Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn


FeatureHow Final Fantasy's biggest failure changed the series for the better

Naoki Yoshida on the past, present and future of Final Fantasy 14.

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn on PS4

How does the next-gen version of Square Enix's reworked MMORPG compare?

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Final Fantasy 14

A realm reborn - but has Square's MMO rid itself of its demons?

Key events

FeatureHow Final Fantasy's biggest failure changed the series for the better

Naoki Yoshida on the past, present and future of Final Fantasy 14.

Triumph through adversity. Such has always been the way of Final Fantasy, which seems to exist in its own perpetual struggle. Indeed, it thrives off it - the series name famously originated from creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, working out of a then-beleaguered Square on what he believed at the time to be his last project. Later projects, such as Final Fantasy 12 - a high point for the series, in my own opinion - came from tumultuous development, and of course most recently Final Fantasy 15 marked the end of a very long, winding and often torturous road.

Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward expansion adds new race, airships

Square Enix has teased Heavensward, the first major expansion for Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.

Due to launch in spring 2015, Heavensward will introduce the northern city of Ishgard and feature a fresh chunk of story focusing on Ishgard's war with Dravania.

Along with a set of new areas to explore, you'll also be able to play as a new race and band together to build airships.

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Square Enix plans to launch "large-scale online titles developed by Western studios starting from the fiscal year ending March 2015". That's this financial year, the one started 1st April 2014. There's no word in the company's annual financial report of what those games will be, but with E3 around the corner there may not be long until we find out.

Digital FoundryThe mystery of Final Fantasy 14's "HD Quality" mode

Digital Foundry plays around with an interesting display setting on PS4.

A few Digital Foundry readers have pointed out that the PS4 version of Final Fantasy 14 features an interesting option in the display settings menu that allows you to select between two different rendering modes, labelled 'Full HD Quality' and 'HD Quality'. We're sorry we missed this in the Final Fantasy 14 face-off we published at the weekend, but we've been looking into it over the last few days and it throws up some interesting results.

Face-Off: Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn on PS4

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn on PS4

How does the next-gen version of Square Enix's reworked MMORPG compare?

Square Enix handed in a solid MMORPG with Final Fantasy 14 Online: A Realm Reborn, despite a gruelling two-year development period that saw the original game rebuilt and radically redesigned with a new engine, gameplay systems and network infrastructure. We've already covered the PC and PS3 versions of the game extensively, but now there's a PS4 version in town. Freed from the shackles of seven-year-old hardware, does it mean console players can finally enjoy the same polished experience available on PC?

Previously, producer/director Naoki Yoshida has said that the developers were targeting a native 1080p presentation for this PS4 version, with similar graphics quality to the PC version running on maximum settings. Taking a look at the framebuffer, we can indeed confirm a full HD resolution, backed up by a fairly standard FXAA implementation.

Image quality is a match for the PC version, right down to the slight texture blur and shimmering across sub-pixel elements of the scene. The pixel precision afforded by 1080p ensures scenery and characters in the near field appear reasonably clean and well-presented, although it fails to prevent the appearance of jaggies elsewhere.

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On 27th August 2013 Naoki Yoshida, over-worked, overtired and twitching on caffeine, paced backstage at a press conference in Shibuya, Tokyo. In a few minutes he was due to proclaim the arrival of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn to the world in a live broadcast. It should have been a happy moment, yet Yoshida felt nothing but nausea.

Final Fantasy 14 PS4 beta test open to all

Square Enix has made the PlayStation 4 Final Fantasy 14 beta test open to all.

It's live now and runs until 9am on 7th April, the company said.

This is called phase two of the beta, and uses live game servers, so you can join PC and PlayStation 3 players.

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FF14 PS4 beta in two phases, one with character wipe

FF14 PS4 beta in two phases, one with character wipe

Has Vita Remote Play, mouse and keyboard support.

The PS4 Final Fantasy 14 beta will be broken into two phases.

There will be a character wipe after the first phase, which starts 22nd Feb (free to all) and ends 3rd March, according to the PlayStation blog. But characters created for the second phase - 4th April to 7th April - will be carried over into the full game.

You can use your existing PC or PS3 characters in the PS4 beta by transferring character data. You won't have to do this when the full game launches on 14th April, as everyone will play on the same servers.

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Final Fantasy 14 out on PS4 on 14th April

Beta available to all, starts 22nd Feb.

Rejuvenated MMO Final Fantasy 14 will spread onto PlayStation 4 on 14th April. And, if you're an existing player on PS3, you can transfer to playing the game on PS4 for free, retaining all your character data. But once you swap, you cannot go back.

Final Fantasy 14 update 2.1 release date announced

Final Fantasy 14 update 2.1 release date announced

10-minute trailer runs through new features.

Square Enix will release the Final Fantasy 14 update 2.1 on 17th December.

It adds a raft of new features, including dungeons, player versus player arenas and housing.

The Crystal Tower is a new dungeon for up to 24 players. The new PvP arena is called The Wolves' Den. You can create a house in the three distinctive residential districts of each of the city-states, after buying a plot of land.

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Final Fantasy 14 relaunch exceeded Square Enix's expectations

Final Fantasy 14 relaunch exceeded Square Enix's expectations

1.5 million players now registered in two months.

Square Enix's relaunch of online RPG Final Fantasy 14 performed better than expected, the publisher has announced.

1.5 million players are now registered for the game, two months after its PC and PlayStation 3 re-release. A PS4 version is also in the works.

In its six-month financial report, Squenix revised up its expectations for the period following a round of cost-cutting measures and strong profits from Japanese arcades.

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Final Fantasy 14 PS4 beta release date announced

Final Fantasy 14 PS4 beta release date announced

1.5 million registered players on PC and PS3.

The beta for the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn begins on 22nd February 2014, Square Enix has announced.

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game launched two months ago on PC and PlayStation 3.

Since that launch, 1.5 million people have registered to play. That's the combined total across North America, Europe, Japan and other PAL territories, and includes registrations for both the PC and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. Of course, that impressive figure relates to registrations, only. It's worth remembering the game comes with a free 30-day trial for new accounts, and subscriptions start at 7.69 a month.

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Face-Off: Final Fantasy 14

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Final Fantasy 14

A realm reborn - but has Square's MMO rid itself of its demons?

Final Fantasy 14's initial launch was something of a disaster for Square Enix, temporarily tarnishing both a much-loved brand and the reputation of its developers with a product that felt unfocused and incomplete. Rushed out after an unusually short beta period where only a tiny part of the game was available for players to test (the promised PlayStation 3 beta test never materialised at all), the final release was plagued by game-breaking bugs, a convoluted menu system unsuited to modern MMORPGs, questionable design choices that made the experience frustrating to play, and an unoptimised graphics engine that led to poor performance on a wide range of PCs.

But despite these glaring criticisms Square Enix still hoped that the game would be successful based on the Final Fantasy name, and that fans would accept some of these issues while patches were developed to address them. But this wasn't the case, with a ferocious backlash against the game that saw players deserting it in their droves. This saw the eventual decision to discontinue the title and rework it into a brand new game, acting as a reboot and sequel to the events of Final Fantasy 14.

Known internally as Final Fantasy 14 Version 2.0, this mammoth undertaking saw a new game engine developed for the title, with reworked graphical sub-systems, more traditional MMO gameplay mechanics, an improved user interface, and better thought-out quests making up the bulk of the changes.
 The end result of this extensive redesign is an experience that is far more polished and enjoyable to play than the original release, with none of the glaring issues which plagued the previous game.

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Final Fantasy 14 digital sales resume as server problems ease

Square Enix has resumed sales of the digital version of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.

The company had removed the massively multiplayer online game from sale and implemented log-in restrictions after its servers buckled under the pressure of more than expected players.

But now those server problems appear to have eased, and the game is back on sale.

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Dispatches from A Realm Reborn

FeatureDispatches from A Realm Reborn

How is life in Final Fantasy 14's troubled paradise - and what does it say about MMOs?

A girl lies prostrate on the cobblestones. Her body is contorted in a way that implies complicated internal injuries. In these early days following Final Fantasy 14's relaunch, you often see these patient bodies: adventurers fallen in battle who, in the stiff grip of paralysis, await resuscitation. But Eorzea's emergency services are in crisis. There simply aren't enough healers around who have learned the ability to revive all the fallen yet.

As a collapsed casualty, your options are limited. You can warp back to your chosen 'home' crystal - one of the towering blue shards that lunge into the stratosphere at the centre of each of the game's three major cities. You'll resuscitate there restored to full health, but such an airlift comes at considerable inconvenience. If you've fallen in a more remote region (and chances are you will have; the monsters near the cities are weedy and amicable) then the grim trek back can take up to 30 minutes. Alternatively, you lay back, watch the weather (and Final Fantasy 14 enjoys nothing if not tremendous weather) and wait in hope that some kindly mage might wander past and take pity on you.

I know how you feel, I think to myself, surveying her predicament. We've all been there, decked by a lumbering elm's mossy punch, or pecked to the ground by a nesting buzzard. In that moment I decide that, instead of merely walking by, I'll express some cordial consolation to the poor girl. Not particularly useful, perhaps, but kindness is the spice of virtual life, and besides, I'm tired of all that hitting and fetching that makes up the daily grind in this sort of game. I target her body and scan the list of emotes - animations used to express some kind of sentiment in the game.

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Sony offers refunds as Final Fantasy 14 launch catastrophe worsens

Sony offers refunds as Final Fantasy 14 launch catastrophe worsens

UPDATE: Square Enix issues statement, says "worst problems have been alleviated".

UPDATE: Square Enix has issued Eurogamer a statement on Final Fantasy 14's server issues, and indicated Sony's refund offer for the PlayStation 3 version is unrelated.

A Square Enix spokesperson told Eurogamer:

"We are working extremely hard to remove the World login restrictions and other issues that players are encountering when trying to log in to Final Fantasy 14. Following the server maintenance earlier this week the worst problems have been alleviated and concurrency has been increased with additional servers now running.

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Rayman Legends outsells Origins week one by 20 per cent in UK chart

UPDATE: Rayman Legends sold best on Wii U, with 45 per cent of the game's boxed retail sales in the UK.

Official figures from Chart-Track show the Xbox 360 version of the platformer enjoyed 30 per cent of the sales, the PlayStation 3 version 24 per cent. Boxed PC sales made up one per cent. Chart-Track does not include download figures.

ORIGINAL STORY: Rayman Legends outsold its predecessor Rayman Origins by around 20 per cent in week one UK sales.

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Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn early access announced

Pre-order Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn and you'll get three days of early access to the game, publisher Square Enix has announced.

The relaunched MMO is due to go live on 27th August, but pre-order customers will get entry first on the 24th.

Squenix has also dated the game's final beta weekend for players to try the game one last time before launch - that'll take place on 17th-19th August. More than a million players have signed up to try the game's beta so far.

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A million registrations for Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn beta

Square Enix has recorded more than a million beta registrations for A Realm Reborn, the revived version of failed MMO Final Fantasy 14.

You can still sign up to try either the PC or PlayStation 3 versions of the game (or both) ahead of A Realm Reborn's final launch on 27th August.

The company is betting big on the game - it has delayed other projects to focus on the relaunch and refused to publish it until it was ready. Doing otherwise "would be like at the level of destroying the company", director Naoki Yoshida previously said.

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FeatureFinal Fantasy born again

Fixing Square Enix's problem MMO.

"Five years have come and gone. Man labours tirelessly to raise himself from calamity's ruin." Is the voice over played during Final Fantasy 14's all-new introductory sequence a cry for help from the game's weary development team? Certainly the 200 staff at Square Enix's Shinjuku office tasked with re-making this forsaken MMO - the greatest and grandest critical and commercial failure to bear the Final Fantasy name since 2002's CGI disaster movie The Spirits Within - are eager to let you know just how hard they've been working. 'Tirelessly', they assert, before promising that Eorzea, the setting for this online role-playing game, is "forever changed".

Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 confirmed for Xbox One in addition to PS4

Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 confirmed for Xbox One in addition to PS4

Data from the PS3 version of FF14 can be carried to the PS4.

Last night Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 would be coming to PlayStation 4, but today, at an E3 presentation attended by Eurogamer, the publisher announced that both titles would be coming to Xbox One as well.

This marks the first time a Kingdom Hearts game has appeared on a Microsoft console.

Final Fantasy 15 was then shown off in a brief demo. It looked like you play along with two other NPCs, while your command menu consists of "warp," "attack" and "inform." It looked pretty action-based as protagonist Noctis warps around to various enemies, dishing out sword slashes. At one point he even high fives his comrade after they helped out in a fight.

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Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn release date narrowed

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn release date narrowed

PS3 beta test due in June, with cross-platform play.

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn will be released this summer for PC and PlayStation 3, developer Square Enix has confirmed.

The relaunched MMO is set to enter a third round of closed beta testing in June, which will include PS3 players for the first time.

The game's cross-platform functionality will allow players on both formats to explore the game's world together.

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