Square Enix surprised many when it announced during the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo that it was at work on a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Final Fantasy XIV Online. However, what gave cause for those raised eyebrows wasn't so much the online game's existence as it was the game's release date--2010.
Today, Square Enix took one more step toward delivering the game next year, announcing that it has begun accepting beta-test applications for Final Fantasy XIV Online. Those interested in testing the game prior to its full release can now register through the official Final Fantasy XIV Online Web site.
Currently, Square Enix is accepting beta-test applications for the Windows PC edition of the game only. As the game was formally announced at Sony's E3 press conference, Final Fantasy XIV Online has also been confirmed for the PlayStation 3. The publisher expects to have more information on the game's console testing phase in the near future. Square Enix has also indicated that it is "considering" bringing the game to Microsoft's hardware.
Final Fantasy XIV Online will be set in the realm of Eorzea, a world not seen before in any other installments in the franchise. Like in other MMORPGs, gamers will be able to explore the world after selecting from a variety of races, combat classes, and professional skills. More information on Eorzea's lore and backstory can be found on the game's site.