Why a list of 10 Things That Define Final Fantasy? Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns is coming out soon, and it plays a lot more like an action game on a timer than any classic Final Fantasy RPG. Something tells us that Square-Enix has lost touch with what made their Final Fantasy series great. So we made this list of 10 Things That Define Final Fantasy to serve as a guideline for creating awesome Final Fantasy titles.
The music of Final Fantasy is simply iconic. Whether it’s the end of battle fanfare, the intro music that has been around since the first game, or Final Fantasy IV’s title sequence that has somehow made it into several other games. Battle themes have been remixed time and time again, and over world music from the series brings you back to some of the most heart wrenching scenes in video game history. You can’t tell us that you don’t cry every time you hear Aeris’s theme. The music music is just one of the 10 Things That Define Final Fantasy. That’s why fans were so pissed when Final Fantasy XIII ditched almost every musical convention the series had to offer.
Kupo! It’s not a Final Fantasy game unless you get to interact with these small puffy cat… rabbit… bat things. Moogles have been around since Final Fantasy II, making them one of the oldest creatures in the Final Fantasy franchise aside from the Chocobo.
These giant yellow birds are the primary method of transportation in nearly every Final Fantasy game. First showing up in Final Fantasy II, they were actually rescanned into Final Fantasy I in the Gameboy Advance versions as statues in Castle Corneria. Chocobos have run the spectrum of importance, from the breeding and racing of Final Fantasy VII, to the short cameos in Final Fantasy XIII. It sure isn’t a Final Fantasy game without at least one Chocobo appearance.
Starting from Final Fantasy II onward, there has always been a character named Cid in nearly every Final Fantasy game. Sometimes he is an NPC, sometimes he is a party member, but he always seems to have something to do with technology or vehicles or bureaucracy or something like that. Even the Final Fantasy movie had a character named Cid, though it sucked so bad they even spelled the name wrong.
You know you are playing a Final Fantasy when you drink Ethers to restore MP, use Phoenix Downs to bring people back to life, and cast spells like Firaga and Ultima. Even though every Final Fantasy takes place in totally different universes, naming conventions like Gil for money have stuck through the entire series, making the names themselves one of the most defining Final Fantasy elements.
When your mom tells you to go out and get a job, she probably doesn’t mean she wants you to become a black mage. That’s exactly what Final Fantasy means, however, as jobs have survived into Final Fantasy titles that don’t even have a job system. Everyone knows what white mages, black mages, fighters, thieves, and even red mages do. But some Final Fantasies get even more complicated, allowing you to be summoners, magic knights, mimes, and calculators. Right now your job is to finish this list of 10 Things That Define Final Fantasy.
Summons are another thing that has shown up in just about every Final Fantasy title. Sometimes they are important magical creatures. Other times they are weird transforming ice damsel motorcycles that you can summon due to a magical curse. And sometimes they are just knights that pop out of a magic rock to thrill you with a two minute cutscene. Either way, all Final Fantasies have summons of some sort, and they all have the same names too. Bahamut, Ifrit, Shiva, and the like have been around since Final Fantasy’s creation.
Alright, this entry is kind of a joke but… why all the buckles? Some Final Fantasy characters have belts in areas no one should ever have belts. Some wear belts around their arms and legs. Others wear belts around their neck. Lulu literally had an entire dress made out of belts! Someone on the Final Fantasy character design team never learned what belts were actually used for. Every Final Fantasy character is wearing belts, yet none of them actually have anything to hold up their pants.
In a fantasy world, you don’t travel around the world in planes. You board the classic airship, a seafaring vessel meant to skim on the clouds. Granted, airships have kind of changed in the past few years. Some basically look like airplanes or hovercrafts at this point. However, as long as you call it an airship, it still has that Final Fantasy feel to it, even if it looks like a rocket.
Final Fantasy loves to re-use its enemies. In nearly every Final Fantasy game you will find Cactaurs, Tonberries, Flan, Behemoths, and more. Sometimes designers like to take a little bit of artistic license with their bad guys. For example, sometimes goblins are weird motorcycle robots and bombs are strange hexagonal abstractions of energy. However, you’ll always know a Malboro when you see one, and likely die from its bad breath attack slightly afterward. Enemies are the #1 entry in our list of 10 Things That Define Final Fantasy.