There’s lots of lore to unpack in Final Fantasy XIV. Seriously, I could write a lot about it because the game sets up lots of hints for the future and its lore is overall very dense. So when our only preview of patch 5.2 is a quick breeze-through of its contents that drops a few names, we can already unpack a fair amount of it purely based on extant in-game lore and overall franchise lore.
So let’s take a little tour back through the franchise history, starting with Final Fantasy II. The game, which was not localized in the US for ages, was the first one to feature the now-iconic Ultima spell. This appears to be unconnected to the series of the same name, and just as interestingly is an actual word, referring to the last syllable of a word. It’s archaic and not really used that way, and the actual Ultima in FFII is kind of a garbage spell. But the groundwork was laid just the same.
Final Fantasy VI was the first game to introduce the concept of the Ultima Weapon, although the initial American localization dubbed it the Atma Weapon. (Subsequent releases have corrected this.) Subsequently, the weapon has showed up in multiple games, but it was Final Fantasy VII that actually introduced an ecology for Ultima Weapon beyond being a manufactured weapon.
Essentially, the five Weapons of that game were spawned as a reaction to the arrival of Jenova, but as they ultimately were not needed, they awaited in a crater, crystalized in energy until the planet itself needed to wake them up to defend against something. They actually do wake up when Sephiroth summons Meteor to destroy the planet, but for plot reasons they can’t find him and instead wind up rampaging against any other obvious targets, specifically Shinra’s planet-energy draining antics.
Four of the weapons are boss fights, with one (Sapphire) killed in a cutscene, one (Diamond) a mandatory fight, and the other three (Ruby, Emerald, and Ultimate) all optional fights. Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon are the most infamous, having been added to the game’s American release as optional superbosses that usually exist for the purpose of killing players over and over.
Obviously, the genesis of the Ultima Weapon in FFXIV is different, but it’s clear that Arch Ultima is a sign that the Garlean Empire is attempting to develop further Weapon derivatives. We’re familiar with several of the prototypes of the Ultima Weapon from Allagan development, so it seems almost certain that we’ll be fighting both Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon as extensions of that program. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Diamond Weapon rounding things out; given that Arch Ultima seems to be linking Garleans directly into the systems, this is probably related.
Echoes of a Fallen Star
All right, it’s time for both spoilers and speculation on this one because I think this title is telling us way more than it might seem at first. After all, “star” doesn’t necessarily mean to Eorzeans what it means to us.
In the game, “star” is frequently used not just to mean a ball of gas going through nuclear fusion; it also refers to the planet itself. Midgardsormr, for example, refers to arriving at this star (planet) after fighting Omega in the past. It’s not constant, but it does mean that a star doesn’t necessarily mean a literal star. It could, for example, mean… a fallen planet. A fallen world.
Hey, we have one of those, don’t we? It’s called the Void. Or, if you’d prefer, it’s called the Thirteenth.
The fate of the Thirteenth has been discussed a lot in broad terms, but Shadowbringers brings it up a lot as a specifically failed attempt of what was brought forth on the First. Instead of being brought to the edge of overflowing with shadow, it went over the edge and has been rendered a complete disaster. Emet-Selch discusses it, and we also meet at least one person who was specifically brought over from the Thirteenth because the Ascians claimed it might ultimately save the Void from its destruction.
So if the Fallen Star is the Thirteenth, what does that tell us? Maybe nothing in and of itself… but the use of the term echoes becomes much more telling because we have a pretty good idea of what the Echo is now. It’s a fragment of an Ascian essence. Given what we know of the powers of the Echo, it all fits together… and there’s a lot to imply that the Warrior of Light has a fragment of the soul that helped summon Hydaelyn initially.
Take a step back. We’ve seen not-Ardbert walking around a bit. We know that the Ascians will manipulate people from the Thirteenth and bring them into other worlds. And we know that Ardbert had the same Echo as the Warrior of Light. All told, there seems to be an implication that this is how we ultimately face off against Warriors of Light, that they are in and of themselves the Warriors from the Thirteenth.
We’ve been told that the next set of relic-style weapons will involve Bozja Citadel and the homeland of the Hrothgar in some way. Useful information! What the heck is Bozja Citadel?
The answer is, at this point, ruins. It’s more important to know what Bozja Citadel was, and that’s the site of Garlemald’s first attempt to contact Dalamud as part of Project Meteor. Bozja itself was a prominent city, and Bozja Citadel was used as the site of the experiment to call on the artificial moon. It responded… but in the process, it zapped Bozja and the Citadel itself with enough energy to obliterate the city, the citadel, and everyone within more or less immediately.
At least, that’s the story we’ve been told. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult if not impossible to go someplace that has literally been destroyed, but given that the Empire was trying to spin a lie that nothing notable happened it’s entirely probable that Bozja Citadel is still present. Given that it was full of Allagan relics, records, and salvaged tech, it’s almost certain that something very interesting has happened with the site subsequently, especially since we now know more about Allagan tech and Dalamud specifically.
Interestingly enough, it was theorized that Bozja was situated in the region known as the Burn, but it appears that whatever happened to the Burn has more to do with existing Allagan manipulation than Project Meteor. That having been said, if it’s not far from the Burn it also provides even more Allagan grounding for something to be getting reassembled or changed in that space. In the wake of the new Imperial civil war, I suspect players will be acquiring and upgrading things in a very different fashion than in Eureka.
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, in lieu of more patch information to dig into or speculate about, let’s talk a little bit about aspects of the game world and setting details that are present but generally overlooked. Like tomestones!