It’s hard to find a home in Final Fantasy XIV. Plots cost a good bit of gil and go quick: quicker than the vast majority of players can snap them up. There’s a reason players refer to the entire system as “Housing (Savage).” Even with the addition of a new housing environment with each subsequent expansion, there’s still never enough to fully go around.
That’s part of why players are so excited about the upcoming Island Sanctuary system. Square Enix highlighted the new content in its first showcase for FFXIV: Endwalker. It looks to be a place for the Warrior of Light to kick their feet back, do a bit of farming,farm and soak in the sun. Yoshida previously talked about said farming, as well as raising animals and crafting services. The ability to let your minions wander around your Sanctuary is just the kicker on a fantastic addition to FFXIV.
“Think of it as a mode that allows you to create your own space without the need to fulfill requirements set up by others or competing with other players,” FFXIV creative director Naoki Yoshida previously told PCGamesN about the new mode. “You can tend to your animals and crops, expand the territory on your island, and let your minions roam free. As such, it’s a mode through which you can enjoy the slow life.”
We gained a few new details about the Island Sanctuary from the recent round of Endwalker media tour interviews. The scant crumbs we got this time around come from Yoshida’s interview with Meoni & Shenpai. In addition to the farming and minion fields, it seems there will be actual buildings of some kind in the sanctuary.
“Really the concept is that you obviously have your own island,” Yoshida told the pair. “You have at the start, kind of like a blank canvas and so you can see, ‘Okay, what type of building do I want to place here? What type of materials do I want to gather?’ Maybe I want to let my minions roam free on this island. Of course, there’s content with a focus on the house, the garden, and the furniture. But I would say Island Sanctuary, you could see a little bit of a rank higher, because there’s a bit more broad things in there.”
The mentions of buildings, housing, and furniture have been enough to whip the FFXIV community up into a tempest. It’s unlikely that Square Enix would develop whole new systems for placing things like furniture for a single mode — so players now hope that each Island Sanctuary will be a bandaid on the housing market. Perhaps even just a smaller home with a farm is enough for some players.
You’ll still be able to invite your friends over for a little bit of fun, though.
“This is an area where you can relax. You can also call over your friends to your island and have a chat with them. You can go visit your friend’s island,” said Yoshida. “But basically it’s laid-back, relaxed content. It’s typically things like tending to crops, looking after animals, raising animals.”
Yoshida also mentioned that the team will update the content regularly over the course of the Endwalker patch cycle (which should last at least a couple years). He even said that the new mode will be “quite a large-scale new form of content.” What it won’t be is Animal Crossing transplanted inside of FFXIV. He cautioned players to temper their expectations, noting that Animal Crossing: New Horizons had been in development for years before becoming the biggest game of the early pandemic. The team has an entire MMO to update and maintain, as well. There will be farming and animals, but players should not expect the Island Sanctuary to be a separate, full-featured game inside of FFXIV.
Why is Yoshida so cryptic about the mode, though? In the interview, he admits that the team was surprised by the wildly positive response to the new content. Knowing that players are looking forward to it so much, Square Enix wants to make sure it finally shows off the Island Sanctuary in the best light possible.
“When we originally announced Island Sanctuary, we were kind of taken aback by the huge response we got from the players,” explained Yoshida. “So really because now we understood that a lot of players are really looking forward to it and they’ve got really high expectations, I did not want to just approach it in a haphazard way. For example, if we were just to give some information here and there, I think that might lead to a misunderstanding on the player’s side. They might not really understand what we are trying to do in this content. So I thought it might be a safer option if we wait until we’re at a stage where we can show screenshots or maybe even live gameplay in a stream.”
Surprise, surprise! There’s an upcoming event that would be perfect for just such an updated showcase of the Island Sanctuary. The next Live Letter From the Producer stream (in which Square Enix always lays out tons of new details about upcoming content) is currently scheduled for November 5 at 7:00 PM (PDT). That stream was already supposed to have new information about updates to the Disciples of the Land and Hand, i.e. gatherers and crafters. Perhaps that’s where Island Sanctuary will get some more shine. Things like furniture are typically tied to in-game crafting, after all. Until then, I only hope for a tiny apartment on the coast — one with a bustling farm of minions out back. A Warrior of Light can dream…
And we’re finally within a single month of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker! The expansion is coming to PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on Nov. 23, 2021, but Early Access begins on November 19 for those that pre-ordered. Check out all of our excellent preview coverage in the run-up to the launch of The Linkshell: our new Final Fantasy XIV vertical coming soon! A small bit of that coverage can be found in the links below.
You can also check out the rest of our coverage of the media tour:
- Tank Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Healer Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Melee DPS Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Ranged/Magic DPS Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Tour of the New Zones — A Walkthrough of Old Sharlayan, Garlemald, and Thavnair
- An Interview with Director Naoki Yoshida on the Last Decade of FFXIV