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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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  1. Victor Stillwater

    Geez… I just went to sleep.

    Then Square Enix drops this sort of thing while I’m sleeping?!

    It’s a good thing I haven’t purchased my new computer yet, or I’d be kicking myself in the balls right now.

  2. gamebynight.com

    Yikes…time to seriously re-consider my pre-order. I don’t have the kind of money it would take to upgrade my rig for this.

  3. Cindy

    You know how I feel about this Chris so I’ll keep this short: If most gamers think they can run this at launch on high settings they are dreaming.

    They make games to look amazing for a long time, the down side is that the PC requirements for the first year at least is very, very high.

    I know I won’t be able to enjoy the full splendor of Eorzea for the next 2 years with my budget (or more), but that’s okay at least the game will keep looking amazing the beefier my PC gets. ;D

    1. Chris

      Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. And, like I said, I think the game will run at high settings with lower hardware because they’re quoting for 4x AA above. That’s what I don’t get – unless the game is very poorly rendered at high resolutions, why would they overshoot so much by setting AA that high? The game should look fine with 2x or none, since it’s designed to be played at a higher resolution. It doesn’t seem to make much sense, why would they try to overshoot so much?

    2. The Claw

      If the system requirements scare off or drive off too many players, will the “full splendor of Eorzea” include enough players to make the game fun in two years time? That’s the risk they’re taking.

  4. motstandet

    Heaven forbid a game is judged on its gameplay.

    This is an MMORPG we are talking about. How often do players cry about a graphics update during an MMO’s lifetime? People have been asking for a graphics overhaul in WoW for years. EVE and EQ both had facelifts. EQ2 released with a Performance Warning. http://i27.tinypic.com/dmd16o.jpg

    AoC and Aion didn’t flop because of intense graphics settings. They failed to get subscribers because they offered the same solo quest grind that WoW had except it was less polished. They had nothing else to do except level. By yourself. For 2 months. Why would anyone with a raid-geared uber WoW character leave their progression and all their friends to relearn the same systems?

    WAR, STO, and Champions also crashed and burned not because of the poly counts of their models or the resolution of their textures. They offered the same sterile, solo grind to cap with nothing of interest while en route. SWTOR will soon meet the same fate.

    I have little faith in FF14 not beacuse of its namestake to FFXI or because of its graphics. Rather, it will be just as boring as all the other titles I’ve listed. Going on what information the public has, this will be a typical session of FF14: log in; go to your favorite Guild; pick up some Guild Leves (AKA quests); do all the solo ones since no one wants to party; since all the leves take place in instances, play by yourself for an hour without all those pesky others players. Gee! Sign me up!

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      I’m going to be there no matter what. This post has more to do with marketing decisions than judgments on the game itself.

      1. motstandet

        I think a population explosion on opening day, a la Warhammer, is not a sound business strategy. A slow build up is much more manageable from design and infrastructure standpoints.

        SE gets a core userbase that will stick with them through thick and thin while they add content and patches throughout the first few months. When the rest of the MMORPG population catches wind that FF14 is out, the game will have a bit more polish and tons of user-news and comments to help new players along. Allakhazam or some other online resource will have articles and wiki entries. Communities will be established.

        Not everyone wants to participate in the Chaotic Exploration of the first month.

  5. Ace

    Guys, this is the recommended settings. Remember what Crysis’s recommended were when it came out? I have an i5 HD 5770 and 4 GB RAM, it runs beautiful on my pc.

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