Future Final Fantasy XI Updates Will Be "Quite Compact" As Dev Team Downsizes

The first Final Fantasy MMORPG isn't shutting down anytime soon, but does sound like it's heading into maintenance mode territory.


Final Fantasy XI's development team is being downsized to allow developers to continue their careers on other projects. As a result, fans can expect the scope of future updates to Square Enix's early 2000s-era MMORPG to be "quite compact."

The news comes as part of an official FFXI blog post announcing that the game's longtime producer Akihiko Matsui, who has served in the role since 2012, has handed the reigns over to Yoji Fujito. In the blog post, Fujito outlined the developer's plans for FFXI going forward, and while he promised that the team will "continue providing support so that you can keep enjoying all that Vana'diel has to offer in the same way you have until now," he also announced the team would be downscaled in order to allow longtime FFXI developers to pursue other development opportunities.

"Most of our development team has served exclusively on Final Fantasy XI for many years," Fujito said. "Remaining on the FFXI team full-time, however, would mean giving up certain opportunities in their careers as developers. For developers, working with new technologies and seeing the fruits of their labor take form in new products can be a huge source of motivation and an opportunity to grow. So rather than limit our developers to working exclusively on FFXI and its decades-old technology, I believe it would be better to allow them to gain experience in other development environments and bring back their learnings to FFXI."

That decision will see the FFXI team shrink, with future updates to the game set to be "quite compact as a result," Fujito said. The team will focus on "stabilizing" its operations for the medium and long-term. Part of that goal will be replacing some of the game's backend hardware, which may result in longer than usual maintenance periods for some updates, but "is necessary to ensure the long-term stability of operations," Fujito said.

Final Fantasy XI may be two decades old (it originally released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 as well as PC) but does still have a dedicated community willing to pay a $12-a-month subscription fee in order to access the game and its numerous expansions. Meanwhile, Square Enix's second (or, technically, third) attempt at a Final Fantasy MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is more popular than ever, having broken some of its concurrent player records in recent years.

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