The lights are on
The first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem. Square Enix President and CEO Yoichi Wada has addressed Final Fantasy XIV’s failures in no uncertain terms and revealed that the fallout from the title’s release isn't only an external affair.
In a comprehensive post to the Final Fantasy XIV website, Wada thanked fans for their continued support, but admitted that “the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that Final Fantasy fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies.”
Wada announced that internal discussions have resulted in a decision to restructure the team, guided by new leadership. “Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority,” explained Wada. “Not only is he one of our group's most accomplished and experienced members, Naoki Yoshida is also a charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on Final Fantasy XIV.”
You can check out the new development team roster below.
[Organizational Changes to the Development Team]To improve the service of FINAL FANTASY XIV, Square Enix has made the following changes to the development team:Managerial ChangesProducer/DirectorNaoki YoshidaSection Leader ChangesAssistant DirectorShintaro Tamai (FINAL FANTASY X, Front Mission 5: Scars of the War)Lead Game DesignerNobuaki Komoto (FINAL FANTASY IX, FINAL FANTASY XI)Lead Combat System DesignerAkihiko Matsui (FINAL FANTASY XI)Technical AdvisorYoshihisa Hashimoto (Next Generation Game Engine Development)Lead ProgrammerHideyuki Kasuga (FINAL FANTASY XI, DIRGE OF CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII-)Senior Concept ArtistAkihiko Yoshida (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)Lead ArtistHiroshi Takai (FINAL FANTASY XI, THE LAST REMNANT)Lead UI Designer/Lead Web DesignerHiroshi Minagawa (FINAL FANTASY XII, Vagrant Story)
Wada also revealed that the free trial period has been extended again, and will remain as such until the team is able to offer a concrete approach to address the changes that need to be made. He also offered up that the new development team is slated to release two updates before the end of the year.
Realizing that the PS3 iteration may be a chance to right some major wrongs, Wada stated that Square Enix has chosen to delay the PS3 release until they are satisfied that it won’t fall victim to the same problems, despite reports that it is already finished and was set to release March 2011.The post ended with a goodbye letter from prior producer Hiromichi Tanaka, who takes full responsibility for Final Fantasy XIV’s current state.
First of all, I would like to apologize for our inability to fully satisfy our users with the initial release of FINAL FANTASY XIV. I take full responsibility for the game's current situation, and have therefore made the decision to step down from my role as producer. A number of concerns that have been voiced by users, such as the design of the user interface, availability of tutorials and game content, and battle system functionality, represent key issues that must be addressed. While improvements are already well underway in many areas, we were unfortunately not able to incorporate player feedback as quickly as we would have liked. We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements. As these changes are our first priority, they will be commanding our full attention and efforts. It is to that end that we have put a new organizational structure into place for the development team. Under this new system, FINAL FANTASY XIV will see changes and additions in line with the desires and expectations of players. Though no longer producer, I will be continuing to support the development team in other capacities, and personally hope that you will continue your adventures in the realm of Eorzea.
Have you given up on Final Fantasy XIV considering the higher-profile options on the market? Or is Square Enix's level of candor and promise of support keeping you around?
[Thanks to Joshua Warhurst for the tip!]