Final Fantasy 14’s now iconic producer Naoki Yoshida has recently detailed how his first game ended up getting cancelled.
Not every game is going to see the light of day, and it turns out that that was the case for Yoshida’s first title he was working on at Square Enix. All the young readers might not be aware of this, but back in the day, Square and Enix used to be two separate companies. And now, speaking with We Are Vana’diel, Yoshida spoke of how the 2003 merger between the two eventually led to the cancellation of the first title he worked on at the joined company (thanks, Kotaku).
At the time, Yoshida was working as an outside developer on an online PC title at Enix, prior to the merger. However, things started to change once the merger took place. “As a result, we were told the game might not stay PC-exclusive, and sure enough, after the merger actually took place, we were told to rework it for the PlayStation 2,” Yoshida told Akihiko Matsui, producer of Final Fantasy XI.
“There was a vast difference in memory capacity between PCs and the PS2 even back then, so frankly, I was like, ‘You’re kidding me right?'”
Square Enix was not kidding. But Yoshida was also right, and the change brought a ton of issues. A meeting was eventually held in which Yoshida was asked to list out all the problems he faced. He said that there were high hopes for the game, with original FFXI producer Tanaka Hiromichi even offering help.
But in the end, the game obviously was cancelled, because Square Enix wanted more and more features. One meeting apparently decided the game needed a scenario mode, and a debate ensued surrounding how Yoshida would be asked to include the mode after already being asked to make so many changes. It didn’t matter though, because it was just iced, and that was that.
In a recent separate interview with Game Informer, Yoshida also briefly explained how the ambitious sounding game would work. “You would follow this one path, and then you’d have to team up with somebody else who has gone through a different history, or there was an item that you had to obtain in order to change your trajectory, but that item can only be obtained from somebody else.”
Co-operation was apparently very important to the game, with players needing to work together to see all the different parts of the story.
Of course these days, Yoshida is a bit of a king, heading up both Final Fantasy 14 and Final Fantasy 16, the latter of which is apparently in “the final stages of development.”