Square Enix’s first foray into the MMORPG space, Final Fantasy XI, has turned 20 today. Way back in 2002, adventurers stumbled into the world of Vana’diel with very little direction. No quest markers and only a simple story to work through with not much in the way of guidance on how to progress it. While nowadays, that wouldn’t fly for all but the most hardcore of MMORPG fans, back then it was still revolutionary. The fact that you could take up arms as a classic Final Fantasy job and group up with other people online, on your PS2 even, was more than many people back then could ask for.
Square Enix has been celebrating 20 years of Final Fantasy XI all year with the release of the We Are Vana’diel website back in July of 2021. In the months that have followed, the developers have conducted many interviews discussing Final Fantasy XI and have shared behind-the-scenes art and developer commentary about iconic moments in the game’s history. Last week, for the Japanese audience, Square Enix also did an over five-hour-long livestream dedicated to going down memory lane with key members of the original development team, including the original producer, Hiromichi Tanaka.
As far as in-game content is concerned, the current producer Akihiko Matsui, wrote a letter to fans expressing his wish to continue to improve and add to the game, quelling any rumors that Final Fantasy XI will be shutting down any time soon. He also confirmed a few major content additions that are on the way:
- New battle content that will allow players to obtain the new Prime Weapons (new ultimate weapons), will be coming soon.
- Empyrean reforging (he says weapon, but it’s possible this is an error and meant armor) will arrive in two separate updates, one in summer and one in winter.
- Odyssey will receive more increases to the Vengeance cap.
- Master Level will also see more increases to its cap.
- No word on the job adjustments that have been referred to in the past.
In addition to the new content coming in-game and to the We Are Vana’diel website, a new version of the classic Vana’diel March composed by the legendary Naoshi Mizuta, will now play at the start screen, and a new very wholesome 20th-anniversary logo inspired by the level you first get your Chocobo in-game, was revealed. Check out the full logo below.
All in all, while the festivities have been spread out over months and in-game announcements are probably a bit tame for the hardcore fans hoping for something next-level like a new expansion, the developers have put together a substantial amount of content to properly remember how far Final Fantasy XI has come over the last 20 years. Definitely make sure to give the We Are Vana’diel website a visit if you haven’t already, and here’s the link to Matsui-P’s full letter if you want to give that a read too. Happy birthday Final Fantasy XI!
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