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Final Fantasy XIV shuts down, will return next year as A Realm Reborn

When Final Fantasy XIV came out in 2010, it was, it's fair to say, a bit of a mess . But in the two years since, Square Enix has been rebuilding the entire game from the ground up, in preparation for its impending re-launch as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn . Before select players move on to the alpha this Winter, and the re-launch proper sometime in 2013, there was the little matter of euthanising the original game. Something Square Enix achieved today in typically understated fashion.

Yeah right. Where most developers would accompany an MMO shutdown with a press release or maybe an in-game event (two things Square Enix also provided), FFXIV's overlords have released the following lushly animated trailer, which shows the world of Hydaelyn being bombarded by meteors . Armies clash, wizards look forlornly on, and some typically awful music blares over it all as the apocalypse happens before our eyes. Despite all life seemingly being scorched by holy death rays, the world and many of its inhabitants will return, with A Realm Reborn taking place five years later.

Thankfully, your avatars will return along with them. Character data was frozen a couple of weeks ago, so when you do move on to the (presumably) final version of Final Fantasy XIV, you'll find your hero/heroes ready and waiting. All that's left to do, then, is say goodbye to the original game: