Square Enix is to give troubled MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV a complete overhaul as part of a version 2.00 update scheduled for release next year.
Final Fantasy XIV wasn't given the warmest of welcomes when it launched, with fans and reviewers complaining about its atrocious interface and poor technical performance.
PC Gamer awarded it 30 percent, saying "it is so deeply flawed that I can't even see how future updates could redeem it".
In an open letter, Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida and Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said Square Enix has decided to rebuild the game in a bid to set things right.
"In the ten months since the Final Fantasy XIV team's restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game's existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game's new direction," said Wada.
As part of the overhaul the unbilled period, which allowed users to play the game at no cost, will come to a close and players will be charged a subscription fee.
The auto-renew subscription function has been reset, so players who want to be automatically billed will have to reactivate the feature manually.
"We will need to bring the unbilled period to a close between late November and early December 2011, and introduce our subscription-based billing system," Wada said.
"I appreciate that this decision will not be popular, but it is a necessary step in building upon the foundation our fans and development team have made together and to realise the full potential of Final Fantasy XIV."
The letter adds that the Final Fantasy XIV development team will be fine-tuning and creating content for the game right up until its eventual update next year.
"Between now and release of the new Final Fantasy XIV, we will do as much as possible by way of fine-tuning the game and adding new content. Our focus will be on the theme of a story that can only be experienced in the here and now, and the dramatic changes to Eorzea will be incorporated into that storyline.
"Each update will deliver an unprecedented and unrepeatable game experience. For those of you continuing to play, I promise that the release of these updates and the eventual transition to the new Final Fantasy XIV will both come smoothly and seamlessly.
The Japanese publisher also announced the PS3 version of FFXIV will be available between October and December of 2012. To coincide with the release there will be a play-for-free period for the game as well as a mandatory client update for PC users.
"Among our new plans is the fundamental reworking of in-game maps," Square said. "As part of this process, there will be a period required for switching over to a new client and new servers, after which there will be a large transfer of data when service is brought back online.
"After the new client is completed, new software for the PC version will be distributed online, and can be acquired free of charge. Character data and progress for players already playing the PC version will also be preserved, allowing those players to continue using their in-game avatars".
Wada concluded: "The team will stop short of nothing as they move towards realizing the new Final Fantasy XIV, and as they do so, I humbly ask for both your understanding and support."