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Why FFXIV failed to meet expectations

Square Enix understands your pain.

Massively multiplayer role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV was slammed by critics and gamers upon its September release, but today, as Square Enix revealed a raft of updates designed to improve almost every aspect of the game, Final Fantasy XIV's creator reassured fans it understands their complaints and explained why the fantasy online game failed to meet expectations.

"We believe players had a very high expectation of this title from the alpha and beta tests," Hiromichi Tanaka, senior vice president of software development, told Eurogamer this morning.

"We received a lot of feedback from the beta tests. The development team should have focused on shaping up the game during the beta process, but because we were really concentrating on de-bugging the game – fixing all the bugs – that's one of the reasons why we were not able to have all the requests implemented during the beta process.

"That's why we do understand the reaction from the players, now the game's out. Therefore, the development team is working really hard to bring it back to the level we planned to have ready for the players."

In October Square Enix extended the free trial of FFXIV because of "the current state of the game".

Final Fantasy XIV is currently sitting on a 50 out of 100 Metacritic review score average.

Complaints have focused on the user interface, lag and battle system – areas Square Enix will improve through updates this month, next month, and in 2011.

Despite its failings, FFXIV has sold over 600,000 units since launch, with a PlayStation 3 version expected to launch in March next year.

"Compared to FFXI, it is much bigger than we were expecting," Tanaka added.

"Because we have the PS3 version coming out, we do hope both players will enjoy the game and so the subscribers will grow.

"All MMOs usually have a big initial shipment. What happened with FFXI was we introduced the game on different platforms in different regions, so the subscribers grew gradually. That's something we hope will happen with FFXIV – it will continually grow."

Last week SE president Yoichi Wada said the Japanese company was putting "our full power into regaining trust".