I’ve always been very skeptical about the possibility that the partnership between Microsoft and Square Enix to promote Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Windows 8 might hide something beyond that, but things are starting to line up a little too well.
Today the campaign reached its climax with the release of a new and beautiful illustration by Lead Character Designer Akihiko Yoshida (that you can see above) featuring all the jobs playable in the game, plus a slightly mysterious one on the far right that is probably the new Arcanist class, but looks a lot like a classic Final Fantasy Scholar due to the square academic cap.
Whether there’s a yet unannounced Scholar job incoming, or Yoshida-san took some liberties with the costume design of the Arcanist, your guess is as good as mine.
But there’s more: we also get a brand new Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Windows theme (that will work with both Windows 7 and Windows 8) with two lovely wallpapers and custom sounds. In order to download it you need to use Internet Explorer 10, follow the instructions here to take part in the text art that is the focus of the campaign (today’s theme for your tweet is “What has been your first meeting with Final Fantasy?”), and then go here (still using Explorer 10, of course).
If you did everything right the download button will look like this:
If something went wrong the button will look like this, and you won’t be able to download the theme just yet:
In order to remove the obstacle, you may have to either repeat the process or to hard reload the page (with CTRL+F5. It took me a few tries to get it right, thanks Mjollnir Axegrinder for the suggestion!). The theme will be offered for a limited time only.
The interesting thing is that the co-marketing campaign is reaching its climax exactly on the day of the reveal of the next Xbox. Call it hype for the upcoming unveiling, but it’s getting really difficult not to think that the two events may be somehow linked. Who knows, Square Enix and Microsoft might have managed to finally find middle ground to get around the strict Xbox Live policies, or maybe the policies themselves are being changed for the upcoming console?
Again, your guess is as good as mine, but maybe we’ll know more in a few hours, or in the following days.