Final Fantasy XIX Online landed on PC in September last year with a 30-day free trial in place, but Square is yet to claim a penny from players over six months later, and says it won't do until firm plans for improvements are in place.
The game suffered a turbulent launch receiving mass criticism from reviews and players alike. The game's original producer, Hiromichi Tanaka, put the game's shortcomings in part down to his "inexperienced" team shortly before Square replaced him with the current producer Naoki Yoshida.
Speaking with Gamasutra, Yoshida said Square will not ask players to pay for the game until improvement plans are set in stone. "It was pretty much personally because I've been a player for so long. I wanted to make sure that I would only ask the player to pay for something" when a firm plan for improvements had been established, he said.
Yoshida explained that Square offering the game for free at its own expense is a statement of intent. "The reason we're doing this is we're showing the players, yes, it's still costing us a lot of money, and we're not getting that money back yet, but we're serious about making these changes. This is one of the ways that we can show players that we are serious and we are taking it seriously."
Expensive though this campaign may be, Yoshida insists Square is in a position to pull it off: "It's because Square Enix is funding this project 100 percent. That's why we can do this. Only Square Enix can do something like this."