Final Fantasy XIV‘s Fan Festival 2016 in Tokyo has begun and with a wealth of new information featuring the game’s second full-fledged expansion. Stormblood, as it’s called, is set to release next year and is bringing with it a number of new additions.
Producer/director Naoki Yoshida was on stage today to recap previous developments, share new ones and a few surprises along the way. Read on for the full summary of the show’s opening keynote.
One of Final Fantasy‘s mainstays are job classes and FFXIV is no exception. Following up on Fan Festival in Las Vegas, Yoshida revealed that yes, Red Mage would be making its way into the game as the next major job class – the first of multiple new ones.
In the images we can see the Red Mage wearing its specific job gear, but it won’t be available right away in the expansion. Red Mage is a DPS who uses ranged magic. It’s similar to Black Mage but uses a rapier and magicked crystal medium (tentative name) as a weapon. These two pieces go together to form one weapon in battle.
Similar to the new job classes introduced in Heavensward, the jobs in Stormblood will have no associated class. You’ll start at level 50, though this too is tentative. Because the team received a lot of feedback from fans having to get to Ishgard to unlock Machinist, Dark Knight and Astrologian, the new class will be available in the original A Realm Reborn areas so players can get the job earlier in the story.
With regards to battle design, the Red Mage uses ranged magic attacks using red magic. It’s a hybrid of black and white magic. There’s also the rapier so the battle style is a hybrid of closed ranged melee attacks and magic attacks. The Red Mage has an action that creates quick positioning and chain spells will also play a roll. Use chain spells to build up magic power and then you combine that magic to use special actions.
Following a recap of everything we learned about at Las Vegas Fan Fest, Yoshida moved on to some of the new features we can expect in the game. In Heavensward they introduced flying mounts. In Stormblood we’re heading to a new horizon: swimming and diving. We’ve had swim suits in the game for a while but there’s been no use for them really. But now you can dive right in.
First, there will be bodies of water unsuited for swimming such as shallow rivers. Upon entering a body okay for swimming, you will seamlessly start to swim. No special swim action is needed. Movement speed – was talked about for a long time, but the development team didn’t want swimming to be that fast. For example, if you walk normally, you’ll perform a breast stoke while using the sprinting action lets you crawl.
Additionally, flying mounts can swim. Regular mounts won’t be able to enter these bodies of water. They plan on allowing swimming in a few select ARR areas as well such as Costa del Sol. Movement speed will be a little bit slower than moving on land. There will be no battles in water – this was talked about in the development team but it was decided to be too stressful.
That said, if you go in water with a damage over time status you might die, so they created a special water death animation. There’s also no loading times when switching to the dive mode.
On diving, there will be locations where diving isn’t possible; the water has to be deep. Transition between swimming and diving will be seamless and you’ll be able to endlessly dive without needing air due to magic. All flying mounts can also dive with diving restricted to Stormblood areas.
Similar to swimming there won’t be any underwater battles. You can interact with NPCs and even gathering (such as fishing) is possible. How will you learn to dive and breath underwater? You can’t immediately but like flying mounts, there will be a quest early on the main scenario to unlock it.
When you visit the new areas you will visit new people and this includes new beast tribes. One of the new beast tribes coming to Stormblood include the Ananta, who live in the Ala Mhigan outlands. They’re made up mostly of females and are currently oppressed by the Garlean Empire. They’ve actually been around since the time of the Allagans for those familiar with the Binding Coil of Bahamut. The Ananta are very adept with magic and very talented with gemcraft and jewelry.
The Ananta play host to a new primal: Lady of Bliss – Lakshmi. Everything surrounding this goddess will be revealed over the course of 4.0.
Music fans rejoice! The father of Final Fantasy music is back once again to helm a new theme song for Final Fantasy XIV. That’s right, composer Nobuo Uematsu is currently writing the main theme for Stormblood.
In a special video message, Uematsu said he’s almost done! Or rather, the song is about 60% complete. Compared to his previous work with “Answers” and “Dragonsong” the new piece is a tad more uptempo and features an emotionally powerful melody.
Moving on to high-end raids, which previously saw the Binding Coil of Bahamut and Alexander, Yoshida noted there was a lot of debate over difficulty, and they learned a lot to create something new. Enter The Bend of Time – Omega. Omega Weapon has been hinted at for a while now – culminating at the end of Patch 3.4’s main scenario. Omega will also appear in Patch 3.5 and will connect here into the main story. Similar to Alexander, Omega won’t be required to complete the main quest.
New alliance raids are also being added. With 3.5 we’ll see the end of the Mhach series and work has already begun on the next 24-man raid. Yoshida and team want to raise the bar even higher and try something new so they’ve brought in special guest creators to bring more excitement to the project.
Square Enix has grabbed the star-studded team of Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics, etc.) to pen the script for the next alliance raid. Titled Return to Ivalice, Matsuno is joined by Shin Megami Tensei IV‘s Keita Amemiya, who will be providing all-new boss designs.
Closing out the show, Yoshida revealed Stormblood‘s hefty Collector’s Edition. Armed with special packaging featuring Yoshitaka Amano artwork, a high quality figure of Zenos – Stormblood‘s main antagonist, an artbook, a cloth map of Eorzea and an original decal.
A digital CE will also be available and include an exclusive Syldra mount, a Bartz (FFV) minion and a Chicken Knife weapon for Red Mage.
The keynote was wrapped up with a funny skit: Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda (who definitely isn’t new to this kind of thing) walked on stage with a fake rifle demanding to know when the expansion would be released, revealing that the release date will be on June 20th, 2017 worldwide. Pre-orders will start on January 24th. It was mentioned that the release date is “tentative,” but Matsuda-san mentioned that there shouldn’t be any delays, as development is progressing smoothly.