Final Fantasy 14's Island Sanctuary references all the community's favourite memes

Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker
(Image credit: Square Enix)

It turns out Final Fantasy 14's new Island Sanctuary is chock full of meme references, including one particularly suspicious shoebill.

For one, Minion Thancred has some pretty neat dialogue in the new Island Sanctuary. All it takes is three simple words, "this is Thancred," to make the Final Fantasy 14 fandom immediately clue in on one of the more unintentionally funny moments from the Endwalker expansion.

Another meme reference takes the form of a shoebill. Yes, you can get a Shoebill Minion for your very own Island Sanctuary, and it even gives the player a "piercing stare," which is enough to freak out anyone unfortunate enough to look at a shoebill head-on.

This shoebill reference goes a little deeper than you might think. If you cast your minds back to 2019's brilliant Shadowbringers expansion, you might remember that a mysterious shoebill shows up in the background of several cutscenes, never directly acknowledged by the player character or their allies. 

It's never been confirmed, but players speculated that this shoebill was actually an ancient Ascian keeping a close eye on the Warrior of Light from afar. Some even thought this shoebill might be the scheming Emet Selch himself, and the video below does a great job recapping the whole episode around the shoebill.

The fate and true identity of the shoebill was always destined to remain a mystery. Even when one of GamesRadar+'s writers quizzed veteran scribe Natsuko Ishikawa shortly after Shadowbringer's launch about the shoebill, the writer slyly dodged the question, only positing that the shoebill would be quite the mystery for players to unravel.

Well, Ascian or no Ascian, Final Fantasy 14's Island Sanctuary sure is full of neat little references to former expansions and community fascinations surrounding them. Someone has even rounded up a few more on them on Reddit if you fancy a gander. 

In other news for the feature, some players have even mapped Island Sanctuary's resources, just 24 hours after the new adventure first launched in the MMORPG.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian Final Fantasy 14 players are being priced out of the game, and some are speaking up for Square Enix to make changes. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.