Image: square enix

Square Enix’s hit MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, is known for taking inspiration from the franchise’s long history. Past expansions have pulled heavily on specific games, such as 2019 expansion shadowbringers offering a reinterpretation of Final Fantasy III. But with dawntrail, the next expansion releasing this summer, developers at Creative Business Unit 3 looked outside Square Enix for some unexpected inspiration. They found it in FromSoftware’s open-world action-RPG Elden Ring.

As revealed in an interview with PC Gamerdirector Naoki Yoshida (often referred to as Yoshi-P by the FF14 community) said, “I think in the development team for Final Fantasy 14possibly 98% [of them] are playing Elden Ring.” He admits that members involved with designing the upcoming expansion’s battles were especially enamored with the Soulslike, joking that in those developers’ minds, his “perfect balance” for the MMO’s encounters would make them near-impossible for most players.

A giant walking cauldron set ablaze walks through a field

Image: Bandai Namco

Though if that makes you worried for dawntrail, Yoshi-P is quick to put minds at rest, saying players have “nothing to worry about” when it comes to difficulty. For now. The developer previously advocated for tougher challenges earlier this year but made a point to say it would be a more long-term project over the next decade. For now, FF14 players will continue on with the current balance, which many believe can be overly simplistic.

But if dawntrail isn’t implementing Elden Ring-like difficulty, what is the MMO taking from the FromSoft title? Yoshi-P says that players will likely notice the inspirations in the game’s world design. The scenery and atmosphere of dawntrailIt’s many locations will convey the overarching themes and vibes of characters and places without a lot of text or exposition. “Elden Ring does that really well,” Yoshi-P notes, “And I think there must be people in the team who are really inspired by that as well.”

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will launch on July 2, and head to Early Access (for those who pre-order the game) on June 28. When announcing the release date at PAX EastYoshi-P joked that the Early Access date was chosen to give fans one week to enjoy Elden Ring‘s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC (which releases on June 21) before diving into dawntrail. Though now I’m beginning to think something FF14 developers might try to take advantage of that week as well.