Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2024 in Tokyo Proved How Far We've Come

The Final Fantasy XIV fan festival at the prestigious Tokyo Dome felt like the crowning achievement of a long journey, proving how far the game has come. Read our report from the show floor.


Published: March 29, 2024 12:31 PM /

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2024 Tokyo and Viper Artwork

There is arguably no "redemption arc" in the history of the gaming industry as epic and as uplifting as the death and rebirth of Final Fantasy XIV and the fan festival hosted recently in Tokyo, Japan, is certainly further evidence of that. 

Thirteen years ago, the original Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 had just been launched, and a relatively unknown developer named Naoki Yoshida had recently been placed at the helm of what by all means appeared to be a sinking ship. 

Back then, I would have never imagined even in my wildest fantasies that over a decade later, I'd be sitting among tens of thousands of fellow Warriors of Light at a venue as prestigious as Tokyo Dome to celebrate the success of that same game which seemed on its last legs. 

Yet, it happened. 

Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Tokyo
If you're wondering just how big Tokyo Dome is, it's this big.

With its 55,000 seats and location in Central Tokyo, Tokyo Dome is one of the most important venues in the world, employed both as a stadium and as a concert and event hall for many prestigious events and famous stars. A fan festival in such a venue felt like the perfect coronation for a long and successful journey. 

It isn't surprising that Square Enix picked this specific event to announce the 30 million accounts milestone achieved by the game. There was probably no better place and time for such a reveal. 

I have been to most of the Fan Festivals hosted for the game, but none felt as special simply because the venue was special, and being surrounded by so many fellow fans who have traveled the same path as I did over the years was an experience I'd likely never forget. 

Now that I'm preparing to enter a new chapter in my life (this will regrettably be the last report I write for TechRaptor), I certainly feel happy that I'm ending this experience by sharing such an unforgettable moment as my farewell. 

Gowsticks at the Final Fantasy XIV Tokyo Fan Festival
Tens of thousands of Warriors of Light, literally. 

Final Fantasy XIV fan festivals traditionally feature a piano concert and a performance of the game's official rock band, The Primals. They have always been great, as you have possibly read on my report of the previous event on London, but nothing compares to what I witnessed at Tokyo Dome. 

While the setlist may have been similar and the performers may have been the same, experiencing these beloved songs while surrounded by tens of thousands of glowsticks dancing in the darkness created an atmosphere worthy of the best concerts performed by the biggest stars like Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga. 

Taylor Swift herself performed at Tokyo Dome many times, alongside many more stars including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Guns N' Roses, Mariah Carey, and many, many more big names. 

Amanda Achen, who offered a divine performance as usual, did not fail to mention just how special it was for her to sing at Tokyo Dome, and I'm quite positive that everyone on stage felt the same way. It's just that kind of venue that feels like the high point of a career for an artist. 

Naoki Yoshida at Tokyo Fan Festival
Naoki Yoshida was in top form, donning his "Warrior of Light" baseball jersey.

Yet, the Festival offered much more than music. The development team, with Naoki Yoshida himself at the helm, donned special baseball jersey (which very appropriate since Tokyo Dome also hosts baseball matches) to present the latest news about the game. 

We heard plenty about the next expansion Dawntrail (which is releasing in July), and we got to meet more of the people who work hard every day to make and maintain the game we love. 

There were serious competitions like the Crystal Conflict tournament, and more light-hearted moments, like the quiz or the panel with the voice actors. The cosplay exhibition was predictably fantastic as Japanese fans really take their cosplay seriously.

If there is one point of criticism that I feel the need to bring up, it's the fact that while the whole event was livestreamed, only the initial keynote featured English interpretation.

I can understand that the "news" segment was given priority, and that translating from Japanese is not an effortless activity, nor is it cheap. Yet, as someone who was thankfully able to understand most of what was said, I felt sad for my Western compatriots who were unable to enjoy the event as much as I did. 

A familiar shield at the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Tokyo
It's still too soon, my friends. It'll always be too soon...

While volunteer fans on the game's unofficial Discord server kindly provided a translation helping many who did not understand Japanese, I think Square Enix could have done a little better on this front. 

Admittedly, western fans had their own fanfests in Las Vegas and London, but neither felt as special as this one. Don't get me wrong. They were great, and this is by no means criticism to those who organized them, but Tokyo Dome is Tokyo Dome, and an event hosted there felt like such an achievement and a milestone that that I feel it should have been shared with the community as a whole. 

Personal gripe aside, there was plenty to enjoy even off stage, including many minigames, the Asura battle challenge, exhibitions, booths, and a multitude of photo spots to snap pictures with your favorite characters.

One of them offered a chance to take a selfie with the twin swords of the Viper job that Naoki Yoshida sported at London Fan Festival, and it was particularly popular for obvious reasons. The lines were long, but that only shows how incredibly popular this event was. 

the golden ribbons at Final Fantasy XIV Tokyo Fan Festival
As the developers said farewell at the end of the celebrations, thousands of golden ribbons exploded over the stage. 

As always, making friends was one of the best part of the celebrations, and I'm thankful to the local Warriors of Light who put up with my terrible Japanese and made me feel welcome. I even met a couple of old friends from the era of 1.0 (when the servers weren't divided by region) and that certainly made my day. 

Few things are as memorable as sharing this kind of event with so many gamers who love the same game as I do regardless of nationality and culture, and while I won't get to play with many of them unless Square Enix finally removes the barriers between regions, I'm glad to have established some lasting contacts with like-minded people. 

It's perhaps unsurprising that a few emotional moments were had as well, especially during the concerts, but not limited to them. The final ceremony ended with an explosion of golden ribbons that said "let's enjoy the next 10 years together," and I'm certainly ready to do just that. 

Final Fantasy XIV started as a failure, but incredible determination, effort, and self-sacrifice turned it into a success worthy to be celebrated in one of the most prestigious event venues in the world. We've certainly come far, fellow Warriors of Light. 

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net


Giuseppe Nelva Profile Picture
| Former News Editor

Started as News Editor at TechRaptor in January 2023, following over 20 years of professional experience in gaming journalism both on print media and on the… More about Giuseppe

More Info About This Game
Learn more about Final Fantasy XIV
Game Page Final Fantasy XIV
Developer
Square Enix
Publisher
Square Enix
Release Date
August 27, 2013 (Calendar)
Genre
MMORPG
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