FFXIV Just Scared a Lot of People Off (Recommended Requirements)

Word on the recommended system requirements for Final Fantasy 14 (dropping Sept. 30th) has been spreading like wildfire across the internet today. Here’s a direct link to the source, but I’ll repost it here:

The following PC specifications are required to run the game smoothly with our stipulated in-game settings. 

Window Size and Display Mode 		1280x720 (Windowed)
Ambient Occlusion 		        OFF
Depth of Field 		                ON
Shadow Detail 		                Standard
Multisampling 		                4x MSAA
Buffer Size 		                Window Size
Texture Quality 		        High
Texture Filtering 		        High 

Recommended System Requirements 

OS 	                Windows® 7 32-bit/64-bit*
CPU 	                Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66GHz or higher
                        # AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
RAM 	                4GB or more
HDD/SDD   Installation: 15GB of free space
              Download: 6GB of free space on the drive containing "My Documents"
Graphics Card 	        NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460 or better with VRAM 768MB or more
                        # ATI HD 5830 1GB or better.
Sound Card 	        DirectSound® compatible sound card (DirectX® 9.0c or higher)
Internet Connection 	Broadband or better (always-on)
Resolution 	        1280x720 (32-bit) or higher
DirectX®          	DirectX® 9.0c
Others 	                Mouse, Keyboard, Gamepad 

Wait, what? A core i7 and an nVidia 460? That’s quite a step up from 2GHz Core 2 Duo and the 9600 that the minimum reqs stated. Looking at price alone, the card will run you $200 and the processor $289 ($450+ if you need a motherboard to support it).  If you’re buying a pre-assembled PC with these specs, be ready to pay over $1000. And that’s to run the game smoothly on high settings. In my opinion, this just reeks of unoptimization. Just like Vanguard and AoC before it, if Square-Enix comes out and asks for a $500 investment to see the game in all its glory, it’s going to flop. No one wants to do that — and only a select few of even the most diehard FF fans would consider spending so much to upgrade for a single game.

This kind of information is an absolute shot to the foot for the game. The benchmark was so poorly done that it gave people with some pretty beefy rigs poor scores. Then this? It’s a shame. While we might know FFXIV is different than XI, a lot of people don’t. This is just more reason for people to write the game off before it ever hits store shelves.

Let’s be realistic here, though. Those settings are pretty high up. 4X antialiasing? I almost never do that. I would bet that turning it down to even 2x would drop those requirements significantly. Drop shadows a touch and you’re in the clear to run the game with a moderate to average gaming pc (or at least one with a decent video card) — while still seeing a game that texturally looks beautiful.

So, unless the game needs 4x antialiasing, why would they release inflated figures like this? The only answer I can come up with is that they want to overshoot it to keep people from complaining on launch day.

The general lack of buzz surrounding the imminent release of this AAA game is deafening. It gets regular coverage in a few select areas only. Dodging performance complaints from a few over enthusiastic players shouldn’t be a concern at this point. I think the company would be better served by expanding on the potential audience and stirring the pot a little bit. People like to get excited for upcoming games. Like Syp says, it’s half the fun. Right now, FFXIV looks like it’ll release with a whimper.

Even though I find basing the requirements on settings that shouldn’t even be necessary to be a poor decision, I’m still excited for this game. I doubt these figures are accurate unless you’re adamant about your AA. In which case, you probably have the PC to support it. Final Fantasy 14 offers a lot that’s different from our usual MMO trappings. I like that innovation and think it has a lot of promise for a long-lasting game experience. Don’t let these requirements scare you off.

I predict that when the NDA drops we’ll be hearing and seeing screenshots from people with far lower spec’d computers than the above. First hand reports will be the most telling. I’ll be watching with baited breath. As much as I’d like to upgrade, I’m hoping to push out some high settings on my 260GTX and 3GHz dual core– even if AA has to be axed entirely.

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