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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Column: On Lightning's Role in FFXIV

By Robert Lashley on July 31, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV has been a game marred by controversy since its initial release. If recent events are to be treated as any indication for the future it seems that controversy is something that FFXIV: A Real Reborn is going to have to grow accustomed to. Currently a well-meaning promotional event has given the community surrounding FFXIV:ARR a new topic to draw their ire.

A long time ago in a land far far away... well about a month ago in California during E3 Naoki Yoshida, director and producer for FFXIV:ARR announced in a live letter from the producer that Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, and the upcoming Lightning Returns fame will make an appearance in Eorzea. At this point some of you might be scratching your head with quizzical looks on your face. She’s going to do what? Know that you are not alone.

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Lightning is going to make an appearance in FFXIV. For some this is cause for alarm and rightfully so. Without predefined limits, what else can players expect to see in this game? A menagerie of the Final Fantasy universe. Yoshi P has gone on to explain that Lightning’s appearance in A Realm Reborn will make sense and that Lightning will not just show up without cause. Currently we still have not been made aware of the story-line that will bring Lightning to Hydaelyn, however, we do know that she will appear as the LR:FFXIII FATE (Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Full Active Time Event). Yoshi P has gone on to further explain that we will not see Square Enix turn this into a game of roulette for what iconic Final Fantasy character players should expect to see stuck into FFXIV on a monthly basis. He did not completely rule out the possibility that we could see more in the future but said if we did they would have to make sense in the lore.

Players that decide to participate in this FATE will be rewarded with FFXIII themed items. These rewards will include armor pieces as well as weapons. If a player completes the full set they will take on some physical characteristics of Lightning if they are female characters, and Snow Villiers if they are male.

This is not the first time that Square Enix has taken an iconic Final Fantasy character and placed them into a different Final Fantasy game that was not a sequel or spin off. No I am not talking about Cid, or the ever present chocobos. Possibly the most famous of all Final Fantasy heroes, Cloud Strife, not only starred in Final Fantasy VII but he was then tasked to pull double duty as an optional character in Final Fantasy Tactics (which if you have never played is a phenomenal game). Aeris even makes a cameo as an NPC Flower Girl.

The precedent has been established over a decade ago that Square Enix is willing to place characters from one Final Fantasy game into another. They have also shown that they are very conservative with this approach. I do not believe that the Final Fantasy community has any cause for concern that XIV will be overrun with characters from other games to the point that ARR loses its identity. Personally I find the story behind Lightning’s appearance in Eorzea intriguing and look forward to finding out what brings her to this realm. The biggest concern I have is that the armor items will not just be cosmetic and for a few weeks Eorzea will be overrun with Lightnings and Snows until players can find better armor. While having weapons that are styled after items from XIII would not necessarily draw that much attention, entire areas filled with Lightnings and Snows would.

I admit that I might be a bit forgiving of SE for using a star-powered cameos so soon after ARR’s planned release. The team has done a mountains worth of work transforming this game from 1.0 to ARR that I would be willing to let this slip even if Cloud had never appeared in Tactics. Some players disagree with me and think SE has jumped the shark before this incarnation of FFXIV has even shipped. What about you? Do you think this sort of convergent story line is acceptable or do you believe SE is going to far? I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments below.

Robert Lashley /  Robert Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com and RTSGuru.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can chase him down on twitter @Grakulen


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