Yoji Fujito is taking over as producer of Final Fantasy XI, replacing Akihiko Matsui. Fujito has been the game’s lead director since 2016. In Fujito’s announcement, he teased plans for the 20-year-old MMORPG and confirmed that Square Enix will continue updating and supporting Final Fantasy XI through the “long term”!
Fujito plans to focus the game’s development team on three things in 2023: Ambuscade updates, Prime Weapon reforging, and Master Trials. He didn’t provide details on these items, but he said he’s also interested in “holding live events in the real world and releasing new merchandise.”
Unfortunately, Fujito also announced that Square Enix is downscaling Final Fantasy XI‘s development team to “provide more leeway for [the game’s] operations to continue.” As a result, adventurers should expect the scope of the game’s version updates to be “quite compact.” Downsizing is a bummer, but it may be a boon to some of the relocated developers, who should be better positioned to work on titles that use modern technology and offer more room for growth.
Players may also experience longer-than-usual maintenance times in the future, as Fujito’s team is working on replacing the very outdated backend hardware that supports Final Fantasy XI. While this might give some players a headache, Fujito stressed that this change will help “ensure the long-term stability of operations.”
I played Final Fantasy XI on the PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s and have many fond memories of Vana’diel. The fact that the game continues to earn new subscribers warms my heart, so I’m grateful that Fujito and Square Enix are committed to its survival. Final Fantasy XI remains accessible today on PC!