Today, during the initial keynote of the 2016-17 Fan Festival held in Tokyo, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida announced more details about the upcoming expansion Stormblood.
You can read a full recap of the keynote below, including all the presentation slides and a few screen captures from the videos.
The first new job brought by the expansion was revealed, and it will be Red Mage, which will be a hybrid ranged/melee DPS. There will be “multiple” new jobs, but the rest will be announced at a later date.
After announcing the new job, Yoshida-san changed into a Spider-Man t-shirt. He is known to tease new jobs with his shirts, and in fact the implementation of Red Mage was teased with a Scarlet Witch one. Feel free to speculate, because I really have no idea this time around.
Update: many among the community are speculating that it could be wordplay on the name of Sam Raimi, Director of the original Spider-Man trilogy. A Japanese would pronounce his name “Samuraimi.” That said, consider this with the customary grain of salt.
While the previous expansion Heavensward introduced flying mounts, Stormblood will bring the implementation of swimming and diving. Not all bodies of water will be swimming-enabled, For instance shallow rivers won’t be.
Characters will start swimming automatically as soon as they enter an eligible body of water. When you walk you’ll use breaststroke, when you sprint you’ll use crawl. Movement is slightly slower than on land, and only flying mount will be able to swim.
Swimming will be available in limited areas in the original A Realm Reborn regions, including Costa Del Sol, but there won’t be any combat in the water.
Diving will also be available in select bodies of water, limited only to locations introduced with Stormblood. There will be no loading transition between land and water, and the passage between surface swimming and diving will also be seamless. No breathing limits or drowning risk will hamper our ability to stay underwater as much as we like. Flying mounts can also dive.
While there won’t be any battle content underwater, interaction with NPCs and gathering will be possible. Diving will be unlocked through a special quest located early in the storyline.
A new underwater beast tribe was announced, the Ananta. They’re a female-only race, and live in the waters near Ala Mhigo, where they are oppressed by the Garlean Empire. They follow Lakshmi as their primal of choice, and they’re very skulled with magic and gemcraft.
Stormblood‘s main music theme is being composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Work on it is 60% complete. Uematsu-sensei will be present at the European fanfest in Frankfurt in February. In a video message, he mentioned that the theme will be “a bit more uptempo” compared to A Realm Reborn‘s “Answers” and Heavensward‘s “Dragonsong,” but it will still feature “an emotionally powerful melody.”
The new high-end raid will be “The Bend of Time – Omega,” which will bring Omega Weapon to Final Fantasy XIV. The story leading up to the raid will begin in update 3.5 next month. The raid won’t be a requirement to complete or enjoy the storyline.
Guest developers will be brought to work on new alliance raids. The first one will be created and written by Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII and Vagrant Story director Yasumi Matsuno, while Garo Director and Shin Megami Tensei IV Creature Designer Keita Amemiya will design the bosses. It will be titled “Return to Ivalice.”
A Collector’s Edition was also announced, including a figure representing the villain of the expansion, Zenos, a special box featuring art by Yoshitaka Amano, an artbook, a cloth map of Eorzea and an original decal for your car.
A Digital Collector’s Edition was also announced, bringing digital bonuses, including a Syldra Mount, a Wind-Up Bartz Minion from Final Fantasy V and a Red Mage main weapon named “Chicken Knife.” The digital bonuses will also be included in the physical Collector’s Edition.
The keynote was wrapped up with a funny skit: Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda (who definitely isn’t new to this kind of thing) walked on stage with a fake rifle demanding to know when the expansion would be released, revealing that the release date will be on June 20th, 2017 worldwide. Pre-orders will start on January 24th. It was mentioned that the release date is “tentative,” but Matsuda-san mentioned that there shouldn’t be any delays, as development is progressing smoothly.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood will be the second expansion of Square Enix’s successful MMORPG. It was announced back in October, and you can read more details shared back then, on top of watching the lovely cinematic trailer by Visual Works.