Final Fantasy XIV’s Decade-Long Story Will Find Closure in “Endwalker”
Endwalker — the upcoming expansion — was recently announced by Square Enix and the game’s director Naoki Yoshida during a live presentation. Back in March of 2010, when Yoshida was appointed producer and director of the then-highly problematic massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV by Yoichi Wada (who was serving as CEO of Square Enix at the time), few could’ve imagined all the things he had in mind.
The skilled developer and his team have been hard at work for over a decade now and thanks to their dedication and inspiration, many players from all around the world who had previously marked the game as a complete failure decided to give it a second chance. And they were highly rewarded for that decision as with each new patch and expansion, FF XIV has jumped forward leaps and bounds to now become one of the most respected games in its genre, with an active subscriber base that exceeds the 20 million mark!
And yet, it appears they’re far from finished. In fact, all of this was according to a well-thought-out plan that began from when Yoshida first devised the title of XIV’s first-ever expansion: A Realm Reborn.
Recently, he appeared in front of an online audience to announce to the world that the next step in the journey of the Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn will be taking place within the new expansion titled “Endwalker,” which will be released worldwide this fall (2021). And although Yoshida only showed a small bit of what he and his team have in store for the fans of the game, it was still enough to leave quite an impression.
Yet one of the most fascinating bits of information came when Yoshida unveiled the image you see above. Slowly he began to explain the hidden meaning behind the title and logo of each of the previous expansions and also the upcoming one, stating that with “Endwalker” the Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga will finally come to an end and players will be moving on to new adventures.
That explanation holds such great meaning and strength behind it since it indicates that this is the point that Yoshida had planned on reaching ever since the day he took leadership of this project all those years ago. It signifies the faith that he had both within his own skills and also his team’s abilities that despite the initial failure of FF XIV 1.0, they would not only be able to keep it alive but also continue it successfully up until this day and even beyond.
The successful re-branding of the game, the rise in popularity, the great reviews, the high subscriber base, none of that was based on pure luck alone. It was a result of meticulous planning and extremely hard work and dedication by a man and his team.
WHAT’S TO COME IN “ENDWALKER”
Going back into the upcoming patch, Yoshida did make a few reveals, yet as per usual with the expansions, he left the major info leaks for the upcoming Fan Festival. This event will occur digitally on May 15–16, which means it will be available for everyone to live stream for free.
From what he did let us in on, it seems the Warrior of Light and the Scions will initially be taking on the man known as Fandaniel, while Zenos Yae Galvus, the main antagonist of Stormblood will also be making a return. From the sense given by the opening trailer, our heroes will be up against some truly insurmountable odds this time around. The fact that this is the end of the Hydaelyn and Zodiark story arc also leaves open many promises for some truly epic trials!
As for new locations, players will finally have the chance to explore some long-awaited areas such as Thavnair — and one of its main cities Radz-at-Han — but also Garlemald, home of the evil Garlean Empire. Although from the few images that were shown during the show, the entire region will have been laid to waste by the time players get to explore it, for reasons yet to be revealed.
There will also be two new jobs available for players, a melee DPS type and a healer type, although for now we were only given information on the healer. It will be the Sage, who will come equipped with four Nouliths, weapons imbued with ember through which he can attack enemies and heal allies. A new differentiation between healer-jobs was also announced, as they will now be divided between “barrier” healers (Sage and Scholar) with the ability to provide buffs to their party and “pure” healers who focus on keeping the group’s HP up. As for that second job, well, the only clue we got is that it has to do with ‘heat’. It definitely won’t be a necromancer though…
The level cap will be raised from 80 to 90, as is usually the case with each expansion and there will be also new dungeons, raids, and trials on offer. Among them, the ones that definitely made the greatest impression on viewers was Anima, a trial based on the Aeon possessed by Final Fantasy X antagonist Seymour Guado and Pandaemonium, an alliance raid named after an area previously featured in both Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy IX. It will be heavily focused on Lahabrea, one of the leaders of the game’s main antagonist group, the Ascians.
There will also be upgrades to the Trust System, allowing players to use the Scions in even more dungeons and thus eliminating the need to queue in order to find members for a party. Joining the team will be the popular “Heavensward” character Estinien Wyrmblood. He will playable as a tank.
Other changes and additions include the ability to travel to other worlds through the Data Center Travel System, the chance to purchase a residence in Ishgard thanks to the end of the Ishgardian Restoration storyline and the Island Sanctuary, FF XIV’s little slice of paradise where you’ll be able to kick back and raise your own crops.
Before the end of the presentation, the current Square Enix CEO appeared on stage to announce that FF XIV will soon be making the next-gen leap, with the open beta becoming available to the public with the launch of patch 5.5 on April 13th. A small trailer demonstrated the power of the PlayStation 5’s engine showing how quickly players will be able to teleport from one location to the next. Yoshida added that there will be two versions available for PS5 players: one with full 4K visuals and another that maintains a steady framerate of 60fps and they can easily be switched through the game’s options menu. In closing, it was made known that current FFXIV subscribers will be able to update to the PS5 version with no extra charge.
And that’s about it for the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV’s next expansion. With the experience and expertise that this development team has gained over this long period of time, we can be sure that this will be an adventure that nobody will want to miss! Yet even though this may be the end of an era for the Warrior of Light, Naoki Yoshida denied all speculation that this may also be the end of his own work on the title, indicating that he has no plans of going anywhere. As he said, he views FF XIV as his “life’s work…” More to come in May!