Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2018 in Las Vegas kicked off today with a keynote address that revealed world-first information on the popular MMORPG’s latest expansion, titled Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. This large-scale update arrives in early Summer 2019 with a host of additions and refinements that make the world of Hydaelyn larger than ever.
In Shadowbringers, the struggle between the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and the shadowy Ascians will finally come to a head. Players will face off against longtime antagonists within the Garlean Empire and take up the mantle of the “Warrior of Darkness” in a bid to avert an impending calamity before the world is shaken to its core.
Game director Naoki Yoshida took to the stage at Fan Festival to reveal a number of key points about how Shadowbringers will change Final Fantasy XIV going forward. The player level cap will be raised from 70 to 80, and with it, all playable jobs will receive new and rebalanced abilities. The battle system itself will also see some revisions, including the consolidation of MP and TP into a single resource pool. Shadowbringers will debut with expected features including new field areas, new dungeons, new large-scale alliance raid battles, new Primals (imposing foes based upon iconic Final Fantasy summons), new Beast Tribes (including Final Fantasy XII‘s Nu Mou), and more. Crafting and gathering classes can also look forward to new endgame activities centered around rebuilding Ishgard, the main stage for Final Fantasy XIV‘s first expansion, Heavensward.
A variety of system-level changes will also be implemented in conjunction with Shadowbringers. Solo-oriented players can look forward to the implementation of the “Trust” system. Pulled conceptually from Final Fantasy XI, this new feature will allow solo players to complete dungeons alongside popular characters featured in the game’s ongoing story. Also in the works is a “New Game+” system that will enable players to re-complete past story content at their current strength level, as well the easing of server-related limitations with a system that will allow players to freely jump between servers on their data center. New data centers will be implemented in North America and Europe, and servers will be regrouped according to population density. Additionally, Yoshida announced that Final Fantasy XIV will officially cease support for 32-bit Windows operating systems upon the release of Shadowbringers.
Fan enthusiasm rose to a fever pitch towards the end of the keynote address as Yoshida teased two of the most highly-requested additions to Final Fantasy XIV: a new race and new playable jobs. All signs point to Final Fantasy XII’s Viera being the next (and final) playable race to enter the world of Final Fantasy XIV. The conference concluded as Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda made a surprise appearance on stage to debut footage of the new Blue Mage job, scheduled to be added in Patch 4.5 — a full content cycle before the launch of Shadowbringers. More jobs will be added in the expansion next year, but no concrete details were given aside from heavy hints that one of them will wield gunblades as their weapon of choice.
More information on Shadowbringers, as well as details on the upcoming Patch 4.5, will be revealed over the course of Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2018 this weekend. CGMagazine will report back tomorrow following a Q&A session with the Final Fantasy XIV development team.