Final Fantasy XIV has been a story of extreme highs and lows. The berating it received from fans and critics alike during its initial run has left a bit of a scar on the company's confidence. Better days are lying ahead for the title as a risky gamble to rebuild the game from the ground up with better visuals and mechanics seems to have paid off.
Since the relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn in August, the game has seen a steady stream of users joining servers. Despite issues during the first few days on the PlayStation 3, Square Enix has rebounded and confirmed that 1.5 million players are now enjoying the recovering world of Eorzea.
Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida cites positive retention after the first month but worries how many will stick around once players begin completing the central campaign.
"As FFXIV: ARR is a subscription based business model, naturally there will be players who will not play anymore once they finish the main scenario. MMORPGs that launched after 2008 with a subscription based model retained a maximum of 35% of their users during the first month of subscriptions. However, FFXIV: ARR has surpassed this number by a wide margin."
Positive press and a far better reaction from fans and critics has no doubt played a role in this success story, but it remains to be seen how sustainable Square Enix can keep this model over the long haul. Final Fantasy XI proved to be the most profitable game in the series as a slow burn, and it is still making money for the company to this day.
Have you had a chance to play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn yet? I've been impressed with the visuals so far, calling it exactly how I've always wanted to envision an HD Final Fantasy game, but, my fear of getting lost in another MMORPG has been holding me back.
The game is available now for the PlayStation 3 and PC. A PlayStation 4 version is expected in 2014.