Final Fantasy 14 Online will receive at least ten more years of development support that will introduce major graphical changes, gameplay tweaks, and reopen the game’s free trials from February 22.
Announced in the latest Letter from the Producer livestream, director and producer Naoki Yoshida outlined several changes coming to the MMORPG. This April, the 6.1 patch will expand the game’s Trust System to let you tackle more dungeons with NPCs rather than online players, low-level scenarios will be tweaked to better support solo play, and more quests and cosmetics will be added to the game.
Following patches will add more dungeons, cosmetics, a new dungeon type, the Myths of the Realm 24-man raid series, and the pastoral Island Sanctuary area that was first teased as part of the Endwalker expansion. The beginning of the new main scenario questline will also feature in the upcoming 6.1 patch.
Further down the line, patch 7.0 will introduce the game’s first major graphical overhaul, adding new lighting and shadow effects, animations, higher resolution textures, and more ambient effects. The game’s minimum system requirements are expected to go up, but shouldn’t be too demanding.
Yoshida emphasized that it will improve on the game’s existing art style rather than pivot it to a more photorealistic direction. There’s no word yet as to when the graphics patch will drop, but we likely won’t see it until 7.0, the game’s next major expansion, which is currently expected to launch sometime in late 2023 or sometime in 2024.
Before then, the game’s free trial will reopen on February 22. Both the trial and sales of Final Fantasy XIV were temporarily suspended following a surge in players and server congestion around the launch of its Endwalker expansion last December. The suspension was intended to reduce the long queue times and connectivity errors that cropped up after a huge number of new players signed up to the game.
Opening new servers across the globe has stabilized the game, letting Square Enix open it up once more.
Analysis: quite an achievement
(Image credit: Square Enix)
For a developer to commit ten years of future support for any game is quite an achievement, but doubly so for one as old as Final Fantasy 14. The MMORPG was originally released on the PS3 and PC back in 2013 as a follow-up and replacement of another Square Enix title of the same name that hit stores in 2010.
It quickly garnered a following and was popular enough to be ported to PS4 and PS5. Square Enix’s commitment to the game for the next decade only goes to show what a valuable title the publisher believes it to be. But its decision to introduce the first major graphical update to the game also demonstrates that it can’t rest on its laurels forever. If Final Fantasy 14 can’t keep up with its MMO competitors, it will shed players.
The return of its free trial is worth raving about, too, for any big Final Fantasy fan, or anyone keen to check out the series for the first time. The preview lets you play as much of the base game and the entire first expansion, Heavensward, with no restrictions on playtime. That’s potentially hundreds of hours of playtime; not a bad deal for a freebie that’ll ease you into the general Final Fantasy ethos.
If you’d rather play your JRPGs offline, pick up a PS5 copy of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
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