For the two-plus hour duration of Final Fantasy XIV‘s Digital Fan Festival 2021 Keynote Address, Producer/Director Naoki Yoshida was dressed in stuffy black leather and carried a heavy-looking scythe around a sizable stage. He felt hot. He was visibly sweating. More than once, he gulped down water like his life depended on it. Frankly, Yoshida-san was breathless.
All things considered, I couldn’t imagine a more fitting look for the guy. He wanted to show off the horror-genre vibe of the Reaper, a newly-announced melee DPS job class. Right on. But his moderate physical distress merely accentuated the fact that this was one packed event. New information on Endwalker, FFXIV‘s upcoming expansion, flowed as freely as the wine that had surely been poured for the hard-working Yoshida in the hours leading up to the Keynote Address.
A full trailer! A release date! A first look at several new locations! A brief survey of upcoming dungeons! The announcement of the next great Alliance Raid! I could keep going. In fact, I will keep going, but not until you’ve had a chance to savor the trailer alongside me.
Everything is sexy. Everyone is sexy. Final Fantasy XIV is a sexy-looking game. I’ve grown to care deeply about these characters. Have you? Are you as eager to catch up with Thancred, Urianger, and Y’shtola as I am? To say nothing of Estinien. Yoshida reiterated what we learned in the latest Patch (5.5), to my squealing delight, that Mr. Brooding Dragoon Man himself will be joining the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. He’ll also be made available for use in the game’s Trust System. This is it, folks; the dragoon has officially joined the party.
But I’m focusing overmuch on one announcement of many. There are far wider-lens things to discuss. Like, oh, I don’t know, the fact that Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will release on November 23rd of this year. As Yoshida and his good friend/faithful translator Michael-Christopher Koji Fox lamented, late November is practically winter already in many parts of the world. In true overachiever fashion, Yoshida lamented that it’s taking a few more months than usual for this next big expansion to launch. Never mind that his development team is packing the resolution to an eight-year narrative journey into there, nor that an entire global pandemic knocked Square Enix (and everyone else) off-course economically as well as emotionally. Yoshida-san still wants you to know that he’s sorry you won’t be going to the moon any sooner.
Those of us who preorder—and let’s be honest, who among us won’t be—will get to enjoy Endwalker‘s plethora of new zones, familiar characters, and inevitably tear-jerking plot twists a few days early on November 19th. Preordering will also net you a Wind-up Palom minion and a Menphina earring. The earring will help you crank your levels to the new cap of 90. The minion serves as one reminder among many that Endwalker is echoing the themes of Final Fantasy IV in all kinds of ways.
Take the Lopporits, for example. They’re rabbit people. No, not Viera — though we’re finally getting male Viera, so I suppose this is as good a point as any to bring that up. The Lopporits are clearly thinly-veiled allusions to FFIV‘s Namingways, a race of record keepers off the bunny-go-lucky variety. The Namingways are now back, under a different name, which I reckon is weirdly apt, no? And there’s the Lunar Whale, our newly-released eight-person mount. And plenty of remixed Final Fantasy IV musical fare brought to us as ever by the exceptional Masayoshi Soken.
Basically, there’s a whole lot of IV in XIV. Now about those male Viera:
Dungeons, Raids, More
“Myths of the Realm,” Endwalker‘s set of Alliance Raids, will tantalizingly take a closer look at The Twelve, guardian spirits of Hydaelyn who until now really haven’t factored nearly as much in the ongoing lore as one might expect given that we’re told to pick one as our own during character creation. This feels like it’s a long time coming, and if I’m being honest, I’m glad we’re going back to something distinctly XIV rather than another epic crossover with a separate game entirely.
As the sweat dripped from his face, Naoki Yoshida relentlessly took us on a quick tour of some upcoming dungeons. He’d earned respite by then; already, he had given us videos featuring the reveals of regions such as moon-roving Mare Lamentorum, hub city Old Sharlayan, colorful Thavnair, and mysterious clockwork-like Labyrinthos. But still he pressed forward, scythe in hand, and I was beginning to sweat just trying to keep up with all of this. I know we say it often, but I don’t think we say it enough — Yoshida’s development staff is among the best and the most productive in the business.
We’re a little over half a year away from walking to the end in Endwalker. It feels so far away, but I promise you that like any clever Ascian, it will sneak up on us so swiftly we’ll wonder if it was hiding behind a chair all along. RPGFan will continue to cover everything Eorzea in the interim, including tomorrow’s Letter from the Producer LIVE. Don’t miss it! For more coverage on the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival, check out the front page and our Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and Shadowbringers hub pages.