Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Final Fantasy XIV Launch Trailers: A Realm Reborn to Dawntrail

We are now two weeks away from the official launch of Dawntrail, Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion after the end of the Hydaelyn-Zodiark arc. I finished the final quest last night, meaning I can join the rush when early access opens on 28 June. On Friday FFXIV Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida debuted the expansion's launch trailer during his Producer's Live Letter #82.

I don't do trailer analysis posts, but I did find the question at the end of the trailer intriguing. 
With your strength, could you have held fast to which is dear without sacrifice?
But enough analysis. When I saw the launch trailer I wanted to compare the previous launch trailers and look back at the road I travelled to get to Dawntrail

The first, A Realm Reborn, is more a relaunch of a game than a true expansion. Released in late August 2013 for PC and Playstation 3, the game had to suspend digital sales due to the interest in the game.

The next expansion was Heavensward. Launched for PC, Mac, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Heavensward launched on 23 June 2015. While not perhaps beloved at the time for other reasons, the story in the expansion was much better than in A Realm Reborn. Also, a Mac client was introduced for the first time.

The next chapter of the Hydaelyn-Zodiark arc, Stormblood, launched on 20 June 2017. The video quality of the trailer went up as PS3 support expired. While criticized for a perhaps overly ambitious storyline, many of the dungeon and raid mechanics were solidified during the expansion.

The penultimate expansion, Shadowbringers, launched on PC, Mac, and Playstation 4 on 2 July 2019, or 5 years to the day before Dawntrail. The expansion expanded the game world into multi-star travel and adventure while ending the Ascians, or at least the members of the Convocation, as major factors in the world.

Finally, we get to the last expansion, Endwalker. Released on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, its 7 December 2021 date was partially delayed due to complications associated with COVID-19 restrictions worldwide. The expansion wrapped up the story told from A Realm Reborn through Shadowbringers

These are the launch trailers and not the final cinematic trailers for each of the expansions. Those trailers, while also bringing back memories, also have a lot of misdirection injected into them. I also want to note the hardware journey the game has taken over the last 11 years as well. In 2013, players had a choice of either PC or PlayStation 3. Today, players can't even play on the PS3 as the game supports the PS4 and PS5. And while players can still play on PC and Mac, a new option opens up with Dawntrail: the XBox One. I also believe the trailers display the technological trail as well.

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