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Final Fantasy XIV won’t be the next video game TV series, as The Witcher producers' live-action project “dead”

Amazon “came closest” to signing MMO adaptation, but “size and scale needed to do it right proved too much”

A planned live-action adaptation of MMO Final Fantasy XIV is officially “dead”, according to the TV series’ producers. A combination of the pandemic and the “size and scale needed to do it right” are apparently to blame, with Amazon reportedly coming closest to making it a reality - but to no avail.

The live-action FF14 series was announced back in 2019 as a collaboration between Sony Pictures Television and production company Hivemind, known for working on series including Netflix’s The Witcher and The Expanse. It would’ve been the first time that the world of Final Fantasy had been seen in live-action, following CG feature films such as Spirits Within and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

“This show is about embracing and embodying all of the elements that have made the mythos such an endlessly captivating phenomenon,” Sony Pictures’ co-president Chris Parnell said at the time. “It’s an immense honour to be bringing all of Eorzea’s iconic characters, settings, and concepts - including fan-favorites like Cid and, of course, the chocobos - to life for a television audience."

The adaptation got as far as a pilot script from writers Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton that Hivemind co-founder Dinesh Shamdasani described on TwiXer as “fantastic”. (Thanks, Eurogamer.) The pilot was accompanied by plans for multiple seasons put together with the series’ showrunners, but the ambitious vision was “rejected across the board”.

“The size and scale needed to do it right proved too much for anyone to want to risk. Amazon came closest,” Shamdasani replied in response to a question about the series’ status, stating bluntly that the project was now “dead”.

Thorton also replied, saying that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic meant “studios began to zip up their purse strings” just as the series was being shopped around.

While multiple seasons and a showering of awards for The Last of Us, Amazon’s upcoming Fallout show and Halo finally making it to the small screen might give some hope that a Final Fantasy series could one day appear, Shamdasani seemed less convinced. Asked whether it could instead work as an animated series - as with Castlevania, Devil May Cry and the recent stop-motion Pokémon Concierge - he expressed doubt: “Harder tbh and the rights are back in Japan unfortunately.”

That’s that, then, it seems. Given the past track record of Final Fantasy adaptations, some may feel that this was a machinist bullet dodged. Still, part of me would’ve enjoyed seeing who would’ve ended up playing the Scions of the Seventh Dawn in an age of celebrity cameos and prestige television. Any thoughts?

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