In 2013, I had the opportunity to fly to Japan and talk to Final Fantasy 14 game director Yoshi-P. There was one question I wanted to know – when would Final Fantasy 14 be coming to Xbox? It’s a question I, and all Final Fantasy 14 fans, wouldn’t know the answer to for another decade.
The arrival of Final Fantasy 14 on Xbox marks the end of a long-standing question. In 2013 Yoshi-P replied saying that a cross-play policy from Microsoft – it meant Xbox users would need their own server and therefore couldn’t play with the wider community – ended Xbox gamers’ hopes of enjoying the game. “Community is very important for an MMO, and since Xbox Live is a closed network, it means that those who play on Xbox 360 or Xbox One cannot play with others on different platforms”, “I don’t think it’s ideal for an MMO, and that’s the main reason we didn’t bring the game to Xbox platforms.”
Years later, Xbox fans like me will soon be able to experience the game on their favorite console for the first time. Xbox thread clarifies that it will bring Final Fantasy 14 to console with an extended free trial allowing you to play the first three expansions (A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood) up to level 70 without any playtime restrictions. least over 100 hours of content to dig into as a new player. It will be amazing to see it arrive on one more platform.
I enjoyed being on stage with Yoshi-P and Kiryu-san to announce the arrival of Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox. We’re thrilled to have the Xbox community join Warriors of Light and look forward to working closely with Square Enix on future games. pic.twitter.com/zq0ETkDFq1
—Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 28, 2023
Back in 2013, the fact that a game of this magnitude worked on PS3, PS4 and PC was one of the main reasons it had one of the best communities in gaming history. I was playing it with Greg, myself on PC while it was on PS3and while we were on different platformswe found an incredibly welcoming player base that helped us along the way, and many of them were hoping that Xbox gamers could one day have fun.
Lack of Xbox support was a topic that continued to grow and in 2015 when we asked Phil Spencer for an update, he attributed Final Fantasy’s lack of goodness to “commercial” exclusivity. and to the platform: “As I grew up in this role, and tried to learn the third-party exclusivity thing – and you see us doing less now – [I’ve found] it’s not something I’m a big fan of.
“Different types of deals happen, and I know that’s part of this business – and it might be my failure in the end – but it’s not something that I specifically agree to with any deal that’s out there. .”
A year later at E3 2016, it looked like Xbox had changed its mind about cross-play, promising that anyone who wanted to let their games play on all platforms could do so. This raised the question once again – would Final Fantasy 14 finally come to Xbox? In an interview with PolygonYoshida gave the slightest glimmer of hope: “Microsoft actually approached the Final Fantasy 14 team about the cross-platform opportunity. When our team looked at the regulations associated with this, we realized that Microsoft had no -not have experience or understanding of running an MMORPG as an online game genre at this time.The Final Fantasy 14 team has let Microsoft know that there are some elements of its regulations which we should consider removing. We are awaiting Microsoft’s response on this, but we are having discussions.”
The following year, Yoshida again teased a possible release on Xbox (and Nintendo Switch), saying, “Conversations have taken place with Microsoft’s Mr. Phil Spencer and Nintendo’s management teams.”, but similar issues with cross-play continued to crop up. For Yoshida, the community – whether large or small – was paramount and needed to be nurtured, and closed platforms prevented the team from delivering the best possible experience.
In 2019, all the “what ifs” and “maybe” became a solid promise – that Final Fantasy 14 would come to Xbox…one day. “Clever people may have noticed that there’s one Final Fantasy missing from our list: number 14.” Phil Spencer told Eurogamer. “14 is the one to which I have dedicated myself, working with [director] Yoshida-san to find a solution to bring this game to Xbox. And while it’s not in the news today, I wanted you to know, rest assured, that we will be bringing this game to Xbox.
A few months later, Yoshi-P explained why things were taking so long“If we had made an FPS game, then we would already have crossplay. One of the regulations is that players from different platforms cannot chat with each other in-game. So how do you play an MMO? The other rule is that you cannot create a community with players on a different platform. You cannot form a guild. So I would like Microsoft to change its regulations.
After another update in 2020, in which Yoshi-P praised Xbox’s perseverance (“Phil is very dedicated in his support of FFXIV, and I really appreciate his efforts”), the game director said that, finally, Final Fantasy 14 was coming to Xbox. “There are no obstacles to develop the Xbox version,” he said in an interview with VG247. “We were able to undertake the development and deliver our service thanks to the immense effort that Phil invested.” That said, he admitted that it wouldn’t happen immediately and that the development team was working on the PS5 version of Endwalker and the focus would then shift to Xbox.
Now, after 10 years of waiting, it’s happening. And judging by the reaction from communities around the world, people are excited!
For me, there is another important point to remember here. While I was on the sidelines watching this story unfold over the past decade, Phil Spencer and Yoshi-P regularly worked behind the scenes to make it a reality. It’s a huge win for Spencer to get this thing done, and probably a massive undertaking on Microsoft’s side to adapt its policies to allow it. Maybe one day Xbox will give us a peek behind the curtain and let us know what it took to make this happen. But right now, Square Enix is happy, Phil is happy, and more importantly, the fans are happy, and a beloved MMO just got a bunch of new players.
Looking back, I wonder if any of the delays had to do with the newly revealed documents shared at the Activision hearing, where we found out that Microsoft was in talks to buy Square Enix, which were then put on hold. But this week’s FF14 reveal had a promising footnote that I’m sure will delight all Xbox fans, when Square CEO Takashi Kiryu confirmed, “Wherever possible, we plan to to bring our games to Xbox for gamers around the world to enjoy. .” Here’s hoping that means Final Fantasy 7: Remake and Final Fantasy 16 won’t take 10 years to come to Xbox.
Destin Legarie is Director of Content Strategy at IGN. He’s really bad at Baldur’s Gate 3 fight but can’t stop playing anyway. You can follow him on Twitter If you want.