At the end of August, Final Fantasy XIV will commemorate the fourth anniversary of A Realm Reborn’s 2013 launch. It’s been a long and bumpy road for Naoki Yoshida and his team — between launch issues, new expansions, and a rigorous update schedule, some fanfare for the game and its creators is well-earned at this point. If you’re unfamiliar with Final Fantasy XIV’s story and how the game eventually became what it is now, the anniversary is a great time for retrospect with Speakers Network’s The Fall and Rise of Final Fantasy XIV series.
The anniversary broadcast begins at 8:00pm PDT on Friday, September 1st. (The Lodestone erroneously lists it as being on a Tuesday.) Although the broadcast will only be in Japanese, dedicated fan translators often appear on Twitch or other online media for events like this. Important game announcements will spread beyond the broadcast, so those not watching it will still want to keep an eye out for game news.
What to expect from the broadcast
The broadcast is full of things to watch for. Guests range from voice actors to musicians connected to the television series based on the game, Dad of Light. It’s a celebration of making it this far with the game despite all its ups and downs. It’s both a look at the past and looking ahead to the future. Developers will share stories from the game’s development, compete in ridiculous challenges, and discuss upcoming content. Most importantly, Yoshida’s next Live Letter will air during the broadcast. Previews of Patch 4.1 are scheduled to appear, and we’ll finally hear more about Patch 4.1’s 24-man raid, Return to Ivalice.
What is Ivalice, and why are we returning to it?
Ivalice is a recurring setting in Final Fantasy. Despite this, what exactly Ivalice is depends on the game. Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII both have Ivalice settings that barely resemble each other. For example, Final Fantasy mainstays like moogles didn’t appear in Tactics except as summons. In XII, though, moogles are a common sight around cities. Given the recent release of Final Fantasy XII’s remastered edition, which Speakers Network is playing through, it’s likely that Return to Ivalice will, at least, have some references to both settings. However, previous interviews indicated that it will be more focused on Final Fantasy Tactics. As Tactics celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, this isn’t surprising.
Final Fantasy XIV is more than just another Final Fantasy game. In a lot of ways, it’s a love letter to the whole series. Riding on a Magitek Armor plays Terra’s theme from Final Fantasy VI. The Deltascape raid tier has bosses from Final Fantasy V fully reimagined in 3D. Final Fantasy XI’s anniversary was commemorated in Final Fantasy XIV with a crossover event. Even example chat text in Final Fantasy XIV’s options menu uses characters from past Final Fantasy games. Return to Ivalice will probably be for fans of Ivalice games what Deltascape was for fans of Final Fantasy V — oodles of fan service and classic characters brought to life in an MMORPG raid.
CEOs of other companies, such as Akihiro Hino of Level-5, will also be on the broadcast. This could indicate upcoming crossover events in Final Fantasy XIV, like 2016’s Yo-kai Watch event, which Hino himself also announced. Level-5 has plenty of other properties that very well could appear in Final Fantasy XIV. They worked with Square Enix on several Dragon Quest games, and they also created the popular Professor Layton series. Though none of these games might seem compatible with Final Fantasy XIV at first glance, neither was Yo-kai Watch. Crossover events don’t always need to be justified by the story. All that a crossover really needs is a willing hand on both sides.