Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2019 Paris Highlights

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Wowsers, what an awesome two days in Paris! For those of you that don’t know, I’m a huge Final Fantasy XIV fan and last weekend was their fan festival, an event held in 3 cities every two years. I attended the Paris fan festival – the others are Las Vegas (October 2018) and Tokyo (March 2019). We heard about some amazing new content on its way in the Shadowbringers expansion. To kick of proceedings, we were treated to an extended version of the trailer previously released at Fan Fest Las Vegas:

So exciting! This trailer, the keynote and the letter from the producer live revealed a bunch of new information about the upcoming expansion. Here are some of the key highlights of the event and what new details on the next FF XIV installment provided by producer and director Naoki Yoshida on behalf of his team:

  • Y’shtola and Urianger appeared in the new trailer donning dark new apparel surrounded by a woodland inferno. Has Y’shtola become a black mage? Is she the cause of the fire burning around her? Are we the ‘friend’ she’s waiting for? Localisation team head Michael Christopher Koji Fox said that she seemed to be a black mage, but wouldn’t confirm either way, Perhaps it’s just a new outfit (as it bears no resemblance to the revealed BLM artifact gear). Many fans are speculating that Koji Fox and Yoshi-P wouldn’t confirm she’s a black mage because she’s in fact a necromancer. If this is true, perhaps that is our third and final new job for the expansion? They released limited job Blue Mage some weeks ago and confirmed Gunbreaker this weekend. The slideshow at the festival referred to “multiple new jobs” being introduced in Shadowbringers, so perhaps they’ll be announcing two or three at Tokyo fan fest, and maybe Necromancer is one of them? This would however conflict with rumours that we will see a new healing job – Dancer. The Square Enix team are good at keeping us guessing! Side note, I’m finding the ‘Urianger is super hot‘ bandwagon really funny! He looked pretty badass, and as an Astrologian main I’m pretty excited to have a Scion adopting the role too. I didn’t recognise him at all though in the trailer – had to wait for someone to tell me it was Urianger..!
  • Gunbreaker is our first Shadowbringers job, and it’s a tank role. I know we had Blue Mage at the start of the year, but it is technically a Stormblood job and is limited, so arguably it is more side content than actual job. That makes Gunbreaker our first real Shadowbringers job. Thancred was displaying some awesome looking skills in the new trailer (swoon!) and there’s real hype for a new tank role – the last one we had was Dark Knight with the Heavensward expansion, so it’s been some years since those that prefer tanking have had a new job to explore. The artifact gear is somewhat lacklustre but despite not enjoying tanking , I’ll definitely be giving the job a try!
  • Minfilia is back! I’m not going anywhere. I promise you, Minfilia.” I had goosebumps as the crowd all cheered at this moment. I actually predicted this to a friend and said I’d be disappointed if the cloaked girl in the Las Vegas fan fest trailer was her (because I had considered her chapter in the story closed) but I was pretty excited for this reveal. Minfilia hasn’t been seen since 3.2 if I remember correctly, and it seems the character in Shadowbringers is a lot younger than when we last saw her. Could it be that she’s been ‘reborn’ out of Hydaelyn? Perhaps we’ve gone to an alternate universe and rescued her as a child? Fans are speculating that, after visiting another shard (world) with the Warriors of Darkness and failing to prevent a calamity there, she’s returned to our world to help prevent the same outcome. I think we’re on the same path as the Warriors of Darkness we met earlier in the game and we have to expunge excess light lest we be consumed by it (you can’t, and shouldn’t, win them all). Despite the concern I had about reintroducing her to the story, I am really excited to see where the next expansion will take us, and the role Minfilia will play in it.
  • Crossovers galore – Final Fantasy XIV will welcome characters from beloved titles Final Fantasy XV and NieR: Automata. One of the biggest cheers of the day came as a response to the reveal that we’ll be seeing 2B and many others in Shadowbringers as the FFXIV team collaborate with Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito, creators of NieR: Automata. It’s not clear how NieR will tie into the story of the game – some are predicting we fight ‘machines’ (magitek) with 2B and friends as they accidentally wind up in Eorzea via a dodgy access point. That said, does anyone think the machine in the image above kind of looks like Alexander..? No? Just me then. We do know it will be a new 24-man raid and called YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse. For the Final Fantasy XV crossover, it’s not clear how Noctis ends up in Eorzea but one of the quest rewards has been confirmed as a Regalia mount. Crossovers are always really popular – seeing Bahamut in Monster Hunter: World was awesome – so these announcements were well received by the crowd.
  • A new race appears in Eorzea. Picture this: sexy rabbits roaming Gridania scantily clad in strategically positioned veils and cute floppy ears. Welcome to Final Fantasy XIV, the Viera! The race was strongly hinted at during the Las Vegas fan festival and in the most recent 4.x raid series we met Fran, a Viera character from Final Fantasy XII. I know many fans are super excited to play this race in Shadowbringers, but the way it was announced left many confused about the gender availability of the role. As yet, Square Enix has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of male Viera, and indeed only females were included in the art development panel and promotional videos at the keynote. During the press Q&A, Naoki Yoshida said more would be revealed at Tokyo fan fest in March. It seems peculiar that they’re using this approach, and unfortunately speculation about the possibility of a gender-locked race existing again in Final Fantasy XIV has somewhat overshadowed the reveal itself. Will the Square Enix team repeat past mistakes as to the gender flexibility of in-game races (such as in the case of the Roegadyn and Miqo’te which they later had to rectify)?
  • Two new areas and a new beast tribe, but no clues as to the new ‘base’ city. At the keynote, Yoshi-P revealed two new areas – Rak’tika Greatwood and Il Mheg – and a mischievous new beast tribe called the Pixies (I’m told this is completely different from the Scholar’s fairy though it would be so cool to go into their lore and history – maybe Scholars are in for a third form of pet?). This beast tribe will be lead by their Primal, Titania. The team remained tight-lipped about where else the Warrior of Light may visit in the new expansion (in addition to the already announced Ahm Araeng), though there have been one or two leaks on Steam (oops!). Owing to the Stormblood trailer hinting that Garlemald may one day be a destination, many speculate that this is where we’ll be going. Hopefully Tokyo fan fest will tell us more.

Shadowbringers promises 9 new dungeons as well as a new high-end raid series. In addition, we’re getting an NPC trust system which will allow you to team up with characters from the main story to complete the game solo and there will be a new Game+ feature, letting you replay key MSQs using current equipment.

We had loads of new information at EU fan fest – it’s usually pretty well packed with announcements, often revealing more than the US event but leaving final details until Tokyo. I was so fortunate to have attended and I’m currently super sad that it’s all over! Everything happened so fast, which I guess must mean it was lots of fun. We ran Yojimbo and won (twice), did the Byakko challenge roulette and participated in a bunch of minigames. Unfortunately the queue time was too crazy for the dungeon activity, but all in all it was an awesome festival!

The expansion will be releasing on 2nd July 2019 – for those who get early access via pre-order, they can play as early as 28th June 2019.

Yoshi-P’s team also revealed the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Collector’s Edition, which looks really good. Available to pre-order from the Square Enix Store from today for £179.99, the Collector’s Edition includes:

  • Shadowbringers special art box – A unique silver-inlaid box featuring an illustration by artist Yoshitaka Amano.
  • Dark Knight Figure – An impressive high-quality figure that features the Warrior of Darkness as a dark knight.
  • Shadowbringers art book – an art book featuring illustrations and concept art used in the creation of the expansion. In real life it looked as though this won’t be a ‘full size’ art book (i.e. not as thick as the usual art books that retail for around £30) but it could be that the prototype they presented at Fan Fest isn’t accurate.
  • Shadowbringers logo vinyl sticker – I’ll be sticking this on my laptop lid in all of its glory.
  • Final Fantasy XIV playing cards – a deck of playing cards (not Final Fantasy Trading Card Game cards unfortunately) featuring artwork from the early iterations of the game in A Realm Reborn to the most recent Shadowbringers expansion.
  • In-game Grani Mount
  • In-game Wind-up Fran Minion – no doubt heralding the arrival of the Viera race to Eorzea!
  • In-game Revolver Gunbreaker Weapon – Squall’s iconic gunblade makes its appearance in FFXIV as a gunbreaker-exclusive weapon.

I have actually already pre-ordered… I couldn’t help myself!

Those that pre-order any version of the game from the Square Enix online store will receive the following:

  • In-game Baby Gremlin Minion – yes, the little thing from the trailer telling us we’re no one and nothing. What better way to assert your dominance than to have it follow you around while gathering?
  • Aetheryte Earring – I wish they’d release actual versions of this (or other FFXIV-themed jewellery) for me to wear IRL. Grants 30% bonus EXP when worn, up to level 70. Perhaps most significantly, this will not impact your ilevel! Previously to benefit from the item, you equip it and accept any reduction in ilevel as a result. Fortunately it seems this will scale up with you as you progress to level 70.
  • Early access on 28th June 2019 as mentioned above.
  • I hear on the grapevine that these in-game items such as the earrings and baby gremlin minion will be available from 1st March 2018 onwards.

I am so excited to learn more about this expansion and play it in summer. Fan fest was awesome! If you have any questions or theories about what we might see in the next instalment of Final Fantasy XIV, let me know!

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