Like it or hate it, SE has developed a proclivity for revisiting successful installments in the Final Fantasy series and expanding those stories' continuities and universes. There are the myriad FFVII installments, the Tactics-inspired Ivalice Alliance games, FFX-2, FFXII Revenant Wings for the DS, and now SE is capitalizing on FFXIII with XIII-2 and the third, recently-announced Lightning-centric game.
In light of this established practice, and alongside the fact that FFXI is the company's most profitable game, I find it odd that no one has proposed a second installment in the Vana'diel universe, especially given its beautiful and enduring aesthetic, robust history and lore, and dedicated fan base. It seems to me like there would be a market for such a game, and if SE developed it correctly and took a few risks, they could knock this thing out of the park.
In this thread, should inspiration strike you, please feel free to share what you would like to see in a hypothetical "sequel" to FFXI.
A friend recently recommended I try out Valkyria Chronicles for the PS3 (NA release November 2008. I know, I know... /slowpoke.jpg). Valkyria Chronicles, for those who haven't played it, is a squad-based tactical role-playing game. You build teams with different character classes: scouts, shocktroopers, snipers, tanks and anti-tank units, etc. etc., and each class has its strengths and weaknesses. Each class can move a predetermined distance on the field and has a unique skill set. Then your squad faces off against an enemy squad, and you must position your units with an eye for both offense and defense.
It is very easy to imagine a FFXI-themed version of this game. You have the squads (parties/alliances), classes/jobs, and in Valkyria Chronicles, the characters you can select for your squads have different "personalities" and will perform differently depending on their surroundings (characters will perform better if they are on a squad with characters they like, characters with allergies will have lowered accuracy if stationed outside in nature, etc.). It's almost like running an event LS and building optimized parties for different situations, with an eye for both ability and personality.
A FFXI-2 game modeled loosely on the mechanics and gameplay found in Valkyria Chronicles could work well, in my opinion. First, it would be an opportunity to see a "next-gen" version of Vana'diel. I know a lot of XI players want to see a higher-res presentation of their second home, and no; Eorzea doesn't count. This could be an opportunity to provide that.
With that premise established, I'm envisioning a game that could be played either in a single-player story mode(offline), or online with both "co-op" and "versus" modes. Such a game should be designed so that a Final Fantasy fan who has never played FFXI could be able to pick it up, play it, and enjoy it without ever creating a FFXI account.
However, I think the real fun would happen by loosely integrating the two.
For example, an integrated FFXI-2 could scrape player data from the FFXI servers. Imagine being able to "recruit" the characters of your LS mates and use that character data in building your squad(s) in FFXI-2. Perhaps XI players who allow their characters to be "recruited" could earn a small in-game (XI) bonus. In other words, a XI-2 player could build his or her squads from the ground up, using the data found in XI-2 only, and achieve success without missing out on anything vital. Alternatively, the player could recruit LS friends or other players if they want -- maybe for a relic weapon bonus or a "friendship" bonus, or something along those lines.
Seems to me that marketing this would be a slam dunk. FFXI players who want to see what their characters and world would look like interpreted at a "next gen" resolution would be interested. Final Fantasy fans who are curious about XI and Vana'diel, but who don't want to play MMORPGs, would be interested. Veteran and retired FFXI players might be interested in a new play style for their beloved characters, and who knows? It might even inspire a few folks to sub or re-sub XI at this point.
That's my off-the-cuff idea for a FFXI-2 that I would be willing to buy and play. Feel free to expand on it if you like the premise, or to describe something entirely different if that's what you'd prefer to see in such a game. Have fun!