Final Fantasy XI

Key events

FeatureWhy Xbox failed in Japan

From the archive: the inside story on Microsoft's greatest ever challenge.

Every Sunday we haul an exciting article out of the Eurogamer archive so you can read it again or enjoy it for the first time if you missed it. Wesley's piece on Xbox's trials and tribulations in Japan was originally published on 14th December 2012.

Final Fantasy XI Abyssea Edition incoming

All MMO's content bundled together.

Square Enix has just announced Final Fantasy XI Ultimate Collection Abyssea Edition a PC download that bundles its 2003 MMO and all associated content into a single purchase.

Final Fantasy servers back up this week

Service resumes after earthquake outage.

Final Fantasy XI and XIV will be back online this week, after Square Enix shut the servers to conserve energy following the devastating earthquake that hit Japan earlier this month.

Final Fantasy XI, XIV offline

Square Enix reduces power consumption.

Japanese game company Square Enix has made massively multiplayer online role-playing games Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV unavailable to play worldwide in an effort to conserve energy following last week's earthquake and tsunami.

When Square (as then was) announced that the next game in its headline Final Fantasy franchise was going to be an online game, it wasn't a popular decision. Bluntly, the kind of people who played Final Fantasy games had pretty strong ideas about the kind of people who played MMORPGs, and they weren't entirely charitable.

FFXIV testing to begin 11th March

Also, three mini-expansions for FFXI.

Square Enix used its VanaFest 2010 convention in Tokyo yesterday to announce the beginning of closed public testing for its next MMO, Final Fantasy XIV. It's not quite beta yet, however, rather the opening of alpha testing to players from the Final Fantasy XI fanbase.

FFXI update and expansion dated

FFXI update and expansion dated

Third mini-expansion and more soon.

Square Enix has put rough release dates on the next version update for its long-running MMO, Final Fantasy XI, and the third in the series of downloadable mini-expansions for the game.

The expansion - titled A Shantotto Ascension - is due in October, according to a new trailer, while the official FFXI site indicates that the next free version update is "currently on track for an early November release".

The version update will add new Wings of the Goddess nation quests, new features for the Moblin Maze Mongers dungeon-crawling system, a mysterious "extensive and all-new system involving items" and adjustments to jobs.

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Square Enix being sued by FFXI player

For allegedly concealing monthly fees.

According to the Courthouse News Service, Square Enix is being sued by a customer for not being open about the fees and late-payment penalties for playing its MMO Final Fantasy XI.

FFXI mini-expansion arriving on Sunday

FFXI mini-expansion arriving on Sunday

A Crystalline Prophecy the first of three.

Square Enix has said FFXI mini-expansion A Crystalline Prophecy - Ode of Life Bestowing will launch on 8th April.

The Masato Kato-scripted scenario was unveiled earlier this month and will cost GBP 7.99 / EUR 9.99 to download. Pre-orders can apparently be placed via the PlayOnline store, although we found no listing nor mention when we looked.

A Crystalline Prophecy is based around a giant primordial crystal in the sky that causes unexplained events to occur on the world of Vana'diel below. Players helping see of this new threat will uncover the secrets of the world and be rewarded with one of three unique pieces of fancy armour.

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First FFXI mini-expansion dated

First FFXI mini-expansion dated

Crystalline Prophecy comes true.

Square Enix has announced that A Crystalline Prophecy - the first of a series of three mini-expansions for its Final Fantasy XI MMO - will be available for purchase next Monday, 23rd March, ahead of its actual appearance alongside a game update in April.

A Crystalline Prophecy - Ode of Life Bestowing, to give it its full and glorious title, will only be available as a download through the Play Online Viewer that launches all versions of FFXI. It will cost GBP 7.99 / EUR 9.99, and feature a storyline involving a giant, primordial crystal in the sky.

Two more of these Masato Kato-scripted mini-expansions (A Moogle Kupo d'Etat - Evil in Small Doses, and A Shantotto Ascension - The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born) will follow "later this year".

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Ten Level Test is the new Eurogamer feature series in which MMOs compete for our love in a knockout competition. We pair them off, play each for ten levels, and then uninstall the one we had least fun with. For a full explanation of the rules and quite why we'd attempt this madness, and for an introduction to all eight contenders in the first Ten Level Test - EverQuest II, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Lineage II, Final Fantasy XI, Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes, Guild Wars and Dungeons & Dragons Online - visit the Editor's blog.

Next Squenix MMO will be "different"

Rumoured to show up at E3.

Game Informer magazine reports that Square Enix's next-generation MMO - the company's follow-up to Final Fantasy XI - is rumoured make an appearance at E3 next June.

FFXI to get three new expansions

FFXI to get three new expansions

Digital only, starting spring next year.

Square Enix has announced that it's going to be supporting Final Fantasy XI, the massively multiplayer edition in its classic RPG series, with three new expansions.

The expansions will be sold online through a digital distribution service, starting in spring 2009 and "every few months thereafter". Pricing hasn't been confirmed yet.

They've been created by Square veteran Masato Kato, who worked as director and scenario writer on the likes of Chrono Trigger, Xenogears and the original release of FFXI.

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Buddy system coming to FFXI

Painless grouping with lower-level players.

Square Enix MMO Final Fantasy XI is to follow in the footsteps of the likes of City of Heroes, Age of Conan and EverQuest II by offering a "buddy" system that will allow characters of very different levels to play together effectively.

US police refuse to investigate MMO theft

Nicked FFXI items worth nearly USD 4000.

Friday's edition of Minnesotan local rag, the Pioneer Press, carried this heart-rending report of one massive multiplayer's quest for justice.

FFXI Wings dated

Expansion in November.

The fourth expansion pack for Final Fantasy XI will be released for 360 and PC on 22nd November.

New FFXI expansion announced

New FFXI expansion announced

Wings of the Goddess.

Final Fantasy XI is to get another expansion pack later this year, Square-Enix has announced.

Called Wings of the Goddess, the expansion is slated for release this coming Winter and will be released simultaneously for PC, PS2 and Xbox 360 in all territories.

So far, details on the expansion are scant, but the creators have released a video displaying lots of clues of what to expect.

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You can read the first part of our history of the Final Fantasy series elsewhere on the site. Stay tuned for our review of Final Fantasy XII tomorrow.

FFXI for X360 gets an update

FFXI for X360 gets an update

And 2000 players get banned.

A new update which allows players to unlock achievements has just been released for the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI.

According to the update notes, "After fulfilling certain requirements, players will be able to speak with title-changing NPCs to unlock Xbox 360 "achievements."

"In the case where players have no titles available to change, they will be unable to unlock any achievements."

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Squenix on FFXI sequel report

Squenix on FFXI sequel report

'Not true' is the gist of it.

Square Enix has denied that it is developing a sequel to Final Fantasy XI for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows Vista PCs.

That's after a report earlier this week said it was doing just that - something picked up on by most of the Western internet in the interim.

"The Company did not make such an announcement and has not made any decisions resembling those detailed in the media report," Square Enix said in a statement issued today in Japan.

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Blizzard, Squenix take action

Against greedy old cheats.

It seems that cheating within online games still abounds as both Blizzard and Square-Enix take steps to stop naughty gold farmers and gil traders in their tracks.

Squenix talks chocobo-rearing

In Final Fantasy XI.

As promised at the game's Santa Monica fan festival recently, the Final Fantasy XI development team has released details of the chocobo-raising system due to be introduced in the MMORPG's next update.

Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI

Vana 'Diel, or shall I?

MMORPGs are comfortably the most hated of games for a reviewer to critique. This is partly because, even if you do spend one whole month of your life playing solely this game (during which time you can earn no money from other work to feed yourself or your family) everybody that is currently playing the game moans and bitches that you haven't played it enough yet and it's only 600 days in when your ninja character with thief sub-job reaches level 75 and completes his set of AF armour that the game really begins to make sense.

But it's mainly because, unlike offline games, online RPGs are not self-contained blocks of gameplay and narrative with a start, a middle and an end. Rather, they are infinitely shifting, enormous structural playpens that exist primarily to breed and facilitate human relationships; the life and love that traditionally surrounds games rather than inhabits them. The game only really begins to make sense 600 days in when your ninja character with thief sub-job reaches level 75 and completes his set of AF armour because it's only when you get that far in that you realise that the fun you've had hasn't really had much to do with the game at all.

Street Fighter 2 amazed because there was community gathered around the arcade cabinet. We all jeered or revered each other while watching and learning new techniques together: a group of humans bound and strengthened by a communal gaming focus. The experts helped the newbies until the newbies beat the experts and the circle of strife completed.

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FeatureNear Vana'

We visit the Final Fantasy XI fan festival.

"I don't get to go on many adventures in real life," says tall Girl A scratching a furry ear. "Final fantasy XI allows me to be a heroine, to fight alongside people; people that sometimes go on to become close friends. It's a social thing and a questing thing. That's why I play."

Square Enix bans FFXI gil-sellers

700 chucked after market spikes.

Square Enix has terminated more than 700 accounts of Final Fantasy XI players involved in "real money trading" by producing large amounts of gil (in-game currency) which was then sold on for proper wonga.

FFXI 360 date, new PC expansion

FFXI 360 date, new PC expansion

The latter included in 360 version.

Square Enix is planning to bring Treasures of Aht Urhgan, the third expansion pack for PC MMO Final Fantasy XI and bane of spellcheckers everywhere, to Europe and other PAL places on April 20th, just two days after its American release. And yes, that is a Thursday and not a Friday. What's more, Final Fantasy XI for Xbox 360 will launch on the same day, April 20th, in both Europe and Japan.

FFXI's already had two expansions (Rise of the Zilart and Chains of Promathia), and this third one deals with the legendary "Aht Urhgan Empire", introduces new jobs (including Blue Mage and Corsair) and adds some new areas and monsters (including the Mamool Ja tribe of beastmen).

It's also worth noting that the Xbox 360 version isn't just FFXI but FFXI including all three expansion packs - even this Aht Urhgan spelling catastrophe - and requires the hard disk drive to play. We'll bring you our thoughts on the 360 port as soon as poss.

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FFXI 360 beta on cover disk

Fancy seeing how Final Fantasy XI looks on Xbox 360? Turns out that that you'll be able to very soon, as the full beta version will be bundled with the next issue of the UK's Official Xbox 360 Magazine, due on sale from January 5th.

The beta version will allow you to create a character and play online "for as long as Square Enix run the beta servers", which one would hope would be a good few months at least.

Final Fantasy XI, which Microsoft announced for Xbox 360 at E3 this year, is a straight port of the PC version, and all you'll need to play the beta version bundled with the 360 magazine next month is a broadband connection, an Xbox Live Gold account and an Xbox 360 with hard disk - available now at all good... er... oh.

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FFXI 360 beta set for December

FFXI 360 beta set for December

So still time to move to Japan.

Microsoft Japan has confirmed that beta testing of the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI will commence on December 10 - the same day the shiny new console launches over there.

All those who purchase the limited edition launch package, which costs the same as the regular bundle but comes with a free Xbox Live headset, will receive a free FFXI beta test disc too. Until stocks run out, of course.

Anyone who wants to take part in the beta will need to sign up for Square-Enix's PlayOnline service and make use of the Xbox Live Silver package, which are both free.

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Final Fantasy tops poll

Of games that make us cry.

Respondents to a survey on emotion in videogames have voted Square-Enix's Final Fantasy titles as the most emotionally rich games ever made, citing the death of Aeries in Final Fantasy VII as the series' most tearjerking moment.

FFXI needs X360 HDD?


A number of online reports have emerged suggesting that the Xbox 360 version of Square Enix' massively multiplayer title Final Fantasy XI will only play on versions of the console which are equipped with the hard drive.

UK iTunes could see FF music

Says Squenix as Final Fantasy hits US iTunes.

Square-Enix's European office said today that it is in discussions over bringing Final Fantasy soundtracks to the UK iTunes Music Store following their unveiling on the American version of the premium music download service in the USA.

FeatureE3 2003: Final Fantasy Foursome

Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicle. Will it never end?

Once upon a time, you'd be hard pushed to find any decent console RPGs in English. To this day, many 16-bit classics remain translated only by enthusiasts, who have hacked the original ROM files to add the gaming equivalent of anime "fansubs". Even now, Europe still gets treated like a redheaded stepchild when it comes to this genre (Suikoden III? Xenosaga? .hack?), but at least for those willing to import, there's an English language version of most games out there.

FeatureFinal Fantasy XI

Preview - Squaresoft's first foray into the world of the MMORPG

Squaresoft Publisher Squaresoft Worldwide gaming behemoth Squaresoft is working on a massively multiplayer iteration of its famous Final Fantasy franchise, and in the last couple of weeks has let a number of details slip to the Japanese press about the game. We already know that the game will see players split into the three different kingdoms of the land of Vana D'iel, but now it appears that the so-called region system will not be character or class-specific, so you can build pretty much any character you like and tour whichever region takes your fancy. Fight! Fight! Those of you still haunted by recurring nightmares about random battles can sleep easy with FFXI, because Square have completely vanquished the concept, offering something in-between the classic Final Fantasy gameplay and Diablo II-style fighting. As you wander around the game world you will see a lot of your enemies doing the same - just prowling about the area, spoiling for a fight. Using the target function, players will be able to enter a real-time combat mode with whoever they plan to victimize. After a smooth transition from the gameplay view to the battle view, players will see a colour-coded window detailing attacks and the damage caused, while the player's character will attack in real-time unless ordered to do something else. This approach means that you won't be caught off-guard by a quick-thinking monster. A pop-up menu is available in this mode which lists various combat options, including defensive and offensive magic, special abilities and inventory items. There will also be an option to peg it, if said monster looks a bit too mean for the player's poor, weak-willed character. Whether the game will offer magical abilities in line with Square's previous adventures is unknown. Enormous screen-filling limit break attacks and the like would certainly be nice to see, but whether they would work in real-time is debatable. Genuine Class Beyond the game's documented battle features though, a lot of people are speculating based on the trailers released by Squaresoft. These show several battle sections, and it appears that for certain attacks the game switches to more dramatic camera angles to capture the effect. It's also obvious that larger scale battles will be possible, with hundreds of players and enemies on screen at once. Squaresoft has also blown the lid on a couple of new character races, the various character classes which will be available to players from the start and the much-debated battle system. The most interesting thing about Final Fantasy XI will be how you choose your character. Picking from five different classes and several different races, players can create a fairly unique set of physical attributes, and we expect that Square will include options for tweaking beyond that. The classes available are Fighter, Monk, Thief, White Mage or Red Mage, curiously the same as those found in the original NES Final Fantasy. The character races are Humes, Elvarns, Taru-tarus and now Misura and Garuga. Humes and Elvarns are fairly easy to figure out, and apparently Taru-tarus are fuzzy and cute, but Misura will be a catwoman-like female-only class, while Garuga is a hefty male-only class, presumably for players who prefer brawn to magic. A New Fantasy We really wanted to know how persistent world events would work within the land of Vana D'iel, and Squaresoft have also given us an idea of that. Within the three kingdoms, players can work together for world domination or can group together with like-minded wanderers and attack parties or cities in other regions. Every week 'points' will be awarded to each region, although it's unclear how these will affect players or whether they have anything to do with FFXI's as-yet unreleased storyline. Creating a storyline that can fit such a vast and all-encompassing adventure will be tricky for Square, but the men in charge of that particular aspect are none other than Hiromichi Tanaka, of Chrono Cross and Xenogears fame, and Koichi Ishii, who cut his teeth on the SaGa Frontier… oh, and Seiken Densetsu. Visually Final Fantasy XI is quite a departure for Squaresoft. It seems to share more in common with the likes of Dark Age of Camelot than Final Fantasy X, with huge sprawling vistas and boundless areas of scenic beauty to explore, rather than functional adventuring within a closed area. Obviously the PlayStation 2's graphical prowess will be put to the test by FFXI. Whether the system can handle such a widespread level of texture detail is unknown, because nobody has really tried anything this vast and detailed before. The official Squaresoft trailer features a lot of Onimusha-inspired CG, but the in-game sections look surprisingly detailed as well. The forest sections were particularly impressive, with some thoughtful lighting and a beautiful mesh of leaves and branches covering the players' path. First Or Final MMORPG? With Final Fantasy XI currently in its beta-testing phase, a lot of people are already commenting openly on Square's first attempt at an MMORPG, with a surprising amount of negative feedback appearing on the various websites charting the game's progress. As much of it is in Japanese it's difficult to decipher their opinions, but the general gist of it is that the game doesn't yet justify the cost of the PS2 hard drive and broadband peripheral, and after the catastrophic failure of the Dreamcast to capture the online console market its outlook is fairly bleak. Ironically, another big concern from the Japan-only beta test is that the game seems "too American". Some people have even questioned Square's own commitment to the game, pointing out that they need their biggest franchise to back PlayOnline but are perhaps acting out of obligation rather than anything else… Although Final Fantasy XI will undoubtedly be a milestone for Squaresoft whether good or bad, there is a tinge of trepidation about the title. It's new ground for Squaresoft, and that's not often the case. As proven by Final Fantasy X, when they do take the plunge (introducing voice-acting, a real-time 3D world etc) they do it with aplomb, but whether they can create something innovative and exciting enough to give the PC-bred MMORPG a run for its money is a tougher question to answer. Of course, we will have to wait quite a while before we see Final Fantasy XI in action here in the west, and by that time it should be clear what the Japanese think of it. Until then, we'll have to hold our breath. Release Date - March 2002 in Japan - Final Fantasy XI screenshots Final Fantasy X preview