Final Fantasy 14's next expansion, Endwalker, is closing the book on the game's decade-long story. But far from ringing in the end of Square Enix' wildly popular MMO, director Naoki Yoshida reckons there should be at least another five years of new stories to bring to Eorzea.
Speaking to the Washington Post Yoshida said that, assuming current audience growth rates, Square Enix would happily keep Final Fantasy 14 running for another half-decade.
"Even now, our CEO is encouraging us to strive for more players and for 30 million adventurers, and he still has future plans for us," said Yoshida. "Luckily, we don’t see any stopping in our momentum. At one point we thought maybe we might plateau, but fortunately our player base just continues to expand and grow."
When it arrives later this year, Endwalker will add a new Sage healing class, an unannounced DPS class, player-run farms and the ability to visit friends on other Data Centres. But where post-release patches tend to follow up on the expansion's story, Endwalker—and the entire Hydaelyn vs Zodiark saga—will come to a close in 6.0, with 6.1 starting an entirely new story.
Yoshida also spoke to the team's story writing process, locking themselves in rented office spaces to bash out story beats years in advance. These notes are then sent to combat designers to plan out dungeons and raids. This apparently helps keep the game's encounter meshed to its story, though Yoshida says he wasn't happy with how the two came together until the tail end of Stormblood.
Speaking to Fanbyte, Yoshida also revealed than fan-favourite main scenario designer Natsuko Ishikawa will be returning as a lead writer for Endwalker. Laying out the map for this story's final expansion, he also explained that Endwalker will be visiting "many areas that players had been introduced to by name in the story but had been unable to visit", including Garlemald and Thavnair.