For my next post I’ve decided to focus on some of the similarities between the games, for although there are 14 games in the main series so far (not counting sequels and other related material) story wise the games don’t actually follow each other: with each game having its own continuity, but despite this there are some similarities between the games (though some of these only apply to some of the games). What follows is a list of just some of them.
Cid – every game from Final Fantasy II onward has included a character called Cid, the character usually has a role relating to piloting or otherwise flying an aircraft (although this doesn’t apply to all of them). But beyond this, the many Cid’s (like the games themselves) are completely unrelated to one another story wise.
Chocobo – a chocobo is a large species of bird that appears throughout the series (similar to an ostrich in general shape and appearance though chocobo are larger and have thick feathers covering their bodies). Most commonly, chocobo are yellow in colour, though other colours exist (such as green, blue, black and gold). Chocobo are generally ether farmed, rode (serving as the games equivalent of horses) or used for racing. Like the Cid character, chocobo made their first appearance in Final Fantasy II and have appeared in most of the games since.
Summons – the ability to summon a powerful creature to fight for the character in battle. Details about summons, such as what they’re called in-game (guardian force’s-FFVIII, Eidolons-FFIX, FFXIII and the DS remake of FFIV) and how exactly they function in battle can vary between games
- appearing, attacking the opponent and then disappearing again (FFVII and FFVIII)
- appearing in battle as an actual party member replacing the backup party members and fighting alongside the party (leader-FFX and FFXIII),
Although some summons do appear in multiple games (though some just share names) such as Shiva, Bahamute, Alexander, Odin and Ifrit to name a few.
Naming the main characters – a rather odd feature of the games is that (in the early games at least) you could choose the name of the main character and the characters in the main party (each character had an official set name but the first time it would be mentioned in-game the player would be given the option to rename them if they wanted). This feature was all but removed in FFX, which was the first game to feature voice actors (all previous games had used dialog boxes). When the main character was re-nameable and was never referred to by name throughout the game. All subsequent games removed the feature completely.
The victory fanfare – the victory fanfare is the tune that plays upon winning a battle and although it changes slightly between games the main part of the tune has remained largely the same throughout most of them (only receiving a major change in FFX-2 and FFXIII).
Magic – magic is used almost exclusively in battle in all Final Fantasy games although it’s often (though not always) obtained from an outside source.
- FFVII-magic is obtained from Matiria (crystallised life energy that could be used to channel the knowledge of a race that predates humans)
- FFVIII-magic has to be drawn (absorbed) from enemies
- FFXIII-magic can only be used by the main characters after becoming L’cie
How many times you can use this magic in battle, is commonly determined by the mana bar, which appears alongside the health bar and decreases when magic is used, to refill it requires the use of items that restore mana (exceptions to this include FFVIII where you had to draw spells from enemies and store them for use later like normal items, and FFXIII where the difference between magic and physical attacks was all but removed).
Limit breaks/Desperation attacks – a limit break is a particularly powerful form of attack that can only be used if a special bar (like the health and mana bars) are charged up (this bar normally charges after the party wins a battle). First introduced in FFVII, usually each character’s limit breaks are unique to them and they normally have multiple limit breaks with the later and stronger ones being unlocked after certain criteria were met. FFVI and FFVIII instead had a system where if the character’s health was low they had access to a desperation attack. In FFVI if a character’s health was low there was a 1/16 chance that an attack would be a desperation attack, while in FFVIII if a character’s health was low the player could choose between normal and desperation attacks. Players would often abuse this system by keeping their party at low health so the more powerful desperation attacks could be used endlessly.
The masamune – the masamune is a sword that has been present in most of the games in the series. Normally very long, it is usually one of the most powerful swords the player can obtain, though in some of the games it cannot be obtained by the player (such as in FFVII where it is used by Sephiroth, the games main antagonist) This version of the masamune is also abnormally long, even amongst the models seen in other games, as although the exact length has been changed several times throughout the various media associated with FFVII, the blade is normally around 6ft in length. Also in FFXIII, the sword is wielded by Yaag Rosch, one of the game’s antagonists. As opposed to Sephiroth, whose version of the sword is abnormally long, Rosch’s version is abnormally short, being about the length of a normal sword if not shorter.
Moogle – moogles are animals found throughout most of the games in the series, they made their first appearance in FFIII and have since made several appearances throughout the various games. Appearance wise, they are small furry creatures with small bat-like wings (as a result they are more commonly seen floating as opposed to standing or walking). Along with the wings, another signature feature of their appearance is a large red pompom connected to the top of their heads by a thin antenna. the pompom was absent in their FFVII appearance in which they were refereed to simply as mogs (although a moogle doll seen in Advent Children and later Dirge of Cerberus had the signature pompom). They are also often depicted with either long rabbit like ears or smaller rounded ears, although the longer variety are more common. They are also capable of human speech and will occasionally say the word “kupo” after finishing a sentence.
Gunblade – a gunblade is a verity of weapon used throughout the series, making its first appearance in Final Fantasy VIII as the name suggests a gunblade is a combination of a gun and a sword there are several variants; these include,
- a sword with a gun grip as a handle used by Squall Leonhart the main protagonist of FFVIII and his rival Seifer Almasy,
- another model resembles a normal gun, with a slightly longer barrel, the top or bottom of which (or both) is normally sharpened like the blade of a sword. This variant (with both top and bottom sharpened) was used by Loz and Yazoo, two of the antagonists from FFVII advent children,
- another variety resembles a gun and through complex mechanics can fold out into a sword. This variant was used by Lightning (spoiler) the main protagonist of FFXIII.