This has further been explained: They always plan a year of content as a buffer, plans will continue as normal. Here is a long post for more information:
The July 10th issue of Dengeki Playstation magazine has hit theshelves, and it contains a brand new interview with Hiromichi Tanakaand Kouichi Ogawa of the Final Fantasy XI development team.
Hiromichi Tanaka is the producer of Final Fantasy XI, which was thefirst MMO for the Final Fantasy series. He will continue his work atSquare Enix as producer for the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XIV.
Kouichi Ogawa worked on the Treasures of Aht Urghan and Wings of theGoddess expansions for Final Fantasy XI. He also contributed to ACrystalline Prophecy, and will continue to develop the next two add-onscenarios: A Moogle Kupo d'Etat and A Shantotto Ascension.
The Dengeki Team was excited to get face-to-face time with these twowho "hold the future of FFXI in their hands," and we are excited tobring you the juicy details!
In the last volume of Dengeki Playstation, Tanaka expressed his hopethat players would continue enjoying Final Fantasy XI, even after thestart of Final Fantasy XIV. Perhaps, together with Ogawa, we can getsome details as to what upcoming content they will be providing forplayers heading into the future.
FFXI will survive!
We have heard it several times so far: Final Fantasy XI has at leasta year's worth of content planned in advance. Are there any plansafter that? Well, Tanaka reassures us that he certainly does notexpect to shut down FFXI in a year, and players can rest easy knowingservice will continue as normal. The "one year" comment basicallymeans they always have a year's buffer of plans and ideas, and thiswill not change even with the impending release of FFXIV. Tanakarealizes his previous statements could have implied that after a yearthere were no more plans for the development of FFXI, but wants allplayers to know that this is not the case.
Ogawa saysthere is still much to do for FFXI, including wrapping up Wings of theGoddess and trying to get in all sorts of yet unrealized plans. Tanakajokes that as per the title of the game, he would at least want to makeit to 11 years. Now, even if development does continue as they say,will it be slowed to a crawl? Working on multiple MMOs simultaneouslyhas got to be a trying task, but Tanaka is confident that having beendeveloping FFXI and FFXIV side-by-side for almost 4 years now, thereshould be no worries about maintaining a healthy pace for FFXI. Besides, with Director Nobuaki Komoto working on FFXIV, thedevelopment of FFXI should be unaffected.
So, with all this talk about FFXI and FFXIV conflicting with eachother, how about some information on how they compare? Unfortunately,it is still too early to say much, but Tanaka is able to reveal that interms of play style, the direction of each game will be different. Theone real similarity between FFXI and FFXIV is that at the core, theyare both true to the Final Fantasy name.
The Future of FFXI
I think we can all breath a sigh of relief about the future of FFXIat this point. Now that we know content is on the way for months (andyears?) to come, let's take a look at what exactly we have in store!
First up, we have the July Version Update heading our way. InJapanese they refer to it as landing in ７月下旬 (shichi-gatsu ge-jyun), orthe "bottom third" of July. At that time, we will finally be grantedaccess to new areas in the Northlands. Wings of the Goddess is said tobe heating up and getting ever-closer to the climactic conclusion! Asfor the core story line, Ogawa says that with this new update, we areabout 2/3rds finished with the expansion.
This does not mean the end for Wings of the Goddess additionsthough. Ogawa states that they are looking into quest lines for someof the more popular Campaign NPCs starting with the Version Update after thisone. Add on to this various additions and adjustments to existingareas and content and we can see there is still much to be done (andmuch to look forward to.)
Oh, and in a rather coy manner, Ogawa apologizes to thoseever-patient Summoners, saying their long-awaited new Avatar is justaround the corner... He could have at least said whether it was comingin this update or not!
One thing we can say for sure, is that Moogle Kupo d'Etat isconfirmed for release with the next version update. Tanaka says theyplan to pre-sell the add-on before the actual update as was done with ACrystalline Prophecy. In the meantime, Ogawa lets us know that whilethe volume of content is similar to the first add-on, they have beenhard at work to make it much more fun for players. Ogawa laughs a bittelling everyone to expect a marked departure from what we haveexperienced so far and look forward to a more wild and wacky adventure.
A lot of players out there are probably more curious about therewards, though. Ogawa indicates that the reward system will continuein the same fashion, utilizing the Tenshodo Treasure Box to dispenseitems and titles. The items themselves, however, will be differentfrom the rewards in A Crystalline Prophecy.
A Crystalline Assessment
We have all seen some of the concerns and poor reviews A CrystallineProphecy received, but when asked about the fan response to the add-onscenario, Tanaka reports that they were actually able to record salesthat exceeded their expectations. The congestion and fiercecompetition collecting items was somewhat expected, but Ogawa laughs athow fast players were able to clear the full scenario despite theseobstacles. Tanaka says that as paid content, they wanted everyone tobe able to successfully complete the add-on, but in retrospect, admitsthere could have been a little more meat to the challenges. Still, thefact that many players are repeating content over and over for rewardsis seen as a success, since they purposely planned it that way so userscould get the most enjoyment for their money.
The final battlefield in A Crystalline Prophecy had an especiallylarge amount of work put into it. The idea was to make a battle wheremore importantly than Jobs or Equipment, it is the players' judgementand decision-making skills that determine the difference betweenvictory and defeat. This was the reasoning behind the enemy'sextensive use of Charm. As Ogawa puts it, "No matter what job you are,if you fail to avoid Charm, you are Charmed, no excuses." After that,it's about being able to adapt and do what is necessary to win. Thebattle team spent long hours perfecting a final battle they could beproud of, and Ogawa is confident in the results.
More New Content, Online and Off
A Moogle Kupo d'Etat is on the way, and there is at least one moreadd-on scenario in the works. A collection disc with all three add-onsmight be a nice idea in the future, but Tanaka is unable to sayanything at this point. New add-ons will be available for downloadonline, but there is still no news of what lies beyond the thirdplanned add-on scenario. However, in what might come as a relief tosome, Tanaka states that there are no plans to sell off smaller chunksof content on their own for money, such as paying for a new job or anitem.
Released in April, Security Tokens were a big hit with players (orshould I say the Mog Satchel was) and Tanaka apologizes for having themsell out so fast and inconveniencing users. He emphasizes the enhancedsecurity provided by the one-time password system and hopes everyonewill consider signing up once sales start again. Account issues arealready on the decline, and the Square Enix Account system is plannedto be used for FFXIV and other future Square Enix online content.
Coming into May, players were given a brand new quest involving MogTablets. While this was originally planned as a bonus for the 7th yearanniversary, the developers saw no problem in letting it continue. They realize it can be tough to snatch up a tablet in the face of manycompeting players, so they hope that by letting the event continue on,all players can have a chance at success.
Getting back to the future, Tanaka indicates his hope for gettinganother Fan Festival off the ground this year. The idea is beingdiscussed, and so far, he is optimistic. If worse comes to worst,Tanaka jokes, perhaps they will just meet both JP and NA playershalfway and everyone will party in Hawaii.
As always, the developers are asked to give some final words for Final Fantasy XI players around the world:
Ogawa: Even with the release of Final Fantasy XIV,the development of Final Fantasy XI will continue unabated. We willcontinue to make adjustments and develop new content that will helpplayers enjoy the game in fresh, new ways. Please look forward to it!
Tanaka: We are working hard on both Final FantasyXI and Final Fantasy XIV. I realize that [in the gaming world] alleyes are going to be on Final Fantasy XIV, but we know we have aversion update and add-on scenario to deliver to the players. I hopeyou are looking forward to our continued support and development ofFinal Fantasy XI.