See also: Future of Final Fantasy XIV
--Final Fantasy XIV Online Outline
--Planned Content and Concept Art
--System and Content List
See also: Letter from the Producer XX
-Final Fantasy XIV is getting a new client and a reboot. Comes out late next year free for download for current players and will be available for retail for new players and PS3 players in early-2013.
-Beta Testing for PS3 players will begin at the end of 2012.
-Zones are going to be re-done and at the expense of being unique, will no longer be seamless.
-Character data won't be lost on transfer, but players will get one chance to change the race/look of their character since new races will be available.
-There will be a one time storyline that can never be done again for those who stick around in Version 1 up until the arrival of 2.0.
-Monthly fees are starting before the end of the year. But will be a free period to test out the new client when it launches and in the period that things are switching over.
-New launch trailer is coming E3 2012.
On Friday, Square-Enix shocked a lot of us current players when they released their future plans for Final Fantasy XIV over the next couple of years. They have plans with porting over characters, cutscenes, and current to a whole new build of the game sometime next year in what is dubbed as "Final Fantasy XIV Version 2.0". Done by the [new] development team in the past year, it's supposed to have a new storyline, new world map (dubbed in the screenshots as "New Eorzea") and a storyline that only current players can see which shows this "transformation" between the world we're in now, and the world in "2.0".
In any case, it's going to be the equivalent of Cataclysm in another game that won't be mentioned, and it's free for current players. However, it will require downloading entirely new client software. Fortunately, our character progress and what we've done up to that point will carry over to this new version. (I would have quit if it wouldn't.) And we're to have one chance to change our race/gender/hairstyle to match the new style presented in 2.0. (Maybe I'll be a cat-man? Who knows, haven't decided.)
One topic that's really up for debate is the concept art of the new user interface that will be in 2.0. Take a look-see:
There's a lot of complaints going around that it's too cluttered, looks like World of Warcraft, etc... But from the current build, a lot of those things are toggle-able in the first place. I do like the expanded enemy HP, bar though. I don't really like the style of the HP/MP bars, just not my style. (Or maybe it looks very FFXII ish.) Also, I really don't like battle chocobos. That doesn't really feel FF-ish to me. (Aside from Tactics).
Another thing to mention, FFXIV is going to start monthly fees in late November. I am kind of unsure how well the game is going to hold up in the interim between November 2011 and whenever 2.0 launches with paying monthly fees. I understand how they're trying to make money, but to many, the game still needs more 'umph' on where they [the players] feel like S-E deserves their monthly dues. I wholly expect populations to dwindle and my linkshell to lose quite a bit of people in the next few months.
Call me crazy, or just a blind fanboy (or both, rather), but I plan on sticking around and reporting progress on XIV. The community itself seems kind of divided on the development of the game, but with changes these drastic, it was kind of bound to happen. In any case, I'm honestly more excited about XIV than I am of the other FFXIII-related titles that have yet to see release. I am more of a medieval type guy than a sci-fi, which probably explains my extreme patience with this game.