Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail Is Going To Be A Wonderful Blend Of Aesthetics

The Warrior of Light heads out on his summer vacation.

Story Highlights

  • FF14 Dawntrail will feature locations with unique aesthetics hitherto unforeseen in the MMO.
  • Many of the areas in the game till now have been “standard fantasy.”
  • The upcoming expansion revitalizes FF14 with a sense of adventure.

Square Enix‘s Final Fantasy franchise is known for a lot of things and beautiful worlds are one of them. One entry that’s been able to reap the biggest benefit in that regard is Final Fantasy 14.

With its latest expansion on the horizon, FF14 is about to undergo massive changes. The thing that stands out the most for me, however, is the blend of aesthetics in Dawntrail.

After all, it’s a mix I never expected to see in a fantasy game, much less the fantasy MMO I’ve played for over half a decade.

Dawntrail Is Blending Multiple Aesthetics Into One

To put it simply, Dawntrail is bringing multiple unique styles into Final Fantasy 14 at the same time. Of course, you’d think that Ultima Thule and Thavnair are different enough to fall into that debate too but it’s not.

The idea that Solution Nine doesn’t fit Final Fantasy or specifically Final Fantasy XIV is silly.
byu/judgeraw00 inffxivdiscussion

Given the design of FF14’s world, it mainly incorporates fantasy settings we’ve seen time and again in various media within the genre. As far as departure from the norm goes, Garlemald was the only exception for the longest time. Its similarities to reality and Final Fantasy 15’s Insomnia and Niflheim were rather striking.

Even so, that region was always observed from afar. When the time came for us to visit the place in Final Fantasy 14, it was wrecked. You couldn’t call it a functional city at that point because the only thing left were remnants of what once was.

YouTube video

So that settles the Garlemald question which brings us to Dawntrail’s offerings and why it’s a mixture of aesthetics.

Solution Nine. 

This map alone has created a sense of “new yet familiar.” Speaking strictly about Final Fantasy, Solution Nine reminds me of Shinra and Sector 7. When you leave that line of thought though, the area this resembles is the one and only Night City from Cyberpunk 2077.

If I were to write a fanfiction someday, I’d make Solution Nine a reflection of Night City or vice versa.

But that’s not all. Going by the concept art on the official website, there appears to be a village-like settlement outside the futuristic town. 

Heritage Found, one of the new locations in Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail, comes off as a mixture of Ancient Baghdad and Victorian aesthetics. | Source: Square Enix
Heritage Found, one of the new locations in Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail, comes off as a mixture of Ancient Baghdad and Victorian aesthetics. | Source: Square Enix

To me, it comes off as a mixture of 9th-century Baghdad from Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Bloodborne’s Yharnam. The latter is probably due to the train giving off Victorian steampunk vibes and I’m a sucker for that PS4 exclusive but I digress.

And then the final ingredient of this mixture: typical fantasy areas.

Final Fantasy 14 Has Always Featured Standard Fantasy Locales

Earlier I briefly touched upon how Final Fantasy 14 has always been rather … standard fantasy. Across the original 1.0 experience, A Realm Reborn, and its expansions, the areas have never evoked the feeling of “outlandish” or something that fits the world yet isn’t a part of it. It’s all within the realm of expectations. 

The base game had the forest region and a city located within with leafy and avian beastkin. Then you have the Thanalan desert and the city of Ul’dah On top of that there was the snowy region of Coerthas outside the Holy See of Ishgard followed by the crystalline landscape of Mor Dhona.

FF14 has always featured standard fantasy locations. | Source: Square Enix
FF14 has always featured standard fantasy locations. | Source: Square Enix

Heavensward featured floating isles, temple knights, dragons, and a castle. Stormblood took you to Japan, Shadowbringers swooped you away to a whole other world that was similar to your own and Endwalker made you travel to the edge of creation. 

As I said, it’s standard fantasy.

Next thing I know, Dawntrail comes in swinging with its own rendition of Night City. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect a neon town in Final Fantasy 14, not even after Bestways Burrows settlement on the Moon. 

7.0 Might Be The Fresh Blood FF14 Needs

After all this time, Dawntrail seems to be the revitalizer Final Fantasy 14 needed all along. It evokes the feeling of adventure without the added “high stakes,” something that the MMO has been lacking since it was relaunched in 2013.

With the threat of the Ascians and the Final Days long behind us, the story unfolds as we head out to new horizons. Granted there’s still a bit of conflict on the menu, but it’s nothing cataclysmic. Tural awaits.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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