Toward the end of Games Com this past week in Germany, there was a cosplay contest for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Naoki Yoshida, the game’s director, helped judge it. “Step on me, please,” he told the winner.
Let me explain.
Stormblood was released earlier this summer. The expansion included new job types, locales, and characters, one of whom was Yotsuyu, the imperial viceroy of Doma. She’s a villain who interrogates perceived enemies of the state and plays to the dominatrix archetype. The below clip is part of the marketing Square Enix used to introduce her character prior to release and it soon went viral in the FFXIV community.
Fans took the BDSM infused scene and decided to start employing “step on me” as a catch all for being hyped about something in the game or its surrounding culture (in addition to its more literal use). Of course, the heel on the head trope isn’t exactly knew in Japanese entertainment, where that sort of kink is less stigmatized.
The best part of all this though is Yoshida deploying the meme in an fan cosplay contest in Germany. Square Enix had a whole stream dedicated to the game and its new content, but those three simple words definitely stole the show.
The game director was extremely impressed by the Yotsuyu costume. “Everything has been recreated so close to what’s in game,” the translator said on his behalf, before he topped the commendation off by saying “Step on me, please” in English.