Final Fantasy XIII at first left me confused as to why Lightning suddenly acted nicer to Hope. Then it hit me that Lightning was looking out for him all along. She told him to stay away from her before facing Odin, not because she disliked him, rather, She was worried the boy would follow her into an even more dangerous situation. Overcoming her distress and seeing that Hope could defend himself during the fight, she finally allows him to get closer to her, knowing that keeping him close would be better than allowing him to recklessly roam around without proper supervision, like what happened to Serah.
I interpreted that differently. At that point in the game, Lightning has just lost the only person she has a real emotional connection with, and therefore feels unbelievably alone - but she is the poster girl for repressed emotion, so she makes the tactically smart choice of sending Hope (not too useful at that point) away, rather than keeping him around for company like she really wants to do. However, this time she can't ignore her repressed despair because it summons a giant-ass mecha to pull her out of her slump. Odin goes after Hope, not Lightning, and the way to fill the Gestalt is to throw Cure around like confetti. Odin is forcing Lightning to acknowledge that she cares about Hope, because she needs some form of human company. And it works! She realizes that she actually does want him around, and lets him come along.
While on the subject of Final Fantasy XIII, I thought it abandoned the idea of the traditional White Magician Girl/Sexy Tough Girl/Bratty Half-Pint pattern. But if you flip Lightning's and Hope's genders, she becomes a traditional hero, while he feels like a variation on the Staff Chick role; not only does he fit the role gameplay-wise, he is the person the tough, cold hero chooses to protect, who helps defrost the hero. This also explains the massive Hoprai shipping base - he fills the storyline role traditionally filled by the hero's Love Interest, so everyone sees him as such.
Also about Final Fantasy XIII: I found it odd that Vanille, a young girl, had higher physical attack power than either Lightning (a trained soldier) or Snow (a brawler who fights by punching things). I looked at her stats to see if it was her weapon that did the trick, but it wasn't; she just has a higher base attack stat than anyone else, but suddenly turns it into the White Mage in the game proper. Then a revelation came in the game that at first was just a regular plot twist, but it just hit me five minutes ago as to why Vanille's higher attack ability suddenly makes sense: Vanille is already a L'Cie at the start of the game. Since L'Cie have magic to boost their statistiscs, this made her naturally stronger than everybody else, who at that point were just regular human beings.
It also explains why she sticks to physical attacks instead of her traditional attack style in the beginning; She's a White Mage, but while the civilians are being purged for just living near a Pulse Fal'Cie, they would utterly panic if they found out there was a Pulse L'Cie standing next to them.
Also regarding Vanille, I noticed on my second play-through that all the main characters besides Vanille (and of course Fang) start with two ATB segments while Vanille has three. Not a big deal until you realize everyone gets a 3rd segment after being branded l'Cie by Anima. Another subtle hint that Vanille is a Pulse l'Cie. When it came to Vanille, SE did Gameplay And StoryIntegration quite well.
Final Fantasy XIIIs Snow draws a few references to Final Fantasy IVs Cecil. When Cecil becomes a Paladin, he gains the ability Cover, which protects other party members from damage, and the ability to cast low level White Magic. Snow's best role involves protecting him and his party, though Provoke/Challenge + Steelguard is the closest you can get to Cover in XIII. The weapon that improves this ability is called Paladin. He's also a mediocre Medic, casting low level Medic abilities. Any even more direct connection is the technique the two of them receive their upgrades (Cecil's class change and Snow's Eidolon): to do nothing but defend.
Like many others playing Final Fantasy Tactics, I was frustrated repeatedly by Rapha's suicidal AI in the battle on the roof of Riovannes, since her survival was needed to succeed in the mission. And later on I realized that the character is suicidal, because her brother and only real family was just killed in front of her, and the killer was taken care of moments later, removing even the possibility of her revenge, so during the battle, she's just lashing out at the nearest targets, without any care to living or dying. The fight's still a pain in the arse, though. -Mr Death
I was just thinking about the chemist class, and how absurd it was that you needed to purchase the ability to use each item. I just realized that it makes perfect sense. The job is the equivalent of a doctor or pharmacist, both of which require the individual to know what they're administering. True, everyone who's played other Final Fantasy games know phoenix downs revives, and potions heal, but that doesn't mean the player characters do. Who's to say what the difference is between a potion, an antidote, or an ether, unless you've learned? Is there a chance of overdosing on echo grass? Chucking around things you can't identify would just waste the item and time in the game's battles, in real life it could be deadly.
Further Fridge Brilliance on that, Tactics takes place in Ivalice and, as we know from XII, Advance and A2, it's obsessed with rules and laws; in XII you had to buy your skills with License points, in Tactics you use Job points; in a way, you're buying licenses to use Cure, Fire and Items.
Final Fantasy staff chicks tend to do this to me, for some strange reason. First came Aerith, who I was sure was going to be a pathetic, throw-away love interest, but actually turned out to be a strong person who had to deal with being the last of her kind, being chased down by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and just, you know, stopping the end of the world, and still kept a smile on her face. Then came Yuna, who was shy and quiet like the most stereotypical staff chick in the world, yet still managed to have a few moments of awesome, and had a heartbreakingly wonderful mantra-"Look, if I have to die, fine. If I have to take down a cosmic horror, fine. I just want to make the world a better place." —P0W4H-L4D33
While playing through Final Fantasy VII I was confused as to why Cloud suddenly knew what the Black Materia was without actually learning about it. Then I remembered, Cloud was under the influence of Sephiroth, who wanted the Black Materia. It's hardly a stretch to say that Sephiroth planted that information into the Sephiroth Copies', including Cloud's, minds.
Also from Dissidia, two things about Ultimecia: First, I only just noticed that the developers gave her and Squall the exact opposite play styles: Squall is all short range, fast attacks. Ultimecia is all about the distance game and whittling down opponents; in other words, you have to take your time. Second is a little more significant. Ultimecia came off as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere in her original game; subsequent years have led to some evidence and speculation that she did the whole Time Compression thing as revenge for being persecuted as a sorceress. But then I saw the quote she gives after you beat her in Shade Impulse (the black-text-on-white-screen stuff when you don't beat her as Squall). She's not talking vengefully, or anything like that. She says, "Can you still remember the days when you were a child? The sensations, the words, the feelings... Time...it will not wait. No matter how hard you hold on, it escapes you. And...I..." That made me realize, she didn't really want Time Compression for revenge, she wanted it so she could go back to the one time in her life she was truly happy; the time before she inherited her Sorceress powers. - Mr Death
Note that the line you quote is lifted directly from the original game, in which it is delivered in the last moments of the final boss fight with Ultimecia. —Joie De Combat
Further: "Once upon a time, we could innocently believe in the future... Those days are gone forever." I'm quoting the Gears of Time, Ultimecia's Koan item. —Griffinhart
Back to Ultimecia in Dissidia, one of her encounter quotes is "Poor Child...". At first, I thought that this was mocking her opponent, saying "poor child, I'm about to wipe the floor with you." But then I realized that she doesn't seem mocking or angry when she says this. She seems to genuinely feel sorry for her opponent, and the circumstances that made them what they are today. Especially jarring for me, because I heard the quote first when fighting Terra, another girl who's had a hard life due to her magical powers.
I had wonder why the Attack - Defense formula stayed so standard in most games. I mean, it would only be a matter of time before the law of diminishing kicked in and made it easy to zero out light damage attacks at least, and if that didn't happen, then it would be generally pointless to bother with defense. I thought Attack / Defense would be better simple as that and healing would still be powerful on high Defense units. Then I saw Final Fantasy V's handling of damage and saw that the Attack - Defense part was based purely on equipment and damage could still be increased without interfering with this. That's one convenient way to handle the formula. And I also realized recently that the extremeness is to try to counterbalance versatility in speed, the polar opposite of power. After all, a Mighty Glacier would suddenly be appealing to a decent number of players once extra power provides a higher damage-over-time input than equally extra speed for a Fragile Speedster. - Master Knight
In Final Fantasy VII, I thought that the transformation of Hojo into a mutant was nothing more than a cheap gimmick to make his boss fight more difficult. However, I later realized that it was symbolic. Hojo had become on the outside what he always was on the inside- a monster. - Derp Derp
Bizarro Sephiroth might seem like a bizarre translation mistake from a boss that was called Rebirth Sephiroth in Japanese. In fact, it can now be seen as an injoke - remember who else Sephiroth's English VA is?
Back when I used to watch X-Play, they stretched a little on the definition of "video game" to review Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. One of the hosts' questions was, "Why does Cait Sith have a Scottish brogue?" This too baffled me, until I remembered that Cait Sith is based on an old Scottish fairy called the cait sith (also spelled cat sidhe, and pronounced "caught shee" either way) that takes the form of a black cat with a white chest. It is, in the most literal sense, a Mythology Gag.
On Phoenix Downs: Phoenix Down means like, the feather of a phoenix. That's what "Down" means. It took me several years to come to that conclusion.
Phoenix Down is a (probably unintentional) subtle pun in English! Like, both feather and "Man Down" (if you look at it even deeper, it refers to all player characters as a phoenix, in that they come back to life... OK, WMG time...) - JET 73 L
In some of the older games there is also an item Phoenix Pinion which brings back your whole party. Down is the fluffy feathers on young birds while pinions are the long flight feathers and only found on adults. Makes sense the adult's feather does more than the baby's.
Shinryu in Dissidia: Final Fantasy explains the role of the 'Great Will' in relation to the cycle of conflict that has iterated 13 times as of that game. Basically, the 'Great Will' is the force that is causing the loop to reiteate, and is the reason there's any war between Cosmos and Chaos at all. It is then heavily implied that you, the player, are the 'Great Will'. Let that sink in for a moment.
Averted in Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy when it reveals the "Great Will" is none other than Cid of Lufaine.
It isn't averted if you see it from the gameplay wise. The 'Great Will' arranges everything so the eternal war will be continue forever. What do we do in Dissidia? Arrange everything so we can play the game as long as we want. In Dissidia, we aren't playing as the Warriors, we are playing the role of Cid of Lufaine - Ala Alba
Also, it could be a reference to real life. "The Great Will" has caused the cycle to repeat 12 times, with the 13th on the way, as the trailer stated. This refers to each Final Fantasy game, and we, the fans, being "The Great Will" cause the next "conflict" (or Final Fantasy game) by showing our support. Of course, by the time the trailer for Dissidia was released, the sequel count was up to XII and XIII was already in the works.
In Dissidia, Chaos has none of the moves that he had as the final boss of the original Final Fantasy. Meanwhile, Garland is the one who has his four signature spells: Earthquake, Blaze, Tsunami, and Cyclone. While it's fitting, sort of, for Garland to have such moves (and he really needed all the moves they could scrape together for him), why does Chaos not have them? Revelations from 012 about Garland's travels through time makes it make perfect sense. Chaos in Dissidia is A young Garland, infused with the power of Discord, not the elemental power of the Fiends, while Chaos in Final Fantasy I is Garland after having that power stripped from him. He then grew up as a Cornelian knight, and entered the conflict for a second time after being sent back in time by the fiends. In Dissidia, Garland has already been infused with the Fiends' power, which is why he has those elemental spells. In essence, Garland in Dissidia isFinal Fantasy I's Chaos, just before he fully transforms into the demon for the final battle.
Recently, I was reading up on some good ol' Norse Mythology about Jörmungandr, son of Loki and Angrboša and how he was tossed into the sea that encircles Midgard. Hold on a minute. Midgard? Drop the last D and you get Midgar, our resident dystopic metropolis. Well, what is Midgard exactly? According to The Other Wiki, Midgard is one of the nine worlds in Norse myth and is, in fact, the home of the humans. It literally means, "middle enclosure." Think about not only Midgar's architectural structure, but everything that it symbolizes in the game. But wait: there's more! As Norse myth goes, Midgard would be destroyed during Ragnarök. Meteor Fall, anyone? In conclusion, after Midgard's destruction, it - as well as all the land - will submerge into the sea, only to reemerge, fertile and green just like the eventual fate of Midgar in the secret epilogue. This might be a misinterpretation on my part, but I think this is pretty epic.
Actually I thought that was just confirmed. There's also the midgar serpent and Nibleheim wich means "cloudy home" or Cloud's Home.
Yeah, that's pretty explicit, the references to Midgar, Nifleheim (Nibleheim), etc. Also, why do people keep calling it a "secret" epilogue? It's no secret, and you don't have to do anything more special than sitting through the credits to see it.
A note about the Game Over music in each game. Listening to some of the Game Over music (e.g. Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, XII), you notice that it's very sombre and mournful. The group you control is respected, or at least heard of (Cloud from SOLDIER, Squall and the rest from SeeD, Princess Garnet, Yuna and the guardians, Princess Ashe). Notice that Final Fantasy XIII does not exactly follow this tradition; its Game Over music is cold, clinical, almost like white noise. There's no mourning or remorse for the main characters there, since they're considered fugitives and monsters.