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Franchise: Final Fantasy
Not being final since 1987!

"I don't think I have what it takes to make a good action game. I think I'm better at telling a story."
Hironobu Sakaguchi, before the creation of Final Fantasy I

(For the first game in the series, please see Final Fantasy I.)

The pride and joy of Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft), Final Fantasy is a hand-abradingly popular Role-Playing Game series, currently on its fourteenth iteration alongside multiple sequels, spinoffs, remakes and films.

The series is highly regarded for its outstanding production values and gameplay, and for being a pioneer in the Eastern RPG genre. Many of the conventions of Eastern RPGs that didn't originate in the Dragon Quest line originated with the Final Fantasy series, which in turn was influenced by Ultima and other Western computer role playing games. Even to this day, each new Final Fantasy game attempts to evolve the genre with new gameplay innovations or approaches, and although this can be divisive to the fanbase, credit is generally given to their attempts to at least try something different in the heavily-stagnant and conservative Eastern RPG genre.

While the series was fairly obscure on Western shores for a long time, its popularity exploded with the release of Final Fantasy VII, which exposed most people to the Eastern RPG genre for the first time and is widely regarded as one of the best Role Playing Games of all time. Since then, Final Fantasy is widely considered as the pioneer of the Eastern RPG franchise in the west, held to such a regard that the English localizations are now developed concurrently with the original production.

Tracking the early parts of the Final Fantasy series can be confusing, as only three of the first six games made it to North America, where the numbers were changed so that the US releases were consecutive numbers. Final Fantasy IV was released in America as Final Fantasy II, while Final Fantasy VI was released as Final Fantasy III. The confusion doesn't end there, as four games were given the name "Final Fantasy" to increase sales in North America: the first three games of the Makai Toshi Sa Ga series (released as Final Fantasy Legend (1-3)) and the first installment in the World of Mana series (released as Final Fantasy Adventure). Final Fantasy VII broke this trend and was released as "VII" everywhere, and from that point on, every release would bear the original numbering.

This series was also one of the first Japanese games to reach US shores and see a successful market. Later Japanese games would see this potential and come onto the scene. One equally popular series that saw this potential would eventually be Dragon Quest, Enix's flagship franchise. The other is Shin Megami Tensei, Atlus' flagship franchise. Before the Square Enix merger, these franchises have been competing against each other since the NES days; currently, SMT and Final Fantasy are direct competitors in both markets, while Dragon Quest has taken a much quieter role.

While the series stuck firmly to a policy of one-game-per-number for a long time, in more recent times the franchise has opened up to the idea of sequels and compilations. Final Fantasy X was the first to get a direct sequel, Final Fantasy XIII was the first to get a whole trilogy, and Final Fantasy Tactics was the first to have a compilation of games set in the same universe, known as the Ivalice Alliance.


The Final Fantasy series consists of:

    open/close all folders 

    Main Series 
  • Final Fantasy: A miasma is sweeping the world. The wind stops, the sea is wild, the earth begins to rot - ...And fire's been acting pretty sketchy, too. It's up to four warriors to rekindle the Crystals that control the elements. Today, the game is also remembered for launching 8-Bit Theater, but the story contains more surprises than the opening crawl would have one think.
  • Final Fantasy IInote : A spoilt Emperor has made a pact with Hell, swarming the world with demonic troops. It's up to a ragtag resistance movement to slow the Empire's progress - stopping the Emperor may prove impossible. Rather than pick warrior classes at the outset, players gradually mold their characters' skills through use of spells and weapons, which is novel. Clubbing yourself with a sword increases HP, which is also novel (or comical). Introduced the concept of guest characters joining the party, including the series' very first Dragoon.
  • Final Fantasy III note : Four youths are tapped by a mysterious crystal to restore balance to the elements. Took a page from Dragon Quest III by implementing the job system - allowing characters to switch jobs at will - and threw players a curveball with its expanding overworld. (Though an airship is found early on, upgrades are required to float over mountains and other nuisances.) Easily the most sadistic game in the series.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Star Wars: A New Hope, except from Darth Vader's perspective. When Cecil, the man in charge of The Empire's flying battalion of doom, grows weary of harassing innocent people, his paranoid King fires him. Big mistake. FFIV had the most gripping storyline in the series thus far, with a massive rotating cast, multiple overworlds (à la III), and an overarching theme of redemption.
  • Final Fantasy V: The elements are wreaking havoc (again), the King of Tycoon has gone missing, and it somehow all ties into an asteroid which crashed just outside the castle, narrowly missing a young wanderer named Bartz. Zounds! The job system makes another comeback, with a whopping 22 jobs (plus an additional four in the GBA version), making this the most customizable FF title outside of Tactics.
  • Final Fantasy VI: FF continues its steady march toward cyberpunk with this steampunk adventure, set in the aftermath of a world-destroying magical war. A quasi-fascist Emperor has discovered a way to replicate magic through artificial means, which can only mean trouble. The job system is shelved, yet again, though the character classes themselves have been rolled into 14 unique player characters. The most aesthetically and musically stunning FF of its time, pushing the SNES to its limits. This marks the point where Square became a god-tier developer.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Is this blurb necessary? It's FFVII. It sold 10 million copies. Odds are you might've heard of it. Set in a gritty Diesel Punk world, an eco-terrorist group stage bombings on the facilities of an energy conglomerate that mines the planet's life force as fuel. Meanwhile, a Japanese version of Norman Bates (with a much longer knife and hair) plots the world's downfall on orders of his Lovecraftian mother. FFVII marked the peak of the JRPG craze, and while not a PSX launch title, it was the biggest incentive for gamers to buy the console. It also boasts the largest Expanded Universe of any entry.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: VII was a hard act to follow, but VIII proved a solid (if esoteric) successor: Teenagers attend a military academy in preparation for war against the Sorceresses, who have this unfortunate habit of rising to power and imposing their iron fist on the world. The "school days" plotlines take a few notes from MegaTen, and are regarded as the game's high points.
  • Final Fantasy IX: No school like the old-school. IX is a throwback to the NES/MSX titles, right down to the super deformed characters, a four-man party, and endless call backs to past games. The story can be summed up as "roguish thief falls for runaway princess, also aliens."
  • Final Fantasy X: Star athlete is pulled through time, washing up in a ruined future ruled by the bastard child of Lavos and Moby-Dick. His only path home, or so it seems, is to accompany a group of pilgrims on their journey to make the land peaceful again. The first fully-voiced FF title, with a competent (though far from stellar) English dub.
  • Final Fantasy XI: A MMORPG set in the fantasy world of Vana'diel. Known for being particularly brutal. The most profitable title in the series, by virtue of running a paid subscription service for over ten years.
  • Final Fantasy XII: The first game to be published following the merger with Enix. Things are looking grim for Ivalice when Dalmasca, the biggest obstacle to the Archadian Empire, falls overnight after their king is murdered by one of his own knights. However, something about the whole mess doesn't add up, and a team of adventurers - including a destitute princess, a pair of sky pirates, and an orphan from the streets - are compelled to break the supposed traitor out of jail and discover the truth. The gameplay of XII is modeled on an MMORPG, but with linear quests and various characters/races/summons from Tactics..
  • Final Fantasy XIII: The story takes place in the floating, isolationist city of Cocoon. Several hundred years ago, a "War of Transgression" took place between Cocoon and the vast, lush, primeval surface world, Pulse. Since then, Cocoon's governmental body ruthlessly "purges" anyone who comes into contact with Pulse. A former solider, Lightning (explicitly a Gender Flip of Cloud Strife), is forced to go on the lam after her sister is branded a l'Cie, servants of the godlike beings called fal'Cie, and nabbed by the government.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Another MMORPG set in the nation of Eorzea which faces threats from an ongoing Cold War with the ruthless and technologically advanced military state Garlemald and its Tin Tyrant generals, while also dealing with the beast-tribes and their Primals, as well as the enigmatic Ascians.
  • Final Fantasy XV: (Formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII.) Warrior Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum must defend his kingdom and the last surviving Power Crystal from invaders. Said kingdom happens to be a sophisticated high-tech metropolis ruled by The Mafia.

    Sequels & Spin-Offs 
Games that are directly connected to the Main Series, either as sequels or Spinoffs.

  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: Set 17 years after the previous story (yep, the same stretch of time as the real world), Cecil is now King, leaving the protagonist role to his son Ceodore. The second moon returns to orbit after its long voyage, only this time, it's getting a little too close for comfort.
  • Final Fantasy All The Bravest: A game for mobile devices. Everything, including bonus characters and rapid revival, requires you to spend more money.
  • Final Fantasy VII Spinoffs: Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy X-2: Another throwback game, and Square Enix's first sequel to a mainline Final Fantasy. With her pilgrimage over, Yuna (with Rikku in tow) becomes a sky pirate and travels the world in search of Tidus, who is still MIA. Features the triumphant return of the job system (based on the classic jobs from I-V) and another romp through Spira, now fully-accessible with a Global Airship.
  • Final Fantasy XI Expansions and Add-Ons:
    • Final Fantasy XI: Rise of the Zilart
    • Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia
    • Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan
    • Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess note 
    • Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin
    • Final Fantasy XI: A Crystalline Prophecy - Ode of Life Bestowing
    • Final Fantasy XI: A Moogle Kupo d'Etat - Evil in Small Doses
    • Final Fantasy XI: A Shantotto Ascension - The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born
    • Final Fantasy XI: Vision of Abyssea
    • Final Fantasy XI: Scars of Abyssea
    • Final Fantasy XI: Heroes of Abyssea
  • Ivalice Alliance
    • Final Fantasy XII
    • Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings: In the aftermath of XII, Vaan has joined Baltheir and Fran as a sky pirate, while Ashe and Larsa work to hold their respective realms together. Easier said than done, as a winged Judge is pummeling Ivalice with a floating continent, hoping to stir up a war between Humes and their winged counterparts, the Aegyls.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: Two warriors, one a noble, and the other a plebe, follow divergent paths in their quest to free Ivalice from tyranny and corruption. One man will stay true to his ideals, and wind up losing everything; the other will bribe, extort, stab, and screw his way to the top of Ivalice's power structure. Can you guess which? An Updated Re-release entitled War of the Lions was released for the PSP.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: In this, the most metafictional FF game yet, an Earth boy named Marche is sucked into a fantasy world based on his classmate's memories of a Final Fantasy game. Marche must dismantle the world's crystals ("threads") in order to get home, but it will mean destroying the idyllic new lives of his friends and family, who are trapped in Ivalice along with him...
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Keeping in canon with the previous title, another resident of St. Ivalice, Luso, is yanked into the grimoire and appears in the fantasy Ivalice. Less wordy and political than its predecessors.
    • Vagrant Story: An elite secret agent pursues a mysterious cult leader to a ruined city permeated by extremely powerful dark magic, uncovering much of his own Dark and Troubled Past in the process. This game was originally presented as a completely separate title with just a few Tactics references, until supplementary materials for FFXII confirmed Vagrant Story as being set in Ivalice.
    • Crystal Defenders: A Tower Defense game with monsters and character classes from the Tactics games.
  • Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy:
  • Combined Setting: Dissidia Final Fantasy

    Sub-Series 
Games that are not directly connected to the settings or characters of the Main Series, but are still considered Final Fantasy titles.

    Dolled Up Installments 
The first three games of the SaGa series were retitled and released in America under the Final Fantasy Legend moniker:

    Chocobo Series 
A series of Lighter and Softer spinoffs starring the series mascot Chocobo.

  • Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon
  • Chocobo Racing
  • Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
  • Chocobo Racing 3D

The Dungeon games are part of the franchise-spanning Mysterious Dungeon series, which are generally simplified roguelikes with prettier graphics.

    Misc. Animated Installments 
  • Final Fantasy Legend Of The Crystals: A four-episode OVA set 200 years after the events of Final Fantasy V, starring the descendants of the heroes.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: A CGI movie set on an Earth ruined by malevolent spirits Scientist Aki Ross teams up with some crack commandos to try and solve the problems while dealing with a General Ripper who wants to take a more belligerent stance.
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited: A 26-episode series. Twins whose parents vanished into a dimensional anomaly find themselves traveling through various fantastic worlds, teaming up with a government agent and an aloof summoner-sniper as they are pursued by the villains. Features four Elemental lords, Chaos as the Big Bad, chocobos, and a moogle.
  • Agnis Philosophynote 

The series has various subpages, including one on game breakers and accidentally humorous overwrought moments. You can also vote on your favorite game in the series here.

Tropes Common To The Series:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: A general rule-of-thumb is that every game can be completed at around the 50's to 70's while the cap is at 99. Bonus Bosses, on the other hand, require you to get to this cap. Exceptions to this are Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy XIII, which don't use the traditional leveling system. Final Fantasy X, despite not using a common leveling system, is a straight example since it has the Sphere Grid, which is ridiculously large.
  • Adult Fear: For a series known for its young and unrealistically pretty boys, the franchise has its share of Adult Fear:
    • Final Fantasy VI: Cyan losing his family when Doma is poisoned. Imagine, you, one of the finest knight in the realm, having no power to save your beloved ones. It gets so bad that later in the World of Ruins, an evil spirit grow powerful by feeding on his agony.
      • Strago completely lost his mind after the world come to its end and he become separated from his only family, his grand-daughter Relm. Shadow probably is like this too, if the WMG that he's Relm's father is proven true.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Barrett's adoptive daughter Marlene is taken hostage by Reeve and is held captive in Shinra HQ. OK, that bad guy is not actually that bad, but would that make a difference from Barrett's perspective at that moment?
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Edea is the adoptive mother of all of player characters except Rinoa. Imagine, you're possessed by an all-powerful Sorceress from the future who forces you to kill your children and unravel all that you built. The trauma is so bad that Edea can no longer act like a mother toward Squall and co.
  • An Adventurer Is You: A number of recurring "jobs" with similar outfits, even in different settings
  • An Aesop: about peace, a Green Aesop, The Power of Friendship, or all three at once.
  • Anthology: Almost every installment is an original story set in a different world with similar elements to it (such as chocobos, airships, etc.)
  • Altum Videtur: The series has always loved putting in gratuitous Latin in places, but in recent years game titles have been subject to this as well (Dissidia, Dissidia Duodecim and Fabula Nova Crystallis, among others). An increased usage of Latin in later games may or may not have been due to Final Fantasy VII's Final Boss theme being a Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Anyone Can Die (by Heroic Sacrifice): A dark Mythology Gag: earlier games had the fourth character who joins the main cast as a Guest given a special slot, since three is the maximum the party can handle in battle. Guests are normally removed by Heroic Sacrifice. Later games have been getting progressively darker, sometimes doing away with Heroic Sacrifice. Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy XII are examples of dramatic usage of Anyone Can Die.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: The series has loved this since VII, with guns often being weaker than melee weapons like swords and spears.
  • Artifact Title/Not-so-Meaningful Name: Final Fantasy I was going to be series' creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's final game for Square if it didn't sell well, who proclaimed that his "final game" for Square would be a "fantasy RPG". The fact that it is now more than twenty years and forty-seven sequels/spin-offs later provides a slight hint as to whether or not the word "final" still, in fact, applies, although Sakaguchi is no longer involved in the series after Final Fantasy X.
  • Artist Appeal:
    • Yoshitaka Amano has a fondness for traditional japanese watercolors. He also loves willowy males with frizzy white hair, pale skin (But that's a trend in Japanese art anyways), purple eyeliner, and blue-purple lipstick. He also loves to put spiked armour, catsuits, and capes whenever he can get away with it. His monsters also look like Eldritch Abominations that you would expect to see in art depicting the Fair Folk; the monster designs are often the ones that make it into the games unchanged. (Early installments simply scanned his art straight into the game, at least as well as the NES and SNES would allow.)
    • Tetsuya Nomura draws most of his characters more 'traditionally' male, but most likely they'll all be teenagers or young adults. Unless he intentionally makes them look middle-age; like Sazh, Cid Highwind, and Barret. Nomura also has a thing for belts, zippers, and highly detailed clothing to fit the more "Urban Fantasy" setting of the post-VII games (which is why some fans believe his artwork fits The World Ends with You much more than Final Fantasy itself). His monsters also look like Eldritch Abominations, but not the kind detailed in old fae-inspired art, like a blend of organic and synthetic features, coming off as Ugly Cute. Oh yeah, he also loves black coats with hoods - the longer the coat the better.
    • Akihiko Yoshida has a thing for bondage gear, tight pants on men (the tighter the better), caucasian males to fit the more European feel of the games he works on (Specifically, Ivalice Alliance), tight pants on men, and more brown-blonde hair on humans. Oh yeah, and tight pants.
    • All of them have a thing for feathers, too.
  • Attack Backfire: In Final Fantasy II, attacking enemies with the wrong spell (eg Ice monsters with Ice magic, Undead with Drain and Osmose or Blob Monster with Poison) will actually heal the monster. In case of Drain or the Blood Swords results will be ugly. In fact, all Final Fantasy games after the first one have a system of elemental absorb.
  • Automatic New Game: Final Fantasy IV to VI for the Super Nintendo do this if there are no save files present, jumping you straight into the opening cutscene.
  • BFS: Swords that in real life would be very difficult if not impossible to wield "properly".
  • Big Red Devil: The recurring summons Diabolos and Ifrit tend to be this.
  • Birdback Heroism: Better not laugh at someone who can send your ass to the cleaners on a yellow ostrich. Kweh!
    • Bartz Krauser was the first character to have a chocobo (named Boco) of his very own. He abandons Boco outside the Noob Cave, but later reunites with him at the end of the game, whereupon he discovers Boco has gotten hitched and had babies.
    • The crusaders in Final Fantasy X have a division called the Chocobo Knights who mount and raise chocobos as their steeds. They reappear as a job class in Tactics A2, this time while wearing cutesy chocobo outfits.
  • Bishounen: In the hero department, they've been present since the first game. As for villains, Emperor Mateus from the second game paved the way for some of the most infamous and infamously beautiful villains of all time.
  • Black Mage: The Trope Namer.
  • Boss Bonanza: Pretty much common in Final Fantasy games as a rule for the series. Perhaps the only semi-aversion is Final Fantasy II because all of the bosses in the Final Dungeon save for the Emperor himself were sealed in chests.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Tonberries are the most universal to the series, although individual games have their own specific ones.
  • Braggart Boss: A ridiculously over-the-top boss named "Gilgamesh".
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Flightless ostrich-like birds known as "chocobos" used as mounts and are Expys of the Horseclaws from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
  • The Cameo: Two very Unexpected Characters from other Squaresoft games appear in Chocobo Racing: Aya Brea, from the Parasite Eve games, and Jack, from The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner.
  • Cash Cow Franchise
  • Combatant Cooldown System:
    • The Active Time Battle, used in games four through nine (and X-2 and Dimensions), succeeded the Turn-Based Combat of the first three games. The common feature of all ATB implementations is that each character has an "ATB gauge" that is emptied every time they act and fills up over time, allowing them to act again once it's full. The speed it fills up at depends on the character's stats (and the Battle Speed setting) and some powerful attacks have an additional delay before they are executed and ATB gauge starts filling again. Whether the game pauses to let the player select commands or not depends on the Active/Wait switch (VII introduced an additional Recommended mode).
    • The Charge Time Battle from Tactics is similar to ATB, except that instead of the ATB gauge, it has the Charge Time meter has to reach 100 before a character can act again. The CT meter is restored at a rate of the character's Speed stat per turn.
    • Conditional Turn-Based Battle from FFX is an implementation that leans very heavily to the Turn-Based Combat. The order in which the characters and enemies act is determined by the Act List, and a combatant's position(s) on it is determined both by their speed and by the cooldown duration of the ability they used last. The game pauses every time when it's a Player Character's turn, like in the ATB Wait mode.
    • Active Dimension Battle from XII is similar to the ATB but eliminates the Fight Woosh and adds the tactical movement aspect to battles.
    • Command Synergy Battle from XIII and XIII-2 is ATB with a twist that the players can sequence multiple moves, which only consume parts of the ATB gauge (how much is consumed depends on how powerful the ability is), and do not have to wait until the ATB is filled completely—only until it has filled enough to pull off the desired action sequence. The game does not pause to let you choose commands and you can only control the party leader. Style-Change Active Time Battle from Lightning Returns is an evolution of CSB built around the single player character idea: the player only ever controls Lightning but each one of her three available Schemas has its own ATB gauge.
  • Costume Porn: Fancy outfits have been common in the series, even if it was just the artwork in earlier games.
  • Cute Is Evil: Tonberries and Cactuars. Oy vey.
  • Darker and Edgier: It's no accident that the most popular entries are set in a dystopian future. IX and X were throwbacks to the swashbuckling adventure of earlier titles. IX remains obscure, while X's bubbly lead hero is a walking punchline in the west. Even the later games are getting progressively more dystopian than the last.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Many characters, although Alexander seems to get the most throughout the series. To date:
    • An FMV appearance in the PSX remake of Final Fantasy VI, attacking Kefka;
    • An FMV appearance in Final Fantasy IX, in which he gallantly defends Alexandria Castle (and Princess Garnet) from Bahamut's attack;
    • An appearance as a Humongous Mecha in Final Fantasy XIII, being Hope's summon; and finally
    • Being the Big Bad and final boss of Bahamut Lagoon, although he's entirely different from his other incarnations and takes the form of a serpentine 4-headed dragon.
      • And all this time, he hasn't said a single word.
    • Interestingly enough, the Giant of Bab-il from Final Fantasy IV looks very similar to him as well. Not only does this give a possible origin on Alexander but this Giant also has a limelight moment by starting the destruction of the Blue Planet, among other things.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Started (sparingly) with general fantasy tropes as early as Final Fantasy I, and later moved on to more specific RPG tropes that had sprung up in the years following.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Look back at all the Final Fantasy protagonists. There's a pretty good chance that one or both their parents are either dead, have disappeared or die by the end of the story.
  • The Driver: Cid. Always.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
  • Elemental Tiers: Common on the series with the Summon Magic, since you go finding them in your way, each one tends to be stronger that the previous one regardless of elemental atributes, at the end of the game you'll probably end using only the last summons you got, and maybe some of the weaker ones that are used for a support role. Some of the games avert this by either allowing you to level up the summons or making their power directly proportional to yours on a more balanced way.
  • Exploited Immunity: Most games usually have spells which target everyone and require this trope to use properly;
    • In Final Fantasy 6, there are many different enemies that will attack the entire battlefield, including themselves, with powerful attacks. However, as they are either immune to the elements of those attacks or actually gain health from them, the disadvantages of these attacks are lost. This can also be done with playable characters, by equipping them with elemental immune items.
    • In Final Fantasy IX: Vivi's most powerful spell is Doomsday, which inflicts shadow damage on all allies and enemies on the field. Equipping your characters with gear that absorbs shadow will cause them to be healed by the spell instead. The Bonus Boss Ozma also tries this, but it's possible to invert it: it has Doomsday in its arsenal and normally absorbs shadow damage, but one sidequest rewards you by making it weak to shadow instead, so if it does use the spell, it'll harm itself.
  • Face-Heel Turn: A meta example with the Cids. For the first eleven games and the spin-offs that came out at the same time the Cids were aligned with your party, or at least weren't evil. Beginning with Final Fantasy XII and continued in XIII and Type-0, the Cids have begun to act as antagonists although the former was against his will and the Cid of Type-0 is actually the Big Bad.
  • Fanfare: The battle victory theme.
  • Fantastic Nuke: In a weirdly literal example, the Flare spell. It is, in most cases, non-elemental, but in some games Flavor Text for the spell refers to its power as coming from either fusion or fission. As well, the spell's name is reminiscent of solar flare, and we all know what powers the sun. Ironically, the translation of the spell as NUKE in the very first game probably has nothing to do with this.
    • That the Flare spell was called NUKE in the English version has to do with the game only providing four characters/signs per spell or item name. That's more than enough when you're using kanji (Japanese lettering) but causes some troubles when you're going to translate those names and are still limited to only four letter.
  • Five-Man Band: The classes in I and III, and the characters in IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XII, XIII, Tactics, Tactics Advance, and Tactics A2.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: The most notable of which is Cactuar's 1000 Needles, the former Trope Namer.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: There are many recurring types of elemental attacks, but these three are by far the most prominent in the overwhelming majority of Final Fantasy games. FFX puts Water on an equal footing with these three.
  • Four Is Death: You can expect any game, character, event, place, etc. with an even remote connection to the dreaded number to be a Deconstruction or From Bad to Worse. Expect the game to have massive controversy and Urban Legend of Zelda centered around that game, etc. Examples: Final Fantasy II? A large majority of fourth party members preforms a Heroic Sacrifice. Final Fantasy IV? Deconstruction with a focus on death. Final Fantasy VII? The fourth party character is Killed Off for Real. Final Fantasy XIII-2? The fourth game announced in the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology.
  • Fragile Speedster: Thiefs and Ninjas.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Likely will be Cid.
  • Gainax Ending: The series does this quite a bit. Usually, when this is done, it leaves the player in question whether certain characters are alive or dead.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: No, you can't use Phoenix Down to revive those killed in cutscenes. They actually try this in Final Fantasy V, though it still doesn't work. In most games, though, characters with 0 HP are actually unconscious rather than dead, so Phoenix Down isn't really a resurrection spell.
  • Genki Girl: Starting from FFV (Porom in FFIV was extremely collected so she avoided this completely), the series started employing this trope. We have Krile in FFV, Relm in FFVI, Yuffie in FFVII, Selphie in FFVIII, Eiko in FFIX, Rikku in FFX and FFX-2, Penelo in FFXII, and Vanille in FFXIII.
  • Glass Cannon: Black Mage
  • Global Airship: that becomes available at some point during the game.
  • God Is Evil: If there is a being in a Final Fantasy game explicitly referred to as a god, you'll be fighting it before the credits roll. The sole exception to this is Etro in the XIII trilogy, who isn't evil, but does seem to be amazing incompetent and shortsighted, so she still manages to cause problems the party has to deal with.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Weapons and armor made of gold show up in some of the games.
  • Guide Dang It: Like many epic adventure games, certain parts are not easy to figure out without a guide.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Several main characters, Terra of Final Fantasy VI and Cecil of Final Fantasy IV being the most iconic examples.
  • Healing Potion: A specific set of findable potion (also available for purchase at conveniently located shops) that operate by being thrown at the character they're supposed to heal.
  • Healing Spring: Appearing in every game from III to IX.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Freely name-able party members (and sometimes summon monsters), resulting in this in every game until it was mostly dropped in the tenth; you could name the protagonist of ten, but none of the other characters (you could still name your summons, and at least one NPC had done so). It was fully discarded in the twelfth installment.
    • This concept is played with in the DS remake of IV. In the remakes up to then you could rename the characters, but come the DS release the cutscenes, which had voice acting, would make this confusing. Thus you can't change the names of your party members, causing Namingway, the character who performed this function in past versions of the game, freak out when he tries to rename you and can't, inspiring him to embark on a journey to find a new purpose in life since his old one is now gone.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Not in every game, but most.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Holy and the Alexander summon.
  • Homage: This series is famous for making allusions to Star Wars, even in the next-gen titles. (One half-expects Gabranth to jab his finger in Ba'Gamnan's chest and bark, "NO DISINTEGRATIONS"). The games contain a few nods to The Thing (VII's Jenova) and Blade Runner (IX's Genomes and Black Mages) as well.
  • Horned Humanoid: The Ifrit summons.
  • HP to One: A favourite tactic used by almost all the Final Bosses in the series.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Pretty much all of the Big Bads count as one in at least one stage of their life cycle.
  • An Ice Suit: Shiva.
  • Iconic Logo: One that usually reveals some aspect of the overarching plot in a subtle way, usually through illustrating plot events or even by the color of the logo itself.
  • Iconic Outfit: Many of them, but the most famous and iconic are the outfits of the three core mages — the striped blue robes and yellow pointed hat for the Black Mage, the white robe with red triangle trim and Cat-Ear Hood for the White Mage, and the red and white robe with a red hat and white feather in it for the Red Mage. Various other jobs have recurring costume motifs, for example Summoners usually have horns or horned headbands, etc.
  • If Jesus Then Aliens: Several games have gods, demons, dragons, sorcerers, standard fantasy races, genetically- or magically-engineered Super Soldiers, and space aliens (usually of the scary dogmatic and/or Starfishy type) coexisting.
  • Jerkass Gods: If Final Fantasy has proven one thing as of late, is that the gods are immense jackasses. (Even the so-called ones.)
  • Level-Map Display: Used in various forms in all the games.
  • Killer Rabbit: Tonberries and an actual rabbit, Vorpal Bunny, in Final Fantasy XII.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire, Fira, Firaga, Flare (sometimes), and the Ifrit summon being the most common.
  • Kill It with Ice: Blizzard, Blizzara, Blizzaga, the Shiva summon.
  • Kill It with Water: Water spells only occasionally show up, and even then only comes in one level (no -ra or -ga variants). The mid-to-late-game summon Leviathan makes up for this shortcoming.
    • The trend was broken in Final Fantasy X, which had three levels of water spells and no water-elemental summons.
  • La Résistance: The Wild Rose Rebellion, the Returners, AVALANCHE, the Forest Owls, The Resistance and NORA, just to name a few.
  • Lost Technology: That the schizo tech is frequently based on.
  • Level Grinding: Required for several of the Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV but averted with some others.
  • Low Level Run: It is quite common to see players on YouTube perform these runs. Several games have the option of doing so to the end.
    • Final Fantasy VIII, since the monsters level up with you, can be played to completion at single-digit levels. It's actually regarded as being much easier than a high-level run.
    • Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII have the NSG (No Sphere Grid) and NCU (No Crystarium Usage), respectively. The idea behind both cases is to use the equipment as effectively as possible.
    • Final Fantasy XII has No Augments (i.e. everyone's stats say the same with no situational bonuses etc.), No Licence Board (i.e. everyone is more or less stuck to their starting equipment, also there are no Quickenings or Esper summons), and 122333 (i.e. everyone stays at the lowest possible level the entire game).
    • Final Fantasy IX never gives the characters any EXP during boss fights, so it's entirely possible to reach the end of the game with every character, bar Zidane, at level one. This is done by avoiding random encounters, and by only using Zidane during the forced, story based encounters that end up giving you EXP.
  • MacGuffin: They're everywhere.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Hironobu Sakaguchi considers IX the best title in the series. The game received mixed reactions, and sold the least copies of all the Playstation 1 installments of the franchise.
  • Magic Is Rare Health Is Cheap: As a general rule, MP-restoring items are very rare in any game, and tend to fall into the realm of Too Awesome to Use.
  • Magic Missile Storm: The recurring spells Matra Magic and Holy are sometimes depicted in this manner.
  • Magic Staff: Staves and rods are generally exclusive to caster classes.
  • Mana Potion: Usually the ethers.
  • MeatShield: Knight.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class:
    • The Bard, Dancer, Songstress and all their variants in the series. The specifics vary per game and can get complex, but these classes usually focus on entering a state where the player loses direct control of them, and they begin inflicting random effects on the party or enemies. Each song/dance has a specific list of effects they can cause.
    • The Mimes, present in various games, whose specialty is the "mimic" abilities where they copy the attacks used by others. They are nearly always an end game unit as they can mimic spell and item use at not cost in terms of mana or items, or even charge time in some cases.
  • Metal Slime: Cactaurs.
  • Mind Screw: Initially limited by technology, but most games (FF1 included) had it in some capacity.
    • Not helping much is the barrier between America and Japan's culture, mannerisms, and, above all else, LANGUAGE.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: V, VI and IX allow you to allocate different party members to different controllers. Naturally, this is only for battles; Player 1 does all the exploring, conversing and menu navigation.
  • Monster Closet: Several games have the "Monster-in-a-box!", special encounters (often with a special opponent and rare loot) whom you face when you open a seemingly innocent treasure box. Why, exactly, are the monsters hiding out in the boxes?
  • Monster Modesty: The Seeq often wear just loincloths instead of pants and when they wear shirts they cover very little. Somewhat odd when compared to other races such as the Moogle, Bangaa, Garif, and Nu Mou who are fully or mostly clothed.
  • Morale Mechanic: Enemies in some games opt to run away when faced with overwhelming odds.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Malboros
  • Mythology Gags; roundabout references to previous games in the series, some being as subtle as special move names applied in different contexts, some as elaborate as characters being composites of those from other installments (such as Snow being modeled off of Seifer and Zell.)
  • Nice Hat: Mages have hats that correspond to their school of magic.
    • Black Mages have conical straw hats resting upon their heads that covers their faces in shadows.
    • White Mages have white hoods with red fringes.
    • Red Mages have red hats with one large white feather.
    • Time Mages have pointy red hats, usually emblazoned with stars.
    • Green Mages (although they haven't appeared in many titles) have green berets.
  • Non-Elemental: Most weapons and enemies but spells being non-elemental are for the strongest spells like Flare (sometimes) and Ultima.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Very often used together with Guide Dang It.
  • Not the Intended Use: Quite a few examples throughout the series. One common one is hitting yourself to cure Sleep or Confuse, as opposed to waiting for your opponent to hit you.
  • Numbered Sequel: Main series is numbered for your convenience.
  • Oculothorax: The Ahrimans monsters often are winged eyeballs.
  • One Curse Limit: While Revive Kills Zombie, being afflicted with the status ailment Zombie grants immunity to Poison and Petrify.
  • One Time Dungeon: Nearly every single game in the series (I being the only exception) has several dungeons that the player only gets one shot at visiting. Naturally, there are items that can only be found in these dungeons, so they're Lost Forever if the player leaves without picking them up.
  • One-Winged Angel: Most games have at least one boss who does this. The Trope Namer is from Final Fantasy VII.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Plenty of dragons, including Bahamut as a summon monster, usually the most powerful or second-most powerful summon of the game, especially since he deals non-elemental damage.
  • Outside-Context Villain: The Cloud of Darkness (III), Zemus (IV), Exdeath (V), Jenova (VII) and the Terrans (IX).
  • The Overworld: The series had the overworld until X, where they started to replace it with tube-like "road" locations.
  • Path of Greatest Resistance: If you get stuck, pick a direction and if the enemies are challenging again, you're going in the right direction again.
    • Averted horribly in II: in most other Final Fantasies, the sequence in which you visit towns is mainly enforced by geographical features the player cannot overcome until the right transportation is found. In II, you know you strayed from the sequence because the next random encounter killed your party in seconds.
  • Pause Abuse: Many games with the "Active Time Battle" system (4 thru 9, and X-2) have an option to pause the ATB clock when a player accesses an in-battle submenu (magic, items, etc.), but any in-progress attack animations will continue to execute. As a result, the player can gain a slight speed advantage by opening the menu whenever a party member executes an action, to prevent enemy turns from coming up while the attack animation takes place.
  • Pillar of Light: The usual appearance of the Holy spell.
  • Power Crystal: Frequently represent the force of "light" or "life". They are sometimes sentient, but almost always drive the plot.
  • Power of the God Hand: Godhand is a common name for a powerful fist-type weapon (usually with a Holy attribute).
  • Ragnarok-Proofing; You can't swing a sword in Final Fantasy games without hitting a fully functional relic of a lost civilization.
  • Random Effect Spell: Numerous throughout the series.
  • Recurring Element: Cid, people named Highwind, moogles, chocobos, summons such as Ifrit and Bahamut, monsters such as Bomb and Cactuar, Ultima and Omega Weapons, Gilgamesh, and crystals.
  • Recurring Riff: The Final Fantasy theme.note  The song is unusual in that it usually plays over the opening and/or closing credits, and sometimes not at all. Employed as a connecting thread between games, it's considered to be the theme song of the Final Fantasy as a whole; these days, however, it takes a backseat to original pieces of music, and only pops up during the credits because fans expect it to.
    • Every random battle theme for the first six games starts out with the exact same bassline. It was dropped in VII, but it shows up in VIII's final boss theme and made a return in IX before vanishing again.
  • The Red Mage: Trope Namer
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent
    • Bangaa examples:
      • The Bangaa in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are pretty cool guys, and have some incredibly Bad Ass job abilities. However, the NPC Bangaa in the game are almost all soldiers and jailers in the employ of the evil government.
      • In Final Fantasy XII Vaan's adoptive father figure Migelo is a Bangaa. But, then you have Ba'gam'nan's all-Bangaa hit-squad after you. Tellingly they are common enemies while the cuter tribes of Viera, Moogle and Nu Mou are not.
      • Bangaas are the race best integrated within the humes, hence why they're so common in the game. Contrast with the Seeqs who also appear as enemies and are treated like second-rate citizens.
    • Final Fantasy XI has a few different reptile and amphibian enemies, and none are on any peaceful terms (Half the time because people did something stupid):
      • The Lamiae are snake-woman hybrids that routinely slay people and then raise the corpses to make an undead army.
      • The Mamool Ja are lizardmen who had once paid tribute to The Empire of Aht Urhgan, but have since tried to destroy it.
      • Poroggos are frogs that were able to walk due to magic, and actually were nice to the Tarutaru, thinking they were on good terms with the main races... too bad Windurst got scared of talking, magic-casting frogs and tried to kill them all. Now the Poroggos go around and hit adventurers with party-wiping magic.
      • Quadav are turtle beastmen who actually had a nice life and weren't very nasty. This, of course, all went to hell when Bastok started taking and destroying the Quadav's homes so that the Republic could get more resources. Now the Quadav attack pretty much anyone they see, defending their homes with extreme prejudice.
      • Final Fantasy II introduced Firion to a half-human half-snake hybrid called the Lamia Queen, an encounter he wont soon forget.
  • Revisiting The Roots: VI was a steampunk world that coined the term Magitek, VII and VIII shifted to a modern-esque setting with electricity spaceships and cities. IX then brought things back to a medieval setting of castles, airships and villages. As well, while VII and VIII had a three-character party system where they were as unique in battle (or not) as the character customized them, IX went back to the style of four party members with pre-set skills as earlier games had done.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Moogles, who are fond of saying "kupo".
  • Saving the World: What you will end up doing in several Final Fantasy games. Sometimes with the rest of the universe.
  • Scenery Porn: Starting from VI, the series had a focus on rendering beautiful environments.
  • Schizo Tech
  • Sequel Escalation: Throughout the series, some sort of hit point inflation seems to be taking place. In Final Fantasy I, the final boss has 2000 HP in the original version. By Final Fantasy IV there are a few spells that will generally do 9999 points of damage. In some of the later games, a single attack will do that much. By Final Fantasy XIII early enemies have hundreds of thousands, and each form of the final boss has over 5 million. Final Fantasy XII's optional super boss (well, the most powerful of several) has FIFTY MILLION and is so far still unmatched in the HP department. Make sure you've used the bathroom and gotten a snack before you start one of these battles.
    • XIII continues this in a different way, though no boss approaches even half of 50 million, storyline bosses can reach several million, and Barthandelus, fought roughly halfway through the game, has more HP than the final boss of XII. And the party members have the damage cap raised a digit, allowing normal attacks to hit for 99,999 HP, and with the Genji Glove equipped to raise that, 999,999 is possible, and can be reached fairly easily with maxed-out characters and the right set-up.
  • Shock and Awe: Thunder, Thundara (not the planet), Thundaga, and a summon, usually Ramuh, but not always.
  • Side Quest: Loads of them.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The series are Level 0 (Non-Linear Installments). A couple of games had sequels or spin-offs; the others are each their own reality with their own characters, their own plot, their own setting... However, they share various nods to one another such as similar monsters, summons, chocobos, and characters named Cid.
    • Finally averted with XV, which for the first time takes place in the same universe as another numbered installment (in this case, XIII).
    • Curiously, the games are sometimes hinted to take place in a Multiverse, most notably with the character Gilgamesh, who is all but explicitly stated to be the same character across all his appearances, and the character Shinra from X-2. And then there's Dissidia: Final Fantasy...
  • Smash Mook: Particularly the Behemoths.
  • Solemn Ending Theme
  • Spell Levels: Some games have tiers of spells that even have their own set of spell uses. It's a staple to have some more advanced spells under the naming format "[spell]", "[spell](a)ra", "[spell](a)ga", and "[spell](a)ja", though the English translations only began to use it since Final Fantasy VIII (before, spells were simply named "[spell] 1", "[spell] 2", etc. due to limited characters). This naming system is carried over to the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The trademark design of the Ultima spell.
  • Spinning out of Here: Several of the earlier games show teleportation this way.
  • Spiritual Successor: Dissidia spawned a subseries of similar Crisis Crossover games that focus on iconic cast of past games. Aside from direct prequel Dissidia 012, there's Theatrhythm, Airborne Brigade, All the Bravest, and to a certain degree the Trading Card Game, all of which borrow gameplay terminology and character designs from Dissidia.
  • Stock Weapon Names, such as Excalibur, Masamune, and the series' own Ultima weapon.
  • Stock RPG Spells: Has the core Fire, Ice, Lightning as offensive spells, a whole slew of Elemental Powers, curative magic, status buffs and debuffs, as well as status effects.
  • Summon Magic: Creatures that a particular class of character can invoke, and which represent most of the combat power for that character.
  • Tech Points: Called "AP", and often relates to a quirky new experience and character advancement system in each game.
  • Thematic Series: One of the most notable game examples. None of the numbered titles in the series are related to any of the others except by series-wide hallmarks, like the ATB battle system, Chocobos, Moogles, and the names of spells. Only fournote  of them have sequels taking place in the same continuity as the original game. There are occasionally hints that one world is related to another, like Final Fantasy X-2 hinting that it's related to Final Fantasy VII and the XIII trilogy having the same mythology as Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV .
  • Theme Naming: A recent trend in Final Fantasy games, mainly ones written by Nojima, is having the protagonists' names related to weather or the sky, Like Lightning or Cloud.
    • Chances are that, if you have a Dragoon in a Final Fantasy game, a weapon or the character will have the name Highwind. The most famous examples are Kain Highwind and Cid Highwind.
  • Those Two Guys: Biggs and Wedge, who appear in various guises in almost all of the games from VI onward (and who were retconned into IV by The After Years), and die horribly about half the time.
  • Tiered by Name: The series in general does this for the spells: Fire -> Fira -> Firaga -> Firaja.
  • Tornado Move: Aero is usually a tornado. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 adds the Illusionist spell Tornado. There's also Weak/Cyclonic/Tornado, which are typically used by enemies and removes a massive percentage of your health.
  • Updated Re-release: Especially since the new millennium, the first six games of the series have gradually been re-released over time, each time with new features, usually new dungeons and some enhancements to gameplay, occasionally updated graphics, and bonus content like art galleries and bestiaries. All six came to the Playstation (these versions later came to Playstation Network), and then got remade for the Gameboy Advance. With more specific improvements, I, II and IV were released for PSP with enhanced 2D graphics, III has been released in 3D for the DS, PSP and smartphones, IV in 3D for the DS and smartphones, and V has been released for smartphones with enhanced 2D graphics. Thus far only VI has yet to be given a visual overhaul with one of it's re-releases, but time will tell if this sticks.
  • The Verse: Each numbered sequel produces a new one (see Non-Linear Sequel, above); the only established universe to get a large number of games set in it is Ivalice (FFXII and various Tactics games), and even then the links between various games is a little confusing.
    • Games getting sequels has increased in recent years including Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
  • Warp Whistle: Chocobos, and occasionally airships (on those occasions when the party doesn't own one, but rather pays air fare).
    • XII cuts down on travel by allowing you to warp to previously-visited save crystals.
  • White Mage: The Trope Namer.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: You see that list of games up there? Every single one of them has at least one character with hair of an unnatural shade, be it blue, green, purple, pink, inhuman shades of red, or—the series' favorite— silvery-white.
  • Zombify The Living: The Zombie status makes sufferers vulnerable to Revive Kills Zombie without affecting their allegiance.

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