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Final Fantasy Cross-overs (or, how I came to decide to buy Dissidia)

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For a long time now I've chronicled the connections between the various FF worlds, beyond the normal "Cid" "Chocobo" "Moogle" stuff. Why? I think it because the human mind thrives on connection. We live in a world where everything is inextricably but subtly connected and there is some joy for us that can only be achieved by discovering those connections and marking them. Thus, with a series which ostensibly has no connection between the games, what little information I can find to prove otherwise fascinates me.

My main focus was on connecting settings. I started long ago by collecting all the FF maps I could get my hands on and running comparisons. This was really little more than a child's way of going about making the connection. After all, one of the earliest things we learn to rely on is our eyesight, and so it was only to be expected that in my search I would first turn to the visual plane. Of course, there's actually very little to be told from the maps, except for some striking similarities between some of the game's continental layouts and the fact that most of the games use very similar landmasses. Also, most of the games feature three major continents with two or three smaller continents and then a number of islands. Inevitably one of the continents is noticeably larger than the others and generally is the one on which the players start the game (see FF7, FF1, FF4, FF6, etc.)

My next method, when I was a little older, was to check out all the in-game crossovers. There are a lot. Aside from the afore mentioned species and name similarities, there are plenty of re-used items and weapons, mini games, in-jokes (you spoony bard!) even humorous character references (like Zidane commenting on Cloud's sword in FF9 or there being a "Cloud's shop" in FF8 ) and character re-occurences (Biggs and Wedge). But there are also some very concrete and subtle references that seem to be showing a definite connection between all the games.

How does one decide the difference between an easter egg and a cannonical tie-in? Mostly it's in terms of style and presentation. A single shop named after Cloud in FF8 does not prove that THAT Cloud is running the shop or that FF7's world eventually becomes FF8's world. For one thing, it's too brief a reference. For another, too many things don't make sense if it's taken as cannon. FF8's world is given a long and well documented history. If Cloud is still alive and running a shop in this world, it doesn't make sense with that history (he'd have to be at least 300 years old for this to work) and anyway at the end of FF7 it shows a pretty clear indication that the world looks pretty much the same 100 or 200 years after Meteor Fall (not mentioned in FF8 ). Now, one could speculate on all sorts of things, here. Maybe Cloud's abilities and exposure to Jenova cells kept him alive for long enough to exist in Squall's time. Maybe Meteor Fall IS referenced in FF8 as the Lunar Cry! OMG! Maybe the sorceror's power, only passed down through women, is actually JENOVA'S POWER!

Yeah, see, fans could jump on this kind of stuff all day and while fun and satisfying to the aforementioned connection part of our brain, these speculations are just that... speculations. At the end of them we've left the original evidence so far behind that our new theory holds no water. And all sparked by a single line of text . These are not the kind of things I'm after. Therefore, I label these kind of things "Easter Eggs."

I mean, christ... FF9 even references Resident Evil 2. And, on that note, Parasite Eve includes Chocobo's in the Museum and Gunblades in the second game. So, like I said... those SE guys love easter eggs.

A now-famous scene in which a character named Shinra in FFX-2 discusses plans to utilize the planet's lifestream in creating a city worthy of his name... now that, on the other hand... now that I call evidence.

Using such evidence (which I shall shortly lay out), I have deduced that only the following Final Fantasy worlds are connected:


(Also note that Ivalice is the only common setting that is specifically named as such for any FF games (specifically any game in the Tactics series and FFXII). It is the setting for Vagrant Story as well.)

Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy X's connections have already been noted. The Shinra conversation, as well as an interview with the series director, confirmed that the worlds are meant to be one in the same. Final Fantasy 7 presumably takes place generations after FFX, as Shinra says the process would take that long to refine.

This is certainly plausible. Final Fantasy 7's pre-history comes in three parts. The first is ancient history, which involves the Cetra's discovering the planet and cultivating it. 2000 years before the game, Jenova lands, ending this history. The next bit of history begins 30 years before the game and involves the finding of Jenova by Gast and Hojo, the birth of Aerith and most of the FF cast, the fall of Vincent, and the birth of Sephiroth. This period ends 5 years before the game, with the events of Crisis Core forming the final foundation for what happens in FF7.

Now, FFX's history is a 1000 years long, so it could easily take place sometime after Jenova is defeated and before she is discovered by the elite and wealthy running the planet under the guise of the Shinra electrical company.

Despite those being the only two cannonical setting connections thus far, there are a couple characters that cannonically cross worlds.

Cloud is the first. In FF7 he falls into the Lifestream and his soul and mind essentially leave his body, seperating from one another... this is the fate of all who fall into the lifestream or become oversaturated with mako energy in some other way. Since mako is essentially concentrated soul stuff, the person's soul becomes entrapped with it, while the mind, usually bound by the soul, is freed from its bounds and wanders.

(This even happens to Sephiroth. He needs the Black Materia to give him enough power to reawaken his body. His mind is connected to Jenova which is connected to all the clones, so rather than losing his mind, Sephiroth is able to jump between the minds of Hojo's experimental soldiers, even being able to alter their genetic appearance to match his and then transmute their bodies cells into re-incarnations of Jenova, which the party fights.)

Cloud's mind goes to Ivalice. This is documented in the events of FF Tactics, where the power of the Zodiac stones pulls his free conciousness to Ramza's time. Cloud mentions Sephiroth and having fallen into the lifestream as the last thing he remembers. It is assumed that when the Zodiac stones are destroyed at the end of the game, Cloud's mind is freed again. Either that or it is called back to his soul with Tifa's summon.

Cloud's soul becomes stuck in the lifestream, until Tifa reconnects it with the mind by working through Cloud's past and thus freeing him from the lifestream.

The other character who travels cannonically between games is Gilgamesh. At the end of FF5, Gilgamesh is trapped inside the X-zone, a zone that is breached at least three more times by other characters in FF history. First it is opened again by the Ra Devil in the not-very-well-known FFLOTC (legends of the crystal) anime OAV. It is also breached in FF6 by the spell banish, which opens up a gate to the x-zone (very recognizable) and takes creatures inside (it was a popular spell back in the day due to a glitch with the spell vanish, which makes ALL magic always work.... even on bosses... making X-zone an instant kill for nearly every boss in the game... Kefka not included).

Most importantly, however, the rift is opened by Seifer in FF8, when he kills the Odin Summon. As he does so, Gilgamesh appears and claims Odin's sword. He is confused at first, going so far as to start to ask for Bartz in the Japanese version. He then promptly murders Seifer and becomes a summon for the rest of the game, coming in an out of the rift as he pleases.

He retains this ability after the game, appearing in FF9 (with a changed appearance to disguise who he is), and in FFXII (as one of the coolest battles of the game, replete with his "battle on the bridge" music).

In this respect, Gilgamesh has most likely gained the same sort of demi god powers as the summons and beings such as Chaos, in that he is able to consciously travel between worlds.

There are also some connections I'd love to be able to make but can't while sticking to my strict requirements.

The FF1-FF9 connection is pretty strong. It's got the crystals, it's got the fiends, and Garland makes an appearance in the game as a very important, though short lived, character. His history, which was never quite fully understood in FF1, is also finally fleshed out. We realize that he was more than a Knight who happened on power, but already a powerful mage-knight by the time of FF1 and comes from a different world, that of Terra. He arrives in FF1's world (simply called Gaia) and tries to destroy it to make way for the Terrans, but he is defeated by the light warriors (note: this is specifically referenced in FF9). Having failed to destroy the world himself, he plans to have the residents of Gaia do it for him... thus the events of FF9.

Now, since Dissidia, I have heard this connection has been retconned out of existence, as Garland is given a full history relating to FF1 in that game. So it joins the list.

Someone makes (http://www.rpgamer.com/editor/2005/q2/050205gm.html) a remarkably strong case for FF8 being connected to FF3 (a connection I had considered because of the Hyne reference) but as the entire theory originates from the single mention of a familiar name, I can't consider it cannon. FF8 will forever be the game fans try to place in the continuum.

Another is FF2 and FF4, which was only created recently in the remakes of those games. FF4 for the DS adds an extensive amount of history to the characters, with an emphasis on Kain, Cecil, and Golbez. Kain's father's name is given in the game as Richard who was a character in the remade version of FF2, who gives his son's name as Kain. Both Kains have blond hair and remark that they will follow in their father's footsteps. Both are also adopted. It's obviously just some sort of elaborate easter egg as the geographies and character histories wouldn't work together, but it's the first time I've seen a dual-crossover in the series that was so blatant.

Any game with the Crystals in it perks my interest, as they are such a strong theme and image, but not one used in all the games (therefore not to be discredited like Chocobos or Moogles or Behemoths). They usually play the same role and two games in particular, FF1 and FF3, beg to be connected by the Crystals, as FF3 even references warriors of light who free the Crystals. Still, FF3 has a history involving a floating island and a mage who summons the Cloud of Darkness while FF1 has a history involving Chaos and Garland's attempt to become him. Again, plenty here for fan theories, not enough for a true mark of cannon.

I'd also love to connect FF7 with FF1, seeing as Dirge of Cerberus is directly connected to Chaos, but then that would be like connecting all the FF worlds because of Ifrit. Chaos is a godlike being, I have no doubt he can appear in many places throughout time if he wants to.

For the longest time I also wanted to connect FF6 and FF4 for the "Ancient Castle" which bears much in common with Castle Baron... also the name "Baron Falls" though I believe this was a mis-translation from "Baren Falls." In any case, just a child's fancy to tie together his favourite two RPGs from his childhood.

I'd also like to point out that Cecil is the only Final Fantasy character to actually have lines in another video game, having a scene devoted to him in Secret of Evermore. However, as Evermore is a dream world, we can assume he isn't actually there.

In conclusion, I'll be buying Dissidia over Blazblu.

(The best FF site out there for information on games released prior to 2009 is http://www.ffcompendium.com/h)

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Dude, no cloud nor squall shall stop us.

Nice lecture but I think labeling easter eggs is right. If the worlds were overtly connected in any linear manner, think of how many newcomers would be alienated. The Easter Eggs are nice subtle things only long running would pick up on to feel that they were still in the Final Fantasy world. I don't know how I would react to know am playing "sequels" after claims of each game being stand alone. The reuse of names helps keep a consistent mythology going though.

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Dude, no cloud nor squall shall stop us.

Nice lecture but I think labeling easter eggs is right. If the worlds were overtly connected in any linear manner, think of how many newcomers would be alienated. The Easter Eggs are nice subtle things only long running would pick up on to feel that they were still in the Final Fantasy world. I don't know how I would react to know am playing "sequels" after claims of each game being stand alone. The reuse of names helps keep a consistent mythology going though.

For sure. I think it all comes back to that desire I mentioned at the start to just find the connections in things. It's like we're fulfilling our role on the planet, or something. I do enjoy the one canonical connection between FFX and FF7 and it is nice to play a few games set in the same world (it was really cool coming back to Ivalice in FFX12 and seeing some redesigns of the Tactics monsters and deities).

It also makes Gilgamesh quite the interesting character, as we can trace a history for him at least between FF5 and FF8. Seeing him released from the X-zone in FF8 is less of an easter egg and more taking care of unfinished business.

Gilgamesh was also indirectly responsible for many FF characterizations that would follow him. Having been the eternal sidekick and someone who ultimately switches sides, he most directly influenced Ultros in FF6 (a reoccuring yet inept villain who ultimately ends up turning tame).

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^ He self-destructs to help your cause, yeah. But isn't that only if you let him out of the chest earlier in the dungeon?

Also OP, have you heard of the FF7/Chrono Trigger link, where Lavos and Jenova are the same creature?

He's physically in your way earlier in the dungeon. You fight him, the battle stops, he leaves. Then he comes back during the fight against Necrophobe (or whatever his name is) and goes boom.

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A couple of notes here...

Dhsu: nice on the maps. I knew where FF12 and Vagrant took place, and I knew FFTactics was somewhere off the map, but I never knew it was so close. I do know the creator of Ivalice has stated that he imagines FFTactics as taking place either long before or long after FFXII. I can't remember which he said, but they aren't in the same time period. I also know that FF Advance 1 is a dream world based on Ivalice, but that FF Advance 2 is actually taking place in Ivalice.

I also forgot to mention that in the Lion Wars, Balthier appears. His appearance is also canonical as he explains his arrival through the use of some magical artefact. The other character, from Advance 2... Lem or something... he also explains his arrival. I don't know, I didn't play much of the advance games. I love Tactics, though.

@ Seifer and Gilgamesh: If you go into the battle having already acquired Odin, then yes, this entire sequence of events does occur and Seifer gets "defeated" by Gilgamesh.

@ Gilgamesh and the X-Zone: Since Final Fantasy has a long history (and JRPGs in general) of character dying but not actually dying, Gilgamesh' sacrifice in FFV really doesn't mean that he's dead at all. Anyway, his appearance in FF8 is obviously a direct tie-in to FFV, especially in the original Japanese.

@ FFXIII: FFXIII is going to be an interesting one. Obviously the universes are connected, that's been said numerous times by the development team. The question is, is there going to be one long story that is only viewable by playing all the games? Or is it just going to be a thematic connection? I'm pumped for the games.

@ Canon: Obviously you knew what I meant, though, so I must be an incredible writer.

@ Culex: nobody really knows where Culex comes from. He's probably an interdimensional traveler who uses the power of the crystals to hop worlds. This would go a long way towards supporting the theory that there are multiple crystals and not just the same crystals repeated or broken into smaller pieces throughout each game. I imagine that after his embarrassing defeat at the hands of a Brooklyn plumber, Culex commits seppuku.

@ Kingdom Hearts (cause I can sense it coming, but beware of spoilers!): Kingdom Hearts doesn't make any sense in terms of the FF worlds or characters. It's stated pretty explicity that the majority of the FF characters lived in Hallow Bastion before Ansem screwed things up and then Maleficent showed up and took it over. The game was designed like that Clamp series... what was it called? Tsubasa? Clover? I don't recall the name, but basically you just have the exact same characters who have lived an entirely different lives. Thus Yuffie is still spunky and ridiculous, but she isn't from Wutai. It's also how you get odd things like Yuna and Rikku and Paine showing up as pixies. Don't try to explain it.

There are a couple things which make people feel like they should be able to explain it, though, and it keeps throwing everyone off. For one thing... Cloud. While it's stated pretty clearly that Aerith is from Hallow Bastion, Cloud's history is a little more shadowed. We can assume he comes from Hallow Bastion, but then what's the deal with Sephiroth. Sephiroth appears out of nowhere to terrorize Cloud and it seems pretty clear the two know each other. This isn't so much a problem in the first game, where they just fight, but in the second game Sephiroth is actually looking for Cloud and Tiffa is aware of some history between them.

On the other hand, when Tiffa finally elaborates on their connection, it is mostly to say that Sephiroth is Cloud's darkness. This gives FF fans a lot to consider, for it means that Cloud is actually the final vestige of Sephiroth, that as long as Cloud survives with those Jenova cells in him, Sephiroth will also exist. Advent Children might end this connection, through the cleansing of the geostigma, but it's still an interesting point. It also makes Cloud and Sephiroth's dual appearance in KH not only sensical, it makes it necessary. Cloud, as a former puppet of Sephiroth, cannot go anywhere without the One Winged Angel shadowing him, even if his character is transposed into another life with an entirely different history.

Auron is the other character that really throws things as HIS appearance in KH2 can actually fit quite nicely in with FFX's story. After all, Auron is dead in FFX. At the end of the game he finally lets himself be taken to the Otherworld. And who controls the Otherworld in KH? Why, Hades, of course. So Auron being drawn up out of the souls of the dead makes quite a lot of sense. Again, though, this really is just transposing the character. After all, Auron was a dead warrior in FFX, so making him a dead warrior in KH is just being consistent with his character, and not so much trying to tie the two worlds together.

No, by far the biggest upset to the whole transposing theory is the Disney characters. While the FF characters are snuck in as cameos with no real connection to their own games, the Disney characters are definitely treated within the cannon of their own movies and series and what not. Not only is most of the game (especially the second game) based around the events that occur in the Disney films, many of the characters talk at length about their worlds being destroyed. For most of the characters, KH1 would take place after the Disney films (which is actually pretty awesome if you think about it... it means that we can assume, for instance, that after the Lion King, Simba's african jungle is completely gang-fucked by darkness and everyone is killed). KH2, on the other hand, takes place almost simultaneously with most of the films, as many of the destroyed worlds were restored in KH1.

Chain of Memories is outside of the realm of time and reality and anything that happens there that is not connected to the original characters (Namine, Sora, Rikku, the Majestic Twel--- I mean, Organization 13) is not cannon. It's all a part of Namine's spell woven over Sora.

The real twist in the works is gonna come with the PSP Kingdom Hearts that's coming out, as it will explain the entire origins of the series. There is a chance it might try to canonize the FF relations, but I doubt it.

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