Sony today announced a new television project set in the world of Square Enix’s phoenix-like MMO, Final Fantasy XIV. The announcement was extremely light on details, as is typical for this sort of thing, but Sony did include a few crucial tidbits to whet our appetites.
Perhaps most importantly, the project is taking shape inside of Hivemind, the production company responsible for The Expanse, as well as Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of The Witcher. Expanse Executive Producers Jason F. Brown and Sean Daniel are both attached as producers, as is Dinesh Shamdasani, who is currently producing the Vin Diesel vehicle Bloodshot for Sony Pictures. Writing duties will be performed by Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig, who, according to IMDb at least, have extremely little to their names. They will also serve as the project’s Executive Produces, which inspires a lot less confidence than if Brown and Daniel were taking the helm.
The series will tell a new story set in XIV‘s world of Eorzea, according to Sony, who otherwise gave no details of substance beyond assuring fans that chocobos, airships and at least one person named Cid will make an appearance. There was no mention of cast, nor was any space given to when the show might be expected to premiere, or on what network/service, though it’s worth noting that Amazon Studios has first dibs on television products produced by Hivemind.
At this point in a new show’s production, literally anything could happen. The writing team could grow, fracture, change entirely, or stay exactly as-is for the duration of the show. The show might languish in pre-production obscurity for the next five years, only to be sold to a different production company entirely. Sony might decide that it’d rather fund a true crime podcast set in the world of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. We could end up with a line of Final Fantasy-branded salad dressings benefiting the Newman Foundation, instead of a TV show. Who knows.
That said, Final Fantasy XIV is a hell of a game and we’re glad to see it get some multimedia attention. For those unfamiliar, the game originally launched in 2010 as a successor to Square Enix’s first MMO, Final Fantasy XI. Reception was so poor that Square Enix president Yoichi Wada apologized to everyone that had purchased the game. Monthly subscription fees were suspended indefinitely, and the development team was completely restructured, with Producer Hiromichi Tanaka removed from the project entirely and Director Nobuaki Komoto demoted to Lead Designer. Naoki Yoshida, who had previously served as Chief Planner on Dragon Quest X, was brought in to lead the project.
Eventually, Yoshida concluded that Final Fantasy XIV‘s source code was so thoroughly bungled that the entire game should be scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up. Incremental improvements to the existing game were made while development worked on a brand-new version, which eventually launched to hugely positive critical/player reception on August 27, 2013 as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The game has been going strong ever since, with five “extensions” (read: major content patches) and two full-size expansions currently under its belt. Shadowbringers, the third expansion, is set to release next Tuesday, July 2, which introduces two new cities, five new areas, and three new tribes.