Square Enix shoots down Final Fantasy XI II reports

[UPDATE] Nikkei news agency reports that sequel is coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows Vista; Square Enix denies announcement, reconfirms "all-new" next-gen MMORPG.

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Though it was the centerpiece of Microsoft's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2005 press briefing, the Xbox 360 edition of Final Fantasy XI hasn't really taken off. As of the end of May 2006, the next-gen console edition of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game has sold just 72,194 copies in the US, according to the NPD group.

FFXI's lackluster showing on the 360 is in large part due to the game having been available on the PC and PlayStation 2 since 2003 and 2004, respectively. Now, though, it appears that an all-new FFXI is in the works for Microsoft's next-gen console--as well as its prime competitor.

According to a Monday report on Nikkei.net, "Square Enix will develop a sequel to Final Fantasy XI...for three platforms: Sony Computer Entertainment's next-generation PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, and the Windows Vista PC operating system." Since Windows Vista won't be available until 2007, the PC edition of the game would likely not launch until next year--at the earliest.

The Nikkei report was short on details, containing neither a release date nor an official title for the FFXI sequel. Attempts to contact American Square Enix reps for clarification and confirmation had gone unanswered as of press time.

[UPDATE] However, this morning in Tokyo, Square Enix issued a terse statement saying that it had never announced a next-gen sequel to FFXI. "The company did not make such an announcement and has not made any decisions resembling those detailed in the media report," it said.

Square Enix did assert in broken English that "it is currently developing an online [game for] next-generation platforms including game consoles and PCs." However, the company said of the game in question that "this title is being developed [as a] completely new MMORPG." The title in question appears to be the PlayStation 3 and PC Vista game producer Hiromichi Tanaka revealed in an April interview.

That said, the news wasn't all bad for FFXI fans. Square Enix did announce that it "continuously plans to release expansion packs for Final Fantasy [XI] available on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Windows, as well as perform version updates."

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