We still don’t know where we’re going for Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. The keynote from the stage at the Paris Fan Festival didn’t tell us that. But we do know we’re getting there with the help of some Viera and with the brand-new Gunbreaker job. Yes, as always, the keynote for the festival revealed big new chunks of information, and not the least of which was the formal launch date for the third expansion of July 2nd.
We don’t yet know if the new trailer we got was the full trailer, but it definitely revealed more. Among the things shown off in this extended trailer were Urianger as an Astrologian (normally he’s an Arcanist), Y’shtola as a Black Mage (normally a Conjurer), and Thancred fighting with his gunblade while confirming that the little girl he was defending was Minfilia. Based on the current state of all these characters, that makes it rather clear there’s more going on here we don’t yet know.
New job: Gunbreaker
Gunbreaker has been officially revealed as the first new job of the expansion and the fourth tank of the game, joining Dark Knight, Paladin, and Warrior. Unlike the Garlean gunblades we’ve seen so far, Gunbreakers use a form of gunblade much more focused upon melee strikes and slashing damage, with loaded magicked ammunition being expended in bursts to enhance damage. The same ammunition can also be used to activate special abilities.
As with every job added to the game with an expansion, Gunbreaker has no associated class. The current plans are to have the job quest start in Gridania, and players will need a job at 60 to unlock it. The job itself also starts at 60, a similar level gap to the new jobs released with prior expansions.
New race: Viera
After teasing the audience with a spoof on the old “Viangaa” April Fools joke, Naoki Yoshida unveiled the first look at the Viera, the game’s seventh (and likely final) playable race. Yes, the Viera use Fran’s outfit as their starter gear, and no, we’ve not yet seen any artwork of the men of the race. But they are confirmed for the game, just the same.
The subsequent art panel confirmed that ear customization will be in the game and will include the option to have flopped ears if players so desire, so you can model a variety of different rabbits if you wish.
New area and beast tribe: Il Mheg and the Pixies
Yes, we got to see a new zone. Il Mheg is the land of the pixies, who are also one of the new beast tribes being introduced in Shadowbringers. The land is meant to have more of a classical fantasy feel, and as you can see from the footage above, it hits that mark.
The Pixies and their primal, Titania, were both front-and-center for the reveal. Pixies are tricksters with a mastery of the arcane arts, but whether or not they will help or hinder players is as of yet unclear. Titania herself certainly looks more like an Elezen than a normal Primal, and the statements on stage seem to imply that there is indeed more going on here than we know about just yet.
We also received a flythrough of the Rak’tika Greatwood, while the previous festival only showed off still screens of the area.
New Alliance Raid: YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse
Yes, there’s a new 24-player raid in the works, and just like Return to Ivalice it features a pair of guest creators working on the project. This time, it’s from a far more divergent source, as the guests are Yosuke Saito and Yoko Taro, best known for their work on the critically acclaimed NieR: Automata. And players of that game will be familiar with the name of this new series of raids, as YoRHa was the organization which android 2B and her garbage kid brother 9S worked for.
So… how are we getting something so wildly divergent in setting to appear in FFXIV? We don’t know yet. In a bit of a tease, even Saito and Taro seem to be toying with the idea that this is a radical departure. But considering that the game has just finished up a normal raid series about a robot from a distant star taking on Eorzea’s champions, perhaps it’s less of a leap than you might think. It seems likely that there will be a wider gap between the lore of NieR and this raid series than of the Ivalice games and that series, though.
Collector’s edition and pre-orders
The keynote also announced pre-orders for the game starting on February 6th, with an experience-boosting Aetheryte Earring (complete with scaling stats) and a wind-up Gremlin minion for all pre-orders. Players who pre-order also get early access to the expansion starting on June 28th.
The collector’s edition will come with an art book, a Dark Knight statue, a vinyl cling logo for the expansion, and a pack of FFXIV-themed playing cards. Digitally, it’ll include a Grani mount (complete with elaborate barding), a wind-up Fran, and a special Revolver skin for Gunbreaker weapons; the Revolver, for those who have forgotten, was the starting weapon for Squall in Final Fantasy VIII.
Doubtlessly we’ll learn more about the expansion in bits and pieces over the course of the next two days, and as the second half of patch 4.5 approaches in early March. But at least now we can all start getting hype for a new job to tank for you in content, yes?