The Final Fantasy franchise is one of the longest running video game series out there, and it shows no signs of stopping. Since its inception in 1987, there have been more entries than one could shake a stick at. Japanese RPGs are plentiful, but none have struck a chord with the world quite like Square Soft's - now Square Enix - creation.
While the series has produced several of the greatest games of all time, it should be noted that not every entry was golden. In fact, some of them were downright terrible. One of the less celebrated titles was Final Fantasy XIV. The MMORPG launched disastrously in 2010. There were too many complaints to count, and the overall reception tarnished the good reputation Square had developed in the community with Final Fantasy XI.
Fortunately, MMO's can transform and rebrand themselves, which is what the failed title ultimately did. In 2014, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released, making the title everything it should have been in the first place. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into both versions of the game, and the next ten entries will shine a light on ten secrets behind both games' developments.
10 Hiromichi Tanaka
Most video games are a team effort, but many decisions come down to a few people. Hiromichi Tanaka served as producer on the first version of FFXIV and took personal responsibility for the title's failure upon release.
It's hard to know if it is objectively his fault or not, but it takes integrity to step up and take the blame for a crisis of this magnitude. Tanaka eventually left Square entirely in 2012 and even got a special mention in that year's Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.
9 A Boss Fight Was Cut Because Of The 2011 Earthquake In Japan
The tragic natural disaster that hit Japan in 2011 was devastating for the whole country. The event even took its toll on the video game industry. One of the effects it had on FFXIV was the expulsion of a boss battle from the title.
The boss in question was to be Titan. The story seems to set it up, with a group of people called Kobolds who worship the famous summons. A boss battle with the beast was ultimately cut out of respect to the events in Japan at the time.
8 The Game Was First Shown In 2005 (Sort Of)
It's no secret that games take a long time to make. MMOs, with their added complexity, take even longer than the average title. While the franchise's second MMO didn't come out until 2010, the first glimpse fans got was in 2005 in the form of a tech demo.
The company announced that it was from an upcoming online multiplayer project, but didn't specify if it was a sequel to the then-popular Final Fantasy XI, or if it was something else entirely. Ultimately, the city shown in the video went unused in the final release.
7 Shadowbringers Will Be Using The City From The 2005 Demo
Unused ideas will often make a return in some shape or form. For a good example of this, look no further than the 2005 demo that offered an early glimpse at FFXIV. The city was not in the original release or A Realm Reborn, but it was the inspiration for a city featured in the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion coming in July. Some ideas are left abandoned, others persist to ultimately resurface in different shapes and forms.
6 The Earthquake Brought The Game Offline
When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, people and companies alike did their part to aid in the recovery effort. For video game developers, this meant finding ways to conserve energy. Square Enix temporarily shut down service to the MMO for one week. The servers were activated again once the company found other, more efficient ways to conserve energy.
5 They Knew They Were Launching With Problems
Hubris is a nasty trait to have. In the video game industry, it could mean the end of careers and studios. Perhaps because Final Fantasy XI's wild success, the team felt they could launch with problems and ride the goodwill from the previous game until the issues were patched.
All online games have patches, but Final Fantasy XIV launched with fundamental problems that the team knew about but intended on fixing post-launch. That type of attitude has sadly become rather common in the video game industry and Square Enix was among the first to embrace this flawed process.
4 The Team Knew Little About Modern MMO's
A major influence on FFXI was EverQuest, the king of the genre in the late nineties and early aughts. By 2010, the game's popularity had waned, and MMO's had embraced different conventions.
By their own admission, the team behind FFXIV were not well versed in the genre's modern titles. MMOs had greatly evolved since FFXI and the team was making a new game with little knowledge of the contemporary state of the genre.
3 The First Game Was Used As A Testing Ground When Building A Realm Reborn
Once it was decided to rebuild the game from the ground up, the team did not immediately discard the old build. While simultaneously updating a living game and creating a new one proved challenging, keeping the old one running proved useful. The team would often use the old game to test out new ideas and mechanics they were thinking of including in A Realm Reborn. What better way to see if something works than to let fans try it out for themselves?
2 Graphics Were Prioritized Over Content
One major difference between the two versions is the graphics. A Realm Reborn doesn't quite look as glamorous, but it is universally considered better. This is because the first title runs on the Crystal Tools engine and the team made graphical fidelity a priority. It churns out beautiful looking games but is not ideal for MMOs. FF XIV used a new engine that is better suited for the constant updates a game of this nature requires.
1 Canceled XBOX 360 Version
The title was mysteriously absent on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. One would think it obvious to port the title to Microsofts' home consoles. Square wanted to put the title on the 360, but because of the cross-platform nature of the title, it was scrapped. Microsoft would not allow the access required in order to get the game cross-platform on their console. Considering the company's openness towards cross-platform play these days, it's weird to know that this was an issue for them in the past.