Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker, the upcoming expansion for Square Enix’s massively successful MMORPG, marks the end of a major story arc that stretches across one reboot and four expansions. Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida shared with IGN how this long-running saga was only possible thanks to the MMO’s continued success.Earlier this month, Yoshida appeared on stage in Japan to reveal the next expansion for Final Fantasy 14, Endwalker. The upcoming expansion closes the book on a storyline that first began in Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, which was released in 2013. This storyline focusing on a war between two gods, Hydalin and Zodiark, will be eight years old by the time Endwalker is released later this year.

But even getting to this point was not guaranteed for the development team. “The idea of creating a large-scale saga and bringing closure to it after multiple expansions came about when we were working on A Realm Reborn,” says Yoshida in an interview with IGN. “However, in order to make that idea a reality, gaining popularity and acquiring the adequate funds and acclaim to continue long-term service would be required.”Yoshida says that until the launch of the second expansion, Heavensward, it was still unclear if the development team could achieve its goal of telling a long, multi-expansion storyline. “Our goal largely depended on if players were enjoying the game and continuing to play,” admits Yoshida. He goes on to say that it wasn’t until the release of the Stormblood expansion when he “finally felt confident that we would be able to make this a reality.”

As to whether future storylines in Final Fantasy 14 will be as long, Yoshida isn’t sharing just yet. “I believe the development staff is most keen on finding out more about the next story, including how long it right be and if we’ll be going in the direction of shorter storylines.”

Final Fantasy 14 famously suffered a disastrous launch back in 2010. Initial impressions from critics and players found there were just too many complicated systems and bugs weighing the MMO down for it to be enjoyable. IGN reviewed the original version and gave it a 5.5.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Screenshots and Artwork

Yoshida was tasked with revitalizing Final Fantasy 14, a process that took over two years. Then, in 2013, the popular MMORPG that players love today launched renewed under a new title, A Realm Reborn.

But given such a rocky start and the need for a complete overhaul, it’s understandable why Yoshida would feel uncertain whether or not Final Fantasy 14 could even make it to Endwalker. Eight years and 20 million players later, Final Fantasy 14 is probably in its strongest position yet after glowing reviews for the last expansion, Shadowbringers.Along with the conclusion to the Hydalin storyline, Endwalker will introduce two new job classes. The first class that was revealed is Sage, a new “barrier” healer type class where characters control floating swords that deal damage and heal allies. Yoshida tells IGN that the character animation work, in particular, will be something that will impress fans.

Yoshida is also serving as producer on the upcoming Final Fantasy 16, developed by a team that includes former Final Fantasy 14 developers. Yoshida has already shared details about the heroes and world of Final Fantasy 16 here. Final Fantasy 14 will also be coming to PS5 later this year.

Matt T.M. Kim is News Editor at IGN.



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