Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail is a Latin America-inspired ‘vacation’ setting

Introduced in July 2023, Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail was a step in a new course for Sq. Enix’s behemoth of an MMORPG. With a close to decade-long story coming to a shut by way of the Endwalker growth, Inventive Studio III teased a new begin to the unending journey of the Warrior of Mild, this time promising gamers a “summer vacation” of kinds set on a continent within the midst of political turmoil because it chooses its new chief. And with the brand new growth would come additional changes to the sport, alongside the inclusion of two new job lessons and a full graphics overhaul. Sq. Enix offered Polygon with the chance to dive into a slice of Dawntrail, which included a take a look at each the Viper and Pictomancer job lessons and the prospect to run by way of one of many new dungeons.

After I was current at Fan Fest 2023, I used to be enticed by the concept of a new job class, largely as a result of I had grown uninterested in the repeatedly gutted Summoner, the dearth of engagement whereas enjoying Gunbreaker (or any tank), and the homogenization of a lot of the therapeutic job lessons. So I jumped on the likelihood to present Viper a whirl at this current preview occasion. Having now performed them, the Viper and Pictomancer remind me of the extra experimental age of Final Fantasy 14 that arrived with the discharge of the Heavensward growth — when the job lessons have been extra fascinating, and when Inventive Studio III was nonetheless ironing out the wrinkles of A Realm Reborn.

These two new job lessons are each refreshingly advanced. On the floor, Viper appears akin to the Ninja with its twin blades and dexterous animations, however in apply, it’s a extra concerned model of the Reaper, which was launched by way of Endwalker. The Viper is quick and fluid, along with your assaults constructed on devastating sweeps of your twin blades or combining the blades into a polearm by way of particular assaults and stances to tear and tear by way of enemies. You’re always swapping between stances, making use of debilitating debuffs to enemies, and ramping up your assault velocity to cancel animations to deal as a lot injury as potential briefly bursts of time. Just like the Reaper, the Viper has a wholesome number of single-target and AoE assaults, which suggests it is possible for you to to reliably construct up your Vipersight and Serpent’s Ire gauge. Final Fantasy 14 has remained a sport of increase your gauges to burst down enemies inside very particular time home windows, and Dawntrail doesn’t appear to stray from this path.

Picture: Sq. Enix through Polygon

Nevertheless, the Pictomancer does present an extra little bit of help in fight, exterior of being a damage-focused job class, by way of buffs, which is truthfully fairly refreshing. By using spells delivered to life by the strokes of a multicolored paintbrush, the Pictomancer paints swatches of colour unexpectedly on a canvas to manifest a hammer or the wingbeats of a Moogle to break enemies. As you proceed to paint the world with vibrant flecks of paint and ache, you’ll accumulate colour in your palette within the types of extremely saturated colours or pastels. Filling your palette will grant you entry to extra highly effective spells, similar to Holy in White or Comet in Black, which you want to steadiness between channeling the talents of extra highly effective creatures and objects by way of your illustrations. General, Pictomancer is a very sophisticated job class that gives that aforementioned staff help within the type of the Starry Sky Motif talent, which augments a celebration’s offensive capabilities. The place it would stand with regards to Savage Raids and different endgame content material like Ultimates shall be fascinating.

Alongside the addition of the Pictomancer and Viper, Inventive Studio III will implement adjustments and updates to numerous job lessons as a part of Dawntrail. This has included a shift in how Monk is performed, alongside changes to Black Mage. What I seen with jobs like White Mage and Gunbreaker was that expertise similar to Presence of Thoughts or Bloodfest now remodel into an extra talent as soon as used. Presence of Thoughts became Glare IV, and Bloodfest grew to become the complete Renzokuken combo from Final Fantasy 7, Lionheart finisher included. Job lessons will definitely be getting extra expertise, as I seen the White Mage does have a sprint just like Dancer, however this adjustment has no less than prevented additional button bloat for these enjoying with controllers. The person interface additionally signifies what expertise will change upon getting used extra clearly, which suggests you gained’t by accident be placing two of the identical talent in your hotbars anymore.

A waterway in Final Fantasy 14 surrounded by lush jungle plants

Picture: Sq. Enix

An image from Final Fantasy 14 depicting waterfalls cascading over large rock outcroppings down into a large lake that’s surrounded by vibrant yellow and pink flowers

Picture: Sq. Enix

A massive stone structure overlooking the water in Final Fantasy 14

Picture: Sq. Enix

However above all else, Final Fantasy 14 is a fairly sport and maybe one of many best-looking MMORPGs in the marketplace. Dawntrail expands upon this not solely by way of the feel replace, which obtained a new benchmark after the preliminary one had seemingly gone awry, and thru the plush environments of Tural. Inventive Studio III was not shy in hiding its inspirations for this growth, billing it as a “vacation” to the hotter climates of Eorzea’s model of Latin America. The dungeon of Ihuykatumu is stuffed with vibrantly coloured vegetation and different such creatures, even when it is simply a journey down the Amazon River (in Final Fantasy type, in fact), and the mountainous area the place the Pelupelu are discovered is simply as visually saturated. Tuliyollal, a massive port metropolis, is adorned with swaths of brightly coloured material with intricate patterns, and homes are made out of a wholesome mixture of wooden and stone.

When requested about apparent nods to Latin America in Dawntrail, producer Naoki Yoshida (often known as Yoshi-P) talked about that the staff had some session on what would seem within the growth. This included enter from the worldwide staff at Sq. Enix and members of the interpretation staff. Nevertheless, Inventive Studio III did select to succeed in out for additional enter concerning the illustration of the cultures they’d go on to depict in Dawntrail. Yoshida additionally talked about that even with session, there is at all times a potential danger.

A massive creature with sharp teeth and golden armor rears forward

Picture: Sq. Enix

“Of course our team is very cautious about taking risks, and they would advise, like, So this might be a little too risky, or You might want to avoid this thing, but we didn’t stop there. We tried to understand why they would consider it a risk, and figure out how to avoid any situation that could arise,” Yoshida stated. “How will we perceive, and the way will we deepen our understanding so that individuals gained’t take offense as to how we depict them and what they’d interpret as offensive? We dug actually deep into what is thought-about acceptable or inappropriate, even right down to the textures that we utilized in wall patterns and even curvature for particular symbols. If that image was consultant of one thing that a explicit tradition may discover sacred, we don’t need to offend that. Generally we would do analysis and perceive that which means for ourselves.

“So we might make the decision that, OK, this is what that represents, this is what it symbolizes, and this is how we want to use it. Or if it’s too much of a risk and we don’t want it misinterpreted by our audience, we would instead try to figure out how to modify this to steer away from offensive content and make sure that we are symbolizing something similar, but be mindful of the culture that we are trying to depict. We don’t want to make this one-sided. It was a learning experience for sure. But at the same time, we didn’t want to let go of certain elements just because someone would seek a potential risk in it. I feel like the fruits of our labor are very clear, and that people will see what we have tried to do and appreciate it. We’re hoping that the different cultures represented are respected, and that it will be appreciated by the players as well.”

When requested about potential official help for Latin American international locations similar to Brazil and Mexico, given Dawntrail’s heavy dose of inspiration, Yoshida stated he is conscious of points regarding latency for gamers in that area. He talked about that having a bodily information middle for Latin America is “technically possible, and not that difficult of a task to do, so to speak,” however the lack of devoted language help makes it extra sophisticated. “We don’t have a dedicated Latin American language specialist,” Yoshida defined. “So we always have to rely on outsourcing for any translations of the Spanish and Portuguese language. And considering Final Fantasy 14 is a live service game, it needs constant support. Not having that dedicated person does create a bottleneck.” However he went on to say that Sq. Enix president Takashi Kiryu is a robust supporter of extra language help for different areas. “I myself traveled to Brazil last year,” Yoshida concluded. “I met many passionate players there, and there is a desire, for sure.”

This text is primarily based on play of an in-development construct of Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail, and content material within the ultimate model is topic to alter.

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