When the original Final Fantasy XIV crashed and burned, the current President and CEO of Square Enix Yosuke Matsuda was Chief Financial Officer under Yoichi Wada, and his position placed him as the man most likely to oppose the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn project. In fact he had doubts about it, but in the end everything turned out beautifully, as he recounted in an interview on Famitsu.
It was very challenging. Yoshida-san and the development staff did their best.
Due to the difficult situation of the first Final Fantasy XIV there was a pretty big impact on a mangerial level as well. At that time I was in charge of finances and honestly I thought “This is bad.” I’d be lying if iI said that there were no worries about the investment necessary for the remake. Yet, we decided to do because the trust of our customers had to be restored.
I think that there was considerable pressure on the development team, but in november the number of paying subscribers exceeded the 600,000 that we had at the peak of Final Fantasy XI. It was a wonderful rebirth. With the perspective to expand to China we’ll recoup the investment in the future, and we expect a lot from it as one of the pillars of our revenue.
There’s no doubt that, at least for now, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a very positive success story in the MMORPG market, having raised almost literally from its ashes. It’s also good to hear this kind of story in a field, that of pay to play MMORPGs, that seemed to really need a breath of fresh air.
Not only Square Enix is demonstrating to the rest of the industry that pay to play MMORPGs can still be successful, but also that when something goes wrong (and with Final Fantasy XIV things went really wrong), firing the three quarters of the staff and going free to play until a game’s premature demise isn’t the only solution.