Father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, tears through FFXIV’s main story in a month

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-11-01 10:44 (JST)
Translated by. Braden Noyes

As of October 31, 2021, the man known as the father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has cleared the last of the main story quests in Final Fantasy XIV.

Sakaguchi only began playing Final Fantasy XIV on September 28, 2021 and has been making regular posts about his playthrough on Twitter. One of the most interesting things about his adventure is the speed at which he progressed through the story. After reaching the Shadowbringers expansion’s content on October 25, it took him a mere four days to clear everything up through the final boss of patch 5.0. Some are saying his pace is on par with many speedruns.

Tweet Translation:
Now, it’s on to the moon.
First, however, there’s a mountain of subquests to conquer. My adventure continues tomorrow.”

Sakaguchi reportedly began playing Final Fantasy XIV in preparation for a discussion with the game’s producer and director, Naoki Yoshida, held on October 2 (JST) as part of Tokyo Game Show 2021. He began mastering the game’s basic controls on September 28 with the help of Yasumi Matsuno, another game developer who has worked on many other titles such as Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics.

After his crash course, Sakaguchi continued his adventure, mentioning to Yoshida during the Tokyo Game Show 2021 program that he was enjoying the game and its Final Fantasy aesthetic.

Sakaguchi was a big fan of EverQuest back in the day, even pulling inspiration from its mechanics when developing Final Fantasy XI. Perhaps it was inevitable that he would eventually find himself drawn into the world of Final Fantasy XIV as well.

Tweet Translation:
“Click this button in settings to…” “This icon at the left of the map is…”

Mr. Sakaguchi shared his screen on Zoom so I could give him a crash course. I just hope my lecture helped him master the game’s basic controls (lol)

Fascinated by the world of Eorzea, Sakaguchi continued playing Final Fantasy XIV even after his appearance during Tokyo Game Show 2021. On October 8, he entered the final dungeon of A Realm Reborn, The Praetorium, and defeated Ultima Weapon. On October 13, he began the main story of the Heavensward expansion.

Two days later, on October 15, he had already successfully taken down the final boss, Knights of the Round. He entered Baelsar’s Wall on October 18, then moved on to the main story of the Stormblood expansion the next day. Three days after that, he had already made his way through its story quest as well, defeating the final boss, Shinryu.

Finally, on October 25, Sakaguchi began the main story quest of the latest expansion, Shadowbringers. Profoundly moved by its depth as well as the fantastical landscapes of The First, Sakaguchi successfully made his way across the planet and defeated the final boss of patch 5.0 on October 29. Two days later, on October 31, he concluded his journey through the main story of The First and was officially caught up with all available main story content.

[Estimated timeline of Sakaguchi’s FFXIV adventure (JST)]

9/28 Character Created
9/30 Clears first two Instance Dungeons
10/8 Defeats Ultima Weapon, the final boss of Patch 2.0
10/13 Clears The Crystal Tower; Begins Heavensward content
10/15 Defeats Knights of the Round, the final boss of Patch 3.0
10/18 Defeats Nidhogg
10/18 Clears Baelsar’s Wall, the final Instance Dungeon of Patch 3.5
10/19 Begins Stormblood content
10/22 Defeats Shinryu, final boss of Patch 4.0
10/24 Makes a stop at the Binding Coil of Bahamut; Clears The Ghimlyt Dark, final Instance Dungeon of Patch 4.5
10/25 Begins Shadowbringers Content
10/29 Defeats final boss of Patch 5.0
10/30 Defeats final boss of Patch 5.3
10/31 Clears last of Eden’s Promise quests; Completes all currently implemented Main Scenario Quests

Warriors of Light from all around the world took notice of Sakaguchi’s incredible pace as he cleared the entirety of Final Fantasy XIV’s main story quests in just over a month’s time. YouTuber Kougaon even posted a parody news image with the headline, “Breaking News: Man Breaks FFXIV Speedrun Record,” drawing laughs from many in the community.

On the website Speedrun.com, real time attack (RTA) records for Final Fantasy XIV’s main story quests are divided by each of the game’s separate expansions. At the time of writing this article, A Realm Reborn’s and Heavensward’s record times are 15h 10m 55s and 9h 35m 48s respectively. However, there are currently no recorded speedruns of the later expansions. While Sakaguchi’s times may not be enough to compete with the current records, there is no denying his pace is quite fast for someone who fully immersed themselves in the story and explored the game’s world along the way.

Furthermore, while it may seem that Sakaguchi was merely trying to complete the main story quests, the truth is that he took plenty of time to enjoy a number of side quests and normal raids along the way. It would appear this was heavily influenced by Yasumi Matsuno—the man who first aided Sakaguchi upon his arrival to the world of Eorzea—who would often recommend completing content outside the main story.

Starting with The Binding Coil of Bahamut, Sakaguchi made his way through the entire sequence of raids in that particular side story quest, eventually completing the Eden’s Promise chain and passing Mastuno’s progress.

Tweet Translation:
Truly a job well done.
Thanks for sticking with me through 8 raids in a row.
I did it, Matsuno! Haha
Tweet Translation:
I think the only part I helped with in Shadowbringers was Qitana…😂
And not only have I not helped with any of the Eden raids, but I still haven’t even finish Eden’s Promise on my main (private) character…🤣
In any case, congratulations on completing 5.5!

Along his journey, Sakaguchi noticed a few cameo appearances made by enemies from past Final Fantasy titles. There are also a number of hidden parodies and nods to previous Square projects, such as the 1986 RPG Cruise Chaser Blassty for PC and the 1987 shoot ‘em up game 3-D WorldRunner for the Family Computer Disk System/Nintendo Entertainment System, which led Sakaguchi to reminisce about past Square projects that were released back when he was part of the team.

Tweet Translation:
What’s this now? “3-D MineRunner”? Haha!
It’s been so long since 3-D WorldRunner first came out! lol
Boy did we have a lot of those red/blue 3D glasses left over in the warehouse! lol

So how did the world of Eorzea, full of its many nods and parodies to past titles, look to the father of the Final Fantasy franchise? Well it must have been pretty good,  considering how fast he raced through the world of Final Fantasy XIV. Now that he’s completed all of the currently available main story quests, Sakaguchi is ready to travel to the moon in the upcoming 6.0 expansion. The Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga has been ongoing since patch 2.0 was first released, and I’m personally very much looking forward to seeing how it plays out along with Sakaguchi.

The latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Endwalker, is set to be released on November 23, 2021. Hironobu Sakaguchi is also producer of an RPG titled Fantasian, which is currently available through Apple Arcade.

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