Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker signifies the end of an era. One story, begun nine years ago, has ended with a stunning and heartwarming conclusion, while the promise of a new adventure awaits on the horizon. But endwalker doesn’t just mark the end of the Hydaelyn/Zodiark saga. For a few diehard players, endwalker also provides a final coda for the game Final Fantasy XIV was before rebooting in A reborn realm.
The original Final Fantasy XIV Online – popularly known as “1.0” – had a rough release. Reviews at the time said the game “lacked character, coherence and fun” and lamented all the features, from the UI to the stories. The only thing Tatjana Vejnovic remembers from 1.0 was “[h]oh damn playable it was.”
“Everything loaded super slow, and it was laggy as hell,” she said The edge.
Lag was one of the top complaints from 1.0 players. While the game was visually impressive for the time, the developers sacrificed performance for aesthetics. At the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Naoki Yoshida, game director of FFXIV, talked about some of the things that went wrong with 1.0, cite specifically The over-reliance on Square Enix in delivering a beautiful game at the expense of performance and content.
Jake Dehlinger recalled being very disappointed in 1.0.
“I spent my high school years playing” FFXIA with my friend (shout out to Raphiell!), and we planned to play FFXIV together,” he told The edge. “The experience was super disappointing and I didn’t last long.”
Dylan Fitzgerald remembered his time more fondly and remembered some of the interesting bits of the game’s history.
“Did you know that you don’t apply material to a piece of equipment that is used to blow up the entire item? Or did that magician at one point have fire, blizzard, and thunder spells in addition to the earth, wind, and water they have now? While it was clearly a mess, I still had a lot of fun with 1.0, not least for the community that lingered after most people jumped the ship.
Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 released in September 2010 and took two years for Square Enix to kill the game in a fiery conflagration, setting the stage for his phoenix-like resurrection from the ashes. Yoshida said in his GDC speech that Square Enix kept the name Final Fantasy XIV to regain the trust of the fans, and while some elements of 1.0 were carried over, A reborn realm is essentially a totally different game.
The battle system has been revamped and classic Final Fantasy jobs were added. The main story quest was significantly improved and graphical updates were more balanced. The game was and still is unforgivingly beautiful, but your system won’t puff when you load a flower pot.
“ARR was a success in my mind,” Dehlinger said. “It made me feel like I had a game where the story really mattered.”
Although 1.0 ended up literally blowing up the world by Square Enix, endwalker‘s story still took time to acknowledge the journey 1.0 players have taken from those rough early days to now. Veteran players noticed and respected endwalker‘s tributes to 1.0, including one that’s a direct, almost shot-for-shot remake of a 1.0 intro quest.
“I think they made the end as elegant as possible for something with such a rough start that had been going on for so long,” Fitzgerald said. “I definitely felt a sense of closure by the time all was said and done, and endwalker inspired me to finally have my character’s legacy tattooed on my own body.”
(Old brands were a special in-game cosmetics given to players who subscribed and re-subscribed during 1.0 during 1.0 ARR.)
In Yoshida’s GDC speech, he said that one of the main points of 1.0 was to “never forget your roots”. FFXIV 1.0 discontinued in 2012, and there have been several expansions between the ARR reboot and now but you can still see the roots of 1.0 embedded in endwalker. “answer”, the song that sums up so beautifully endwalker‘s plot, was written by Nobuo Uematsu for 1.0.
“FFXIV“The team never forgets characters and storylines,” Dehlinger said. “Watching endwalker Bringing back and binding so much story in such a beautiful way made me very happy.”
It’s rare that a video game can pull itself out of a tailspin. Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 was so bad that Yoshida said in his GDC presentation that it hindered Japanese MMO development. It might have been easier or even expected if 1.0 would die without any comment. But Final Fantasy XIV is a long-memory game set in a space where sequels and spin-offs, video games or otherwise, don’t seem to want to acknowledge where they came from. although ARR and its subsequent expansions are games that follow the trajectory of Final Fantasy XIV‘s legacy, 1.0 laid the foundation on which everything fans love FFXIV sitting now.