‘This game means more to me than any other’: The voice of Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail’s first hrothgar lady has been playing since before the game’s 2013 revamp

Now that Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail’s full trailer has finally released, the game’s first on-screen hrothgar lady has stepped into the spotlight. It turns out that her English voice actor has also been playing the game for years, as revealed in a tweet yesterday.

(Image credit: @senabryer on Twitter/X.)

“Keeping quiet about this has been the hardest thing of my life,” Sena Bryer writes in a follow-up tweet. “I’ve been playing FFXIV since 1.0 launch, and before that FFXI since its NA PC launch. This game means more to me than any other in all my life of gaming. To be such a part of it is such a tremendous honour.”

FF14’s initial release (the 1.0 Bryer mentions) is almost unrecognisable to most players nowadays. It was flooded with glitches, weighed down by an archaic user interface and combat system, and hilariously poorly optimised—infamously, one single barrel had more polygons than a player model for some ungodly reason.

The game’s current director Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) was brought in to give the game a reboot, leading us to 2.0—or A Realm Reborn, as it’s now known. This makes Byrer an OG FF14 player in the literal sense of the word. 

I decided to reach out to Bryer about her history with the game, and she linked me to a thread she made back in 2021, long before she received the role.

In it, Byrer wrote about how impactful Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker was to her: “[The game] means so much to me that I can barely put it into words. Final Fantasy XIV and its predecessor Final Fantasy XI literally saved my life.” She details her journey through FF11 (another Final Fantasy MMORPG) which gave her both a community and a proper way to express her gender identity.

“Fast forward 2 years though and I was in the deepest depression of my life,” she added, saying that “this game where people saw me as myself, or at least an approximation of her” pulled her out of a very dark place. When Final Fantasy 14 came out, “I set everything down and decided I would move to that game instead.”

Unfortunately, she “bounced off” the game in the way a lot of other players did—but returned just a few patches before the revamp, where an in-game apocalyptic event marked the shutdown of 1.0 and the start of a three-year wait for A Realm Reborn. From there, she’s played the game on-and-off for years. 

One tweet from the 2021 thread even reads: “I even got an interview with Square Enix back in 2016 to be a Community Representative for Final Fantasy XIV! I bombed the interview (because I’d just turned 30 and it was kind of a Very Bad Time for me) but hey, SquareEnix if you still need anyone let’s chat, huh?” Which, considering she’s voicing a major character in the new expansion—it looks like the chat went well.

It’s genuinely heartwarming to see a legacy player join the fabric of FF14 in a very real way—and, considering how many times Square Enix brings back new characters for subsequent expansions, it’s likely we’ll hear a lot of Bryer’s work in the years to come. Dawntrail plans to release sometime in the Summer 2024, though there’s not a concrete release date just yet.

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