We all knew this day was coming at some point. Come Hell or high water, SE would whip Final Fantasy XIV into proper shape, and put an end to the subscription-free period. Today, they announced that they feel they have reached that point.
In a post on the official blog, Naoki Yoshida, the man that took over the title after the disastrous launch and the restructuring of the entire team, laid out the details for their plan going into the rest of the year and beyond. This includes the inevitable conclusion of the free-to-play period, and the reinstitution of subscription fees. This is set to take place sometime late November. Regular updates will still be coming, as they fine tune the game for its rebirth, which they’re effectively calling Final Fantasy XIV Version 2.0.
For those who have accounts that are still active and aren’t ready to start giving money yet, they’ve also stated a temporary suspension of the account renewal system. Users that still have accounts set up will not be billed immediately once the subscription service starts, allowing for more time to attempt to enjoy Eorzea before deciding to make a commitment. Only those who reactivate their accounts during this time will be billed.
At the same time, SE has announced a date for the PS3 version of the game, which was originally postponed indefinitely while the main game was salvaged. This version is set to go live between October and December of 2012. A ton of heavy changes will be implemented between now and the console release, including redesigning of world maps to cut out repetition, use of a different graphics system to create less strain on computers, and even the addition of new playable races (male Miqo’te are teased in the concept art pages, which, surprisingly, look more feminine than their female counterparts).
SE has also included several files that are available to download from the blog, which includes the outline of their development schedule, concept art, and descriptions of the overhauled changes to take place. All of the changes listed are set to be put into the game between now and the Version 2.0 release, and they’ve even listed the appearance of a new 2.0 trailer to be released at E3 2012.
Though it’s the final words of the blog that truly show how determined the team is to bring the troubled title back from the depths of mediocrity.
“We will no longer be referring to the “new organization” of the team. It is now simply the FINAL FANTASY XIV team. We are prepared to advance to the next stage of FINAL FANTASY XIV’s life, confident that we can provide a service worthy of the FINAL FANTASY name?a service that includes both content-rich updates and the renovation of existing features?and take full responsibility for all that entails.”
This is all well and good, but if there’s one thing I should suggest to the team, it’s this: if you want more people to be able to play your game, get your f*cking updater to work properly first!