FFXIV: Zenos’ Story Needs “No Further Embellishment”

Endwalker writer Natsuko Ishikawa on our friend, our enemy.

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A little more than three months after the launch of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, the FFXIV team is finally ready to start talking about its ending openly. You can’t check the vibe unless you’re willing to let folks talk about every aspect of the experience. Perhaps the team is ready to talk because we’re watching Live Letters From the Producer that are hinting at the next ten years of FFXIV.

Since Stormblood, Zenos yae Galvus has been a thorn in our side. The son of Garlean Emperor Varis zos Galvus, Zenos did not share his father’s lust for conquest, instead preferring to find the ultimate contest of wills and steel. He found that in the Warrior of Light, proclaiming us to be “his first friend” during the waning hours of Stormblood.

Zenos continued to harass us across various storylines and the Garlemald section of Endwalker, before the expansion saw his story coming to a close. Some wondered if that was truly the end of Zenos and his desire to do battle with the Warrior of Light; after all, Emet-Selch also made a return in some form after what looked to be a final death. In an interview with GamesRadar, Endwalker lead story designer Natsuko Ishikawa confirmed his story is over.

FFXIV Paladin Zenos
Now you’re almost ready to tank Zenos!

“His story needed no further embellishment, nor any further happiness or misery,” says Ishikawa.

Ishikawa was also quick to defend Zenos against the idea that he was a simple villain. She lauds his ability to do “whatever trial and error it takes” to achieve his goals. Zenos might be uninterested in everything else, but he’s singularly driven to have one more battle with the Warrior of Light. He’s willing to do things we won’t do to achieve his goals.

FFXIV creative director and lead producer Naoki Yoshida also noted that Zenos’ final question, “Did you find… fulfillment?” was as much a question to the player as it was to the Warrior of Light — Zenos standing in as an avatar for the entire development team as Endwalker comes to a close.

Like Zenos’ exploits, the story of Hydaelyn and Zodiark has come to an end. Now, we stand against the hellish denizens of Pandaemonium and the looming specter of Job balancing. And soon, we’ll finally head into the future of Final Fantasy XIV. Because despite seeing an end, the journey is not over yet. You can hear more about that future right here on The Linkshell!