If you’ve visited Final Fantasy XIV city-state Ishgard recently, you might have noticed a throng of players surrounding the home of Ishgardian noble Count Edmont de Fortemps. Over the last several days, mourners have turned Fortemps Manor into a makeshift vigil for voice actor Stephen Critchlow, who sadly passed away earlier this month.
Critchlow, a British theater veteran with previous credits in series like Dragon Quest and Fable, was the English voice actor who brought Edmont de Fortemps to life in Final Fantasy XIV. Despite his lofty status in Ishgard’s cloistered society, the count becomes a major ally over the course of the Heavensward expansion. It’s de Fortemps that narrates the expansion’s main story, in fact, giving players several moments to appreciate the rich combination of nobility and compassion Critchlow brought to the role.
Due to Edmont de Fortemps’ importance in the Final Fantasy XIV story, players quickly congregated at his home in Ishgard after the news of his passing. They were there to pay their respects across the game’s numerous data centers and servers. Several images and videos were uploaded online of these spontaneous gatherings, showing crowds standing vigil at Fortemps Manor to mourn Critchlow’s death and remember his fantastic contributions to the mega-popular MMORPG.
I made the quick jaunt to Ishgard last night as well, taking a break from wrapping up some Heavensward content so I could see my server’s vigil first-hand. The scene was touching, with adventurers of all stripes invoking flashy skills and some even playing music in Critchlow’s honor. One player was handing out free campfires for those who wished to join in the somber festivities. Elsewhere, another user offered a touching eulogy on Critchlow’s work as de Fortemps.
Final Fantasy XIV may be a massive phenomenon, but its fanbase hasn’t let this enormity turn them all into a bunch of anonymous assholes. In my experience, they’re always quick to lend a hand to a newbie and show them the ropes. It would have been easy to ignore or even miss Critchlow’s death, especially with the real world being what it is these days, but many still made a point to take time away from the grind to celebrate a man that made this game’s adventure so special.
Rest in peace, Stephen Critchlow. And thank you.