During E3 2005, a surprising announcement by Youichi Wada, president of Square Enix, yielded new information that Square Enix would be developing games for the Xbox 360. In the announcement Wada stated that Final Fantasy XI would be their first title for the Xbox 360 and he also said that the Square Enix team has grown interested with Microsoft’s newest Xbox. In 2002, Final Fantasy XI was released in Japan for the PS2, and was then ported stateside to the PC. Now Final Fantasy XI is out for both PC and PS2 worldwide.
In the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI, players will be able to play with other players regardless of what platform they are on. Players will find it easier to communicate with a keyboard and Xbox Live’s headset. Graphically, the game gets a small ‘nudge’ of improvement above the existing titles on the other platforms.
If you are unfamiliar with the Final Fantasy XI realm, then I will educate you. Put on your thinking caps and pay attention. You are a character in the world of Vana’deil. Within this world there are three powerful nations that unite on the brink of war, and together they look for a last hope. This is where you come into play. Decide the fate of Vana’deil, will it be brought down by beastmen forces?
There are many different races that all inhabit Vana’deil: Hume, Tarutaru, Elvaan, Mithra and Galka. Humes (or humans) are a balanced in-between race. Tarutarus are small, cute looking guys that live around Federation of Windurst, and are highly skilled with magic. Elvaan, or elves, live in San D’oria Kingdom. They are high in stature, immodest and make some of the greatest warriors. Mithras are a rare race. The live in the very corners of Federation of Windurst, and only the females come into the outside world. They look like cats with pointed ears and long tales. They are also intertwined with nature and oppose science and technology. Finally, the tough and broad Galka live in Bastok Republic. They are powerful and durable.
All in all, there are so many things you can do or be in Final Fantasy XI. Over twelve jobs and so many places to go. You can ride Chocobos or fly airships. Party up or form an alliance to rise over a powerful foe. The combat in Final Fantasy XI is in semi-realtime. If you have played other online RPG’s it wont be hard to grasp the concept.
Most of the impressions of the Xbox 360 version of FFXI can’t be taken completely. To get a good concept of a MMORPG, you would have to play it for at least a full ten hours. Since Final Fantasy XI has done well on PC and Playstation 2 thus far, I would only suspect that with these small, but necessary improvements on Xbox 360 will only lift it’s success even further.