Today at Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest 2018, Square Enix revealed the next step in the future of its flagship massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. Fans expected that the next expansion would be announced and they weren't disappointed. Final Fantasy XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida and English localization and translation director Koji Fox took to the stage to unveil Shadowbringers.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of Final Fantasy XIV's relaunch with A Realm Reborn and what better way to celebrate than with a new expansion? Shadowbringers is the third full expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, following 2015's Heavensward and 2017's Stormblood. The two year cadence of the previous expansions is what led to guesses that an expansion would be announced at FanFest. Those guesses were correct, as Shadowbringers is coming in Summer 2019.
Shadowbringers pits the Warrior of Light against the army that has subjugated the world of Hydaelyn since the beginning of A Realm Reborn. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn have fallen and if they're going to put up a good fight, the Warrior of Light must become the Warrior of Darkness. Important characters in the story include Garlean Emperor Solus Zos Galvus and the Ascians, the cult that is attempting to connect to their god Zodiark.
There will be multiple brand-new jobs coming to Shadowbringers, but Yoshida didn't announce them today. The level cap will be jumping up to Level 80, and the team at Square Enix will be looking at the battle system. There will likely be some skill pruning, and in a huge change the dual resources of TP and MP are becoming a single resource, MP.
Square Enix showed off a few new locations for Shadowbringers. The first was the Rak'Tika Greatwood, which is more swamplike than some of the forest we've previously explored, with decaying ruins to find. The other region shown was Amh Araeng, a desert style region that looks to have underwent some seismic restructuring. The primary settlement highlighted was actually tilting at a slight angle.
There will be multiple Beast Tribes and Primals in Shadowbringers. The one shown onstage was Nu Mou, a race from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy XII. Yoshida also mentioned that races like pixies and dwarves would be getting reintroduced to the game.
But what about the content that players will be running in Patch 5.0. There will be nine new dungeons at launch, new high-end raid series after Omegascape, and a new Alliance Raid. Yoshida also talked about new high-end content for Disciples of the Land and Hand, focused around the restoration of Ishgard. It sounds like once gatherers and crafters rebuild the city, it'll be available for player to live in. Yoshida also teased user-controlled farms.
A new non-player character battle assist system was revealed, called Trust. This is similar to system available in The Trust system will allow players to get through the main scenario solo if they so desire. Yoshida declined to reveal which NPCs could join your party, but promised to get to all your favorites.
Another new feature is New Game+, which will allow players to jump back to older content, but at their current power level. If you want to redo the Heavensward scenario or a job-unlock quest, you can. New Game+ is about allowing players to re-experience some of great old content in Final Fantasy XIV, without rerolling a new character.
The World Visit system brings various servers together. Using the Aetherytes in Limsa Lominsa, Gridinia, and Ul'dah, players can freely transfer between worlds on the same data center. You home world will be tagged, so you can get back, but finally, you'll be able join you friend on their world. And you'll be able to complete all quests together, including main scenario quests. This new feature will actually be coming prior to Patch 5.0, so Square Enix can test it out.
Final Fantasy XIV will be ending support for 32-bit Windows operating systems, so if you want to play Shadowbringers, you'll want to jump to 64-bit. Square Enix will also be adding new data centers for North America and Europe, with a regrouping of world servers. With everything changing, Square Enix will be offering free world transfers and the like, so players can end up where they want to. More details will be coming tomorrow during the Letter from Producer Live event.
As a "one more thing", Shadowbringers will be adding a new playable race. Yoshida admitted that it'll probably be the last playable race added, as it's very difficult on the team. Yoshida was wearing a Bugs Bunny t-shirt onstage as a hint, pointing squarely at the Viera as the final playable race. Fans have long asked for the rabbit-eared race to be included, and it looks like it's happening. There will be a "massive hint" about the race in Patch 4.5, during the Return to Ivalice content.
And then Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda joined the stage in a costume to announce a new job coming to Final Fantasy XIV: the Blue Mage. A short video showed the classic Final Fantasy job learning several actions and abilities from monsters in the game. And hey, Blue Mage is not a Shadowbringers job, as it's actually coming in Patch 4.5!
More information about Shadowbringers will be coming at the European Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Paris, France on February 2-3, 2019.