The original version of MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 failed to attract players because the team at Square Enix developed the game on the premise of making something completely unlike Final Fantasy 11, according to director Naoki Yoshida.
"Because they tried only to make something that was 'different from Final Fantasy 11,' they ended up with not much of anything," Yoshida said in a recent interview with Kotaku.
According to Yoshida, the Final Fantasy 11 development team drew inspiration from Sony's MMO EverQuest, and the entire team played the game for around a year while Final Fantasy 11 was underway. Yoshida believes this approach would have been beneficial for Final Fantasy 14, with the team bringing the series best characteristics — cinematic cutscenes, heightened drama and story-driven gameplay content — and setting them in a framework similar to current popular MMOs like World of Warcraft. The team did not recognize that standards for MMOs had changed since Final Fantasy 11's development, said Yoshida.
"They should have said, 'Hey you, go play World of Warcraft for a year [for inspiration],'" he said.
Yoshida believes that A Realm Reborn is heading in the right direction. He says that the game will not be released before next year because the team needs ample time to complete development, and that players won't enjoy the game if it is pushed out early.
"We won't make a mistake like FF14 again — if we did, it would be like at the level of destroying the company," he said.