There has been sad but expected news coming from Square Enix and producer of Final Fantasy XI, Akihiko Matsui, regarding the future of Square Enix’s long running MMO, Final Fantasy XI. Announcing the ‘Vana’diel Project’ which will be a series of content updates that will be released throughout 2015 and conclude in March 2016, coinciding with the termination of service of the Xbox 360 version in North America, Europe and Japan, in addition to the PlayStation 2 version being finally closed in Japan. The PC version however will continued to be maintained for the foreseeable future with normal service. It would also appear that the game will not be transitioning from its subscription model.
Although the PC version will be maintained beyond March 2016, no more new content will be created for Final Fantasy XI, with the conclusion of the Rhapsodies of Vana’diel the storyline of Final Fantasy XI will be concluded, fourteen years after the game was originally released. Although balancing and quality of life updates will be continued the future of the PC version also seems uncertain. However a ‘Godesses’ Gala’ event will be held throughout 2016. Despite all this Final Fantasy XI will not be removed from existence as Square Enix will be porting the game to mobile and tablet platforms in Japan, Europe and North America at some point in 2016. It is unknown what changes will be made to the game to facilitate this and very little detail beyond assistance from Nexon has been confirmed.
In addition to this a spin-off titled Final Fantasy Grandmasters has been announced for IOS in Japan only. It appears to be similar to Final Fantasy Explorers.
Although some questions have finally been answered for Final Fantasy XI, the future still appears to be uncertain for the title which has been the most profitable Final Fantasy ever made and one of the oldest subscription MMO’s in existence, however as Square Enix has shifted focus to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy XI seems set to be a footnote in the record books of history. But the IOS port does at least give hope that every main Final Fantasy title will be accessible to players for many years to come.