Naoki Yoshida says it’s riskier not to end Final Fantasy XIV’s ten-year story

A man from FFXIV walking towards a planet

Around eight years ago, Square Enix launched Final Fantasy XIV‘s A Realm Reborn reboot, a new beginning to put an end to the MMORPG’s underwhelming start to life. The expansion itself was set in motion by the end of the game’s first iteration when a primal dragon called Bahamut initiated an apocalyptic event that destroyed much of Eorzea. The whole thing kicked off a story that would last for the better part of a decade. In FFXIV’s upcoming Endwalker expansion, though, it all starts to come to an end.

Game director Naoki Yoshida makes as much clear in Endwalker’s reveal. When we were given a chance to speak to him, though, we can’t help but ask what his motivations were. For Yoshida, finishing the tale right now means ending it with a bang rather than letting it fizzle out later.

“As I’ve explained before, we produce FFXIV’s main scenario in a similar manner to a TV drama series,” he says. “We were fortunate to receive a great deal of praise for the previous expansion Shadowbringers, having uncovered around 80% of the mysteries as well as linking elements within the story and tying up loose ends. Of course, I believe we could use a strategy of stretching out the story without providing a conclusion in Endwalker.

“However, there’s a bigger risk that dragging the story on for so long would weaken the impact due to the decrease in momentum and it would be harder to round off the plot with further characters in the mix. If that’s the case, then I felt it would be better to deliver the first climax in the story as we believe this will craft a more powerful game experience, as I had originally envisaged. We’re going all out so make sure you’re prepared!”

As for what’s next for Final Fantasy XIV’s story, Yoshida reckons there’s plenty of untapped potential elsewhere. The team is focused on Endwalker for now, but Yoshida admits the thought of a new story is both intimidating and something to look forward to.

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“Since there is still some way to go until we start the new story, we are currently concentrating on the story of Endwalker,” Yoshida explains. “As suggested in Ardbert’s line of the final battle from Shadowbringers, the adventure will continue in ‘our story’.

“There are still plenty of possibilities available in the world of FFXIV. There’s the continent of Meracydia, the other reflections of the Source and the calamities that occurred in the past. It’s always a little intimidating when we craft a new story but equally something to look forward to. Of course, there’s pressure on our shoulders too.”

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FFXIV’s Endwalker expansion won’t be appearing on your desktops until autumn of this year at the least, but Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 5.5 is only two months away. If you’re looking for more details to tide you over, we also spoke to Yoshida about Island Sanctuary, a tranquil mode where you can tend to some land and leave the waring at your gate. If you’ve got some grinding to do, though, then our FFXIV leveling guide will point you in the right direction.