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Final Fantasy XI Single Player Edition

Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

In a recent Q&A letter from Sean, he discussed remaking Final Fantasy XI and that got me thinking. Honestly, I don't think Square Enix would even think about remaking this game like they've done with some of the older titles, but the potential is there for an off-line experience and a lot of Final Fantasy fans would jump on board. The fact that this couldn't be a quick and dirty port would make it even more unlikely, but with a certain amount of reuse, it wouldn't be too far-fetched.

My vision of the game would be slightly different and a little less defined than that of Sean's. It would encompass the entire Final Fantasy XI world of Vana'diel, including all expansion areas. However, instead of being completely non-linear, it would contain the entire main storyline of the initial FFXI missions, weaving together the story from all three nation's viewpoints, and would continue on through the expansions and extended missions. The job system would be maintained, but modified for a single player experience instead of requiring the multiplayer grinding of the current online version. There would be no level cap and job abilities and traits would be balanced and possibly completely modified for one player. Combat would most likely be somewhat similar to the real-time combat of FFXI and FFXII; however it would maintain the six character party of the MMO.

Character development would be a touchy issue. Square Enix could take the "create your own character" approach that traditional Final Fantasy XI has were you play as a generic adventurer. This would be the easiest implementation. However, developing multiple unique characters and giving them a true place within the world of Vana'diel would be great for those that have never played Final Fantasy XI online. This could be an issue if they start messing with current game lore, but I imagine that it could be easily dealt with without doing any real damage. The expansion areas could work into this single player experience in much the same way that the optional areas of Final Fantasy XII did. You don't have to go there, but the rewards for doing so are matched by the challenge required.

One of the most exciting features that could be possible would be the addition of an optional online multiplayer experience. There are those people that enjoy adventuring with a small group of friends and that could be featured in this single player version as optional content for the bonus of additional loot or story. It would of course only work well if they went with a generic character option, because even though you would have six characters with jobs of your own choosing, it would be odd to have two sets of the same characters. With online content like this, one could easily ask what the point of the single player game is if you still have online content. I imagine that having the option of online play without requiring it would be better than not having it at all. They should give gamers the option.

I played Final Fantasy XI online for a decent amount of time and I did enjoy the game. I can completely understand that many fans of the series avoided this title for many reasons. An off-line version would help to solve two problems. First, those people that didn't want to or couldn't play online would be able to experience and enjoy the world of Final Fantasy XI. Second, and most important to me, is that people that did play, but couldn't dedicate the time to experience everything there was to experience would get an opportunity to do so. Due to the fact that this could easily anger those that did take the time to play through all of the many challenges of the online game, this will most likely never happen, but I can still dream.

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