Some games stick with you more than you expect. Final Fantasy XIV certainly did for me. I never played the original version, the one released in such a horrific state back in 2010 that Square Enix was forced to stick a knife in it and go back to the drawing board. You know it’s bad when even a game’s publisher openly admits they’ve released a flop and stops even taking money for it. Still, they took it back to development, vigorously retooled it, complete with a five-year timeskip to a new story, and in 2013, it returned under its new name, A Realm Reborn. I gather it was going to be “Oh God Our Jobs Depend On This”, but the focus groups didn’t think it had enough snap.
Luckily for Square, the gamble paid off. Final Fantasy XIV is one of the few MMOs whose name doesn’t rhyme with Earled Of Awecraft to still be ticking along nicely with a mandatory subscription, with its first expansion pack, Heavensward, due this week. I’m not planning to talk about that here… because I haven’t played any of it. But! This does seem like an opportune moment to take a second look at the original game – an often frustrating, yet intriguing take on the MMO template.
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