Final Fantasy XIV is unfortunately no stranger to controversy and low review scores, based on any number of factors. Square-Enix even realized the game wasn’t up to par with what they, or their fans, expected and has offered game play time free of charge to anyone buying the game. First it was extended to 60 days, then 90 days and now it seems that you can play the game for free indefinitely. Or, at least, until they get things squared away, which could take some time.
It was announced today on the FFXIV Lodestone site that this would go into effect immediately, if there even is such a thing as “going into effect”, since it really already is. So, you can continue to play without being charged if you’re already enjoying yourself in Eorzea.
“We have decided to extend the free trial period until we can provide a plan that outlines a level of enjoyment that will satisfy both us and our customers.”
Also disturbing for the title as a whole is that there were several organizational changes, seeing the previous producer, Hiromichi Tanaka, step down to be replaced by Naoki Yoshida. This held true for many key members of the game’s development staff, with the company seemingly wiping the slate clean to try to start over and take a different approach to sprucing up the troubled MMO. Yet, there is more bad news.
As if all that wasn’t enough, because of this shake-up, Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada announced the indefinite delay of the PS3 version for the title, which was originally scheduled for March 2011.
“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.”
Speaking up updates, the November update went live a couple weeks ago, and brought about every single change that was promised. I expected no less, because the last thing you want to do when people are already pissed off at you, is aggravate them even more by not delivering on needed changes that were promised. There are also two more updates planned before the end of the year – one large one and one smaller one – to address more issues that have yet to be resolved with market ward search functionality and other things.
In my opinion, the game play itself needs the least work, as it is fine – it’s fun, eventful and the world is absolutely beautiful. The issues the game has are mostly in the user interface and relate to ease of use, especially for mouse-and-keyboard players. While the mechanics of the game itself do need some tweaks here and there, the fact remains that I don’t think it’s a bad game, but the way you play it just wasn’t implemented correctly at all.
Only time will tell if Final Fantasy XIV will rebound, to be born anew on the PlayStation 3 when that launch eventually arrives, or if it will die a silent fate because Square-Enix wanted to be too unique and paranoid when it comes to leaving out many of what have come to be MMO user interface staples.