When Square Enix first announced that they’d be attempting a Final Fantasy MMORPG, safe to say many gamers were thrilled by that news. The game was launched to much anticipation and hype, only to fall flat on its face shortly after, leading to Square Enix to relaunch it several years later as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
So what was it that led to the original Final Fantasy XIV doing so badly? Well turns out Square Enix was magnanimous enough to share their thoughts on the failed game during a presentation at GDC, and according to the developers, overly detailed flowerpots was one the problems and was actually a symptom of a much larger problem.
A flowerpot, you ask? We know it sounds incredibly trivial but the point that the developers were trying to make is that during the development process of the original Final Fantasy XIV, the developers opted to focus primarily on the graphics of the game and tried to make it as beautiful as possible.
As you can see in the slide above, the amount of polygons and shader code used in a single flowerpot was considered to be overkill, but as you know, hindsight is 20/20. By putting too much emphasis on the graphics, the developers ultimately neglected the gameplay itself, which in turn proved to be not much fun, thus leading to the game’s untimely demise.
As we have said in the past, games with great graphics are certainly nice to look at. The recently released Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an example of a game that looks very pretty (it’s powered by the Fox Engine), but at the same time gameplay has not been neglected. After all gamers were enjoying text-based games and games with 8-bit graphics a long time ago, thus cementing the point that great graphics don’t necessarily make a great game.
Of course there were other issues with Final Fantasy XIV that lead to its downfall, like its unstable servers, lack of content, broken battle system, lack of story, unfriendly user interface, just to name a few. Either way Square Enix has since learnt from their mistake as evidenced with A Realm Reborn, but do you guys agree with Square Enix’s self-assessment?