It seems we shouldn’t expect a new MMORPG entry in the RPG series anytime soon.
It was way back in 2002 when Square made the surprising decision to release Final Fantasy XI as a MMORPG. The series had long been a single player affair (barring a few games that let you use a second controller in battle), and at that time MMOs weren’t that common, being a few years before World of Warcraft blew the hinges off the door there. It found its audience enough that Square tried again with Final Fantasy XIV, a game that was a disaster, but was saved by an incredible expansion that reworked the entire core of the title. It’s still ongoing today, with major updates still coming. It looks like it could be the last time Square goes into that realm, too, by the sound of it.
In speaking with Spieletipps, Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida and Head Writer Banri Oda said there was no plans for an online sequel to XIV. They are going to continue to focus on updating XIV and using online concepts and ideas they have being saved for that game. As of now, there’s no discussion about trying another MMO entry in the series (thanks to PCGamesN for translations).
Considering both the long development periods we’re seeing for the mainline games coupled with the general state of MMORPGs, it’s not too surprising. Final Fantasy XIV has managed to cultivate a strong base, too, so Square Enix focusing on that seems like a smart move. But, of course, when we get to Final Fantasy XVII, things may change, but who knows when that’ll be.