Ten years ago, under a cataclysmic rain of blazing energy, Final Fantasy XIV deceased. This is both true in the sense that the land of Eorzea has been raked by the almighty megaflare of one of Final Fantasymightiest beings, the dragon Bahamut, and that developer Square Enix has shut down the servers of its troubled MMORPG for good.
The launch of Final Fantasy XIV had been an absolute disaster and nearly cratered the studio behind it in the process. BBut even as players gathered in towns and fields to gaze at the skies awaiting Bahamut’s judgment, plans were underway to overhaul the MMORPG entirely, relaunching it as Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn—agSoul with the completely opposite story of the original XIV. It was a crazy success which is still going strong to this day, and probably for the foreseeable future.
But what makes XIV The shutdown of 1.0 is so memorable – beyond the success it has become in A kingdom is reborn– is that it was more than the end of one game and the start of another, a sad and silent stoppage before a vaunted revival. Final Fantasy XIVThe heirs of had time to plan the ending of the original version and pave the way for their new version, and in doing so they created an epic final story for players, one that echoed throughout of the decade as A kingdom is rebornThe long story has unfolded. The decision not to just close Final Fantasy XIV but to rebuild it into an entirely new game was done the year before 1.0 finally ended, and in due time, its new producer—Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshidawho is still running the current version of the game and working on Final Fantasy XVI– made the choice to revamp the original 1.0 story to tell a story of apocalyptic proceedings.
The thing about Final Fantasy is that the apocalypse happens all the time. Almost every entry in game franchise history has tackled some sort of potentially global threat, and its heroes have prevailed, because that’s what Final Fantasy heroes do when they’re not summoning gods or working through the rigorous hair-care routines necessary to look like Kain Highwind or Squall Leonheart. The threat of Meteor in Final Fantasy VIIthe rise of Kefka’s divinity in VII after dividing the world, the battle against sin in Xtime and again Final Fantasy is the story of a myriad of warriors and mages who come together to face and deny a doomed end. The end of XIVThe original form of was a chance to tell this story where its heroes, the remaining players, did and lost.
The end of 1.0 is announced by a small red moon – the Dalamud artificial construct, invoked by Final Fantasy XIVThe main villains of, the Garlean Empire, in an attempt to devastate the land of Eorzea before its forces intervene and seize the ashes. As the players and rulers of Eorzea rallied to fight the Garleans, what started as a small red dot in the sky grew bigger and clearer as, patch by patch, Final Fantasy XIV went all the way. Even when the story culminated with the defeat of Commander Garlean, Nael van Darnus, at the hands of the players, they learned that it was a PAnnual Victory: Dalamud would always fall, and the world would perish under him. In the final days and hours of the game, players took part in events to push back the invading forces of Garlean, shaken by the death of their leader, a sense of dread in the air, and events continued. Dalamud kept getting closer. Until, in the final minutes, Dalamud’s fiery face burns in the sky with echoes of eerie ethereal music, and Final Fantasy XIV died with a final cutscene:
“End of Eorzea” is a six-epic minute almost unlike anything Final Fantasy XIV had seen, as the forces of Eorzea, heroes and grunts, clashed with the Garleans. Dalamud’s true purpose has been revealed – not a moon, but an ancient prison, home to the almighty primeval dragon Bahamut. The armies of Eorzea fall to Garlean, our heroes, the same heroes who announced XIVarrived in her original cinematic trailer postponed. At the last minute, an act of prayer from your closest allies in XIVa group known as the Circle of Knowing, attempt to magically restrain Bahamut, only to fail dramatically, and be rewarded with the beast unleashing its strongest attack in the series, Megaflare, but this time not used as a player fantasy , but a horror of setting fire to the world they had failed to protect.
But of course, Final Fantasy XIV didn’t end forever. In the final moments, the leader of the Circle of Knowledge, Louisoix Leveilleur, takes the heroes to survive the devastation brought by Bahamut, so that they can reappear in the world remade for A kingdom is reborn. But the legacy of late 1.0 as it did didn’t just persist in this metatextual premise that players carried on even after the world itself was razed to the ground. The choice to rebuild Eorzea from the apocalypse has been woven into the story of its rebirth, its ramifications not only echoing through A kingdom is rebornbut every expansion of the relaunched game in the last nine years, as Final Fantasy XIV launched a whirlwind redemption arc to make it one of the crown jewels of Square Enix’s library. The song that plays to say goodbye to 1.0, “Answers”—composed by Final Fantasy legend Nobuo Uematsu – even became a staple in the most recent of these expansions, Endwalkerframing a equally apocalyptic tale where the heroes of Eorzea’s revamp faced an almighty fate, only this time they defeated it, saving not only the kingdom but the entire world. A justice for the world that they had failed to protect so many years ago.
One of the most fascinating, endearing and perhaps intimidating aspects of Final Fantasy XIV is that it’s an ongoing story, dealing with the ups and downs of the stakes and adventure as story cycles wax and wane, and is imbued with a sort of almost unprecedented story in the world of games beyond. Its players have taken their character on a journey that spans almost a decade, and some of them, the players of the original XIV who brought their characters – even longer. Making the game’s death and rebirth a fundamental part of that core story, and making it resonate until XIVthe latest apocalyptic event from, is a crucial part of what makes its achievement so miraculous in the first place. Few games have a second chance Final Fantasy XIV obtained, whether in the real world or in the land of Eorzea itself, but taking that tale of failure and weaving it into a story of redemption is a fascinating part of what makes this such a compelling game first venue.
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