After two tumultuous years, Square-Enix is finally putting its MMO Final Fantasy XIV out to pasture to prepare for the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the wholly redesigned version of the game.
Rather than just shut the game down in the hopes that most of its potential audience forgets it ever happened, Square-Enix is hosting a massive story event on Halloween. According to a press release from the publisher, “the Seventh Umbral Era descends on Eorzea.” In more practical terms, it means that all Final Fantasy XIV world will be taken down by midnight on Nov. 11. Character data will be saved for the very last time on Wednesday, and those characters will be transferred to the new A Realm Reborn game in November.
Final Fantasy XIV was deemed such a failure after its release in 2010 that Square-Enix was forced to apologize to its players. “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 apolgies,” read a statement from Square CEO Yoichi Wada, “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 while 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.”
Two years later and that new direction is finally being realized, but the damage done to the series may be too great for A Realm Reborn to properly fix. In September 2011, Wada offered an update on the game’s rehabilitation, admitting that the initial release damaged not just Square-Enix’s online role-playing game business but the entire Final Fantasy franchise.
“The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged,” said Wada, “We’ll continue with out reform work, which basically amount to fully redoing the game, and hope to revive the FFXIV that should have been released.”
Final Fantasy XIV cost Square more than its reputation. The company reported a -$150 million dollar loss for fiscal 2011 in May of that year, which Wada blamed chiefly on the fiasco of XIV’s release.