FFXIV Endwalker released this time last year. It’s the closing moments on a story arc ten years in the making. Endwalker is the culmination of so many characters, moments, and plot threads all finally coming to a head. With so much build up over the years, it was almost an impossible task to wrap this story. A collection of moments, tied together by a love for its characters, story, and players.
Major Spoilers for FFXIV Endwalker, read at your own risk.
Despite so many iconic pieces in this expansion, one sequence was so moving, I haven’t been able to shake the shivers it sent down my spine when I first experienced it. Staring off from the top of Ultima Thule when your Warrior of Light takes the courage to confront Meteion at the edge of the universe. Alone, after all of your party has sacrificed themselves for you to push forward, for their world to continue, you take the final steps toward the end.
A Year Later and This FFXIV Endwalker Moment Still Gives Me Chills
This on its own was powerful enough to move mountains, but it’s what happens next that left tears rolling down my face, and a moment that had me stand up in my chair.
As you clutch Azem’s crystal, and Emet-Selch’s words echo in your mind “Do not squander it. The legacy I leave you.”
The crystal glows, and you summon your Ascian enemies turned friends, Emet-Selch and Hythlodeaus. It’s the perfect final curtain call for Emet-Selch, the main protagonist of the previous expansion Shadowbringers.
Emet’s return gives this charismatic and tragic character his final moments to play his part in this story. Now let’s be clear, Emet-Selch is a war criminal, but he’s my war criminal. Causing countless deaths as he helped sunder countless worlds back into the source, Emet-Selch has done plenty of wrong.
But this moment, shows that he was also made to play this crucial part in a game of his own making. When he returns onto the scene, he mutters “So, here I am, Venat. I suppose you needed me to tie it all together, these frayed threads of our history- but knowing you, I suspect there’s a joke in it too.”
Emet hates to admit he’s been outplayed, especially when he doesn’t see it coming. So for Venat to have weaved this thread for Emet, we know it annoys him, and he lets that feeling out in droves of sarcasm.
All Emet-Selch wanted from this world was to bring back the version of this star he knew, loved, and cherished. Even if it was woefully misguided, and he lost the thread along the way. Despite everything, Emet-Selch does everything for the friends he loves, even if he won’t outright admit it. This final moment, spawning the Elpis flower and proving that there is still hope, even in the darkest hour, is his final way of making amends and accepting that the world he knew will not return. The one that’s here is good enough though.
As the flowers bloom, we hear Hermes’ voice speak to Meteion.
“Though I gave you these wings to soar the heavens, I did not teach you how to walk the earth. So loath was I to bind another living being.”
Endwalker at its core, is an expansion about hope, finding knowledge in shared experiences, and learning to forgive. With its most formative moments coming from this interaction. Emet-Selch, Meteion, Hythlodeaus, and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, are all at the edge of the universe, having a little moment. Every character here has walked their own path, learning from the people they meet and gaining new understandings around every turn.
Everyone has their favorite Endwalker moments, but this one gives Emet-Selch his final bow and a damn good one at that. A character who has been forced to reckon with thousands of years of isolation, so much so that he created the entire city of Amaurot underwater just to feel something.
After my journey through Endwalker, this moment stood high above the rest of them. Emet-Selch finally accepting a new world, and that it’s being protected by the soul of his best friend Azem, who is part of you, the Warrior of Light.
“The future you seek is not the past we loved. That is why we fought. And why I lost.”
That single line gave me everything I needed to know about where Emet’s head was at in his final moments. No anger or disappointment, just understanding. A natural conclusion and one that feels earned far more than others.
Before the moment ends, Emet-Selch shares one last conversation with you. Explaining all that you still need to see if you want to live up to his best mate.
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“Tell me, have you been to the ruins beneath the waters of the Bounty? Or the treasure beyond the frozen waters of Blindfrost, in Othard’s north? The fabled golden cities of the New World? The Sacred sites of the forgotten people of the south sea isles? What about Meracydia, the southern continent? Do you know aught of its present state of affairs? “
While much of this could be hints at places FFXIV could go next, it also acts as Emet’s final wish for the player. Go out, see the world, expand your viewpoints and knowledge. If the star is truly to be saved, you need to fundamentally understand everything that is happening in the world.
With one final smile, Emet-Selch returns to the Life-Stream where he will reunite with his friends and loved ones.
Looking back on this moment, it’s still as impactful as when it first happened. A perfect send-off for one of Final Fantasy Fourteen’s most complicated characters. In this scene, we see the arrogant, sarcastic, thoughtful, and nostalgic sides of Emet-Selch as he takes his final bow.
“Remember us, remember that we once lived.”