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June 2021

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Square Enix

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'Final Fantasy XIV Online' (ALL) PS5 Open Beta Launches Tomorrow

by Rainier on April 12, 2021 @ 10:10 a.m. PDT

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the third expansion pack for the MMORPG and will take players on new adventures to battle against the threats to the realm as they become Warriors of Darkness.

Eorzea, an awe-inspiring land of endless possibilities. Whether you choose to battle fierce creatures in the wilderness, fashion the ultimate blade in the forge, or swap tall tales in the local tavern, the history of Final Fantasy XIV will be shaped by your actions. Choose from an exotic variety of races, looks and classes to fashion your hero. Change classes simply by equipping a different weapon or tool and tackle an ever-changing assortment of level quests alone or with friends.

The age of adventure has begun.

The PS5 version of FFXIV brings many new enhancements to the game that make use of the console’s power and features, so we wanted to give you an introduction as to what you can expect.

Most importantly, this open beta doesn’t mean limiting what you can play.

Even if you haven’t played FFXIV on the PS4 yet, this is still the perfect time for those of you with a PS5 to hop in.

During the open beta period, players who own the PS4 version of FFXIV can experience all of the same content, but on PlayStation 5. The Worlds (or game servers) that you’ll connect to are the same ones that players on PS4 and other platforms play on, and there are no restrictions from a functionality perspective for open beta participants.

The an open beta is being launched as a precaution, since there is a massive amount of existing content in FFXIV, so if there are no critical issues, to the plan is to transition straight into official service.

The Free Trial version will also be available during the open beta on PS5—you can play A Realm Reborn and the first expansion pack, Heavensward, up to level 60. Worry not—your character, progress and everything else will carry over to the full version.

The full version for the PS5 will be available after the conclusion of the open beta, so new players are encouraged that start on the free trial to consider switching over to the full product version.

The PS5 version will make FFXIV look better than ever before with new display options and improved frame rates. Here are some of the specifics:

Final Fantasy XIV Online will offer three rendering resolutions to choose from in the PS5 version: 4K (2160p) / WQHD (1440p) / Full HD (1080p), which will then be scaled to match your TV’s output.

In general, WQHD (1440p) and Full HD (1080p) should run at around 60 FPS during normal gameplay, and even in 4K (2160p) you should see frame rates around 40 FPS—significantly higher than the PS4 version.

Of course, there are some instances where you have a few dozen (to a few hundred!) players gathering in certain areas, which places a heavy load on rendering, but even then FFXIV Online should still achieve around a stable 30 FPS.

Final Fantasy XIV’s UI was originally intended for a 720p display, so we worked to up-res those original images for the PS5 version. Naturally, going through each and every item, equipment, and ability icon by hand would have been impossible to achieve in a short amount of time, so we incorporated a few tricks to find ways to be efficient; for example, we utilized AI tools to boost the resolution and tweaked any parts of the icons that needed it by hand.

Aside from the UI elements, things like the font has a higher resolution now as well, so overall these elements will look a lot smoother.

Utilizing the PS5’s SSD will allow you to teleport between areas quicker than ever before. If you took a look at the PS5 trailer you’ll have noticed, but load times are now faster for both logging in and traveling between areas using teleport. Because of code refactoring on the log-in processes etc. the load times on the PS4 version are slightly improved, too.

"We were working down to the wire to get this in, but we were able implement some features for the DualSense wireless controller. First, we implemented haptic feedback for a number of actions to deepen our players’ immersion further: this includes [introducing unique haptic feedback to things like] the footsteps of various mounts, actions for Disciples of the Land and Hand, and more. When it came to battle content, we deliberately kept the feedback to a minimum—for example, when a player uses a limit break—as we did not want to interfere with players’ concentration during a fight. We would love to hear player feedback regarding this, as we can take that into consideration as we make future adjustments. When it comes to adaptive triggers, there aren’t too many areas within the game’s systems to which this feature would apply, but we did integrate it into smaller-scale content where we could, such as quests where you enter an FPS-type mode to complete certain objectives.” said Final Fantasy XIV Lead Project Manager Shoichi Matsuzawa

Since Final Fantasy XIV Online's initial launch, ambient sounds in FFXIV were assigned different parameters, such as audible range, but with the implementation of the 3D audio feature on the PS5, these settings can be fully leveraged. For example, whenever you change the position of the camera, the location of the surrounding ambient sound will shift accordingly, bringing you a more immersive experience. I would recommend trying it out with headsets that support 3D audio.

The PS5 open beta is bringing a lot to the table in terms of upgrades, but the development team is looking to add even more in the future such as eventually upgrading in-game textures in phases and are starting initial preparations for that update.

"We do need to keep in mind that other platforms, including the PlayStation 4 version, are still in service. Since FFXIV is an MMO, we need to place some emphasis on being able to simultaneously render player characters and their equipment, while still ensuring everything works smoothly. We do need to take care when planning major updates like this and start with testing and verifying it all works well. Plus, assets that we created nearly ten years ago didn’t factor in the possibility of being displayed at the high resolutions available to us today, so we have to think about how to revise quite a massive amount of assets efficiently. We also are looking at adding additional Trophies to FFXIV on a regular basis, given that the Trophy system is now more flexible in that regard. Things are in progress, but we’d appreciate your patience for future updates regarding this,” continued Mr. Matsuzawa

The recently announced fourth expansion pack of the Final Fantasy XIV Online saga, Endwalker, is scheduled to release Fall 2021 for PC, Mac, the PS5, and PS4. Endwalker is the culmination of the Hydaelyn and Zodiark story, in which Warriors of Light will encounter an even greater calamity than ever before, and will bring an abundance of new content, including multiple new jobs, an increased level cap, vast new areas, adjustments to the battle system, as well as a variety of new battle, crafter, and gatherer content.

With so much new content coming to Final Fantasy XIV Online, there’s never been a better time to try the ground-breaking MMORPG. The game’s free trial has been expanded to include content up to the end of the Heavensward expansion, where players can create up to eight playable characters and experience the different playable races, classes, and jobs with no restrictions on playtime. New adventurers who wish to experience the free trial may register here.

Final Fantasy XIV Online is available on PS4 and PC, coming soon to PS5.

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