We've already seen how dedicated Naoki Yoshida and his team is to Final Fantasy XIV with the first major content patch that hit back in December.
A Realm Awoken, as the 2.1 patch was dubbed, added a wealth of new content to an already pretty rich experience -- revamped, "hard mode" versions of popular dungeons for Level 50 characters to challenge; a 24-player raid in iconic Final Fantasy locale The Crystal Tower; PvP; housing for Free Companies (in-game guilds); and a whole host of new sidequests. Coming next month is Maelstrom, another major content addition that will feature a similar amount of new stuff for players to explore, including a brand new Primal boss to fight along with some surprises. And Yoshida has said several times that his aim is to release content updates of similar proportions on a regular basis.
He's thinking long-term too, though, if a quote from a Polygon report is to be believed -- a quote in which Yoshida explained how his team is still going "full throttle" to make Final Fantasy XIV the best experience it can be, and how the reality of his successful, against-all-odds relaunch probably won't sink in until the game's first full expansion has been released.
This is the first time there's been real talk of an expansion for the new game -- A Realm Reborn is still relatively new in MMO terms, after all, but the more dedicated players out there are already hungry to see some new classes, particularly those of the promised "Support" type that will slot in alongside the existing Tank, Healer and DPS jobs. Yoshida seemingly wouldn't be drawn on details of what a full expansion might offer, but given that Final Fantasy XI has been supported with a number of such additions over its long lifespan, it's not unreasonable to assume that Final Fantasy XIV will be the same, particularly now the launch has proven successful.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Yoshida's comments, however, is that he claims the game's first expansion, whatever it ends up being, will include "the [same] amount of content released with the relaunch." That's a ton of new content, on top of what the game already offers plus the regular, free updates.
"If this was Rocky, and I was in a fighting match, once I knock out the opponent, I could cheer," explained Yoshida. "But that's not really the case for an MMO. We've got to keep going." And what better way to get people to stick around than with an expansion that effectively doubles the number of possible things to do in the game? Sounds good to me.
Yoshida and the team are presently gearing up for the PlayStation 4 release of the game, which is set for this April. Prior to that, there will be two beta testing periods -- one beginning on February 22 and running until March 3, and a second running between April 4 and April 7. Note that character data from the first PS4 beta test will be deleted; character data from the April test, meanwhile, will carry across to live service when it begins. All PlayStation 4 owners are eligible to take part in the beta test -- all you need is a Square Enix account and the PS4 client, which you'll be able to download from the PlayStation Store. Full details can be found here.