The version of Square Enix' massively multiplayer title Final Fantasy XI which was announced with a fanfare for Xbox 360 earlier this week will not feature any major enhancements over the existing PS2 and PC versions of the game, representatives of the firm have confirmed.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at E3, Japanese representatives of Square Enix said that the game would be "exactly the same", with the only update being the addition of HDTV resolutions. No new models or environments will be added to the game, which will run on the same servers as the PC and PS2 editions.
The company also revealed that Final Fantasy XI was originally in development for the current generation Xbox console, but that an agreement couldn't be reached with Microsoft that would allow Square Enix to implement its custom PlayOnline online gaming service on Xbox Live.
The restrictions on this have been eased significantly with the Xbox 360, the firm's spokespeople explained, and players will log into PlayOnline in order to play FFXI, not the Live service.
The team lauded the ease of development of the Xbox 360, saying that it took them just two to three months to get the game up and running on the platform, and said that it hopes to expand the audience for FFXI by moving to the new platform - especially in Europe, where this will be the first console version of the game to be made available.
Game software developer Square Enix Co said Tuesday its group net profit jumped 35.8 percent in the 2004 business year from the previous year to 14.93 billion yen as its online game services achieved strong growth.
Group pretax profit for the year ended March 31 increased 41.9% to 25.9 billion yen on 73.86 billion yen in sales, up 16.9%. Per-share group net profit rose to 135.63 yen from 100.04 yen.
FINAL FANTASY(R) XI COMING TO XBOX 360
Square Enix Announces First Collaboration with Microsoft
LOS ANGELES, California (May 16, 2005)
Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan, “Square Enix”) a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software including two of the world’s most popular franchises FINAL FANTASY® and DRAGON QUEST™, today announced that FINAL FANTASY® XI will be released on Xbox 360™, Microsoft's next-generation gaming console, and Xbox Live, the company’s premier online gaming service. The partnership was announced at Microsoft's Media Briefing held in Los Angeles on May 16th. Xbox 360 will be available this holiday season.
“As we move forward with our cross-platform strategy to bring our titles to more gamers in multiple formats, we are extremely excited to launch our popular MMORPG on the Xbox 360 and look forward to this collaboration with Microsoft,” said Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix. “The Xbox 360 provides a powerful platform from which gamers can be immersed in the spell-binding FINAL FANTASY XI story that comes to life through collaborative online game play.”
“We’re thrilled to be working with Square Enix to bring their incredible game FINAL FANTASY XI to Xbox 360,” said Robbie Bach, Microsoft chief Xbox officer. “The power of our next generation games and entertainment system combined with the creativity and innovation of Square Enix promises to truly revolutionize video games on a global scale.”
FINAL FANTASY XI is a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG). The original version of the game was released in May 2002 in Japan, October 2003 in North America and September 2004 in Europe, with a subscriber base now in excess of 500,000 active accounts.
With the release of the Xbox 360 version, Square Enix will be expanding its cross-platform strategy, making FINAL FANTASY XI available to a much wider audience. Players will be able to choose their hardware and play on the same servers as existing gamers. The powerful next-generation capabilities of the Xbox 360 will provide a much more dynamic and visually impressive gateway to Vana'diel - the world of FINAL FANTASY XI.
No further information regarding FINAL FANTASY XI for Xbox 360 is available today. More details will be released in the coming months.
The trailer that was shown at the press conference started off with a lot of landscape shots of the existing world of Final Fantasy XI, eventually building up to show characters one by one, fighting monsters such as Diablos and Behemoths. Details were far and few between, but from the trailer that was shown at the press conference, the gameplay looks on par with the PC version of the game, although the detail is more apparent with the X360 rev.
What's questionable will be whether or not the game will include the expansion Chains of Promathia, although chances are with the changes made to Xbox Live, the expansion might be a downloadable upgrade. But that remains to be seen. The game will utilize MS' Xbox Live service in conjunction with their PlayOnline service to deliver what'll be an attempt to merge both PC and Xbox 360 players into the same game world. This is a first for any MMORPG title that's currently active online, and it'll certainly present a huge challenge for both Microsoft and Square Enix to pull off without a hitch.
Final Fantasy XI was the first game in the popular role-playing series to go online, and the Xbox version will sport new high-definition graphics and make use of all of Xbox Live's features.