Final Fantasy XIV will be the first video game to have a float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.
Square Enix confirmed that the online fantasy game would be coming to the event, which is Australia’s biggest Pride celebration, as part of a collaboration with the Sydney Gaymers group for LGBT+ video game fans.
Final Fantasy XIV, which permits same-sex weddings, has a thriving LGBT+ community who have hosted their own massive in-game Pride events in the past.
The latest team-up will see the Pride celebrations make the jump into reality.
Final Fantasy XIV community has embraced inclusion
Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida said in a statement: “This collaboration could never have been realised without the efforts of our community.
“When FFXIV took part in PAX Australia, it was the FFXIV players in Australia who offered us the greatest welcome and utmost support.
“This led on to our community and Sydney Gaymers working together to make the collaboration a reality.”
Yoshida added: “To see it makes me very happy indeed, both as the person in charge of FFXIV and also as just another player of the game.
“FFXIV is another world that continues to grow and expand online. In that world people become adventurers, known as the Warriors of Light, and can continue to be free. I would like to continue developing this world, hand in hand with communities across the globe.”
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Peak Distapan of Sydney Gaymers said: “Sydney Gaymers is thrilled to be collaborating with Final Fantasy XIV Online for its 2019 float entry, titled Realms United.
“It means so much to receive direct support, validation and acknowledgement from such a force in the industry.”
The organiser added: “Not only that, to be supported by a game where so much of our community and values are represented. The Final Fantasy XIV Online community does not discriminate and respects everyone’s freedom and their individual values equally.
“For many LGBTQI+ people, online communities provide a space for the journey and exploration of personal identities.
“They allow us to connect, and celebrate, and they reinforce that we are not alone. Sydney Gaymers could not have a better sponsor to help create the most ambitious float it has ever undertaken.”
Speaking about bringing same-sex weddings to Final Fantasy XIV in 2014, Yoshida said: “People within Eorzea will be able to pledge their eternal love and or friendship in a ceremony of eternal bonding. And this will be open to people regardless of race, creed, and gender. Two players…if they want to be together, in Eorzea, they can-through this eternal bonding ceremony.”
“We discussed it… and we realized: within Eorzea, why should there be restrictions on who pledges their love or friendship to each other? And so we decided to go this way.”
The 41st annual Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is set to take place on March 2.
2018’s Mardi Gras celebrations featured a headline spot from Cher, who headed down under just weeks after Australia’s first same-sex weddings.