I'm a little late, but the news is still noteworthy. In an interview with Fanbyte, Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida revealed that Natsuko Ishikawa is returning to the game as the lead writer for the next expansion, Endwalker. This is, to use a technical term, good news.
To those who don't know, Ishikawa was the lead writer for Shadowbringers. I don't think I will get much argument by stating that the story of the last two unsundered Ascians, Emet-Selch & Elidibus, is the best FFXIV expansion to date. Defeating the two most dangerous antagonists players face in the story deserved to be an epic experience, and Iskikawa's storytelling delivered.
Endwalker is the conclusion to the saga of Hydaelyn and Zodiark. I don't expect the conclusion to equal the climax, but something at least as good as Heavensward is possible. But before hearing the news that Natsuko Ishikawa is the lead writer for the expansion, I had grave doubts. If Emet-Selch & Elidibus were fantastic villains, then the antagonists for Endwalker are the complete opposite.
The first of Endwalker's villians, Zenos yae Glavus, was the main antagonist of Stormblood. I absolutely hated the character. He is a one-dimensional character. After going through the Stormblood story, fighting him at the end felt so disappointing and empty. For me, he is the main reason for ranking Stormblood the worst expansion. And we have to put up with him again in Endwalker? Ugh!
The new bad guy, Fandaniel, doesn't fill me with hope either. I found this description on a fan wiki:
Fandaniel is flamboyant, whimsical, and impulsive. Unlike the other Ascians, Fandaniel is not loyal to Zodiark and states no interest in restoring the world as it was before the sundering. In fact, his goal of the Source’s total annihilation puts him at direct odds with the rest of his brethren. Fandaniel appears loyal, if not sycophantic, toward Zenos and is eager to help the Garlean prince in his "hunt" for the Warrior of Light as it correlates to his desire to spread chaos.
An erratic and sadistic nihilist with a flare for theatrics, Fandaniel wishes nothing more than for all of the inhabitants of the Source to die and is more than willing to die in the effort. In fact, it's his goal to die once he achieves in his mission in restarting the Final Days, a stark contrast to how his fellow Ascians cling to life.
Personally, I think the description gives Fandaniel too much credit. He reminds me so much of Zenos. Finishing the story with two such poorly written villains would be such a disappointment.
Knowing that Ishikawa is the lead writer gives me hope. I doubt she can salvage such an established character as Zenos, but I have hope for Fandaniel. Hopefully we kill Zenos before travelling to the moon. I really hope whatever is on the moon is far bigger than the two known villains we are to face.