It’s easy to forget for North American players, but Final Fantasy XI’s actual anniversary is in May, since it took a little while before it was released over in North America. And the development team definitely had plans for the game’s 18th anniversary this year… but those plans have to be delayed in the wake of the FFXI team relocating to working from home, leaving behind the (now quite old) PlayStation 2 development kits still being used and the general lack of preparation.
That having been said, the development team has still brought in a number of in-game events, and thanks to the Square-Enix IT team more things are being made possible via remote work, with the overall goal being to get the 18th anniversary event out to players as soon as possible. (Considering the different in priorities and updates between Final Fantasy XIV and FFXI, it seems this also has to do with overall remote priorities.) So players will need to wait a bit longer and deal with a smaller-than-usual update… but judging by the general fan response, this seems to be entirely acceptable if it means the team stays safe.
The May #FFXI version update has landed!
— FINAL FANTASY XI (@FFXI_EN) May 11, 2020