Square Enix is bringing Final Fantasy XIV Online exclusively to PlayStation 3 in 2010, Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton said at E3 in a surprise reveal. [UPDATE: Game is console-exclusive to PS3, also launching on PC - see below for more details.]
The announcement came during Sony's E3 press conference at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles after showing extended footage of the single-player Final Fantasy XIII, which will debut in North America Spring 2010.
After the reception elicited by a shocked audience, Tretton joked, "There's one that didn't leak out," a reference to the multiple Sony-related press leaks in the days leading up to E3.
Tretton revealed virtually no details about Final Fantasy XIV Online, or if the 2010 release date was a worldwide launch target.
The last Final Fantasy online game, Final Fantasy XI, was released in the U.S. in 2004 for PC and PS2, following its 2002 release in Japan. It then migrated to Xbox 360 in 2006. Square Enix still operates the title, which is one of the most successful Japanese MMOs.
Square Enix vice president Hiromichi Tanaka and president Yoichi Wada have both commented in the past on the surprising success of its original MMO title, though other flirtations with the genre -- Front Mission Online and Fantasy Earth have made no waves and remain unreleased outside of Japan.
Given the popularity of the game at Japan's internet cafes and the rest of Asia's fondness for the platform -- as well as the existing PC Final Fantasy XI audience, it's surprising that the company will release the game exclusively on Sony's platform.
[UPDATE: According to a press release from Square Enix debuting after the Sony press conference, FFXIV Online is in fact console-exclusive to the PS3, not an overall exclusive, showing the kind of confusing remarks often given over exclusivity in press conferences.
The release notes that the game will have "a simultaneous global release" and will be localized into English, French, German, and Japanese. The tagline is "Adventure begins anew in the vast realm of Eorzea!"
In addition, the development staff is led by producer Hiromichi Tanaka (Final Fantasy XI), with art direction by Akihiro Yoshida (Vagrant Story) and music from FF series mainstay Nobuo Uematsu.]