Final Fantasy XIV (or Final Fantasy XIV Online) released in September of 2010 to an unwelcoming mix of critics and fans. The game was essentially universally harpooned as the worst entry in the Final Fantasy franchise, and it earned a whole heap of very low review scores. In fact, as of today, the game's critical Metacritic rating is a 49 out of 100, while the average user rating is a 3.8 out of 10.
Square Enix, the developing and publishing company behind the product, has officially recognized that Final Fantasy XIV's reception will be a longterm problem for the series. Andriasang reports from Japanese site Sponichi that Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada recently spoke directly about FFXIV's brand implications.
Here's what Wada said at the Tokyo press conference in regards to Final Fantasy XIV:
"The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged…We'll continue with our reform work, which basically amounts to fully redoing the game, and hope to revive the FFXIV that should have been released."
The reform work Wada mentioned is the constant patching the game has seen since its release. Wada did not, however, comment on the supposedly still in development PlayStation 3 port of the title.
While the Final Fantasy brand may have been damaged by FFXIV's performance, I firmly believe it will take a lot more than one game's poor reception to ruin a franchise as well grounded as this one. Fans have been following Final Fantasy diligently for nearly 24 years now; so, as soon as Square Enix drops another quality entry, those folks will be in love once more.
The only harm that's likely to come from Final Fantasy XIV is the lack of trust amongst consumers that its possibly shored up. The benefit being, of course, that this currently PC only game probably didn't see nearly as many diehard fans as it would have if it had released for the PS3 first.