LOS ANGELES — Final Fantasy XIV has come a long way since it first launched in a nearly unplayable state in 2010. Square Enix worked long and hard to revamp the game, eventually relaunching it as A Realm Reborn in 2013.
Now, the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) has a much better problem: More people want to play it. Xbox One fans have been clamoring to get the game released on Microsoft's console, and while that's not guaranteed to happen, the ball is currently in the console manufacturer's court.
I participated in a roundtable interview at E3 2016 with Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy XIV's director. In our hour together, the journalists and Square Enix representatives covered a lot of ground, but one of the most interesting points was whether the game would make its way to Xbox One. At present, Final Fantasy XIV is playable on PC, PS3, PS4 and OS X (as long as your Mac is no older than late 2013).
Square Enix and Microsoft are both aware that fans want the game, and interestingly, Microsoft was the first party to make the approach, Yoshida explained through an interpreter. Square Enix examined Microsoft's proposal and sent it back with a variety of questions. At present, Yoshida said, the Xbox manufacturer may not have the experience necessary to back up a major MMO, and Square Enix wants to make sure that its game has parity on all platforms.
That doesn't mean that Square Enix has sent Microsoft away, though; far from it. Square Enix explained its concerns and is currently awaiting Microsoft’s reply. The process may not be quick, and we may not ultimately end up with an Xbox One port, but both companies at least appear to be giving it an honest go.
Not all is rosy on the console front, however. Final Fantasy XIV's last expansion, Heavensward, was available on PS3, PS4 and PC, but that trend may not continue forever. Yoshida explained that the PS3 is not as powerful as current-generation consoles and modern PCs. While Sony’s older console has gotten all of the game's content to date, Square Enix may eventually want to push past the PS3's limitations. PS3 players can rest easy for the time being, though; there are no immediate plans for content that they won't receive.
What happens after Final Fantasy Fan Fest in Las Vegas this October, though, is anyone's guess. Yoshida confirmed that Square Enix is working on a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion, but had little to reveal at the moment beyond that. The main story is planned out, but Yoshida did not want to give anything else away for the moment. He did suggest that the Fan Fests in the United States, Japan and Europe over the next few months may provide a few more details, however.
Final Fantasy XIV and its Heavensward expansion are available for the PS3, PS4, Mac and PC right now. The price varies by platform, but expect to pay between $20 and $40 for each game, plus a $13-15-per-month subscription fee, depending on your options.