The Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2023, which commenced on July 28th in Las Vegas, began with an exciting revelation on its first day. Yoshi-P announced the launch of a new expansion to the game, Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail, set to release in the summer of 2024. In addition to the anticipation of a new expansion, the festival also brought a flurry of updates. Along with an impressive graphics upgrade, a plethora of new details were divulged. From intriguing story developments to new locations and more, these revelations offered much to look forward to from the event.
The one and only Yoshitaka Amano created the logo for this upcoming expansion. The distinctive theme color for this round is gold, as hinted by the Japanese title “Gilded Legacy”. Yoshi-P expressed a desire to release the expansion as early as possible within the summer of 2024, but he cautiously stated this season as the projected timeframe to account for any contingencies.
Yoshi-P delved into the storyline of Dawntrail during the event, expressing his desire to provide the most exceptional “summer vacation a hero could possibly have.” This shift in atmosphere is a stark contrast from the previous expansion, Endwalker, yet it’s a welcome change, especially after the last expansion’s events. He emphasized that he aimed to offer players a much-needed respite following Endwalker.
The adventure in Dawntrail starts with an invitation from a visitor hailing from a new world, Tural. This visitor seeks the Warrior of Light’s assistance in a significant rite of succession to determine Tural’s forthcoming leader. Accompanied by familiar allies such as Alphinaud, Alisaie, and Erenville, players will embark on a maritime journey to Tural, potentially unearthing the legendary tales of a city of gold and becoming embroiled in a riveting competition for the throne.
Although beloved team members will be present, the contest could potentially split the Scions into two rival factions. Yoshi-P intriguingly hinted at the ensuing divide and encouraged players to anticipate uncovering “who will be our allies, and who will be our rivals” in Dawntrail.
Embodying a theme of exploration and discovery, Dawntrail marks a significant milestone in Final Fantasy XIV‘s journey. With the conclusion of the previous arc, the game embarks on a new chapter, perfectly encapsulated in the expansion’s theme. Dawntrail symbolizes a fresh dawn for Final Fantasy XIV, representing the “first step into a new story.” The contest for the throne is a crucial aspect of Tural, yet it’s just the beginning.
A multitude of new locations, including the enigmatic City of Gold, and thrilling adventures are poised to unfold. Yoshi-P promised a treasure trove of surprises in store, urging players to “keep our expectations high.” Playfully, he hinted that the development team has plans to deliver much, much more than just a vacation experience. There is much to anticipate in this upcoming expansion.
The expansion introduces Tural, a world that lies far to the west, significantly broadening the game’s map. Nestled across the Western seas, Tural is a distant realm beyond the three familiar continents. One of the intriguing locations you’ll explore is Yok Tural, the setting for our new principal hub city, Tuliyollal. This city, which serves as the silhouette for Amano’s logo, was designed with a keen focus on diversity. We discovered during the event that Tuliyollal is the capital of the federal nation-state governing Tural. It is overseen by a dual-headed Mamool Ja named Gulool Ja Ja, renowned for his strength and wisdom, and located in the Northern expanses of Yok Tural.
Tuliyollal is not heavily industrialized; its inhabitants prioritize a harmonious coexistence with nature. The contest revolves around Gulool Ja Ja’s throne, determining his successor. Tuliyollal features a bustling marketplace, and a harbor, among other attractions. Though swimming in the harbor isn’t possible, there are plenty of other locations where you can indulge in a swim. So, as Yoshi-P suggested, you might want to “bring your bathing suit.”
In addition to Tuliyollal, the event showcased other intriguing field areas within Yok Tural. One such location is Urqopacha, a mountainous region. This area is home to people of remarkably varying sizes, ranging from the incredibly large to the exceptionally small. Urqopacha, while a testament to an empire once ruled by giants, now stands in ruins. However, its expansive natural landscapes and settlements remain ripe for exploration.
Another location unveiled is Yak T’el, a unique forest that players can reach via dirigible from Tuliyollal. Its dense canopy filters out most sunlight, creating a mysterious ambiance that changes remarkably from day to night. Yak T’el is split into two sections: a low-level and a high-level area. It serves as the primary settlement for the Hrothgar and Mamool Ja tribes. The region is adorned with striking cenotes that cradle hot springs and deep blue ponds, offering breathtaking views.
Yoshi-P whimsically mentioned his delight with the plant graphics, a testament to the latest graphics update, which inspired the team to capture numerous nature screenshots. The remarkable shift in scenery from daylight to twilight is sure to further enrich Final Fantasy XIV‘s already immersive gaming experience.
Dawntrail will introduce players to numerous societies, with one new allied tribe being particularly highlighted: the Pelupelu. For fans of the older Final Fantasy titles, this tribe might seem familiar as it was first introduced in Final Fantasy X. The Pelupelu reside in Urqopacha and are distinctive for their ubiquitous masks. Besides this unique cultural trait, they are highly skilled in trade and are renowned for their expertise in beverage-making, particularly tea and coffee. This colorful tribe will undoubtedly enrich the overall experience of navigating through the diverse world of Dawntrail.
After shedding light on Tural, its locations, and its diverse inhabitants, Yoshi-P transitioned to a detailed overview of all the 7.0 content. One significant update is the increase in the level cap to 100. Accompanying this rise, there will be new skills introduced for all jobs, and both crafters and gatherers will also see their level cap boosted to 100.
The addition of two new jobs was confirmed, however, Yoshi-P left us in suspense by not revealing their exact nature. All he disclosed was that they would be DPS roles, with one being a melee DPS and the other a ranged magical DPS, further heightening the anticipation for the upcoming content.
While the core battle content remains intact, Yoshi-P highlighted the introduction of new dungeons in the expansion, matching the quantity players have come to anticipate from Final Fantasy XIV. Although specific details about these new dungeons were withheld, the team shared some insights about the adversaries players can expect to encounter. With new areas come fresh enemies, and both normal and hard versions of each encounter will be available to challenge players.
The artwork of a new boss, the legendary Valigarmanda, was unveiled, promising thrilling combat experiences. Additionally, the expansion will bring substantial updates to duty support, assuring duty support for all main dungeons in the story. There are further plans regarding duty support that could not be discussed, as they are intricately tied to the unfolding storyline.
Furthermore, Yoshi-P indicated an abundance of new gear and recipes, along with extensive lifestyle content, will be introduced in the expansion. The team revealed that new variant dungeons, an alliance raid, an 8-player raid, and ultimate raids are also slated for inclusion.
In terms of continuous content enhancements, a Blue Mage update is in the pipeline, and the popular character Hildibrand is set to make a return in the 7.0 version. The team is also deliberating on new plans for deep dungeons, as well as devising new battle content strategies. Last but not least, the Gold Saucer will see an update. Thanks to a collaboration with Fall Guys, some Fall Guys-inspired content will be incorporated into the Gold Saucer. This feature is planned to accommodate up to 24 players simultaneously and is currently under development.
Among the system-side updates, the most significant is a comprehensive graphical enhancement. This substantial update aims to augment the game’s screen-wide aesthetic appeal by offering higher-resolution textures and shadows, and improved material qualities, all while retaining the familiar look that players have come to adore. The team is devoted to maintaining the original character appearances, focusing primarily on enhancing the overall game graphics and aesthetics. A before-and-after comparison video was shared, showcasing the remarkable improvements.
The team has worked diligently to refine aspects like hair texture and the realism of facial features such as eyes and skin. Given the extensive range of gear sets in the game, Yoshi-P acknowledged that they plan to continue updating gear as well as NPCs over time, making the graphical enhancement an ongoing process. As a result, improvements will continue to roll out gradually. These updates will not only be applied to the new content but also retrospectively to version 2.0 and beyond. Yoshi-P requested fans to exercise patience as they continue to refine and enhance the game’s graphics.
The graphics update extends beyond character enhancements to include overall materials and settings within the game. Colors will be more vibrant, textures more pronounced, and shadows and highlights will have more depth. This enhancement will allow for more detailed environments. Initially, these updates will be added to version 7.0, with other versions following. Vegetation and greenery will also undergo a graphics upgrade, which will be systematically applied throughout the game.
However, the improvements are not limited to visual aesthetics; certain system enhancements are also part of the graphics update. For instance, players will now have the ability to use two dyes per gear piece. While not all gear will be updated immediately, these upgrades will be gradually implemented. Another exciting feature is the ability to equip eyeglasses along with headgear. Although eyeglasses can be worn like gear, they won’t be classified as such in the system, ensuring they won’t occupy space in your armory chest. Finally, scheduled for a future 7.X release, is an increased limit on furnishings.
With the introduction of the graphics update, the system requirements for running the game will also be modified. To accommodate these enhancements, the minimum requirements will be a Windows 10 64-bit or Windows 11 64-bit operating system, an Intel Core i7-6700 or higher CPU, 8GB of memory, 140GB or more of available HDD/SSD space, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or higher, or an AMD Radeon RX 480 or higher graphics card. A screen resolution of 1280×720 is also necessary.
However, these are simply the baseline specifications for running the game. For optimal performance, it is recommended to have a Windows 10 64-bit or Windows 11 64-bit OS, an i7-9700 or higher CPU, 16GB of memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 or higher or an AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT or higher graphics card, along with a screen resolution of 1920×1080. The team also reassured fans that they will continue to support PS4. Yet, Yoshi-P light-heartedly noted that with the release of Final Fantasy XVI, now would be an opportune moment to consider upgrading to a PS5.
Another system enhancement on the horizon is a new user interface. This unique feature, akin to an online whiteboard, aims to facilitate collaborative discussions on strategic plans for specific duties. While this is all Yoshi-P could reveal about the 7.0 updates for now, further enhancements for 6.X are expected. Significantly, they will be expanding the free trial to include Stormblood, which will be released alongside 6.5. In conclusion to the keynote speech, it was announced that Final Fantasy XIV Online will be making its way to Xbox, broadening the game’s accessibility to even more players.
The event left me buzzing with anticipation for all the amazing updates on the horizon. From the major graphical overhaul that promises to breathe fresh life into the game, to the new journey awaiting us as Warriors of Light, there’s a veritable treasure trove of experiences to look forward to. The prospect of diving into Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail in Summer 2024 is exciting, to say the least. Reflecting on it all, I’m simply awestruck at the future that’s being meticulously crafted for us in the world of Final Fantasy XIV. The wait is going to be tough, but I’m certain it will be more than worth it!
In other news, check out all of the video games releasing in 2024 in addition to Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail!