The father of Final Fantasy loves FF14 so much, fellow devs at his studio have had to log on sometimes to say 'hey, the meeting's started'

Krile, a member of the Students of Baldesion in FF14, considers a wax-sealed invitation in Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Have you heard of the critically-acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy 14? Founding father of the Final Fantasy franchise Hironobu Sakaguchi sure has.

After leaving the company in 2004 to found developer Mistwalker, Sakaguchi kept Square Enix broadly at arm's length, though the ice has melted in past years, with Sakaguchi joining forces with Square to re-release his mobile RPG Fantasian. He's also really been getting into FF14, playing it for 12 hours a day and, occasionally, trolling the game's director Naoki Yoshida live on stage.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Sakaguchi reflects on the eerie feeling of going to work with Square after over two decades, saying "It was almost like going to a 20-year high-school reunion".

As for his new habit, an event he was asked to attend in 2021 saw him logging onto FF14 for the first time and, like many of us, vanishing down the rabbit hole: "It started off as a courtesy … Now I almost live in Final Fantasy 14." He means it, too—Sakaguchi has been doing the game's hardest content, Ultimate raids—gruelling, 15 to 20-minute eight-person fights that can take months of practice and repeat attempts to beat for the first time.

Sakaguchi admits to Bloomberg that, mere minutes before his interview with the outlet, he was playing the recent expansion Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail. He adds that "on a rare occasion—I want to stress 'rare occasion'—sometimes one of the Mistwalker team members will hop on Final Fantasy 14, and I’ll see a message saying, 'Hey, the meeting’s started'".

His return to Square Enix doesn't mean he'll be helping create Final Fantasy games, though. That's due in part to the same commitments he made back in 2004, wanting to move onto new things, though he also implies that he'd rather not ruin FF14 for himself: "If I take on the Final Fantasy brand again, I don't know if I’ll be able to genuinely enjoy Final Fantasy 14 as much".

That's fair enough. 'Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life' is decent advice in a vacuum, but it's more often the case that working on stuff you love does, inevitably, turn it into work. As for Dawntrail itself, the expansion's available to play right now—and while it's been getting a mixed reception, I've still been having an overall blast, spoiler-blabbing NPCs notwithstanding.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.