Square Enix has announced a worldwide 30th September release date for the PC version of its new MMO, Final Fantasy XIV Online.
It has also revealed that the PS3 version of the game has been delayed until March 2011.
A special edition of the PC game will be released on 22nd September in Europe, therefore offering just over a week of early access to the game servers. A beta is expected to go live in early July: you can apply for it at the FFXIV website.
The monthly subscription fee will be Ł8.99 (€12.99), but you will need to pay extra for additional character slots: Ł2.10 (€3) a month apiece, up to a maximum of eight characters.
Retainers - non-playable characters that maintain item sales and storage while you are logged out - will cost 70p (€1), although the first one comes free.
Pricing for the PS3 version will be announced at a later time.
The Collector's Edition of Final Fantasy XIV will include the early access, a making of DVD, a security token, a branded tumbler, a map, journal, and free guest pass for a friend, as well as the standard 30 days of free gameplay.
If you pre-order it, you also get an in-game item, the Onion Helm, which speeds up your recovery after you're defeated in a fight. Standard edition pre-orders are rewarded with Garlond Goggles, which speed up skill progression.
As recently as E3, producer Hiromichi Tanaka was telling us that he expected to be able to release the PS3 version alongside the PC in 2010. But with the frequent setbacks to the release of MMOs on consoles, the news hardly comes as a surprise.
Tanaka also told us that it was the "closed" nature of Xbox Live which has blocked the game being brought to Microsoft's console.