Before you scream “Spoilers!” I’d like to mention that if you are supposed to see this cutscene, you probably already did, as the floodgates to the beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn have been open for a week to all those that played the previous incarnation of Final Fantasy XIV.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t between the many that survived the fall of Dalamud and just returned to Eorzea, you’ll probably never see the cutscene in game, as only veterans will see it when logging in for the first time with their old characters.
During the cataclysmic battle against the Garlean Empire, that marked the fall of the lesser moon Dalamud, the appearance of the elder primal Bahamut, and the end of Final Fantasy XIV, the archon Louisoix Leveilleur sacrificed himself to rescue the brave adventurers (IE: the players) from the ire of the titanic dragon, sending them through the planes of existence to keep them safe.
Five years later, the lost adventurers reappear in the region of Cohertas, finding a world that survived but was damaged and changed by the brutal attack of Bahamut. They now bear a mysterious mark on their back, that you can see below (if you hate it don’t worry, it can be deactivated).
As they return to their native city states while hiding their true identity, they discover that they’re mourned as lost, but not forgotten. The leaders of the local adventurer’s guilds see something familiar in them, but they fail to recognize them as a long time has passed. Now called “Warriors of Light”, they can set out on a new adventure, because their swords will soon be needed again.
Below you can see 63 screenshots (unfortunately actual video is still under NDA, so you’ll have to wait for that) from the special intro cutscene presented to veteran players that choose a class starting in the city state of Ul’dah. Other city states show slightly different cutscenes towards the end. As you can probably notice, part of the cutscene basically reproduces in-engine what we saw in the beautiful CG trailer released a few months back.
I have to say that walking the streets of Ul’dah again with my old character was a quite moving experience. The development team carefully prepared it by creating an emotional connection with the end of the previous era and the beginning of the new one, and it definitely worked.
Also, remember that if you didn’t play the first Final Fantasy XIV and plan on playing A Realm Reborn, you may want to check out the eight episodes of my The Story So Far column, that will get you up to speed with the story and help you enjoy the plot of the new game more, considering that it’s a direct sequel. If you want to see screenshots from the normal intros you can find them here, together with some from character creation.