Final Fantasy born again



May 4, 2013

"Five years have come and gone. Man labours tirelessly to raise himself from calamity's ruin." Is the voice over played during Final Fantasy 14's all-new introductory sequence a cry for help from the game's weary development team? Certainly the 200 staff at Square Enix's Shinjuku office tasked with re-making this forsaken MMO - the greatest and grandest critical and commercial failure to bear the Final Fantasy name since 2002's CGI disaster movie The Spirits Within - are eager to let you know just how hard they've been working. 'Tirelessly', they assert, before promising that Eorzea, the setting for this online role-playing game, is "forever changed".

Launched in September 2010 just as the MMO RPG's popularity was beginning to wane, Final Fantasy 14 was neither the game that fans wanted nor the game that Square Enix needed. Anachronistic, poorly explained and, in places, simply unfinished, it attracted widespread criticism, prompting an apology from Square-Enix's president and the sacrificial resignation of Hiromichi Tanaka, the game's producer and one of the company's longest-serving employees.

After two years of limping adventure, the company powered down the servers resulting in a virtual Armageddon that saw Eorzea disappear, gone but not forgotten. The potential of this lingering bad memory to sully the Final Fantasy name is arguably what's inspired such a full scale and aggressive re-investment in this remake; a multi-million yen appeal from the company to make things right again. Few other video game publishers in the world would be willing and able to invest the time, effort and money into a salvage operation of this scale. Yet Final Fantasy remains the company's most valuable property and, as such, has a reputation worth protecting - seemingly at any cost.

Read more…