The Final Fantasy XIV fan festival is upon us yet again, and as we all expected, we now know the name of the next expansion: Dawntrail, with a projected release of summer 2024. This is not a surprise given the information we already had, but there was also quite a bit revealed about the next expansion just the same. And as expected, there are a lot of big question marks just the same… but we’ll flag those as we go.
Did you miss the keynote? That’s all right because we’re recapping the major revelations right here, so you can get up to date with everything that we learned. That means starting with the trailer for the expansion which is just past the cut, but even if you can’t watch it right now there’s still plenty to chew on. We’re going to Tural, Warriors of Light, and that means a whole lot of new areas, new jobs, and new story to explore.
First and foremost, Square-Enix’s Naoki Yoshida was quick to emphasize that the team is hoping to get the expansion out as early as possible in summer 2024, but an exact date has not yet been announced. So please don’t take time off just yet because it’s not clear whether it’ll be June, July, or August. You get the idea.
The idea for this expansion, especially with the conclusion of the game’s first major story arc, is that at this point the Warrior of Light deserves what amounts to the best summer vacation arc a hero could possibly have. So we’re going to the new world, which now has a proper name, Tural. (And yes, that means that pretty soon I can be happy about not having tags overlap, thank goodness.) And if you think that means we’re diving wholeheartedly into a mesoamerican fantasy setting, you’re right.
The theme color for the expansion is gold, and the Scions will be taking part in a rite of succession to determine the next ruler of Tural – a rite that may divide the Scions somewhat. (Well, former Scions, but you know.) Tural is located to the west of the Three Great Continents, and it will host a variety of new zones in the region of Yok Tural (among others, possibly), with the first displayed being the new major hub city of Tuliyollal.
Less industrialized than other capital cities and far more diverse, Tuliyollal is the seat of the federal nation-state in charge of the continent. A bond with nature is prioritized, and the city is currently ruled by a two-headed Mamool Ja named Gulool Ja Ja. The Mamool Ja are, of course, known to be from Tural, so their prominence should be expected; it’s also understood that Tuliyollal has an established sea route with Sharlayan, which should make it clear how we’re getting there.
Two other new areas were shown off. Urqopacha is a mountainous area full of plateaus, high cliffs, and the like; it was once home to an empire ruled over by giants, but that empire has fallen and now it’s in ruins. The region is now home to diminutive peoples such as the Pelupellu, who are natural entrepreneurs and are rarely seen without their distinctive masks. Similar design to the smaller NPCs from Final Fantasy X, by point of comparison. They also are known for their tea, coffee, and mezcal.
Yak T’el was the other major area shown off; it’s a dense jungle that’s home to the region’s Hrothgar and Mamool Ja. It’s a dense sort of two-layer area, and you can expect to see heavy plant life throughout the region as you initially access the zone via dirigible flight. Graphical updates were on full display with the foliage and lighting in these regions.
System-wise, the game will reach the expected new level cap of 100, complete with new skills for new jobs along the way, new crafter recipes, new gathering points, new gear, and so forth. It’s what you would expect, as well as new FATEs, new dungeons, hunts, treasure hunts, level-synced sidequests, and so forth. There’s also a new regular raid, a new alliance raid, a new Ultimate, new variant dungeons, and another form of new lifestyle content akin to Island Sanctuary.
Wait… what about new jobs? Well, we’re getting them. Two, specifically, and they include a new ranged magical DPS (the first added since Red Mage in Stormblood) and a new melee DPS. What they will be we don’t yet know, but as always, we got a Yoshida t-shirt to mull over, specifically a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt that he (as always) declined to comment on further. What it means is… well, to be determined. (Stay tuned!)
A new threat for the expansion, Valigarmanda, was shown off (a series reference to Final Fantasy VI). There will also be duty support for the new dungeons, as expected, and there are potential places to add support elsewhere, but Yoshida was mum on details. Moreover, he said that the team is currently considering what will be done with potentially a new Deep Dungeon but perhaps something else; it’s not a sure thing at the moment.
PvP will also receive more updates with new maps for Frontline as well as updates to Crystalline Conflict and Rival Wings. Players can also expect more updates to the Gold Saucer, more Blue Mage increases, and Inconceivably Further Hildibrand Adventures. Yoshida also shot down any idea that Blitzball will be added to the Gold Saucer during the 6.5 series, but he didn’t quite say it wasn’t being added in the expansion.
In terms of system updates, the biggest change is the first graphical update, which was shown off in both videos and screenshots. The footage was definitely notable in its improvement, but they were the sorts of improvements you might not notice without looking closely; all of it consisted of things you’ll notice but might not be able to pick out without a very close look. Gear and area updates will prioritize the new 7.0 gear and areas, but every area will be updated with improved textures and the like. There’s also new automatic plant generation that will affect everything right away, so expect to see gorgeous new flowers in Il Mheg.
Of course, Yoshida was sure to mention that he could allocate no further polygons to the grapes.
Meanwhile, players can look forward to a major change in the game’s dye system with each piece having two dye channels; it may not happen for all housing items, and the team may not get to every single item in 7.0’s launch, but it will cover as much as possible. (Yoshida mentioned the same with higher-resolution textures and the like; the team will be getting as much as it can beyond 7.0’s new items.) Players can also enjoy eyeglasses, a new cosmetic gear item that can be equipped with headgear, thus ensuring that they can have both a hat and glasses if you so desire. The eyeglass slot will not include materia slots or stats and will not take up Armoury Chest space.
All of this does mean that the system requirements are increasing, although not by much; the new minimum recommendation is a GTX 970. The PlayStation 4 will still be supported, however. Players can also look forward to the new Strategy Board feature, which is an in-game whiteboard allowing you to diagram boss mechanics ahead of content.
Meanwhile, even before 7.0, there are updates happening, starting with 6.5 updating the free trial to include Stormblood. Yes, that means you will need to update your copypasta memes.
But wait, there’s more! FFXIV is crossing over with Fall Guys, starting with the Fall Guys getting a pack full of FFXIV characters and costumes from Alisaie and Alphinaud to the Namazu and plenty of emotes. That launches on August 22nd, but at some point during the 6.5x series the crossover will extend to Etheirys and include a Fall Guys-inspired jumping course in the Gold Saucer. The plan is to include up to 24 people at a time.
And that’s it, that’s everything, tune back in for the live letter tomorrow… but no. As you might expect, there’s one more thing.
Yes, at long last, FFXIV will be available on Xbox Series X|S, with Phil Spencer himself joining Yoshida on the stage for the announcement. There will be crossplay, as you could expect, and 4k support on Series X; the full release will be in spring 2024, with open beta occurring during the 6.5x window. So you can look forward to that sooner rather than later, and Xbox players will indeed be able to take part in Dawntrail right from the start.
That’s all the news from the keynote, but it sure was a lot – and there are plenty of mysteries to be unpacked, some of which will have to wait until October. But there’s still another day of the fan festival, complete with a live letter tomorrow; tune back in for that and the summary of same, and keep your eyes peeled for an analysis of everything on display in the near future.