Final Fantasy XI  
Online, another world...

ReiPrepare yourself for the gratest revolution in the world of videogames: Squaresoft announced the release at the same time for Japan and North America (for Europe, as usual, a release date is not known yet) of Final Fantasy XI, the first game for Ps2 to be entirely online! The game will be released also in a PC version.

It is not known yet, since the game is in phase of development, how technical and linguistic problems will be obviated; it is only known that the release of FFXI has been delayed to the early 2002 in Japan (even if there will surely be other delays to test the gameplay in general and possible errors).

Anyway, nothing very clear has been announced about this new FF, but we have all the premises to say that it will show great things. Curiosity is normal considering a perspective like this!
We know that as in all the previous FFs there will be a well defined plot, even if every character will have lots of different possibilities and specific assignments to complete. It seems that in this fantastic (I'm sure I have all the rights to say that) online world there will be the possibility to choose among over 2000 different characters, each with proper characteristics!!! What leaves a certain perplexity, knowing what happened to the preceding experiences of other online RPGs, is about the effective possibility to support what by words is so defined. Connection problems, for example: will they be solved somehow or will we suffer the same drawbacks that we still find in other online games?
Square's staff doesn't seem worried by those that are not minor problems, and looking at what they intend for "online game", we can understand why the worries of a common nowadays player absolutely don't bother them!

This is a scheme of the presentation of FFXI. Those people who have been able to go the last 29 January to the Square Millennium, a formidable event for the anticipations on the future of Squaresoft's games, without any doubts must have been shocked, and you'll be too, after you've read the rest of this preview. To realize what the genial minds of the creators of the next videogames are preparing, it is enough to read what I've written below…you will understand only after giving a glance. The original presentation was in Japanese language, so we quote the translation from and Squaregamer (one of the greatest sites about Squaresoft's games), in English (otherwise we would not have been able to understand a lot of what it's shown by images).

Takeshi has nothing to do, perks up with an idea and turns on his PS2 and logs into PlayOnline. You see tons of cool animated and groovy looking menus.

Takeshi then decides to use the Messenger option to email someone (girl called Natsumi) to play Final Fantasy XI together. She's not home, but her PS2 is on messenger mode so she will recieve the message when she gets home.

The scene is now at Natsumi's home, on her PS2 she sees that she has a message waiting for her. Once she reads it, she goes to Game mode.

Natsumi starts to play Final Fantasy XI while Takeshi here is by himself and still waiting for her inside the game somewhere.

Natsumi then sends a message to Takeshi that says she's coming. They both then meet and go around the game's world.

After doing some fighting and then entering a cave, their characters go through a tough time and both get killed.

Natsumi then gets an idea, since it's just an online game! They don't have to quit just yet and she decides she can look for help from other players.

The scene now changes to a few cool looking guys entering some futuristic place to play videogames. Seems like a cybercafe with neon lighting or something like that.

They each then sit down to a few PS2s and log in to start playing. Natsumi has a message waiting for one of the guys.

Kazu here is probably meant to be a cooler guy and better player who knows more about the game so he replies to Natsumi.

Here's a shot of Kazu replying. The PS2 will have a keyboard, which obviously is going to be necessary with all the chatting and messaging going around.

Kazu messages Natsumi "Where are you?" and Natsumi replies with "We're in the caves of Sirius." Kazu then messages "Before, I saved in the town of Ulu so it'll take me about three minutes to get to you. Wait a moment." Natsumi replies, "OK! When you arrive, knock." Isn't this nifty?

Kazu then begins to start playing and one of the friends from earlier joins him. Well, tries to join. Kazu is set on helping Natsumi (and Takeshi) so he will have to make his friend wait.

Kazu's friend wants to play with him but Kazu says he can't as he has to help Natsumi and Takeshi. His friend gets a little miffed.

Kazu then starts playing Final Fantasy XI by himself and travels inside the game from the town of Ulu to the caves of Sirius to help Natsumi and Takeshi since that's where is last save was.

Now there's a scene back with Takeshi looking bored. Maybe because Natsumi getting help with Kazu or cause his character is still dead.

Takeshi perks up and remembers there's more to the PS2 than FFXI so he takes a memory stick for his walkman (you can download music and listen to it with this) and plugs it into his PS2.

He then starts going through more animated menus to the Music section while waiting to download and listen to music. He didn't have to use a keyboard, just his controller.

Once that's done he goes to the comic section and reads some Manga pages online until Kazu comes to help him and Natsumi in the caves of Sirius.

Back in the game world, Natsumi and Takeshi's characters are not active so they are represented by icons on top of them. Takeshi's icon says Comic and Natsumi says Sports which is what they are currently looking at online.

Kazu then is finished with his trip to Sirius and "knocks" by having his character touch Takeshi's character's shoulder.

Takeshi exits the Manga and comes back to the game. His icon disappears and Natsumi's icon disappears as she returns also.

Before starting the game again, Natsumi suggests they read the online guide on how to play. Natsumi then brings up the menu.

Natsumi looks at the map and finds their route as shown in the shot. The three then decide on where they're going to go and what they're going to do in the game.

Natsumi closes the map and menus and then all three characters do a "Lets go!" pose. They run together to continue their adventure and the commercial ends.

Believing that all this becomes possible is nothing less than science-fiction. We are a little bit sceptical, above all considering that the reality of internet connections in the world is far away from supporting easily a fully online game.

In my opinion, and I am sure I'm not the only one to think that, at the moment there aren't the premises to create what in the minds of Square's developers seems to be already a reality. Anyway, I don't believe that Squaresoft leaders are just a group of liars, showing a trailer of that kind without the certainty that it will be realized. Perhaps they're hiding something to us….

- Rei (October 20th, 2001)