Only days into the new year, fans of the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy 14 are concerned for the future of the game, as Square Enix recently revealed worrying plans for the future of its properties. Even before any official announcements, fans are already pushing back against possible effects a recent statement from the Square Enix president could have on Final Fantasy 14.
Final Fantasy 14 has run for many years at this point and recently saw a massive surge of success with the Endwalker expansion. As such, a game with a large playerbase has a responsibility to listen to fans, lest it fail to retain players.
On New Year’s Day 2022, a letter from Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda was published on Square Enix’s official website. Within the letter, Matsuda spoke in support of cryptocurrency, NFTs and a movement from games being designed for players who “play to have fun” to “play to contribute” as he words it. Naturally, such statements are attracting major backlash from players, given the controversial, ill-advised and often financially unsustainable place NFTs and cryptocurrency currently have in gaming. Especially in a game that lives on content updates such as Final Fantasy 14, the possibility of such things being implemented in future expansions is a real cause for concern.
The vast majority of recent relevant posts on the Final Fantasy 14 subreddit are calling for Square Enix to reconsider its NFT ventures, with Matsuda’s letter bringing widespread attention to the issue. Hopefully with the financial failure of other companies’ NFT ventures, Square Enix will avoid the trouble of becoming involved with the controversial technology any further, but only time will tell.
The context of the letter fits into a high lack of self-awareness; the Final Fantasy series, especially Final Fantasy 7 and its recent remake, carry heavily pro-environmentalist messages. To implement technologies widely known for their high negative environmental impact into the same series as Final Fantasy 7 would betray the core values upheld by much of the franchise, coming full circle as Square Enix becomes a parallel to its own villains. Even Final Fantasy 7 itself is not immune to corporate cashgrabs, as evidence points to the PC port of FF7 Remake being rushed and unfinished.
Square Enix is far from the only massive company stepping into the blockchain space, and is not even the only one doing so against its franchises’ core ideals; SEGA of Japan announced last year that the company would be experimenting with NFTs, but backlash seems to be effective against the potentially devastating move, with the environmentalist message of Sonic the Hedgehog commonly cited as antithetical to NFTs. For now, it remains to be seen how Square Enix will approach NFTs and the Final Fantasy 14 community’s response to them.
Final Fantasy 14 is available now for PC, PS4, and PS5.