What Did Louisoix Know?

Dec 15, 2023

Google search slapped me upside the head with the question “Others also asked: Did Louisoix know about the Final Days?” last night and I’ve been obsessing about it since. It’s such a striking question about the game’s story.

The question is interesting because it calls into question whether Louisoix’ sacrifice was “worth it,” both personally and morally. If he knew that he was only holding the line against a worse apocalypse, that feels less like a victory than stopping The End Of The World.

The framing of Louisoix’ personal arc exists in the context of the 1.0 and 2.x storylines, and in that context Louisoix’s sacrifice facilitates the player in seeing the saved world as worth saving, and the effort of enabling Louisoix’s sacrifice as being justified. In that context, there is no Final Days to ask about: the writers hadn’t thought it up yet for the character to have any knowledge of it.

The narrative demands of FFXIV’s episodic, pulp-adventure story require that the world never truly be Saved, only that it be Saved For Now. That, inherently, sucks the air out of victory, and it’s to the writers’ credit that they nonetheless find ways to write victories that are meaningful to the audience, as effectively as they do.

Textually, on the other hand, Louisoix is, like Ser Aymeric, a well-connected and genteel political radical. If Sharlayan’s academic aristocracy knew something, then Louisoix likely knew it, too, especially if Sharlayan came to know of the Final Days before Louisoix left for Eorzea permanently. Even afterwards, Louisoix would presumably have remained connected to his community in Sharlayan through the Idyllshire colony, and through his personal connections. With linkpearls and letters, he would likely have remained informed enough to know of new developments, especially ones of as much import as the Final Days.

However, if he knew, I think it’s consistent with his characterization to have decided to forestall the apocalypse he could prevent, and to trust in the future to deal with the one he couldn’t. In his own words:

To ignore the plight of those one might conceivably save is not wisdom—it is indolence. And such a passive stance will not, I fear, take us far upon the path to progress. That you would spare these younglings the horrors of war is a decision with which I am in full agreement. Thus do I refrain from exhorting you, or any other, to return to Eorzea at my side. We must all protect that which we hold most dear in the manner of our own choosing.

Finally, I do not believe in the idea of narrative truth. I believe that narrative is contextual and must always be interpreted. In that light, I choose to treat it as a compelling story that Louisoix did know about the Final Days the whole time, even though he was as helpless to address them as the rest of Eorzea and Sharlayan were. It is compelling and heroic that he did what he could to preserve Eorzean, in order to ensure that the next generation of heroes would have time and reason to try.