Role playing fans are abuzz about the soon-to-be released Final Fantasy 15 demo, which will give many players their first hands-on experience with a title that’s been in development for almost a decade. Final Fantasy 15 is being lauded as the first current-gen Final Fantasy title, and Square Enix has high hopes for the game, claiming that failure could doom the entire Japanese console market.
However, while Final Fantasy XV certainly looks great, these claims aren’t entirely true. For starters, there’s already a Final Fantasy game out on the PlayStation 4 and modern PCs: Final Fantasy 14, Square Enix’s long-running MMORPG. After a disastrous launch, Square Enix rebooted the game a few years back as Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. And while the relaunch received largely positive reviews, the game still feels like it’s got something to prove. Thankfully, the Final Fantasy XIV development team seems up to the task.
Recently, Final Fantasy 14 introduced the classic fantasy casino the Golden Saucer to the world of Hydaelyn, creating a place where gamers can bet on Chocobo races and play Final Fantasy VIII’s widely acclaimed card game, Triple Triad. The Golden Saucer is just a prelude, however, to Final Fantasy 14’s upcoming expansion, Heavensward. The expansion – Final Fantasy 14’s first – will take to the skies with flying mounts and single-person airships, allowing players to explore airborne islands, including Final Fantasy VI’s classic Floating Continent.
The expansion also introduces a darker, more mature storyline to Final Fantasy 14, as well as three new jobs: the Dark Knight, the Astrologian, and the gun-wielding Machinist. Thankfully, players won’t have to wait much longer to explore Hydaelyn’s new territories. At its PAX East panel earlier today, Square Enix announced that the expansion will release on June 23, although people who pre-order will receive early access starting on June 19.
Heavensward will be available in three separate packages: a regular edition for current players, a combo pack for newcomers that includes the standard Final Fantasy 14 game, and a collector’s edition that comes with real-life goodies and exclusive in-game items. Additionally, Square Enix will release benchmark software for PC users sometime in April; Heavensward is more taxing on PC hardware than the base game, and the benchmark test will let players know if their machine is up for handling all of this new content.
Heavensward was originally scheduled to come out this spring, and director Naoki Yoshida apologized for the delay, promising that more information would be revealed soon. For players who are interested in early access, pre-orders start on March 16.