Welp, the Kobold’s out of the bag. Ioncannon—who has been tinkering with a private rebuilding of Version 1 to learn more about coding and game development—stumbled across the original introduction of the primal Titan (seen in previews all the way back to ’09, but not included in original release) and posted it to their YouTube channel. Rebuilding the lore of Version 1, a few such quests may have been swept into my tomes, so let’s hop in the Wayback Machine and I’ll try to explain what’s going on while people are interested.
The main scenario of the 2010 release ended at Level 46 with the conclusion of a side-story arc. Putting the collapsing crystal trade, the appearance of the primals, and the threat of the mysterious Ascian on hold, you help the Ala Mhigan resistance with an attempted airship heist in Mor Dhona that gets every one of them killed in the badass introduction of Gaius van Baelsar. Having already met Ifrit (and still completely confused about what the Echo is or where it came from), you were meant to go on to encounter your second primal, but this event never occurred. Much like Ishgard, it seems that the Titan arc was left out due to the game being only truly including even basic content up to the mid-30s, early-40s.
After Yoshida-san took over, much of the existing game was left as-is on the back-burner while a new story arc about the rise of the Seventh Umbral Era started from scratch, including encountering Ifrit again on more violent terms. It looked like you would be due to meet all three primals properly, but, again, Titan never came. Dev. communication via the forums implied that the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami created an atmosphere where it just didn’t seem right to release Titan or Leviathan at the time, given their associations with earthquakes and tidal waves. Instead, the second primal was the spirits-raising introduction of Good King Moggle Mog XII, as jovial an experience as a primal can be (all the way down to weapons that kupo’d when drawn).
But the truth is that the foundations of the Titan introduction were there all along, as you may have noticed when glimpses of the scene were shown in the earliest trailers of Version 1. Here’s the full scene via Ioncannon:
Every now and again, I come back to efforts to restore the full quest transcripts as part of my lore preservation projects, but the text and quest flags were untranslated, jumbled, and incomplete. Here’s what I’ve put back together so far, but take the details with a grain of salt; I’m not entirely finished with the restoration.
You receive a panicked call from Shushule and Guguremu of the Ashcrown Consortium, an organization met earlier in the story that mediates Eorzea’s crystal trade, which itself has been strained due to the tribes hoarding crystals to summon their gods. Their mentor, Nananoby (seen earlier during a conflict between the Amalj’aa and Ixal that was interrupted by the appearance of the “reaper” Ascian), has not been heard from since departing for Mt. O’Ghomoro to trade with the Kobold. However, rumors are now circling that that the area was attacked by an Ascian, and you are enlisted to take Shushule and Guguremu to ensure Nananoby’s safety.
With retrospect from A Realm Reborn, it’s interesting to see that while the beast tribes welcomed the Paragons as messengers of their gods, they were petrified of the reaper. Considering that the Paragons were Ascians themselves, could they have been engaging in a complex manipulation? Teaching the tribes to summon and then encouraging them to do so by placing them in mortal danger? It seems likely, considering that the Ascians were far more discreet prior to the half-prevented Seventh Umbral Calamity.
You arrive in Mt. O’Ghomoro after the Ascian attack—many lives have been lost. Titan rises from the earth in his sanctum as the Company of Heroes, led by Oriolda, approaches. She wastes no time in challenging the primal to combat, but the battle scarcely begins before Titan becomes aware of the bodies that litter the room. Enraged and overcome with sorrow, he ejects his crystalline heart—his anchor to the corporeal realm—and sacrifices the living aether within him to restore the fallen. Nananoby seems to confront the reality that he will never be accepted in society again after being tainted by Titan.
The Kobold move to re-summon their god immediately (thanks to the crystals brought by Nananoby), drawing the ire of the Company of Heroes. They claim that primals should be annihilated and the tribes reduced in power, laughing off an accusation that they’ve thrown in with the Garlean Empire.
Hoping to discern the origin of the Echo, you engage Titan in discussion. He confirms that the origin of your blessing is not a god that has been called to the land, but cautions against trying to summon whatever it is. The overuse of such methods, he reveals, surely invites only death and disaster. The group is left struggling to accept that perhaps the stance of the genocidal Garleans are not entirely without merit, and that the Ascians are drawn to a world in conflict to stoke people’s belief in and reliance on gods … that perhaps the Ascian have a deity of their own.
As you can see, the encounter with Titan plays out quite differently, but overall the themes are mostly the same. Society is in decline and a dark force has come to encourage its downfall by giving them the power to manifest their gods and set them against one another.
On one hand, it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to see the more human-like traits of Titan. A few unvoiced lines that display his love for the Kobold are all we have to go on in ways of personality. On the other hand, I wonder if it was to highlight Titan’s might in his introduction—to show us that we didn’t lose out on him twice only to find that he was a pushover. The 1.0 main scenario could be completed by a crafter or gatherer, after all. We never engaged a primal directly; we either fought off or parleyed with their followers and got out of there as fast as possible.
Either way, it really highlights which areas of the game really were quite different, and which themes, while represented differently, haven’t truly changed all that much. As with all Version 1 cutscenes, I’m reminded how much I miss the gorgeous graphics, attention to detail, and unique movements of characters in cutscenes. At the same time, I have to remind myself that, as soon as you were out of that cutscene, anything farther than 15 yalms away looked like oil-painted LEGOs and, mechanically, it was a nightmare. Ah, well. You give a little, get a little.