PS3 Final Fantasy XIV delayed

Team restructured, free trial extended again.

PlayStation 3 owners waiting for the release of MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV were dealt a blow this morning after Square Enix delayed the release of the game.

"Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned," president and CEO Yoichi Wada wrote on Final Fantasy XIV's official website.

"For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011."

The delay is the latest in a string of setbacks for the embattled PC game.

Following a disastrous September launch that saw forums filled with angry complaints from gamers over the quality of the hotly-anticipated title, Square Enix extended the free trial and outlined a raft of improvements designed to win back players.

Now, in a move some will see as an act of desperation, the Japanese company has restructured the FFXIV development team, dumped producer Hiromichi Tanaka, considered by many to be the face of Final Fantasy XI and XIV, and drafted in employees from other projects to save the game.

"While more than two months have passed since the official launch of Final Fantasy XIV service, we deeply regret 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 said.

"After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team."

FFXIV's core team now includes lead game designer Nobuaki Komoto (Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI), lead combat system designer Akihiko Matsui (Final Fantasy XI) and senior concept artist Akihiko Yoshida (Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story).

Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, who is described as a "charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities".

The development team is said to be putting the finishing touches on the previously announced version update, which is still slated for release in mid-December. One more version update is scheduled for release before the end of the year.

Final Fantasy XIV opening cinematic

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