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PAX East 2013 Panel Report

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Final Fantasy XIV is set to relaunch as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn sometime this year, and with the new version now in closed beta, fans were looking forward to this year’s PAX East for some new bits of information. Unfortunately, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV plans for PAX East appeared to be more introductory than anything else.

If you’ve been following Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn closely at all, don’t expect to learn much of anything new today. This seems to be a calculated strategy, too. One of the original issues plaguing Final Fantasy XIV was that Square Enix didn’t do enough to make the game feel like a real numbered entry in the series. The aim, from what I understand, is to drive awareness with the general Final Fantasy fanbase. Square Enix’s Naoki Yoshida admitted as much to me during my interview with him at last year’s E3, and based on the marketing strategy we’ve seen come out for the game since then, I think it’s safe to say they are taking this angle quite seriously. Heck, the entire point of conversation came up only after I explained to Mr. Yoshida that I had not been drawn to either FFXI or FFXIV for precisely these reasons. As a longtime fan of the series, the two games just didn’t really scream Final Fantasy to me.

In any case, the panel jumped around to a variety of subjects before getting to Final Fantasy XIV. We sat through a retrospective on the series, a segment on the now launched 11th expansion to Final Fantasy XI, Seekers Adoulin, and then finally, a fairly brief segment on Final Fantasy XIV itself.

Square Enix began by thanking fans for their patience in dealing with all the trials and tribulations that FFXIV has faced since launch. For anyone who didn’t bother to stick around or jump in during the first go around, they reassured us that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn truly is a new game.

Unfortunately, Mr. Naoki Yoshida himself wasn’t able to make it to the panel, but he did record a video for those in attendance. Yoshida’s video essentially describes the events leading up to the server shutdown to the original game, setting up the backstory for A Realm Reborn.  Basically, meteor was summoned by the Garleans to aid in their invasion, only for it to turn out that meteor was actually carrying the primal Bahamut, who does his best to burninate Eorzea once unleashed.  A Realm Reborn takes place five years following these events.

Again, there wasn’t a whole bunch new to see at the panel. We were shown slides of concept art for some of the game’s main cities, including Limsa Lominsa, Ul’Dah, and Gridania. A couple of pieces of new art were noteworthy, though, such as the new Black Mage armor and full-body Chocobo armor set.  I’m not really sure where the Chocobo armor fits in as it looked just as ridiculous as you would imagine, but hey, there you are.

Beyond the concept art slides, Square Enix looks to be putting a significant emphasis on drawing from previous games in the series with A Realm Reborn. Expect to see Magitek armor, FF3’s Crystal Tower, and even FF7’s Cait Sith. What else will Square Enix add? Who’s to say? But given the spectrum of Final Fantasy games pulled from so far, I’d say just about anything is on the table at this point.

That about sums up the short presentation on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn at PAX East 2013. For any fans of the game who did manage to make the panel, at least they didn’t leave empty handed. Square Enix left a card granting entry to the closed beta on every seat. Woo!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB