Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion is delayed until December 7, but the MMO’s main theme song is out in just a few days on November 17. The official title of that Masayoshi Soken-composed banger you hear in the full trailer is Endwalker – Footfalls, and I have ten million theories about the official lyrical reveal from Square Enix—all of which make me want to cry until I’m sick.
Square Enix has settled months of debate in a new Lyrical Journey blog post from the FFXIV community team, sharing exactly what you’ve heard teased in the Endwalker song and clearing up my personal list of misheard words. It’s a lot of what we’ve guessed for a while; Footfalls is a tribute to the Warrior of Light’s journey thus far. There are nods to Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers, plus a whole lot of more ambiguous lines that won’t have complete clarity until Endwalker arrives.
Some parts are more obvious; there’s a whole section of Footfalls in Dragonspeak that shares lyrics with Heavensward’s theme. That’s no typo there, either. The song has changed ever-so-slightly, adding in the lines, “Death comes, Our slumber disturbed,” between verses. In the lead-up to version 6.0, FFXIV has already revealed we ally ourselves with Tiamat and that she accompanies us to fight Lunar Bahamut. I reckon she’s pretty pissed she’s got to deal with seeing another version of Bahamut that besmirches his legacy, and the Heavensward lyrics seem to acknowledge as much.
There’s also a line in there echoing, “Tales of loss and fire and faith,” it’s the same one we heard in the Endwalker title screen. Community discussions are full of back-and-forth over what part is a reference to each expansion, but I’m convinced “loss” is Shadowbringers—everyone can argue amongst themselves over the other two. In FFXIV’s 5.3 update, we saw some of the story’s most painful beats tackling grief, but the overarching story of Emet-Selch, Elidibus, and the origins of Zodiark make it feel too fitting.
I’m also in agreement with everyone thinking that the mention of “you’re not alone” links to its Final Fantasy IX influences. Given that one of FFIX’s themes is named the exact same thing, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. Endwalker’s raid series, Pandaemonium, also shares its namesake with a location from the 2000 RPG, and the two look a lot alike.
FFXIV has a long history of using its song lyrics to speak directly from the perspective of the story’s key players, and Fanbyte’s very own Michael Higham even explained as much in his early Endwalker impressions. When I think back to some of my favorite moments in the MMO’s narrative, I realize they’re all masterfully punctuated by its lyrics. I may have to wait a couple of weeks longer for version 6.0, but I’ll be picking apart these lines of text for the next month.