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Final Fantasy 14's expansion hints at a critique of the Catholic Church

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It's common for Japanese role-playing games to take some degree of inspiration from Western religion, and Final Fantasy 14 is no stranger in that regard. The massively multiplayer game's first expansion, Heavensward, takes players to an icy northern region known as Ishgard. Ishgard is a theocracy, run by the Orthodox Church and ruled over by a pope-esque Archbishop. You can see a picture above for yourself.

But as it turns out, this very Catholic-looking garb and social structure may not be the extent of Final Fantasy 14's references to that church.

This revelation comes courtesy of Twitter user FutanariChan, who realized today that there's a suitably shadowy story hidden behind the lore of one of Heavensward's new classes, the dark knight.

First off, to uncover this information, you need to really work for it. When you begin leveling a dark knight, you start at level 30. At this point, you're told this tidbit about "the first dark knight":

...a goodly knight who sacrificed all in order to bring an untouchable man to justice. Too many fear the consequences such actions will bring, and innocents suffer for our indecision.

Interesting, but not saying much, right? If you want the full story, you actually need to level your dark knight up to the current level cap of 60 and finish all of the dark knight job quests. Once this is completed, you can ask the job master, Sidurgu, for more details about the origins of the dark knight. Here's what you're told (emphasis mine):

Recall the story of the first, who was that rarest of knights — one who held his vows sacrosanct and strove ever to walk in the Fury's grace. This man good and true did what no one else had the courage to do. He passed judgment on a vile beast who had used his position in the clergy to commit unspeakable crimes. To wit, he cut down the clergyman before the eyes of gods and men, ensuring that the bastard would never harm another child of the Brume again.

Did you get that? It's not spelled out 100 percent clearly, but the implication of this story, as interpreted by FutanariChan, is that this dark knight went after a priest who was sexually abusing children.

Yeah. That's dark.

As the story continues, the original dark knight wins his freedom through trial by combat, but is stripped of his title and exiled from the church.

Of course, you could read this lore as pure fantasy. But looking at the other ways that Ishgard recalls the Catholic Church, plus the church's recent history of sex abuse scandals, it's hard not to see some sort of connection there.

While you mull over this complicated bit of plot, you can check out our brief tour of Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward in the video below.