One of the many long-standing memes among the Final Fantasy XIV community is the one about the MMORPG’s free trial, which will be expanding to include the Stormblood expansion as well as the full base game and Heavensward when patch 6.5 releases in early October. This has led players to wonder whether the MMORPG will make a free-to-play shift, but according to a recent Eurogamer interview with director Naoki Yoshida, that’s not in the cards.
“I believe the free trial will continue to be expanded, but we have no plans of making the client itself free at the moment,” he confirms.
As for the reason why, Yoshida makes clear that it’s about funding FFXIV’s development cadence. “Since a huge amount of time and money has been invested in the expansion packages, the revenue from sales of the expansion package itself is still very important in order to continue to make expansions on this scale,” he explains. “We would like to constantly aim for the best on the business side as well to continue making a lot of content to be enjoyed.”
Other tidbits from the interview reaffirm Yoshida’s plans to not build a new MMORPG unless inspiration strikes him, citing the prospect as “something even more difficult than having the realm be ‘reborn.'” He also looks back at the 10 years since A Realm Reborn, noting the staggering impossibility of the relaunch gambit paying off as an MMORPG fan himself, reaffirming that his team is working towards updating systems such as the graphical overhaul coming in 7.0, and acknowledging the entire effort of Creative Business Unit III, especially among the development and operations teams.
“The attention tends to focus on staff who have come on to the front stage, but the server engineers maintain their specialist mindset, the UI teams provide steady work responding to feedback, and members continue to produce massive amounts of VFX and matching SFX,” said Yoshida. “The vocal support given to them is a source of encouragement for the entire team.”