Hello again to all you FFXIVers out there, and to all of you looking forward to FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. Letter from the Producer #34 is going to be a bit of a special edition!

As you might’ve guessed from my last missive, I’m now in Cologne, Germany, for gamescom 2012.

During the exhibition here, we’re releasing new screenshots and concept art, as well as conducting live demos of FFXIV: A Realm Reborn! As we speed towards our alpha test, naturally there are still a few hiccups with the build, so I’m always freaking out that something will break every time we show gameplay in public. /lol

My schedule is jam-packed, with 23 interviews (some are joint ones) and 11 on-stage demos, so you’ll have to forgive me if I let the photos do most of the talking this letter! These should give you an idea of the energy in the crowd!

Just yesterday, we released patch 1.23a for the current version of FFXIV. As a side note, the new battle content we added is a little different from the usual fare: the fight with the Imperial Legatus has been tuned to “hidden last boss” levels of difficulty. The event scenes that follow are the same as in the main story, so think of it as a challenge to undertake after you’ve completed the scenario.

In fact, you could even call it the ultimate challenge from us for this version of the game. A Realm Reborn will see extensive changes to things like the battle system and class/job actions, so this will be the last chance to test your mettle against the strongest opponent the current FFXIV has to offer.

My jaw hit the floor when I heard some genuine badasses out there already dropped van Darnus on hard mode, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this fight is a walk in the park—it’s not.

Meanwhile, I better make the most of my remaining time at gamescom 2012!

Once I’m back in Japan, the FINAL FANTASY 25th Anniversary event will be right on the horizon, and we’re also planning another “Letter from the Producer LIVE” event. Good times!

That’s all for now, folks. I’m off to charge my batteries with some steak and red wine!