The Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest Paris is going on this weekend, and this morning's keynote from Executive Producer Naoki Yoshida included several bits of new information about the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion that players have been waiting on. The keynote kicked off with an extended teaser trailer and moved on to reveal the gunblade using Gunbreaker Job and Viera playable race. Both the Viera and Gunbreaker news was "leaked" earlier this year, but today marks their official confirmation from Square Enix. The keynote also covered some info on a new areas that will be part of the upcoming expansion, new features, pre-order and early access info, as well as the launch date for the expansion.
The first announcement of the keynote was the launch date. Shadowbringers will release on July 2nd, 2019 which is a bit later than expansions tend to hit for the game (mid-June was the timeframe for the previous expansions). However, early access will start June 28, 2019.
The next was the Gunbreaker Job, which will be one of several new jobs added to the game with the new expansion. The Gunbeaker class uses a six-shooter pistol with a sword attached to it, because everyone wants to be Final Fantasy VIII's Squall. The Gunbreaker will be a new tank job, making it the fourth tank job in the game after Warrior, Paladin, and Dark Knight. Unlike other gunblades seen in Final Fantasy XIV in the hands of the Garlean Empire, the Gunbreaker's blade will function more like Squalls and be a close-quarters weapon. Tanks will use the gunblade to slash their enemies, while pulling the trigger to enhance an attack with magicked ammunition. You can also use the magicked ammunition to utilize various other abilities. Likely the ammunition will be a gauge of some sort, otherwise, Gunbreaker will have the 3.0 Dark Knight problem of MP management. Because its an additional job, it won't have an associated starting class. At the moment, plans are for players to pick up the job at Level 60, though that could change before launch based on playtesting and player feedback. In order to become a Gunbreaker, a player needs to have installed the Shadowbringers expansion and have at least one job/class leveled to 60. The pickup location for Gunbreaker is tentatively in Gridania, which means you don't need to have gotten through all of Heavensward, or even moved into Stormblood or Shadowbringers to start. Which is pretty ideal for new players.
You can check out the Gunbreaker reveal trailer below.
From there, Yoshida moved on to discuss some story info based on what we saw in the extended teaser trailer. The teaser starts much the same way as the original teaser, but also includes some new information and new teases. As the first part of Patch 4.5 takes players to the front lines of the conflict between the Allied Armies and the Garlean Empire in a Main Scenario dungeon which literally puts players in the war trenches. At the end of that dungeon, the final cutscenes of the patch show Allisae fall into a coma like the other members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. This leaves the player character, the Warrior of Light, as the last remaining hope in the fight against the Ascian threat. Patch 4.55 will bring the remains of that story before moving into the post-apocalypse we find ourselves in come Shadowbringers.
From the trailer itself, we can see that many of the scions have awoken and changed jobs. Thancred is now a Gunbreaker, Urianger appears to be an Astrologian, while Y'shtola appears to be a Black Mage. Meanwhile, the Warrior of Light swaps jobs until ending up as a Dark Knight, because there really can only be one job available for a Warrior of Darkness, and that's DRK. They're just too edgy. The young girl with Thancred is revealed to be Minfillia, the head of the Scions who disappeared to another world before the start of the Stormblood storyline. Further story hints from the trailer indicate that we'll be re-writing some of our own history, perhaps from before Stormblood, perhaps during Heavensward, or even further back during the 7th Umbral Calamity, which ended before the game relaunched with version 2.0 A Realm Reborn. While much of the 1.0 story has been written out of the game's story, given that no one remembers the Warrior of Light, only that they saved everyone. However, the opening cinematic of A Realm Reborn and the flashbacks in the Shadowbringers teaser pretty much confirm that the 2.0 Warrior of Light was the previous WoL, just with some convenient amnesia.
So, Shadowbringers could be taking us in some interesting directions. Or not, honestly. We won't know until July.
You can check out the extended Shadowbringers teaser below.
Yoshida then dropped two new videos, showing two massive zones for players to run around in. These are definitely not the only zones coming in with 5.0, but they do give us some hints as to where in the world we are for the expansion. The first area, the Rak'tika Greatwood is an expansive forest with multiple levels, with a canopy of massively tall trees and the forest floor, as well as paths between. So you'll definitely want to pack your flying mounts.
The second is Il Mheg which is home to the pixies, and appears to mostly be a large valley with some impressive mountains and etherial architecture. Yoshida also confirmed that the pixies aren't as much of a pain as the Moogles, so if Moghome is your least favorite place, at least there's some hope. The new residential area coming with the expansion will be near Il Mheg and come with its own unique architecture.
We'll find out more on Il Mheg and Rak'tika Greatwood closer to the launch of Shadowbringers.
The keynote moved on to new gameplay features and announcements, specifically, the new NPC battle system. Called the "Trust" system, the FFXIV version differs from the FFXI system in a few different ways. In the NPC Trust system, players can take various Shadowbringers NPCs with them into a dungeon to run it solo. While the example dungeon included Yoshida's character surrounded by Y'shotla, Thancred, and Urianger, other NPCs will be available for the NPC system.
That said, the party matching system is going absolutely nowhere, so you can still run with other players. This just gives you an option to avoid all the "know your role" griefer commentary.
Other general feature announcements included:
- Level cap is being raised to 80
- All Jobs (including DoL and DoH jobs) will be getting new actions with the level cap raise
- The Battle System is getting a major overhaul
- Players already have a lot of actions, so some may be revised, others will be combined, and some may even disappear
- TP is absolutely being done away with
- More Battle System rivision info will come in May
- At the launch of Shadowbringers, there will be 9 new Dungeons
- The new High End raid series will have a theme, much like the Omega and Coils raids, but will be announced during the Tokyo Fan Festival
- End-Game content for the DoH and DoL jobs will see players restoring the Holy See of Ishgard
- It will continue through the entiretly of the 5.0 – 6.0 life cycle
- It will have a storyline attached to it, so maybe you'll see some familiar faces from Ishgard return
- New Game +
- Players can replay past MSQ, Job, and Chronicles quests at their current level
- This will not reset their progress in MSQ
- This way you can replay story without starting a whole new character
- World Visit System should release by Patch 4.57
- You can visit friends on another server, to break down walls between servers
- New Beast Tribe – the Pixies, who live in Il Mheg
- Proficient in the magical arts
- Notorious for being tricksters
- They speak a unique language called "Fae" which was scripted entirely by the FFXIV dev team
- Their relatetd Primal is Titania
- The Alliance Raid series will be YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse
- Guest Creators for the series are Yosuke Saito and Yoko Taro
- Saito has worked on the NieR and Dragon Quest series as an Executive Producer
- Yoko Taro is the game designer behind the NieR series
- Naturally, that means its a NieR raid
- Guest Creators for the series are Yosuke Saito and Yoko Taro
Finally, the Viera. The Shadowbringers expansion will bring a new playable race to the game, this time allowing players to become statuesque bunny women. As the Viera have very long ears, their design will change the way helmets work in-game. Right now, helmets simply create ear covers for races with longer ears like the Elezen or Miqo'te, but that won't fly very well with the Viera. However, what changes we can expect to helmet design will come with the new race, we don't know just yet. Based on Fran's design, we can assume helmets will get large cutouts for their ears.
Other than their ears and penchant for walking in heels, the Viera are a lot like other races in FFXIV, as they're basically just humans with different ears and body proportions. Fran's gear is the default race-specific outfit for the Viera.
However, the Viera are an all-female race in all other Final Fantasy games and it appears that tradition will hold here as well, making the Viera the only gender-locked race in the game. The Viera will likely be the final playable race added to Final Fantasy XIV.
You can check out the Viera reveal below.
The keynote ended with information on the game's Collector's Edition which will grant owners a physical copy of the game with the unique Collector's Edition art, a deck of playing cards with unique Final Fantasy XIV art, a vinyl cling of the expansion's logo, an artbook for the expansion, and a limited edition statue of a Dark Knight to represent the Warrior of Light's transition into a Warrior of Darkness. The whole thing comes packaged in a two-layer special box with original art by Yoshitaka Amano, much like other Collector's Editions for the game. In-Game items for the Collector's Edition include a Wind-up Fran minion, the Grani Mount, and Squall Leonhart's Revolver from Final Fantasy VIII as a Gunbreaker weapon.
All expansion pre-orders will net players the Baby Gremlin minion and Aetheryte Earring items. The earrings will give players a levelling boost up through Level 70, which makes them a pretty nice item. Their stats will also scale based on your character's level, to make up for any possible item level issues. Both items will be available in-game before the launch of Shadowbringers.
Finally, the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Edition for PC, which includes 30 days of subscription time, will be included with Twitch Prime beginning February 4, 2019 through May 3, 2019. You can find out more on that promotion here.
Shadowbringers will launch on July 2, 2019.
Or you can check out the keynote in its entirety below. Its worth it just for the video with Yoko Taro and fake key art for the Viangaa race, honestly.