Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-05-17 17:37 (JST)
Translated by. Ari Clark
On May 16, Square Enix broadcast a special live performance by their official band, THE PRIMALS, during the Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021 digital event. Of all the songs they sang live, including new songs added for the Shadowbringers expansion and other songs from the franchise, there was one particular song performance that really got the playerbase talking.
The dance performance that caused such a stir was done by four members of the game staff, who appeared onstage wearing t-shirts during the broadcast of the song “A Long Fall (The Twinning)”. The dance they performed has actually been making the rounds for some time now as a beloved internet meme that has transcended international borders among players of FFXIV.
The song “A Long Fall” plays as background music while traveling through an instanced dungeon called The Twinning, which was added as part of the Shadowbringers expansion. It particularly excels as an exquisite arrangement of previous BGM from FFXIV, functioning like a tour through the history of the game.
It was first unveiled in a Job Actions video for Shadowbringers. At the time of the Job Actions video’s release, it was still unclear whether this song would be used as BGM somewhere in the game, but it still received a lot of breathless praise online, with fans saying things like, “It’s like a medley, that’s so cool!” “What a cool callback, it really hypes me up!” and “The BGM is too good, I can’t focus on the content!”
Then, soon after the release of Shadowbringers, posts started popping up on Twitter and elsewhere from players who’d found themselves instinctively fired up by the BGM when they actually heard it for themselves in-game. At first, the song merely showed up here and there as BGM in various online meme videos, but it reached full-blown viral meme status after a particular player posted a video called twinning.mp4 that went viral.
In August 2020, another player also posted a video called The Twinning.mp4. This one was a hit on reddit as well, and it became a pervasive meme among FFXIV players, with over 1.6 million views as of May 2021. These videos became so popular that searches for “The Twinning” have begun suggesting related search terms like “dance” and “dancing guys” in Japanese search engines. Eventually, it reached the point where “Final Fantasy XIV – twinning.mp4” got its own entry posted on Know Your Meme.
This sequence of events led to “A Long Fall” and its associated videos becoming a long-beloved meme among players, which is probably why it’s been embraced in an official capacity recently. However, this isn’t actually the first time we’ve seen an official reaction to this meme.
An arrangement of “A Long Fall” by THE PRIMALS was included in the arrangement album Scions & Sinners, released on March 24, 2021, and the official music video that was released for it included the band themselves doing the memetic dance to the beat of the song. The dancing in the special live broadcast seems to be an even more leveled-up version of their performance.
In the special live broadcast, four staff members lined up along the back of the stage, wearing t-shirts in a coordinated color scheme that went blue, green, red, red from the audience’s left-to-right perspective. These colors represent a Light Party in-game, composed of a Tank, a Healer, and two DPS players.
The Tank (in blue) was played by lead item designer Yosuke Hayashi, the Healer (in green) was played by global community producer Toshio Murouchi, and the DPSes (in red) were played by lead community planner Kazuyoshi Mochizuki and community planner Ryoji Takeda.
The performance was an unmistakable reenactment of twinning.mp4, with its line of dancers that wasn’t featured in the music video. The surprise performance produced an outpouring of delighted comments from the players who were watching the special live broadcast, with its wild success demonstrated by the hashtag #THDD (which stands for the first letters of these four player roles) trending on Twitter.
After the performance, lead composer Masayoshi Soken commented, “We made a music video that was influenced by this international meme, but we wanted to take it even further onstage. So we asked these guys if they would dance for us.” Word also got out from behind the scenes that “(the dance routine) took the most time of all (to prepare)”.
Cases of online memes receiving official approval are rare, but the idea that music goes beyond mere words is universal. Perhaps, in this case, it has even bridged the gap between official staff and players.
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