Final Fantasy XIV has become extremely popular over the past few years, and you may happen to see some peculiarly related billboards.
As a growing, diverse community, Square Enix’s MMORPG has given birth to several sub-communities and scenes, and the clubbing one is among the most active.
If you walk the streets of Ul’dah and Limsa Lominsa, especially on a weekend evening, you’ll most probably see several players advertising said clubs in “Shout” chat.
Those ads will usually lead you to a brightly decorated house in one of the game’s housing wards, where you’ll be able to socialize, dance, and more, often prompted to listen to a live DJ on a Twitch stream.
At times, these venues will offer additional services for a fee to be paid in gil (the in-game currency of Final Fantasy XIV)
One of said Night Clubs, named “Rain” on the Crystal Datacenter (you can find its website here, with the warning that it includes content that can be considered mildly NSFW) has decided to kick the advertisement up a notch or ten for its “Summer Bash” party on July 7, allegedly renting four billboards in different locations of Texas and California.
You can see some in the tweets below, courtesy of users @NotSoNormalCat, @yuleloggy (originally posted by @DJ_Potate and then deleted), and @MassiveMastro. It’s worth mentioning that said users aren’t involved with the rental or creation of the ads, but they simply posted the pictures.
At the moment (to my knowledge), only one location has been identified in Houston, Texas.
While those who aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy XIV may find this cool or simply funny, the initiative has drawn ire from a sizable number of community members who have responded quite vocally on social media.
The pictures used for the ad include user-created character mods and datamined unreleased outfits (likely from the upcoming Moonfire Faire summer event), which is definitely frowned upon by Square Enix. On top of that, the night club in question advertises adult-oriented services on its website.
Combined with the use of the official logo and copyright notices, this has a very real possibility to be seen with hostility by the Japanese publisher, with possibly tangible consequences.
On top of that, members of other sub-communities within the game who enjoy using mods for quality of life, fashion, in-game photography, roleplay, and more, are concerned that unwanted attention from Square Enix could have far-reaching consequences on their enjoyment of the game and the use of such software which they normally tend to keep on the down-low.
We have reached out to the ad provider for a final confirmation of the authenticity of the billboards, but we have received no response at the moment. We’ll keep you posted in case we hear anything of relevance.
You can also read more about the changes planned for the longer term, including a refresh of the graphics, and about the upcoming update 6.2 “Buried Memory,” which will introduce the “Island Sanctuary” feature and more.