The Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival kicked off today with a whole host of exciting announcements. The event, which starts back up again tomorrow, serves to highlight both upcoming content for Final Fantasy XIV and signal boost the amazing work done by the passionate and ever-growing fanbase of the game.
If any game was to rise above the challenges of a COVID-19 world and still deliver its community a feeling of connection and celebration, Final Fantasy XIV would be the one. After pivoting to digital events in 2020, the annual Fan Festival has become a beloved tradition among fans who flood to Twitch and YouTube to enjoy a variety of live streams, as well as digital activities and of course, swag.
The event runs for two days, both of which heavily feature the games iconic director and producer, Naoki Yoshida, who this year took to the stage for his opening keynote in full cosplay. Yoshida, often considered the man behind the game’s successful relaunch and galvanized fanbase, strutted out in fantastical Victorian-era garb wielding an intricate, huge scythe. The dramatic opening to the two-day event was followed by a keynote full of cool new information that we have catalogued below!
Endwalker Release Date and Details!
First up, the biggest headline of the event: Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker is coming this November. Players who pre-order the latest expansion pack will receive early access to its content on the 19th, a nice four-day bonus before the wider launch on November 23. Alongside the standard edition, Endwalker will also be available in a Collector’s Edition, Digital Collector’s Edition and a Collector’s Box Edition.
Yoshida’s opening keynote unveiled new details alongside the release date including playable jobs, races, locations and more. Endwalker looks set to bring with it a challenge of the grandest scale, a second attempt at the apocalyptic Final Days which millions of players have dutifully prevented for years now. The tone of the above cinematic is decidedly fierce and desperate, a realm wide struggle against destiny and one utterly gorgeous villain, Zenos.
Yoshida has previously teased that Endwalker could potentially reset the game in a sense but exactly how this all shakes out will be revealed in November.
In the meantime, players were shown a brand new location, Old Sharlayan, a coastal paradise of white stone grandiosity. The town gives me strong Rome before the fall vibes, doubly so considering its political powers seem to be hunkering down and avoiding the great fight in the Endwalker cinematic. Venturing out of town you’ll also be invited to visit two new areas, Labyrinthos and Mare Lamentorum, the latter a celestial playground that seems to sprawl forever.
These new locations join the previously announced town and area, Radz-at-Han and Thavnair, making Endwalker‘s collection of places to see a truly impressive and varied one. If sightseeing isn’t your thing you’ll be pleased to hear that the expansion also comes complete with new tribes and foes to overcome and, of course, a new Alliance Raid series called “Myths of the Realm”.
All in all, Endwalker‘s expansion of the world of Final Fantasy XIV is shaping up to be an unmissable one. If you’re looking to pre-order any of the editions for that early access you should act quickly as fans are already clambering to get their hands on them. Check out the link here for more details. And for those Aussie fans, consider joining the lovely folks over at the Final Fantasy XIV Australia and New Zealand Facebook group as they’ve been helping each other all day with where to find some good local options.
New Endwalker Job and Races
As it turns out, Yoshida didn’t just dress up and brandish a scythe for fun. His cosplaying antics were done in celebration of the latest Job added to Final Fantasy XIV in the Endwalker expansion, Reaper. This mele focused DPS role sees level 70 players take up a scythe for close-range damage while also drawing upon the dark arts to summon a Voidsent familiar to do battle with. The aesthetic and known moveset of the Reaper class is a fantastic blend of glamour and Eldritch horror that would make FromSoftware blush.
Reapers join the previously announced Sage healer/DPS hybrid class to form an interesting contrast of new roles for players to look forward to in Endwalker. Zenos, the long white-haired antagonist of the piece and my soon to be husband, looks set to take on the role of a Reaper too, a fitting job for one attempting to usher in the end of the world. I can fix him though, don’t worry.
It also appears as though Yoshida and co have taken fan’s desires into consideration as Endwalker will also do away with a divisive gender restriction. Shadowbringers, the previous expansion, introduced the Viera, a humanoid bunny race who were previously only playable as females but as of Endwalker, male Viera will also be an option. Square Enix has also said that the Hrothgar male race will receive a female option sometime in the future.
This is the kind of step toward a more balanced representation that fans of the MMO will likely celebrate, itself being a space in which progressive communities have felt welcomed and supported in the past. While still only adhering to the gender binary, the decision to no longer lock certain characters behind it is a welcome one.
Oceania Data Centre
Yoshida had one more announcement up his Reaper sleave today, revealing that Final Fantasy XIV will be adding a new data centre for the Oceania region. This is fantastic news for those of us who play the game in either Australia or New Zealand and are tired of the lag which can sometimes plague sessions. The new centre joins the already established ones in Japan, Europe and North America, shifting some of the strain placed on those to a new one of our own.
We should expect to see the new data centre go live during the release window of Endwalker and the Patch 6.0 update this November. Aussie fans have already flooded social media with celebratory posts as the new Data Center looks to not only improve our gaming here but also shows a desire from Square Enix for a truly global Final Fantasy XIV community.
This brings us to the end of the major announcements from day one of the event! Tomorrow things kick off again with a full day of fan-focused celebrations, some Yoshida led interviews and Q&As, and so much more. Be sure to check back with us tomorrow night for another rundown and keep your eyes on the official site for the livestream of day two that kicks off at 11am AEST.