Final Fantasy XIV launch was 'big mistake,' says new director

Square Enix hasn't been shy about admitting it mucked up Final Fantasy XIV. Company CEO Yoichi Wada apologized for the game in 2010, and began a restructuring process culminating in the upcoming Realm Reborn update. But all the apologies won't make a difference if Square's designers don't understand the missteps, and the new game director Naoki Yoshida is being very frank about where the first one went wrong.

"When I heard that it was going to go on sale as planned [after the beta], I thought, that will probably be a big mistake," he said.

Square's insistence to push forward with the game despite a poor beta reception was just the first public example of many issues that hit the game hard. Internally, Yoshida says the company focused too much on differentiating the game from Final Fantasy XI, but didn't learn from its competitors in the market.

"I think it would've been good if they tried seeing what happened if they turned World of Warcraft into Final Fantasy," he told Kotaku. "So, because they tried only to make something that was 'different from FFXI,' they ended up with not much of anything. They should have said, 'Hey you, go play WoW for a year [for inspiration].' Unless you are a genius, you cannot make something completely new from nothing."

Yoshida says the stakes are high for his reboot, and insists he won't repeat the same errors. "If we did, it would be like at the level of destroying the company."

The old era of Final Fantasy XIV officially ended on November 11. A date hasn't been set for the relaunch, but Square is inviting former players to be alpha testers for the new version.