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Franchise / Ivalice Alliance

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No, really, those zodiac signs make the sword more stabby.

"The heretic trespassed and set the rose of knowledge in Man’s hand.
With imitations they profane, it is anathema to us."

A series of games created by Square Enix, taking place in a shared universe closely linked to the lung-burstingly popular Final Fantasy series.

Conceived originally in the spirit of the Ogre Battle series, the Ivalice Alliance games tell stories of political intrigue, tactical combat and Xanatos Speed Chess, featuring a number of heroes of greatly varying ages, hairstyles and socioeconomical backgrounds. Tying the story together is an overarching plot of the world of Ivalicenote  — a world of warring kingdoms, corrupt religion, massive beasts, dark magic, and breathtaking Scenery Porn.

The series' main director was Yasumi Matsuno, who left the company during the development of Final Fantasy XII due to a combination of illness, Executive Meddling of both his own and his parent company's behalf, and the stress of creating a high-profile project. The series' art design is overseen by Akihiko Yoshida, and the music is composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto. Various other (art/music) directors have also worked on the series over time. Several games in the series were localized by Alexander O. Smith, whose outstanding work on Vagrant Story made him internationally known as a video game translator.

The Ivalice Alliance games are notable for several things:

  • An almost complete lack of romance.
  • Richly textured block-based graphics which (along with ICO) were at the start of the Real Is Brown trend in video games.
  • The detailed visibility of inconsequential items during cut scenes (such as ropes, wine glasses and water skins), which most video games tend to avoid.
  • The importance of historians, political intrigue and political negotiators to the story.
  • The dichotomy of "Grimoires" (Spell Books) and "Palings" (Anti-Magic).
  • A group of characters known as the Lucavi/Totema, which eventually became an alternative to the stock summons of the main Final Fantasy series.

It should be noted that the term "Ivalice Alliance" doesn't refer to all Ivalice games. However, since this is somewhat arbitrary, the title is used here as the Trope name for convenience's sake. Also, much like with The Legend of Zelda, Word of God is not all too clear on the exact timeline. Some games inexplicably feature characters from other games as cameos, some events are decidedly "what-if", and most things linking the games together are only very vaguely hinted at. Apply the MST3K Mantra where necessary.

And yes, the whole thing is swimming in Purple Prose.

    So the story goes something like this: 
  • Long ago, Ivalice was a world of magick and airships. Technology had been invented and discarded again in favor of natural Magicite fuel. Humes, Bangaa, Seeq, Viera, Moogles and various other races shared the continent. This is the world Final Fantasy XII takes place in, starring the young war orphan Vaan, the widowed princess Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca and the betrayed army captain Basch fon Ronsenburg.
    • One year after the story told in Final Fantasy XII, there was another, smaller adventure for Vaan and his associates, told in Revenant Wings.
      • Some time after that, a strange boy named Luso suddenly found himself in Ivalice (Jylland to be precise). He eventually encounters Vaan, who at this point in time is a successful and infamous sky pirate. This is the story of Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
  • In the real world (or possibly a distant future after the last magic energy in the world has been exhausted and internal combustion engines and other technologies have been re-discovered), a young boy named Marche Radiuju ended up in a dream version of the Ivalice of this era, as told in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. This Ivalice manifested itself as a magical hallucination based on the locations and characters of Final Fantasy XII.
    • These events, in turn, were followed by the story of Crystal Defenders and Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm.
  • Many centuries later, when airships and Magicite had long been forgotten and "Ivalice" had become only the name of a small kingdom, the events of Final Fantasy Tactics took place. These events, as recorded in the Durai report, tell the story of a young noble named Ramza Beoulve and his uprising against the Church. These Durai annals were written to make Ramza (and his band of soldiers and acolytes) known as the true heroes of the war, after Ramza was branded a heretic and villain by the Church.
  • Several centuries after that, in the land of Valendia (which had existed since the days of Final Fantasy XII), magic and monsters had been mostly forgotten about. They were rediscovered when a Valendian government agent named Ashley Riot followed the leader of a heretic sect into the lost city of Leá Monde, finding himself and said leader hunted in turn by soldiers of the Church. During his adventure, Ashley found remnants and artifacts of the characters of Final Fantasy Tactics, who were - finally - described as heroes of their time. This final chapter of the Ivalice tale (for now) is told in Vagrant Story.

The release order of the games is: