Will Square Enix Make Another MMO?

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Written By Antoine Clerc-Renaud

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Square Enix, renowned for the development of fantasy MMORPGs like Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X, has been a topic of much speculation among players. The gaming community is eager to know if this game designer giant is brewing another MMORPG title in its game development cauldron. So, will Square Enix make another MMO?

A Glimpse into Square Enix’s History in MMORPGs

Origin with Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI, launched in 2002, was Square Enix’s first foray into the MMORPG market. It was a landmark title, not only for Square Enix but also for the gaming industry, as it was one of the first MMORPGs to offer a cross-platform gaming experience, available on PC, PlayStation 2, and later, Xbox 360.

Evolution with Final Fantasy XIV

In 2013, Square Enix revamped the Final Fantasy XIV with the relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, termed Version 2.0. The original version had faced a slew of issues, including loading time and performance issues. However, Version 2.0 brought a breath of fresh air with a streamlined story arc, improved content, and addressed performance issues.

Rekindling of Fantasy XIV with Patches

Square Enix’s commitment to its MMORPG title came to fruition with patch cycles, bringing fresh patches and a stream of quality content. Patch 2.1, for instance, introduced new quests, battle content, and non-player characters. The game saw regular updates and added content that kept even the busiest players engaged.

Japan-exclusive MMO Dragon Quest X

Dragon Quest X is an MMORPG developed and published by Square Enix as part of the Dragon Quest series. It holds a unique place within the series as well as the MMORPG genre due to its exclusivity to the Japanese market. This game is noteworthy for its cultural significance and the choices made by Square Enix regarding its release.

The Anatomy of Square Enix’s MMORPGs

Rich Story Content

A standard feature in Square Enix’s games is the elaborate story content. Final Fantasy XIV’s original release story, for instance, was immersive and captivating, with a continual expansion through patches.

Major Features and Development Process

Square Enix doesn’t compromise on feature-packed content. Major features, including elaborate quests, detailed character development, and interaction with other characters, are standard features in their MMORPGs. Square Enix also keeps communication with players, taking their feedback into account in the development process, which helps in tailoring content to what players want.

Addressing Issues and Player Engagement

Square Enix has been known for addressing issues in their games promptly. For example, the abbreviated development schedule of the original version of Final Fantasy XIV led to problems at launch. However, with Version 2.0, the company not only fixed these issues but also recovered the initial player base and attracted a concurrent player base that kept growing.

Diversification and Collaboration

In 2016, Square Enix partnered with Kadokawa Game Linkage for a card game based on Final Fantasy XI. This marked a departure from their standard MMORPGs and showed that Square Enix is willing to diversify and collaborate.

Speculations on a New MMORPG

The current game market sees a resurgence in the popularity of MMORPGs, and players are yearning for something new. Considering the success of their modern games and console versions, it wouldn’t be surprising if Square Enix has another MMORPG in development. However, according to a 2019 Forbes article, Square Enix had no plans of doing a new MMORPG said Naoki Yoshida (also FF16 producer) even though he would like to.

Possible Features and Subscription Models

Prospective players expect the new MMORPG to be a mix of standard features from the original games, such as elaborate story content and character development. It would also be logical for Square Enix to incorporate a flexible subscription model. The company has experience with subscription fees from Final Fantasy XIV Online and could use that to its advantage.

Final Thoughts

With an exceptional record in the MMORPG realm and a knack for delivering high-quality content, Square Enix is poised to make another successful MMORPG. While there’s no official title or confirmation, players can look forward to a potentially exciting and feature-rich game. Keep an eye on Video Game Music Online for possible announcements or teasers that hint at Square Enix’s next move in the MMORPG market.

The Role of Community

Square Enix has proven to be adept at communication with players. A new MMORPG would likely involve extensive interaction with the gaming community during the development process. This interaction can play a vital role in tailoring the game to meet the desires and expectations of players.

The Importance of the Base Game

A new MMORPG from Square Enix would likely focus on delivering a solid base game. The original games by Square Enix have usually been strong, but it’s the continuous support and development post-launch that have made them legendary. A new title should follow suit, with a rich base game that can be expanded upon with future content and patches.

International Appeal and Language Versions

Square Enix’s earlier MMORPGs initially catered mainly to the Japanese market. However, the international success of Final Fantasy XIV Online demonstrated the global appeal of Square Enix’s titles. As such, a new MMORPG would likely feature multiple language versions from the get-go, including Chinese and Korean versions, to cater to a global audience.

Console Versions and Accessibility

With the advent of modern gaming consoles, Square Enix might also look to launch console versions of the new MMORPG. Making the game accessible to a broader audience, including those who prefer gaming on consoles rather than PC, can be a smart move. Moreover, optimizing the game for different platforms will also address performance issues for various players.

A Nurturing Ecosystem for Busy Players

Considering the lifestyles of modern gamers, Square Enix could also integrate features to accommodate busy players. This can range from more casual content that can be enjoyed in shorter time frames to more flexible subscription models that allow for varying levels of engagement.

Anticipation in the Air

There is no denying that the anticipation for a new MMORPG from Square Enix is palpable. With their impressive track record, the gaming community eagerly awaits any official announcement. The combination of a rich story, engaging content, a plethora of features, and attentive development process holds the promise of another masterpiece in the making.

What are the pros and cons of making an MMORPG like Final Fantasy 14 for a company such as Square Enix?

Pros

Strong Player Base

Square Enix’s reputation attracts a large initial player base eager to dive into new content. The rich story arcs, characters, and fantasy worlds resonate with players, ensuring a steady stream of concurrent players and subscriptions.

Regular Revenue Stream

MMORPGs usually have subscription fees, and with a strong player base, this translates into a regular revenue stream for Square Enix. Continuous development of patches, like Patch 2.1 for Final Fantasy XIV, provides fresh content that can help maintain and even grow the subscriber base.

Building a Legacy

Square Enix has the opportunity to create enduring worlds and characters that become a part of gaming culture. This legacy building is beneficial for branding and can influence the success of future content and titles.

International Appeal

By releasing various language versions of the game, such as Chinese and Korean versions, Square Enix can tap into international markets. This diversity can increase the game’s popularity and revenue.

Community Engagement

Square Enix’s communication with players allows the company to gather feedback and tailor the game according to player preferences. This ensures higher satisfaction and loyalty among players.

Cons

High Development Costs

MMORPGs require extensive development processes and resources. The costs associated with building the base game, features, character development, and future content patches can be astronomical.

Performance Issues

Launching an MMORPG with multiple features and content can lead to performance and loading time issues. Square Enix experienced this with the original version of Final Fantasy XIV. Resolving these issues requires additional resources and can affect the game’s reputation.

Managing Expectations

As a company known for successful MMORPG titles, Square Enix faces high expectations from prospective players. Meeting these expectations can be challenging, especially on an abbreviated development schedule.

Competition with Modern Games

With the gaming industry evolving, Square Enix’s MMORPGs face competition from modern games across various genres. Staying relevant and innovative is a constant challenge.

Dependency on Subscriptions

Relying on subscription fees as a primary revenue source can be risky. If the game does not meet expectations or loses its appeal, a decline in subscriptions can significantly impact revenue.

Console Version Challenges

Developing console versions alongside PC versions adds layers of complexity in terms of optimization and performance. This also requires more resources and can stretch the development process.

Conclusion

While Square Enix has not officially announced a new MMORPG, the prospects are enticing. The company’s history of creating engaging worlds, rich storylines, and ensuring a steady stream of quality content makes them perfectly positioned to create another successful MMORPG. Whether it be a continuation of a beloved series or an entirely new fantasy world, players around the globe wait with bated breath to see what Square Enix will conjure next.

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