The horrible truth behind Final Fantasy XII


Game TheoryHello, Internet, and welcome to Game Theory. … Wait, no. That’s not me. That’s Matthew Patrick! And guys, I can’t sum in enough words how much I respect the guy. For the sheer amount of research and passion that he puts into his work. He has tackled anything in his show, from quantum mechanics to boob physics to rocket science to history and religion, and comes out each time with something new and interesting.

He recently reached 500.000 subscribers, and posted a video where he recounts how his life changed because of the show. I can’t do nothing but wish him all the best, and dedicate this article to him. If you don’t follow MatPat and the other Game Theorists, you really should. You won’t be disappointed. Or bored.

final-fantasy-tactics-sReturning to me, this is a game theory I came up with a few months ago, while playing the twelfth instalment of the Final Fantasy series. Part of the Ivalice collection, it brought us gamers back to the land introduced to us with the now legendary Final Fantasy Tactics. I fear the day they bring a smartphone based instalment of the series to light. That will be the end of my battery life-OH, DAMN IT, SQUARE-ENIX!

If you played both games you can’t help but notice how different the two are. In technology, costumes, political borders. Hell, there are even more races than just humans in Final Fantasy XII. I started pondering about these discrepancies, and then I came upon a little piece of information. And then a second, and a third, and so on. This path eventually led me to discover The Horrible Truth Behind Final Fantasy XII.

Airship-battlefield2aLet’s go in order with these little pieces of information. First of all, chronologically, Final Fantasy XII takes place centuries before Final Fantasy Tactics. Yes: the technologically and socially inferior part is the future. People find past pieces of technology in ruins underneath cities and there’s even an Airship Graveyard! So, one could ask himself, what the hell happened?!

Second: by completing Errands for… Bartenders, I guess, in Final Fantasy Tactics, you start staking up Artifacts and Wonders. All of these are packed with lore, and some of them reference to a Cataclysm. Quoting from Final Fantasy Wikia, a ‘catastrophic disaster that ruined kingdoms and killed many beings, though its exact nature is unknown’. So, half a mystery is revealed. A Cataclysm pushed Ivalice centuries back and erased, at least in that part of the world, all of its humanoid non-monster races.

FFTzodiacwheelWhat’s still a mystery is what exactly this Cataclysm was, and what caused it. If you know your lore, you probably immediately think of the big guns, the powers in the shadow: the Lucavi. In Final Fantasy Tactics they’re the big bads, in Final Fantasy XII they substitute the summons who only appear in Ivalice seemingly centuries later. According to the latter game, though, the Lucavi -which are called Espers in the game- were chained by the gods of Ivalice’s world for rising up against them, bound to certain places for all eternity.

This makes sense if you consider exactly how the Lucavi appear in both games. In Final Fantasy XII they have to be defeated in combat in specific locations and bound to a character to be summoned through mystical signs called Glyphs. In Tactics they can only manifest their powers through the Zodiac Stones, and they require a human to call on them to appear or possess them. So we can assume that whatever bound them still works in Final Fantasy Tactics, at least partially.

Now… This is where it gets really dark, if we accept that it was the Lucavi that caused the Cataclysm.

5-capture_15032011_191446First: the Lucavi are thirteen, one for each stone, but in Final Fantasy Tactics we only see seven of them. Six of the Lucavi are unaccounted for. They don’t physically appear, even if their power still flows through the stones from wherever they’re sealed. It’s peculiar how their comrades never made an effort to call upon them. We saw comrades of the Holy Knights of Glabados carrying the stones, but not being possessed by Lucavi.

Second: in Final Fantasy XII, the Lucavi are summons that need to be defeated and bound, as we said, but they’re peculiar for one other reason: they can be bound to one person and one person only. Once they’ve been tied to a member of the party, only that party member and that member alone can summon that specific Esper, and no one else. It’s like they exchanged one prison for another, from a place to a human being…

luciferThird and Fourth: the main characters of Final Fantasy XII are exactly six, and common sense dictates that you should never, ever bind or make a contract with a dark demon that tried to rebel against its creators and was because of that thrown down to earth. If the Lucifer parable isn’t enough warning…

Yes. You’re starting to comprehend. We’ve seen what happens to people who take the power of the Lucavi for themselves, if they don’t have a strong enough will or they give in willingly. Vormav gets turned to the dark side and the cause of the demons completely, coming to the point of killing his son Izlude in his rampage, and that was with the Zodiac Stones as filters. What do you think would happen to people who junctioned with the Lucavi directly?

For those who still can’t comprehend or simply refuse to accept such a truth, let me put in simple words: the heroes from Final Fantasy XII destroyed Ivalice under the influence of the Lucavi. And I can even tell you exactly how things went down.

AnimePaperwallpapers_Final-Fantasy-After Final Fantasy XII, Ivalice is at peace, our villain is destroyed and between the six of them, our heroes have bound to themselves thirteen Lucavi. That’s two per person, with one of the guys having even three. If only one of those can corrupt a person through a Zodiac Stone, how long do you think it will take two or three to, I don’t know, take over a body? And remember that, by the end of each Final Fantasy, your characters are like, some of the strongest fighters alive.

Cue our six heroes going insane -or at least that’s what anyone knowing them personally would think- and laying waste to the world around them, the world they fought so hard to save, until they find a way, in a rare moment of control and when Ivalice is nothing more than a wasteland, with the humanoid races having jumped ship if they had managed to survive, to stop and trap themselves somewhere along with the Lucavi in their bodies. Except, they only managed to trap six Lucavi total, one for each hero. All the others manage to escape but are then trapped back by the still active bonds to their past prisons.

FFT-ZodiacStoneAt this point, the remaining Lucavi decide to play it smarter. Sooner or later someone would find them again but they couldn’t take the risk of another direct bond. They needed a filter, something that wouldn’t allow human hosts to bond with the Lucavi directly, but would still allow their power to pass through, to corrupt and bend the humans’ wills to their biddings.

Thus, they created the Zodiac Stones.

Fast forward a few hundred years and Ajora Glabados finds, lo and behold, the Zodiac Stone of the Lucavi leader, Ultima. But instead of trying to control and corrupt Ajora, sensing his ambition, Ultima offered the spy turned religious leader an alliance, which also explains how he managed to find other Zodiac Stones so quickly to give to his ‘disciples’. But we all know how Ajora’s tale ended. The saint was killed, and a sudden flood wiped out the region of Mullonde.

1000px-FFXII-International_PromoArtNow… One may ask himself, this is the leader, the strongest of the Lucavi. If they were in perfect synchrony, how the hell did they get Saint Ajora on the chopping block? He wasn’t killed in battle, he was executed. Well, think about Final Fantasy Tactics’ endgame. According to Hashmal, Ultima actually died when Saint Ajora was killed, because their goal in the game is to resurrect their leader. To bring her back to life. Once they do that, they will no longer be tied to the Zodiac Stones or to human host bodies, and they will be able to exist on their own.

Do you see? Can you understand the measure of Ultima’s Thanatos Gambit?

Ultima knew that she was powerful enough to break the bonds of her companions, but not when her own powers were dampened. But she also knew that there was one way for the bonds placed on her to be destroyed… Death. Death would free her.

Saint_Ajora_by_AngeliqIf you think about it like this, it makes perfect sense as to why she allowed Saint Ajora to be executed. She was planning this all along! She would be killed and as such freed from the bonds of her earth prison, and when her subjects resurrected her, she would be powerful enough to break their own chains. From there, they would go to free their companions still trapped in the bodies of Vaan and friends and then, to wage their war on the world and the gods who imprisoned them to begin with.

Thankfully, they put themselves in the way of Ramza Beoulve and his friends. People so badass that they managed to avoid capture and execution for heresy, save the world, defeat Ultima and even survive the whole ordeal, according to game writer and director Yasumi Matsuno.

So, Ivalice and the world can’t help but be ever thankful to Ramza and his friends for their services, and wish them a happy retirement somewhere far away from their homeland… Although, we have to wonder, will Vaan, Penelo and everyone else be able to keep their own Lucavi demons down for all eternity? Or will those six remaining Lucavi eventually manage to emerge from their prisons, with powerful heroes of times past as their vessels? I think Ramza’s work is still not done, ladies and gentlemen.

And thinking that we probably will never see this happen only makes me incredibly sad.

But this is just a theory… That makes an awful lot of sense. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment and check out MatPat’s videos. If you liked this article, you’re going to adore his videos.

About Meinos Kaen

Meinos Kaen is the secret author identity of one Simone Simeone, born and raised in Italy since anno domini 1988. You’ll never find a person with a harder accent to pin to a precise geographical location, be it Italian or English he’s speaking. God help us all if he ever manages to actually learn Japanese.
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4 Responses to The horrible truth behind Final Fantasy XII

  1. James McCain says:

    This is just a theory… A game theory.

    -The Epitome of Eccentricity, Fanfiction Extraordinaire

  2. Farmer_10 says:

    Decent theory. My money’s on it being all Zodiark’s fault somehow. According to the lore, he’s an even bigger badass than Ultima. I mean look at this shit: “Strongest of the scions created by the gods, they feared his growth, and so kept him a child. So indomitable is his strength that all things are by him twisted and pressed into oblivion”. That sounds pretty damn apocalyptic to me.

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