Dissidia 012 makes it explicitly clear what the Crystals are with a cutscene right before the first storyline showing Cosmos imbuing her Warriors with her powers, and Lightning's narration that this power will manifest for them as Crystals eventually. However, this causes a number of problems, because Tidus, Terra, and Cloud were Warriors of Chaos at this time and never took part in this. Thus, there's no explanation for why they are able to manifest Crystals in the next cycle — you could make the case for Tidus that his Crystal was meant to be Jecht's, since Jecht transferred his light to Tidus, but that doesn't work because it would fly against The Emperor's plans for him. And of course, by the end of the 12th cycle Lightning, Laguna, Vaan, Yuna, Tifa, and Kain die before manifesting their Crystals, so what happened to Cosmos' power inside them?
Well, there are ways and ways to see. As for Tidus, like you said, Jecht gave him the power of Cosmos that was in himself. There was probably still some remnants of it inside of him, especially with how the narration mentions that Jecht's willpower was so strong that his crystal could have appeared at any second. So Emperor's plan still works (or at least, makes as much sense as anything in Final Fantasy games). As for Cloud and Terra (unmarked spoiled ahead): After Terra defeated a horde of Manikins, she arrived at Cosmos, and she granted her some of her power right there. Cloud? Well, he prayed to Cosmos while he was dying at the hands of Chaos, and Cosmos listened, and it seemed like right there she sent him a token of her power as well, so he'd awaken as her new chosen warrior during the next cycle. At least, those are my interpretations.
And as the Doomed by Canon group fade away, they seem to be shedding Light or some sort of energy. That could very well be Cosmos's power going back to where it belongs.
There IS an explanation; Golbez doesn't put the idea to give the Warriors enough power that it would kill her and therefore make the next cycle the very last until after 012. WoL, Firion, Cloud, Zidane, and the others all got the lion's share of their crystal shaping powers at the start of 013, so the issue of the other not being there the first time is completely irrelevant.
The final speech of Scenario 000 turns this into straight Fridge Brilliance — the light Cosmos granted to her six fallen warriors reforms in World B, bringing her back to life.
She doesn't have any white magic spells in Duodecim. The game is pretty good about getting rid of Gameplay and Story Segregation, so her using white magic when she has none wouldn't make any sense. Also, I saw it as a bit of their personalities that aren't always shown. Jecht truly does love his son and wishes to help him, and Yuna won't stand those who hurt her friends.
It is made clear that the 13th cycle is the only victory the Cosmos warriors have ever won; for the first twelve cycles, the Warriors of Chaos won. But in the two cycles we players see, they seem pretty un-unified. Look at the various Warriors of Chaos between the two games — Cloud and Kuja don't want to participate, Sephiroth has his own interests and simply doesn't care, Exdeath cares but doesn't make much of an effort, Golbez is a traitor, Jecht, Tidus, and Terra are only serving Chaos because they're brainwashed, and the Cloud of Darkness has no problem with giving the enemy confidential information if it means it'll make things interesting for her. The only villains who seem actually interested in winning are Garland, The Emperor, Kefka, and Ultimecia. That said, just how did these guys keep winning for twelve rounds in a row?
Been wondering the same thing. One of my first thoughts was that they always had the Manikins, but then that makes you wonder how the Manikins didn't kill for good more warriors by now. Another possibility is that they are just that much more powerful, which could be the case considering that, in each Final Fantasy, each character needs their whole team to ultimately defeat the Big Bad. It's perhaps because of finally having Cosmos' power properly grown within them in the 13th Cycle that they were finally able to challenge them and win. But that's just a theory. One way or another, Duodecim really left some plot holes all around, if you ask me.
Considering those killed by the Manikins are Killed Off for Real along with their exponential replacement rate, and the lack of any from previous cycles, I find it unlikely it started before the 12th. Because the purpose of the cycles are to make Chaos into the ultimate weapon, my guess is that in each of the previous cycles, his warriors would weed out as many of Cosmos's they could while any survivors would be curbstomped by Chaos; since Cosmos never seems to directly fight, a stalemate's as good as a win for Chaos. Also, since fighting regains memories while falling loses them, it's possible that after 11 consecutive wins Chaos's warriors would remember their goals and those who weren't content with fighting the same people until the end of the world lost motivation. I know some of this is probably WMG, but that's my 2 cents.
The reason Chaos summoned warriors in the first place was so that he wouldn't have to fight Cosmos' warriors. Though he's perfectly fine with his warriors doing what they want, since he doesn't want to force them to fight.
Actually, during "An Unfold Tale", if I remember correctly, the Cid moogle tells you the warriors of Chaos grew stronger and stronger as they kept winning, and by the 13th cycle, the difference in strength was overwhelming. So just like it was suggested, they were strong by themselves in the first place, but after winning a few times, they grew even STRONGER and became more likely to keep winning and getting even STRONGER.
This may kinda mix with Just Bug Me, but whatever. There's one thing I don't understand: What in the world is Lightning's relationship with roses? I played all of Final Fantasy XIII and I can't remember any connection from Lightning to any type of flower, yet she states in one of the Report Scenes that she felt a connection to Firion's Wild Rose. I know her HP Attacks now come with Petal Power, but that's another thing that doesn't make any sense, since she didn't have anything like that at all in her original game. Why exactly did they add all this, then? Unless it's secretly foreshadowing something from Final Fantasy XIII-2, I just don't get it.
Lightning does have a bit of a rose motif in FFXIII, most visible when she summons Odin. Her Crystarium crystal is pink and shaped like a rose, and the Odin summon in FFXIII features a lot of flying red rose petals; that's where Lightning's HP attacks come from, which is the reason for the Petal Power.
Guess that's what I get for having pretty much never used the summons. ^^U
Here's some Fridge Logic that could spawn even more Dissidia games. The ending tells us the Warrior of Light sets off for Cornelia with his Crystal, mirroring the start of the original Final Fantasy. So, what about the other three Light Warriors?
I believe Dissidia is suggesting a Retcon there; after all, he's been said to be a Composite Character. Also, I don't see much of a reason for which the original Final Fantasy's story couldn't work with only one Warrior of Light.
Because the story for the game states each of the four Warriors of Light carries one of the de-powered Crystals.
If you watch Garland's attacks, he isn't swinging his sword back and forth like most other characters. With Round Edge and Lance Charge especially, his attacks have him swing his sword once and let it move on its own with the momentum it builds up. Considering how ungodly huge it is, consider the massive strength that would be required to wield it like a proper sword — swinging it this way is probably the only way he can do it without breaking something!
It also explains how he can have such slow movement, then suddenly move at lightning speed when attacking — when he's just walking around, he has to drag the sword behind him, but when he starts swinging it, he's not only free of that weight, but the momentum is going to probably speed him up.
Why is Cloud, a non-mage character, the only character able to use the three levels of a spell of the same element (Fire, Fira, and Firaga)? In FFVII's world, a mastered Fire Materia would have allowed him to use all three versions of the spell. Likewise, in Dissidia 012, Tifa has all three levels of the Blizzard spell.
Why does Yuna remember Tidus and her pilgrimage when she's forgotten almost everything else? Recall her speech during the ending of Final Fantasy X:
"The people and friends that we have lost... or the dreams that have faded... never forget them."
Of course, the nature of the conflict has warriors regain more memories of their homelands as they battle on, and the Emperor refers to her as a 'veteran', so she's obviously been around a few cycles, too.
In Dissidia 012, Squall's gameplay makes him one of the best (if not the best) suited ones for relying on the Assist Feature, which makes for quite a contrast with his "I Work Alone" attitude... until you remember that his character arc in Final Fantasy VIII saw him move from believing that being alone makes life easier for him to learning that it's okay to rely on others.
Further brilliance: If Squall is the one being an Assist, he is better suited to do a bunch of Bravery attacks on his own than to do combos with the main character. So, essentially, you are hiring him to do his own thing. Once a SeeD, always a SeeD.
Considering that Gabranth isn't actually native to the Empire, it's also entirely possible that Gabranth's accent was affected to better fit in to begin with, anyway.
In a storyline scene with Gilgamesh, he encounters Squall, Vaan, and Zidane. They all encounter him in their own games. Zidane remarks how Gilgamesh would look familiar if he had more arms, like he did in IX.
Many a player has remarked on how badly Feral Chaos' summon backfires on him in boss fights. Weird, isn't it? Why would the designers do that? ...Well, because in the game storyline, Feral's summon, the character Shinryu, really does hate him by the time Feral is fought as a boss!
Why is Cecil, of all people, the Shipper on Deck in 012? Two very good reasons — first, if you assume he was taken from a post-The After Years world, he's been happily married for almost 20 years, so it makes sense he'd be the one of the group with the best relationship advice. And second, it's a callback to the medieval interpretation of love and romance, back when they didn't necessarily mean sexual attraction, but were instead used to express loyalty and friendship, even between two people of the same gender (it would be completely in-line for a knight to say he loved his king in order to convey fealty). Cecil is the typical Knight in Shining Armor and comes from a heavily medieval-influenced game where he was raised in precisely such an environment.
A minor one, but this troper noticed that during replays of when Exdeath tells the Warriors of Cosmos that the crystals were Cosmos's strength, and gathering them are why she fell, Tidus was always the one who realized it first. Perhaps he remembers being an unwitting part of someone's sacrifice in a roundabout way?
Why is Terra's status as a Magic Knight downplayed in Dissidia, with her being more mage than fighter? After all, she has a sword, but only ever uses it in chase sequences. 3 reasons:
1) To differentiate her from the other characters, who all fight and use magic to some extent. 2) She is, unlike the other characters in game, an inherently magical being, being half esper. 3)FFVI is largely considered to the point in the series when magic was at its most useful, so it makes sense that a character from that game would emphasize magic more than anyone.
This would be more accurately a WMG, but once I thought that maybe metals in FFVI's universe are of relatively bad quality (hence why in that world whenever magic appears, everybody jumps on the bandwagon), and that's why Terra doesn't use her sword. Her Apocalypse might be a wonderful weapon in her own world, but here it is no match to even the Onion Knight's starting sword.
Vaan helps Terra, and when she's confused why when they're on opposing sides, he explains that it doesn't matter which side they're on, people are people. It's Final Fantasy XIIs'' Grey and Gray Morality all over again!
Kefka being played up as a Manipulative Bastard in 012 — he pits his enemies against each other and manipulates other people to fight in order to get what he wants rather than confronting them himself. Give him nicer hair and make him more articulate, and he's a stand-in for Vayne! And hey, where does Vaan fight Kefka in his story — Sky Fortress Bahamut!
Why are all the areas not destroyed in the "shattering of worlds" the places where you fight the final boss of their games? Because Chaos, as has been noted, is a surprisingly Benevolent Boss and wants his minions to be comfortable, so he makes sure to preserve the places where each is most relaxed — where they wait for the heroes.
Pandemonium is full of tight corridors and difficult to maneuver in. So of course The Emperor, who relies on leading people into traps, is right at home.
I can't believe I didn't notice this before, but the chain skills are a Shout-Out to chess. Straight chains are rooks, cross chains are bishops, jump chains are knights, round chains are kings, and multichains are queens.
Laguna's EX Mode, "look, the faeries are here!", is a reference to Mental Time Travel sequences in Final Fantasy VIII in which Ellone sent Squall's consciousness back in time to ride along in Laguna's mind and observe past events. Whenever this happened, Laguna received the benefit of Squall's Guardian Force junction and SeeD training; unaware of the true cause, he and his friends attributed it to faeries. So what's going on in Laguna's EX Mode? Like the rest of the 13th cycle's heroes, Squall spends most of 012 "sleeping" after being defeated by Kain — from which state he once again lends his strength to Laguna.
The entry under Harsher in Hindsight is actually a case of Shown Their Work, as Tidus pretty much acted as an ungrateful little bastard towards Jecht, demonizing his father and ignoring any positive interpretations of his actions in X. It's heavily implied during a conversation with Yuna that this is how Tidus holds onto Jecht's memory. So, take that, subtract the rest of his memories, and it's a perfect characterization in Duodecism!
The writers of Duodecim really seem to be pushing the Emperor to act as a Seymour stand-in whenever the X cast is concerned. With this in mind, I had a moment of brilliance regarding Tidus's taking the bullet moment and the events immediately following. Recall this exchange in Macalania woods: (Paraphrased)
Seymour: Protect the summoner even at the cost of one's life. The Code of the Guardians. How admirable.
Yuna: I trust my guardians with my life, but they are also my friends. I will not stand by and watch them be hurt. I will fight you too.
It's a small thing, but. The reason summon monsters don't appear in the world of the first Final Fantasy? Duodecim explains this away by saying in a footnote that prior to the game's events, Chaos sealed all the summons away in the rift. And when you think about it, explains why the all the summons found in World B are in the form of Summonstones. They were most likely turned into summonstones by Chaos, and remained trapped that way until found by the heroes.
Which would mean that all the summons found in Dissidia were originally from the world of the original Final Fantasy.
The game establishes that the first Dissidia game was the thirteenth cycle of Chaos and Cosmos's conflict, while 012 shows the events of the twelfth cycle. In 012, we not only see the characters from the original game, but we also meet new characters: Lightning, Vaan, Prishe, Yuna, Laguna, Tifa, and Kain. This is also the game which introduces the idea that if you are killed by a Manikin, then you're gone for good, which might have been the fate of Lightning, Kain, Yuna, Laguna, Tifa, and Vaan (jury is out on what happened to Prishe). So the fridge horror comes in here: in the eleven cycles that we don't see, how many other beloved Final Fantasy characters might have met the same fate as the 012 gang?. And keep in mind, the first game opens by telling you the Cosmos's side has been getting its can kicked for a while.
This troper is convinced that the characters doing the tutorials were killed off in previous cycles.
During his travels, the Warrior of Light encounters Sephiroth. He engages Sephiroth and fights him. After the Warrior of Light wins the duel, Sephiroth asks him why he fights, and the Warrior replies that it is for the Crystals and for the war to end. However, Sephiroth says that the Warrior fights for the thrill of it, just as he does. The irony is, he's not far off. After going over the Reports, you'll realize that the Warrior and Sephiroth have very similar backgrounds. Being created artificially by individuals who did not initially care about them. Created to be nothing but a living tool or weapon. One could say that they are opposite sides of the same coin (possibly more so than the (Cloud/Sephiroth dynamic). Though Sephiroth was wrong about one thing; they are alike, and yet totally different. While Sephiroth does enjoy fighting, to the Warrior, fighting is simply something he does, without malice or delight. Unlike Sephiroth, the Warrior of Light never mocks his opponents nor rejoices in their suffering. To him, war and fighting are not a game, but rather a duty. In the end, the Warrior could have very easily have ended up like Sephiroth, and Sephiroth could have become a great hero like the Warrior. In the end, it was thanks to the intervention of another party (Prishe in the case of the Warrior) that led the two down such different paths.