Anticipation for Final Fantasy XIV‘s next expansion, Endwalker, is through the roof, but unfortunately its release date has been pushed back at the eleventh hour.
The news came during the Letter From the Producer Live stream this weekend, shared by director Naoki Yoshida and community manager Toshio Murouchi (and translated live by Aimi Tokutake), and was later detailed further in a post by Yoshida himself on the Lodestone website.
Yoshida claimed full responsibility for the delay and cited his own “selfish” reasoning. “As we neared the end of development and I played through everything—from quests to battle content and the like—I just couldn’t contain my desire to further improve Endwalker’s quality, specifically because this expansion pack marks the first major culmination of events in FFXIV so far,” he wrote.
“We remained firmly resolved to adjust down to the smallest nuances and ensure our writing covers even the finest points of the vast and intricate story that has spanned these past 11 years since the original FFXIV to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy their adventure in Endwalker. Unfortunately, the consequence of this was that we ended up in a situation where we cut into the time required for final quality assurance checks due to this time spent on additional improvements.
“At this rate, there was a bigger risk of us reaching the release date without ensuring ‘stability’ as one form of quality, and for that reason, I have decided to postpone the release at this time. […] I am truly sorry.”
The decision was made last Friday, allowing Creative Business Unit 3 the time it needed to finish the Master QA process.
Yoshida mentioned that this was the first time in his entire career that he’s had to change a scheduled release date, aside from shifting Heavensward from a “spring” to “summer” launch window. He apologized profusely and even teared up while speaking.
By the new schedule, Endwalker Early Access will begin Friday, December 3, and the official launch will follow on Tuesday, December 7. Patch 6.01 will bring the first part of the Pandaemonium raid series, Asphodelos, on December 21. The raid’s Savage variant will now arrive in 2022’s first update (6.05) on January 4, alongside the new Allagan Tomestones and the gear they can be exchanged for—which largely consists of outfits inspired by Final Fantasy XIV‘s cast—and a new treasure map dungeon, “The Excitatron 5000.”
The Endwalker launch trailer was then shown, and a slew of fine details about the expansion were shared as well. Some highlights:
- NPCs will follow you at certain parts of the story, even riding mounts or having conversations, and may be able to appear in /gpose
- There will be no level 90 Job quests—making the level 80 Job-quests in Shadowbringers the conclusion to those storylines (perhaps new Job quests will eventually follow, however; they would just feature new characters)
- The 6.1 update will feature a new PvP mode, Crystal Conflict, with season-based competitions
- Many balancing changes to crafting and gathering
- EXP balancing changes will make levelling easier, but when 6.0 goes live, all progress made on your current class will be reset—for example, if need 1 million EXP to reach level 60 of Dark Knight, after the expansion launches you’ll lose any of the progress, so you may want to see if you’re within striking distance of a level-up in any classes, just in case
- Support for Embody’s Immersive Spatial Audio will be added (think 3D Audio on the PS5)
- Players can tour Empyreum, the new Ishgardian residential district, in 6.0, but the lots won’t be for sale until 6.1
- Oceania’s data center will be called Materia, and launch February 2022
Endwalker‘s delay is unfortunate, especially given how excited the community is for the final chapter of the Hydaelyn & Zodiark Saga. However it will be beneficial to the game, allowing Yoshida’s division time to ensure there are no big problems at launch.
Every time a game is delayed, a quote from Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto always comes up: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” Yoshida is probably extra cautious given the initial reactions to Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 and the incredible popularity the game is currently enjoying.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, Yoshida! We’re sure the expansion will be all the better for this extra quality assurance.