Square's Nanaka Hiromichi recently talked with Dengeki, a Japanese video game publication, about developing
Final Fantasy XI and addressed the company's expectations
for its release next month. Square expects to sell around 100,000 copies
at launch. Hiromichi candidly stated that due to FF XI being an online game
that requires additional peripherals, Square's projections are down drastically
from the 2 million bar set by Final Fantasy X.
Square, however, is ready to support 1 million players at launch and hopes to host 500,000 per month
by the end of 2002.
Hiromichi said that Final Fantasy XI will stress online communication
with other players. Alliances and battle strategies can be formed in
both private and public chat rooms. He commented jokingly that players "can yell
'charge!' in the public channel, and tell friends to 'hold your ground' in the private channel"
in the wake of major battles.
Hiromichi also maintained FF XI's inclusion of a main storyline and final boss, though
the game's universe will continue to expand as online updates are released, effectively assuring that the story continues
long after the original quest is completed. The game also allows for solo play, though many areas will only admit parties. FF XI remains on track for its May 16 launch date in Japan.