Producer Naoki Yoshida says Dawntrail is like a "second rebirth" for Final Fantasy XIV
Producer Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida said that Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail, the upcoming expansion to Final Fantasy XIV, will be like a "second rebirth" for the long-running online RPG.
The comments come from an interview published in Famitsu during the FFXIV Tokyo Fan Fest event held from January 8 to 9, 2024. The interview covered topics like Yoshi-P and the FFXIV development team's goals for Dawntrail, why Scion member Krile is a Pictomancer (one of the expansion's new playable Jobs), and more about the introduction of female Hrothgar, particularly the new named character Wuk Lamat (who will be introduced in the game's next patch).
Speaking on how Dawntrail will fit into the long-term arc of Final Fantasy XIV, Yoshida said that the team approached the challenge of developing Dawntrail like it was A Realm Reborn - in other words, another "rebirth" for the game. That said, the team is significantly more experienced than it was back in 2013, so Yoshida believes that the game experience will be "three or four times more solid." He referred to the saga of Hydelyn and Zodiark that ended in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker (and its subsequent patches) as "one long chain of dominoes that has been toppled." He sees version 7.0 (Dawntrail's official patch number) as the "first step" towards setting a new chain of dominoes.
On the actual narrative of Dawntrail, Yoshida said Dawntrail's central story was conceived as single, cohesive one, but one that players will react to "as if it were a two-parter," meaning that players should expect moments that they'll see as major turning points in the story, ones that may upend their values and expectations, and even influence conflicts between characters. In doing so, he hopes that he and the team can show players "a new side of FFXIV".
When discussing female Hrothgar and the new character Wuk Lamat, Yoshida said that one of the goals of Dawntrail is to show players new things and underscore different and novel facets of FFXIV's world. As such, having Wuk Lamat be both a strong character with a central role in getting the Warrior of Light and their friends into the story, while also being representative of a new option for Hrothgrar players came naturally. Wuk Lamat is also conceived as not being "perfect from the outset" and her growth is a key aspect of the story.
Players will meet Wuk Lamat on January 16, 2024, when Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.55 launches. 6.55 will also close out the current Hildibrand storyline. The team has other updates planned, with Patch 6.57 and 6.58 expected to launch before 7.0.
On the topic of the new Pictomancer class, Yoshida said that new Jobs are first added to the game based on which roles are needed. Damage-dealing "DPS" roles are by far the most popular positions in the game, so a new expansion can't ignore them. And since the last two expansions added Tank and Healer Jobs (Gunbreaker and Sage), having Dawntrail introduce two DPS jobs (the Viper and Pictomancer) wouldn't impact the game's job balance.
As for Krile, a longtime member of the Scions, she'll be a Pictomancer in the expansion. The decision to give her a Job change was less related to Krile's resemblance to Final Fantasy VI's Relm (the franchise's first Pictomancer), than inspired by her development over the course of the game so far. Since her appearance in Heavensward, Krile had expressed a desire to go to battle alongside the rest of the Scions, despite her lack of combat aptitude. However, her role in the Endwalker story meant that she wouldn't get the chance to change to a more combat-ready Job until version 7.0.
Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail launches in Summer 2024 on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.