Square-Enix announced earlier this month game-wide server mergers and character transfers for their MMO ‘Final Fantasy XIV‘. However due to player feedback, they removed the announcement a few days later, stating “In order to ensure that the most desirable and effective outcome is achieved, we will be reassessing the method of the merger process.”
[UPDATE: Square-Enix have announced that the server merger process has been reevaluated, and are going ahead starting from March 1st, 2012. Details could be found at http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=13222abe211533c87814786dc7c7c72707574cb8 ]
I must say, my feelings are kind of mixed about the whole ordeal.
On one hand, I feel like I SHOULD be happy, myself having resubscribed to the game recently. Their willingness to reassess their merger process due to feedback means that there are still a large number of active players, and more importantly, a large number of active players who are passionate enough about the game to raise their voices, and give game-changing feedback. It also means that perhaps, just perhaps, the current developers care about their players, and indeed care enough to listen to and take their feedbacks seriously.
On the other hand, this serves to highlight a problem that I have with a lot of game developers today. I understand that like the rest of us, they need to make a living too, and that they are under constant pressure from the publishers, the press, the players, and indeed from the rest of the industry in general to succeed. But it really annoys and saddens me, seeing the way how so many developers could just abandon and change the direction and the development of their projects so easily and willingly.
Personally I have just about had enough with their constant drive for appeasement, and it is breaking my heart, this seemingly lack of conviction on their part. Again I say, I understand that it is their job, and that they are in the business of producing games that appeals and sells to the masses. But I couldn’t help but feel that somewhere along the line, their quest for the dollars has lead to the abandonment of their integrity, creativity, and artistic vision, and have in the process let innovation fall by the wayside.
While I might not be a fan of all of their works, I really do admire folks like David Cage, Peter Molyneux, Hideo Kojima, Will Wright, Richard Garriott, and others like them. I just wish more would join the ranks of these dwindling number of stubborn, self-righteous developers – people who are willing to stand their ground, and create products that are the results of the conviction of their own artistic visions and concepts.
Even if they don’t always succeed on what they set out to create, or deliver on their promises, at least you’d know that each time you start up one of their games, you’re in for something unique and distilled with personality. You know to expect pieces of art, and not some generically-average mass-produced clone of all the other games currently on the market.
Perhaps this is why I feel so jaded nowadays, and why the industry as a whole feels so stagnant to me. Damnit, I WANT to be shocked; I NEED to be scared; to be outraged; surprised. Perhaps I am unique in the way that I feel, but I just don’t want to be pleased anymore.