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Final Fantasy XIV's next update gets down with the clown on a ghost train

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV‘s update trailers continue to surprise and impress me. To call these ‘patches’ sells them short. Every few months in-between major expansions, the revived and highly successful story-driven MMO receives a good slab of episodic content continuing both the main plot arc, as well as expanding outwards into various side-stories and crossover events.

The next such episodic adventure, entitled Rise Of a New Sun (officially ‘patch 4.2’) is due at the end of the month, and looks set to be a nostalgic trip for Final Fantasy 6’s fans, as you can see in the video after the jump.

So, a lot to unpack in that trailer. The main story arc seems to be getting into messy diplomatic territory again, with the Garlean empire sending an especially slimy-seeming envoy to perhaps broker a temporary truce. More excitingly, the gameplay footage dives almost immediately into nostalgic territory, with a glorious looking 3D recreation of the ghost train sequence and subsequent boss fight from Final Fantasy 6. There’s no word on whether you’ll be able to suplex the train, but weirder things have happened.

The previous update began a Final Fantasy Tactics-themed side-story arc, co-designed by Tactics director Matsuno himself. It seems likely that will continue through the odd-numbered updates, while even-numbered ones will further explore other numbered Final Fantasies. Given the presence of the ghost train, the excellent cover of Dancing Mad in the trailer and the brief appearance of Kefka – the original insane clown, no posse required – the focus of this particular episode seems squarely on FF6, although it seems the FF5-inspired Omega story arc will be continuing as well this update.

There’s plenty more besides on the way, including an all-new dungeon, Hell’s Lid, set in an Oni-infested mountain, a return to the magi-technological Fractal Continuum, a new PvP map, a new Beast Tribe quest line to dive into (helping out the snake-like Vira clan) and a new set of underwater instances for guilds to explore via the construction of custom submarines. Some quality-of-life tweaks have been made to the cosmetic outfit system, including regular fashion contests held in the glitzy Gold Saucer casino, and that’s just the stuff that’s been unveiled. The official page for patch 4.2 still has a few sections locked away until closer to launch on January 30th.

I’m still well behind on the game, and thanks to the surprisingly linear nature of Final Fantasy XIV it’ll likely take weeks for me to even catch up with this latest patch, but I’m very tempted to try in the near future. Again, owing to the linear nature of the game, you’ll need not only to have bought the Stormblood expansion to access the upcoming content, but completed the vast majority of it.

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Dominic Tarason

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