KupoCon Proved Final Fantasy Players Will Help You In Real Life Just As Much As In-Game

Last weekend, I attended KupoCon Pom² in London. Created by Final Fantasy fans, the event is a bite-sized convention with special guests, voice actors from across the series, panels, cosplay competitions, parades, and merch booths. Small and intimate by design, it’s the ultimate gathering for Final Fantasy fans.



KupoCon was first announced in 2016 and now has at least one event held internationally each year. Despite how long it’s been around, I’d never attended KupoCon before, so I had no idea what to expect. No one else I knew was going, so I ventured out on my lonesome with my camera in tow, ready to do some work.

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They weren’t kidding when they said it was intimate. Held in a Novotel in Hammersmith, there was a small room for the merch booths and reception desk, a larger hall for the panels and guest signings, and some other side rooms for quest logs. There were cosplayers everywhere, so it was difficult to get from A to B as I kept stopping to marvel at some incredible designs.

A bunch of Final Fantasy 14 cosplayers performing the manderville pose.

The atmosphere was infectious, and it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. A casual and easygoing atmosphere, the voice actors even cracking jokes about the sponsors for the event after the opening ceremony. Everyone from staff to other visitors were super friendly throughout the day. It was like being on a big school trip.

The crowning glory of KupoCon was the quest log. Attendees received a quest log book that contained quests and hunt marks, ranging from taking a selfie at a key location to getting a photo of a specific cosplayer. Upon completion, you could hand these into either the Bank of Mog or the Huntmaster to claim your gil rewards, which could then be used to purchase a range of goodies.

The Hunt Marks were even more engaging because you had multiple options. For example, you could claim a ten gil reward for getting a photo of you and a Clive cosplayer. Or, you could snag a 20 gil reward if you got a video of a Clive cosplayer shouting, “Come to me, Ifrit!” Naturally, not only did I want to earn the big bucks, but it was more fun completing the harder challenges. However, I feel sorry for all the Yuna, Clive, and Zack cosplayers who must have been inundated with visitors asking them to perform for the camera.

While KupoCon celebrates the entire Final Fantasy series, there was a massive turnout for Final Fantasy 14. As the day went on, I found myself comparing this real-world event to the FF14 community events I often attend in-game. KupoCon does the quest log to encourage the same fun and ideas you get from playing the games, so I’m not sure why I was surprised to find everyone working together so well. Maybe it stems from my own disconnect from my online personality. I’m more vocal behind my keyboard, hiding behind my Warrior of Light in a virtual space. I’m a bit more hesitant in the real world, especially alone.

It was great to see so many people being as helpful to one another as they would be within the game. People pointed me in the right direction if they saw I was looking for a specific quest location, and if I needed to fulfil the requirement of a particular cosplayer doing something specific, they were all too happy to help.

But it wasn’t just in terms of the quest log that people were helpful. After the opening ceremony, I headed outside to set up my tripod and start getting some footage. While wandering around the gardens, searching for a secluded place to embarrass myself on camera, I encountered some cosplayers practising a dance.

I politely interrupted them to ask if I could film them, and they were happy to oblige. Not only did they prepare what they were going to do, they made it into a little skit by having the person dressed as Sephiroth run past mid-way through for laughs. Here were these absolute strangers to me, willingly coming up with ideas to get a good shot and just having fun. It felt like I’d stumbled onto some NPCs in-game.

I left them to their own devices and continued my quest of finding a quiet place to film, and as I was setting up my tripod, some more cosplayers arrived on the scene. It turns out there is no quiet spot in the gardens because everyone has the same idea — not a bad thing. I had more cosplayers I could film.

Once more, they were only too eager to help me come up with different ideas for shots and doing battle poses. The Lulu cosplayer, in particular, was a professional wedding photographer, and once I told her I was new to the world of video, she started giving me different tips for how to do shots and equipment recommendations. It gave me flashbacks to being a newbie sprout in FF14 and having this far more experienced player stop to teach me a few tricks.

A group shot of lots of Final Fantasy 14 cosplayers.

Later in the day, after flitting in and out of rooms to complete quests and record footage of all the amazing cosplayers I could, I went outside for some air and walked into a large gathering of FF14 cosplayers. I didn’t know what they were doing, but it made good sense to hang around and film whatever it was. It turns out they were waiting for someone with a camera so they could do some photoshoots, and as soon as someone spotted my camera, I was nominated for that role. I’m embarrassed to say it took me a few minutes to work out how to take photos instead of video.

Once more, it made me think of parallels between the real world and the game. There have been so many times when I’ve been part of a group trying to achieve something or complete content, and the right randomer, Free Company member, or friend will appear, and we’ll strongarm them into helping us.

Though I wasn’t sure what to expect going into KupoCon, I left with a new level of appreciation for the Final Fantasy community. It made me realise that whether we’re our Warriors of Light, cosplaying as our favourite character, or just being ourselves, we all still band together and help one another. In the process, we make unforgettable memories to cherish.

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