory with a cut scene engine. It failed because the controls were like controlling a poser doll with a stick up its ass. It failed because it had all of what? 4 combat classes? In short it failed because the game was not anywhere near being finished but was pushed out in an unfinished state.

That does not bother me. What bothers me is the nonsensical excuses they make for it and honestly most SE properties any more. Im starting to wonder if the people writing these apologies even play the games they are apololgizing for because they always seem completely unrelated

You don't get it.

They knew that the game was unfinished, but they released it anyway. Because they thought that people would still buy it, because it was a Final Fantasy game. The same strategy worked for FFXI; in fact, it took at least a year after FFXI's launch for that game to become truly playable, but it worked because a. MMOs were still relatively new at the time and people hadn't started expecting so much from the genre, and b. for its first year of existence it was only available in Japan, where MMOs were more or less completely unknown at the time and Squaresoft was an even bigger deal than it was in the west. FFXIV was different because it was released simultaneously in both Japan and the west, and it came out 6 years after WoW completely changed people's expectations of the genre. But SE were so full of themselves at that point that they didn't realize their strategy wouldn't work anymore.

If they hadn't thought "meh, it's FF, it's going to sell no matter what," then they would never have released it in its unfinished state. That's what he's getting at.

EmperorSubcutaneous:

You don't get it.

They knew that the game was unfinished, but they released it anyway. Because they thought that people would still buy it, because it was a Final Fantasy game. The same strategy worked for FFXI; in fact, it took at least a year after FFXI's launch for that game to become truly playable, but it worked because a. MMOs were still relatively new at the time and people hadn't started expecting so much from the genre, and b. for its first year of existence it was only available in Japan, where MMOs were more or less completely unknown at the time and Squaresoft was an even bigger deal than it was in the west. FFXIV was different because it was released simultaneously in both Japan and the west, and it came out 6 years after WoW completely changed people's expectations of the genre. But SE were so full of themselves at that point that they didn't realize their strategy wouldn't work anymore.

If they hadn't thought "meh, it's FF, it's going to sell no matter what," then they would never have released it in its unfinished state. That's what he's getting at.

Yet I do, because that answer does not explain the same type of apologizing for non MMOs, and the general corp culture SE has adopted in the last half decade of perpetual apology. My statement is going beyond just FFXIV

Now, as someone who played imported FFXI before Western release as well as FFXIV at launch the comparison is not even close to right. A:Relatively new and completely unknown?!?! lol, ok, whatever. Ill grant you perhaps new in japan, but not really. First year playability for XI was more than functional. Perhaps first 6 weeks was rough, but the basic fundamentals of a game were at least there. FFXIV cannot make that claim because they didnt even have a properly developed combat system. And again, WoW is irrelevant because they were in the MMO field before WoW even existed and remained so after its launch. They also adjusted XI through those years to compete. Claiming WoW as some sort of benchmark that they never even bothered to discover is downright silly as you can simply look at the XI development to see what they knew of WoW

While it is true they have been pissing on their flagship title for the last basically decade, the fact they have been doing so for the last decade illustrates its not simply a matter of taking the name for granted. Pointing to the problem being taking the name for granted is about as logical and relevant as pointing to FFXIII failing because it was too westernized or any of the other nonsense they have claimed when apologizing for their failures.

I'm sorry but I can't take this seriously.

"The first one was us as a company being too comfortable in the Final Fantasy franchise. We took it for granted. We thought, 'Whatever game we make, players will play it.' I think that was a very big mistake we made."

Yeah that sounds well and good, but if they realized this back when XIV failed and have been working on this fixed version for years now, then why do they continue to push out titles like All the Bravest which exists for pretty much the exact same reason? "It's Final Fantasy, it has the sprites, they'll buy this!" And look where it got them.

*Looks at article title*

*Looks at Final Fantasy: All the Bravest*

No, FFXVI Director, you still take Final Fantasy for granted.

roushutsu:
I'm sorry but I can't take this seriously.

"The first one was us as a company being too comfortable in the Final Fantasy franchise. We took it for granted. We thought, 'Whatever game we make, players will play it.' I think that was a very big mistake we made."

Yeah that sounds well and good, but if they realized this back when XIV failed and have been working on this fixed version for years now, then why do they continue to push out titles like All the Bravest which exists for pretty much the exact same reason? "It's Final Fantasy, it has the sprites, they'll buy this!" And look where it got them.

Ultimately SE is heading down the same road a lot of companies we grew up to love in the 90s are heading. They are an established company with a bunch of IPs that were originally spawned with the love and passion of their creators, but are now being used as a selling point on a piece of marketing. The older creators have moved on to new projects, and the new generation are left fumbling about in the left overs trying to figure out just what made these older fan favorites tick.

All of this is going on while the company heads are trying to milk money out of an aging fan base that is becoming exceptionally weary of cheap cash-in tactics. Originally I'd say this while also mentioning us expecting more and more out of our games in the form of graphics, but we've kind of hit a point where that doesn't really matter all that much anymore. We are getting limited by our Television screens at this point.

viranimus:
Yet I do, because that answer does not explain the same type of apologizing for non MMOs, and the general corp culture SE has adopted in the last half decade of perpetual apology. My statement is going beyond just FFXIV

Sure, but this guy doesn't speak for all of SE. The MMOs and the rest of the numbered series are made by two different development teams. Additionally, he's pretty far removed from the corporate culture SE has going on, since he was a relative unknown before he was given the job of producer/director for FFXIV. He was just "some employee who played a lot of MMOs." I have to say I'm not sure why you think it was the same type of apologizing, since I've never heard anyone from SE say "we assume our games will sell just because they're part of the FF series, so we don't particularly care about how good the game is, and that's actually a pretty terrible thing to do."

viranimus:
Now, as someone who played imported FFXI before Western release as well as FFXIV at launch the comparison is not even close to right.

Yes, FFXIV was worse-off than FFXI was at its launch. I never claimed that the situations were exactly the same. However, it's clear that they assumed that they'd be able to pull off the same feat of starting with a bare-bones system and gradually adding more content, because that's what they did with FFXI at the time and it's what other MMOs were also doing at the time. Since WoW became a megahit, people have wanted more complete MMOs at launch, because if there isn't enough for them to do in the game, they'll just go back to WoW and forget about it.

viranimus:
A:Relatively new and completely unknown?!?! lol, ok, whatever. Ill grant you perhaps new in japan, but not really.

At the time, the most popular MMO (EverQuest) had about 500,000 players. That was considered a lot at the time, but compared to single-player games it was nothing. MMOs were definitely a niche.

viranimus:
First year playability for XI was more than functional. Perhaps first 6 weeks was rough, but the basic fundamentals of a game were at least there. FFXIV cannot make that claim because they didnt even have a properly developed combat system.

They thought the combat system was properly developed, though. They wanted to make something that was different from FFXI, so they did. And on paper it sounded fine: no auto-attack, skills determined by your weapon, the ability to set skills from different classes if you've leveled them, a theoretically-improved version of skillchains, etc. But because of the lag, the clunky UI, and the downright brokenness of certain aspects of the system, it just didn't work at all.

viranimus:
And again, WoW is irrelevant because they were in the MMO field before WoW even existed and remained so after its launch. They also adjusted XI through those years to compete. Claiming WoW as some sort of benchmark that they never even bothered to discover is downright silly as you can simply look at the XI development to see what they knew of WoW

WoW isn't irrelevant, because it's what put MMOs in the spotlight. From 500,000 players of games like EverQuest and FFXI to 12 million WoW players at its peak is no small change. WoW brought a number of new things to the genre, like the ability to level by questing rather than partying up, sitting down somewhere, and pulling mob after mob, as well as the increased viability of soloing and the overall focus on casual play and user-friendliness. Whether or not you think that's a good thing, the fact remains that to someone whose first MMO was WoW (which is the majority of MMO players), a previous-gen game like FFXI would be pretty unappealing.

Also, it's a fact that most of the people on the FFXIV development team hadn't played WoW. It was stated in an interview before the game came out. WoW wasn't as big of a deal in Japan at the time as FFXI was, so they didn't care about it as much. They've always preferred to cater to their Japanese players over their western ones when they have to choose, and they've always come out with the weirdest bullshit to explain their treatment of western players, like "We didn't put any physical items in the North American collectors edition, because our research showed that NA players just don't like them." They really didn't pay much attention.

I have followed FFXI's development for a very long time, and I'm not sure what they drew from WoW apart from minor changes like Fields of Valor (proto-Guildleves), which were an attempt at integrating a form of quest-based leveling. Can you please give some examples?

viranimus:
While it is true they have been pissing on their flagship title for the last basically decade, the fact they have been doing so for the last decade illustrates its not simply a matter of taking the name for granted. Pointing to the problem being taking the name for granted is about as logical and relevant as pointing to FFXIII failing because it was too westernized or any of the other nonsense they have claimed when apologizing for their failures.

Once again: different people, different apologies. And this apology feels completely different than the usual corporate non-apology we get, along the lines of "I'm sorry that people just didn't understand our game." Also, FFXIV was the first commercial and critical failure the numbered FF series had. Even if the players threw a fit over every game since X, they've all sold piles of copies and received very good reviews. With the exception of FFXIV.

I was skeptical about Yoshida at first, and I'm still not planning on making him out to be the messiah that FFXIV fans seem to believe he is (especially since when WoW does something those fans say "It's shitty and dumbed down!" and then when Yoshida adds the same thing to FFXIV they all say "HE IS AMAZING AND HE CAN DO NO WRONG!!!"), but I'm becoming increasingly convinced that he, unlike most other people at SE, is actually paying attention.

I'm sorry SE but this game is going to HAVE to be the WoW Killer for me to revert my stance on your Bum fucking of the Final Fantasy franchise, I don't think you're quite self aware of how much you've killed this particular horse.

And are still beating it.

It's nice to see someone in the industry apologize instead of the usual response of:

Josh12345:

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

I remember someone in another thread saying that most publishers want a clean slate going into the next generation, because what with all the crap some have put us through they'd be worried it'll impact future sales.

Yeah, can't picture why publishers would be worried after all the crap we've had to put up from when the next generation of consoles comes out... /sarcasm]

And yet I just don't believe them, the sheer amount of ego we've have to put up with from the past generation has been very insulting to say the least. They want us to buy their products, they need to show that they can change for good and not pull this kind of crap again... though I rather doubt it.

deathbydeath:
*Looks at article title*

*Looks at Final Fantasy: All the Bravest*

No, FFXVI Director, you still take Final Fantasy for granted.

roushutsu:
I'm sorry but I can't take this seriously.

"The first one was us as a company being too comfortable in the Final Fantasy franchise. We took it for granted. We thought, 'Whatever game we make, players will play it.' I think that was a very big mistake we made."

Yeah that sounds well and good, but if they realized this back when XIV failed and have been working on this fixed version for years now, then why do they continue to push out titles like All the Bravest which exists for pretty much the exact same reason? "It's Final Fantasy, it has the sprites, they'll buy this!" And look where it got them.

It's a nice apology and all. Really a wonderful gesture, thank you. But the warning sign that the usual arrogance and stupidity of the game industry is still there, is that they still insist that we will pay a monthly subscription now for a game that they completely screwed up over a year ago. Really? You think we the sheep... I mean customers are that stupid? yeah! we will still support subscription as a valid business model for an MMO, provided you get it right on day one. If you fluq that up, please go to the back of the ftp line. I'll then decide if your sparkly ponies and hats deserve my funding.

Far as I see it the nail in the coffin could be summed up in one spoken blurb.

"Friendly neighborhood gullwings."

The damage done in that one "game"

The horror.

The horror...

Josh12345:

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

I remember someone in another thread saying that most publishers want a clean slate going into the next generation, because what with all the crap some have put us through they'd be worried it'll impact future sales.

It's much too late for that.

The economy's still in the toilet, so people are less willing to dump their money into companies that have burned them in the past. Game sales are down across the entire spectrum: consoles or PCs, digital or physical, new or used. All down. Sony's in the tank, hoping to scrape itself out of debt with yet another console (and its investors didn't take the news well) and adding Cross Play functionality to the PS4 in a desperate attempt to get people buying the Vita. Microsoft's not making any friends with Windows 8 and it's not selling quite as well with the 360 as it used to. Even Nintendo's feeling the crunch, with the Wii U not selling as well as expected.

Developers have seen the writing on the wall, here. They can see that people aren't committing to new consoles, that they're not committing to new games, and they know that the days of "screw the players" in serious danger right now. But they figured it out too late, I think. With all of the sheer disgust that the players have nowadays for the developers, I think that tensions are already running too high. All it's gonna take is a few more major screwups like ME3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, etc.

The next big market crash is drawing ever closer. And I have actually reached a point where I almost want it to happen.

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

Yeah.... It's starting to get more than a little unsettling. Like then you think you've defeated a boss only a couple minutes into the fight.

ScruffyMcBalls:

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

Yeah.... It's starting to get more than a little unsettling. Like then you think you've defeated a boss only a couple minutes into the fight.

yes, its some avengers loki "i give up now take me to your main base" kind of strange...

ScruffyMcBalls:

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

Yeah.... It's starting to get more than a little unsettling. Like then you think you've defeated a boss only a couple minutes into the fight.

Watch them transform into their final form where they confiscate all games older than 1 year, destroy all disc based copies and turn every game into a single console bound subscribtion system.

StewShearer:
... The subscription model was unrelated to the success of the game."

Very true indeed, if they make an EXCELLENT game, I don't mind paying $20 per month or more, and I am not going back to wow even if pandaria goes F2P today.

The pitfall they're facing here is that they are trying to make the game as appealing as possible to general mmorpg population by adopting way too many so-called mainstream features, to the extent they are losing their own style. They need to realize that these 'mainstream' features are becoming something different - something that are offered by F2P models that people are no longer willing to pay for.

FFXIV as it currently stands, has the POTENTIAL to become one of the greatest mmorpg of all time... whether that comes true depends on what they do in the next few months' testing and tuning. We'll see soon enough. Fingers crossed.

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

ScrabbitRabbit:
So many publishers and developers seem to have found their marbles again, lately. This can't be a coincidence.

I have a bad feeling about this...

Well, I'll join your club because....

It scares the shit out of me too...

Lack of experience with mmos? so then what square enix mmo have i been playing for almost 10 years....i could have sworn it said final fantasy XI everytime i log in.

yea no, it's not lack of experience that caused ff14 to come out bad it's completely ignoring the years of experience and customer feedback, something SE does constantly.

they pretty much got rid of everything that made ff11 magical, kept things that were bad in 11, and infused a hefty dose of generic modern mmo into the mix to fill in the space.

You could make the argument that all the "main series" Final Fantasy games since number 7 (except Final Fantasy IX, obviously) have been more and more taking advantage of the fact that the words "Final Fantasy" are in their titles and sucking pretty hard. Call me insane, but can we all just collectively agree that Final Fantasy X, XII and XIII were at best not as good as others? Maybe scaling back the sci-fi/cybertech schizo tech crap would help, instead go the magic and steampunk route.

Never again will there be a Final Fantasy VI...excuse me, I need to have a sad.

Thank you Yoshida; Thank you for stating the fucking obvious.

rhizhim:
whats up with all these developers and publishers realizing their mistakes and apologizing, instead of calling everyone entitled?

something "feels" wrong here, when it shouldnt be the case.

It's the blind-leading-the-blind, and they just heard the guy in the lead scream as he fell to his death.

Especially forcing FF13 down our throats with 13-2 and Lightning and whatever else. No one like 13 yet still they keep making sequels. They also ignore fan opinon. Its like they think "Tough.....your wrong....this is what you want". Im happy they did something new with 13, but if it doesnt work and fans dont like it, stop doing it.

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