For those looking to become part of one of those communities, few genres of games facilitate the desire quite like a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). These massive worlds with millions of players are built from the ground up to promote players working together and lose themselves in what the game has to offer.
Final Fantasy XIV is one of these games. Not only that it’s got one of the biggest followings around; with over 14 million players who have subscribed since its launch back in August 2013. During the 2nd-3rd February players from around the world descended upon Paris to join fellow fans of the game to celebrate the game that they all love so dearly.
Tickets were sold for the festival over the Friday and Saturday just outside the centre of the French capital. Each here to share in the game that they all so passionately follow. Each person with a different story but all having one thing in common; loving this game.
Fans show their enthusiasm in many different ways. Many had dressed up in cosplay, with each costume looking detailed and accurate to the source material. It must have taken these guys hours to get them to look as good as they do. It shows that these people are not simply playing games and doing nothing else, they have real-life skills that they incorporate into the passion that they have for the game.
Those who had taken the time to dress up in cosplay then competed in a scheduled costume contest where they could really show off all the hard work they had put in. The winner was dressed as a Kuribu, which featured heavily in the trailer for the new Stormbringers expansion.
Those with an artistic flair worked on dedicated fan art with some drawing their favourite characters while others using their incredible talents to put onto paper some of the beautiful landscapes from around the fictional world of Eorzea, in which the game is set.
It’s clear to see that it’s this type of dedication to the game from people like this and the others that play that keep the world feeling so alive and engaging. When bringing all these people together, it creates a simply magical atmosphere that is sure to stay with the people who were there for a long time.
One of the things that make fans desperate to attend the event is the possibility of a new expansion being announced. These large content updates are what keep the players coming back. With a new story and gameplay, fans want to know what’s next for their journeys within the game.
The fan festival had a jam-packed schedule over the two days, from 10 am to 8 pm with something going on all the time. Naoki Yoshida, the game’s director opened up the whole event with a keynote that quickly got straight to the news that people wanted to hear.
Fans were treated to the announcement of the upcoming expansion Stormbringers back at the Las Vegas Fan Festival last year and the Paris keynote continued with the hot scoops with a release date of 2nd of July. Those pre-ordering are able to get early access on the 28th of June.
While the game is updated with content often in the form of patches, there is nothing quite as exciting for fans as a new expansion. With this being the second of three Fan Festivals, not all the information has been released yet but fans were ecstatic to hear about what’s to come.
A new playable job was announced in the form of the Gunbreaker. Utilising a Gunblade weapon, it will be the first tank job players can add to their ranks since the Dark Knight back in Heavensward.
Another long-standing request from players was to make the Viera from Final Fantasy XII a playable race. Yoshida was happy to officially announce that they will be playable when the expansion launches.
Yoshida; also known as Yoshi-P has a real charisma about him that the fans can sense. To them, he’s a rock star. Over the numerous panels, he’s on, they all cheer his name and wait to hear what he has to say next.
You can see the passion he has for the game and the fans. For him and the team listening to the fans feedback during the question and answer sessions are taken in and help shape the game going forward.
Not to be outdone, other members of the development team are actual rockstars. Masayoshi Soken who is the composer for the game closed out the Fan Festival with a metal band called The Primals who played music from the game live in front of a captivated audience.
It was incredible to see the thousands of fans all rocking out and singing along to some of the iconic tunes from the game; all of them with memories of playing with other players.
For the first time, Ayumi Namae was present at one of the Fan Festivals. Her work in the character art design has been adored by the players for years. In a moving speech at the closing ceremony, she expressed how she was unsure if she was going to attend.
As she teared up she said how thankful she was that she did come and meet all the fans who had shown so much love throughout the weekend.
The atmosphere was energetic and it was an absolute joy to see so many people all together in unity, excited to share these feelings with others. Events like this are important to the culture of gaming. Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival shows that people want to come together to be a part of a strong and united community.