For ten years Final Fantasy XIV has focused on the struggle between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, but Endwalker brought a climactic end to the narrative arc. Now the story can literally go anywhere, and Patch 6.1, titled “Newfound Adventure,” gives players their first glimpse at where FFXIV’s narrative could go next. Interestingly, it seems like a classic Final Fantasy villain could be the key to everything. Of course, be aware there are going to be massive spoilers ahead for FFXIV and Patch 6.1.
The main story of Patch 6.1 sees players reuniting with a few of the Scions to explore a legendary Radz-At-Han treasure vault called Alzadaal’s Legacy. After defeating the dungeon, however, the party learns that it’s not actually a lost treasure vault, but something intentionally constructed by the dragon Vrtra to protect a deadly secret, an open void rift. There’s a lot of lore that follows about ancient wars and such, but essentially it boils down to the fact that Vrtra’s sister Azdaja charged into the rift, and the dragon spent the centuries following trying to find a way into the void to save her.
After this massive exposition dump, there’s a particularly interesting scene that takes place in the void, showing a mysterious figure in black armor. While the character isn’t named it seems like this is none other than Golbez, the main villain from Final Fantasy IV. This creates some massive questions about what Golbez is doing in FFXIV, and where the story, in general, could be going.
While the character is definitely Golbez, it might not be the same Golbez from FFIV, as FFXIV has featured new “versions” of past characters before, although never in the main story. Both Kefka and Exdeath appeared as raid bosses in the Omega raid series. Gabranth from Final Fantasy XII also appeared in the Bozja/Save the Queen questline, although he’s a new character that leads the Garlean Empire’s IVth Legion. Because of this, it’s likely that Golbez is a new version of the character that fits within the mythos of FFXIV.
There is a slim possibility it could be the same character based on how Final Fantasy IV: The After Years plays out. Golbez can either live or die in the sequel depending on who you have in your party at a key moment. If Golbez survives he takes the Lunar Whale and journeys to the stars to find the fate of the Lunarians. It’s easy to see how Golbez’s journey through the stars could land him in another world, or even another dimension.
In terms of where the story is going, the void is vitally important to everything. The void has played a role in FFXIV’s story since the beginning, and Shadowbringers reveals that the void is actually one of the thirteen reflections, or other worlds, created with the defeat of Zodiark. Patch 6.1 sees the party toying with the idea of using the void to travel to the other reflections.
In Final Fantasy IV, Golbez’s goal was to gather the four elemental crystals that would let him summon the Tower of Babil and destroy humanity. Golbez wasn’t actually evil as he was tempted to darkness by the game’s real villain, an all-powerful Lunarian named Zemus. The cutscene that introduces Golbez in FFXIV shows four other entities that speak to him, all of which seem to reside in some kind of elemental statue. These likely represent the elemental crystals, however, the Tower of Babil already appeared as a dungeon in Endwalker.
During the cutscene, Golbez mentions how Cloud of Darkness was destroyed by the Warrior of Light and says “Tis time we set the war in motion, and win redemption for our star.” Based on the character’s motivations in FFIV, it’s likely Golbez intends to set the void into a war against the source. It’s also possible that Golbez is a piece of the puzzle and the next story arc could see none other than Zemus step in as the true villain pulling the strings.
Vrtra’s lore dump explains that the ancient Allagan Empire summoned voidsent to help them conquer the world, but the empire eventually lost and fell to ruin. By extension, the voidsent were stopped from taking over the world of Hydaelyn, and Golbez’s redemption could refer to the fact they lost the war along with the Allagans. The identity of the elemental statues is most likely the four fiends from FFIV, Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante, who will serve as generals and villains.
It’s definitely interesting to see a prominent Final Fantasy character pop up in the main story of FFXIV, and not some kind of side quest. It could hint that this is something the development team will do more often, and we might start to see even more references and characters pop up. Still, FFXIV loves to subvert classic Final Fantasy tropes, so while the story certainly seems to be taking heavy inspiration from FFIV, it’s definitely going to go a bit deeper.