6 things we saw at the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival
Final Fantasy is one of the biggest and most-loved video game franchises around and nowhere is that better personified than at the annual Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival.
The European version of the show, taking place in Frankfurt this year, is a chance for die-hard fans of the online role-playing multiplayer to come together for two days of gaming, cosplay and merchandise chasing.
When we say fans, we mean true fanatics of the series – who come for the keynote and new feature announcements and stay for the autograph hunting and limited edition swag.
Here's some of the more weird and wonderful things we saw over the weekend.
1. A new Stormblood trailer
The first big reveal of the day was a full trailer for the next major expansion to Final Fantasy XIV, called Stormblood, which arrives on June 20.
It's set to be a huge update too – with an enormous new map and two new cities to explore, the game also introduces samurais as playable characters for the first time, as well as a whole host of other details and tweaks that fans were very keen to know more about.
Speaking of celebrating the minute changes…
2. The little details are important
While the full Stormblood trailer was a big deal, it was some of the little details that seemed to have the fans inside the convention centre the most excited.
One of the biggest cheers of the keynote came when it was revealed that a player's inventory size was to be doubled (yes, really), followed by more cheers when it was also revealed that players who build a house in the game will now be able to fill it with double the amount of furniture.
It seems for FF players, the joy really is in the smaller details, and furniture arranging.
3. Cosplay turned up to 11
No fan festival would be complete without dozens of fans dressed up as their favourite characters from the game, or their own creations inspired by the series.
The hallways in Frankfurt were littered with them, many elaborate designs that took months to put together.
As part of the celebrations there was even an official cosplay competition – the Chocobo pictured above scooping the most entertaining award.
For record, the wearer revealed it had taken her four months to make and she'd gone through three pairs scissors cutting the feathers into place.
4. All that merchandise
The other thing most people come here for is to get their hands on exclusive merchandise. From the moment the doors opened, some of the largest queues at the convention could be found in ‘merchandise corner'.
The show offers fans a vast catalogue of items from the Final Fantasy universe, from soft toys and figures to soundtracks and books on the series.
As the amount of crosses on the board above suggests, the most popular items were quick to sell out. In this case, the various job pins were in high demand.
5. Stamp collecting
The Final Fantasy Fan Festival also comes with an aspect of the funfair thrown in thanks to the fairground-style games and activities it has dotted around the hall.
All Final Fantasy-themed of course – attendees can ride a bucking bronco, shoot some mini hoops, play the ring toss or can throw and earn stamps on their festival pass for each game played. The more stamps players collect, the better the prize they can claim.
We were delighted with our Chocobo keyring.
6. Gaming at the centre
But above all, the show gives fans a chance to play with and against one another in a larger forum than many will have done previously.
The stories and reasons behind coming to the show to play vary massively too. Some are here on their own, looking for new friends, or just the chance to compete against fellow fans.
For others it's a far more serious affair – entire server groups of friends come to the show together to take on others. There are several tournaments over the course of the weekend to help foster that competitive spirit.