Today adventurers, I ask that you allow me to indulge a little this month. You see, coming June 20, 2017, we will be seeing the latest expansion to Final Fantasy 14, entitled Stormblood. While I am excited to see the progression of the story, Square Enix has not been shy in generating a lot of hype as well, all of which I am also excited to witness. From swimming and water exploration, to a brand new continent and the first glance of the city of Doma, to the introduction of the Red Mage and Samurai classes; there is no shortage of content, and should my focus have solely been on the mechanics and gameplay, there would be no shortage of material to sift through. With such excitement circulating, and my overall enthusiasm for the game, I thought I would take this month to look at different storyline moments in the game and give my general thoughts about them. Today though, let’s start with something simple: Why do I like Final Fantasy 14 as much as I do?
The first thing that appeals to me is how they treat the player character in the narrative. While yes you are the mystical Saviour of the world as many MMOs do (in this, you are the Warrior of Light), they involve your character through the story driven cinematics, both voiced and unvoiced, as a central focus. Each cinematic is instanced, meaning you do not see another player while it’s happening. The experience is solely yours and the character you have created. The only times where encounter players in a story, is when you have to traverse their multitude of dungeons, trials, and raids. In these instances, other players are only considered as trusted friends and acquaintances of the Warrior of Light, and not overall important to the narrative.
The next aspect of the game is its ever growing plethora of characters. Square Enix has had a reputation of, not only creating good storylines and worlds, but also creating a great assortment of people that inhabit those worlds. Not one character feels similar to another, with each having their own unique look, specialization, and mannerism that allows them stand out from the rest of the supporting cast. They have their humourous moments, some have their moment to shine, and then there are moments where the writers tug at your heart strings and make you fight back a tear – those who have the /Haurchefant emote can attest to that.
Finally, it’s how they handled the complete overhaul of Final Fantasy 14 that left me with the greatest impact. The detailed account of what happened to it is out there, but I would like to focus on its story elements. In the background, the developers wanted to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, because they knew they could still make something great out of this installment. Their answer for the plot? Have an orb harbouring the greatest threat the world had ever known descend to the land, break open, and wreak havoc on the continent. The idea was genius, and brought forth a moment in the history of the world that still hold repercussions even today in the game. The Calamity, as it is called, would forever be remembered as not only a time when Eorzea was nearly wiped out, when a company was left humbled in the eyes of the public, but as a moment when an entire player base got together and witnessed a literal end of an era. Though, as they said in the ending cinematic for the game, “every end marks a new beginning…”
So, what about you? Is there something you like, or even dislike, about Final Fantasy 14? Let’s hear it in the comments. I’ll see you next time this month, where I talk about both an infamous group of the previous patches, and a potential flaw in philosophy.