Square Enix president outlines move to outplay Blizzard’s dominant MMO
Square Enix is positioning Final Fantasy XIV as a serious rival to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft series, company president Yoichi Wada has revealed.
In an interview with Develop, Wada disclosed the full extent of Square Enix’s ambitions for the upcoming Final Fantasy MMO, and indicated that Blizzard’s need to – eventually – build a full World of Warcraft sequel could be a real test for the studio.
“WoW is a tough competitor, but whether you are talking about EverQuest, Ultima or Lineage there has never been a company that has a continuously successful number one and two MMO,” he said, speaking of that transition to a full sequel.
Asked if he thought Final Fantasy XIV was a serious rival to World of Warcraft’s throne, Wada said “yes, but the flipside is that they are a tough competition.”
With the MMO set for release on PC and PS3, Wada touched on the impact the Final Fantasy brand will have on consumer choice.
“We believe there is a number of people that will stay attached to each title, but we are optimistic in that sense for Final Fantasy,” he said.
Wada went on to outline the subscription and microtransaction models that FFXIV will employ, adding the company is looking to improve on the Final Fantasy XI system.
“The basic model hasn't changed,” he said. “It's a monthly flat rate service with additional charges for items that users want to buy.
“For FFXI we didn't initially set up the item transaction model that well – although the demand for it was high. We thought that it would be a benefit for users, but that we wouldn't be able to charge.
“We soon learnt that there are a lot of people who want that kind of model, so we would like to introduce more pay-as-you-use items into the game. But there were too few items in FFXI – however we don't want to take it to the other extreme entirely for FFXIV.
“And also with regards the game design, FFXI was based on parties and playing in groups – but of course that means the advantage is players cannot play alone. So to formulate a party you needed to find a player with a similar skillset, yet it's not always easy to find those kinds of players. In FFXIV we have made that part much easier - so people can enjoy much more on their own. We've made it easier in that way.”