When Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997, it brought the JRPG genre into the mainstream. The next Final Fantasy game would be released a year later, yet it would remain in the shadow of VII. Final Fantasy Tactics was a highly acclaimed game on the original PlayStation, but it was not as big of a seller as the other titles in the series.
While Final Fantasy VII is the most famous game in the series, it has aged very poorly. In comparison, Final Fantasy Tactics is still as great now as it was when it was released. It has beautiful sprite art, an amazing score, incredibly addictive gameplay, and a story that wouldn’t seem out of place on Game of Thrones.
We are here today to look into the most unjustly underappreciated game in the Final Fantasy series. From the bizarre game that almost bore its name, to the true fate of its protagonists.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Final Fantasy Tactics!
15. The Original Final Fantasy Tactics
In 1996, Squaresoft released a new RPG on the Super Famicom. It was called Bahamut Lagoon, and it had a very unusual premise. The setting of Bahamut Lagoon was a series of floating continents, each of them holding their own cities and cultures. You play as Byuu, the leader of a squad of dragon riders. The core gameplay involves you training and feeding your dragons, in order to make them stronger in combat. While Bahamut Lagoon was never released outside of Japan, the game has received a fan translation that allows it to be played in English.
The main reason we never received Bahamut Lagoon in the West was due to the fact that it was created near the end of the Super Nintendo’s lifespan. During its creation, it was originally called Final Fantasy Tactics, as the game has a few connections and references with the Final Fantasy series. This name was dropped, and given to the Final Fantasy Tactics that was released a year later in Japan.
14. The Japanese Sound Novels
As you progress through the story of Final Fantasy Tactics, you will be given the opportunity to send some of your party members off on specific missions. These usually involve them disappearing for a few days worth of travel, and returning with lots of experience & job points, and occasionally, some unique items. Your characters can discover either Artefacts (items that come from other Final Fantasy games and real world mythology) or Wonders (abandoned locations from other Final Fantasy games). The Artefacts and Wonders have no in-game effect and just exist as fan service.
In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy Tactics, there are a series of minigames that can be unlocked by discovering certain Artefacts. These are known as “Sound Novels“, and they are essentially short versions of the Choose Your Own Adventure series of gamebooks. The Sound Novels follow the adventures of different characters from the history of Ivalice.
The Sound Novels were left untranslated in the English version of Final Fantasy Tactics, which was likely due to time restraints. They were not restored for the War of the Lions version of the game on the PlayStation Portable either.
13. The Young Saint Ajora
In the world of Final Fantasy Tactics, the most prominent religion is the church of Glabados. The priests of this faith worship a figure known as Saint Ajora, who existed over a thousand years ago. Ajora was said to be a prophet of god, who was betrayed by Germonique, who was one of his disciples. When Ajora was killed, the city of Mullonde was destroyed by a tidal wave, which many saw as an act of god.
Throughout Ramza’s journey, he discovers that there is more to the story of Saint Ajora than what the church believed. Final Fantasy XII also confused matters further, by claiming that Saint Ajora was also a woman (something that is supported in the last battle of Final Fantasy Tactics).
It seems that we were originally going to see more of Saint Ajora’s story. There is an unused character portrait for him hidden within the files of Final Fantasy Tactics. This has led fans to believe that we may have seen a flashback of Saint Ajora during his lifetime, or that he was going to have a bigger role in the story.
12. The Scrapped Hospital Battle
Final Fantasy Tactics is at its most difficult when it changes the rules. Most battles in the game take place between two groups of enemies, that are placed on either side of the field. There are points in the game when Ramza is separated from the other members of his party, or the enemy is given a key location advantage (like starting out with Archers who are in high spots that are hard to reach).
At one point in Final Fantasy Tactics development, there was meant to be another experimental battle in the game. There are a series of four maps that were supposed to represent a hospital in the slums. They would have connected to each other through a series of doors, which would you allow a character to move between areas. No one is sure what purpose this location would have been used for, but the idea of a battle that restricts party members to different maps would have made for an interesting battle.
11. Let’s Do The Time Mage Warp
Like most games in the Final Fantasy series, Tactics has its fair share of bugs and glitches. One of the most infamous involves an unusual character whom many believed was an intentional inclusion by the developers.
Should you attempt to complete the Midnight’s Deep dungeon, then you have a chance of encountering a male Time Mage on the 1st floor. If killed, this Time Mage will use the female death scream sound. Should you make this Time Mage join the party (using the Invite command), then he will retain his unique gender. While this Time Mage uses the male job sprites, they can also use all the female exclusive items and classes. Should you transform them into the Dancer class, then they will look like the Bard, but possess all of the Dancer’s abilities. This unit is often referred to as the “Dragqueen” by fans.
When Final Fantasy Tactics received an updated port on the PlayStation Portable, the Time Mage was removed from this version of the game. This has confirmed that their presence was unintentional, and was caused by a glitch.
10. The Rare Encounters
Final Fantasy Tactics has often been accused of being both the easiest and most difficult game in the series. It is considered to be too easy, due to some of the extremely powerful job/ability combinations that you can create. This is to say nothing of the overpowered guest characters that can join your party. Final Fantasy Tactics is also known for being extremely difficult, due to some unfairly hard battles. The Dorter Trade City fight stacks the odds against you, while Riovanes Castle waits to throw some of the most brutally difficult battles in the game at you, without giving the player a chance to go and level grind.
To those seeking more of a challenge in Final Fantasy Tactics, there are some incredibly rare battles that are worth seeking out. Chances are, you will not see these battles during a regular playthrough.
The first pits you against eleven Monks at once. This battle can be found on Grog Hill. You will be in for a rough ride here, as the Monk job is one of the most overpowered in the game.
In the Yuguewood, it is possible to battle against seven Samurais at once. This is most likely a reference to the movie Seven Samurai.
The third battle takes place on Barius Hill and has you fighting against a collection of some of the most powerful monsters in the game.
9. The Real Overpowered Character
One of the most notorious characters in Final Fantasy Tactics is Cidolfus Orlandeau, who is often referred to as Thunder God Cid. He is a former general of the Order of the Southern Sky, who is framed for the murder of Duke Goltanna by Delita. This was part of a larger plan by Delita, as he intended for Cid to escape and to join Ramza. Delita knew that Cid would be a major asset in Ramza’s quest to stop the Lucavi.
If you allow Cid to join the party, then the rest of the game becomes a joke. Not only does Cid possess most of the unique special attacks, but his job (the Sword Saint) has the highest stat growth in the game. He also comes equipped with a powerful Excalibur sword, which grants auto-haste.
There is another unique character who is actually more powerful than Cid. Ramza will have the opportunity to invite Agrias Oaks, the Holy Knight, into the party. Agrias has access to a range of powerful sword attacks, and can also equip a female exclusive item, known as the Chantage. This is a perfume that grants her the auto-raise ability. If you have more than one female party member that uses the Chantage, then your party cannot be defeated by anything that a one turn party kill.
8. L…i….t…t…l…e M…o…n…e…y
One of the earliest cutscenes in Final Fantasy Tactics shows Ramza and Delita during their days at the Academy. They are given a speech by one of their instructors, before being dispatched to deal with a group of bandits. Before this scene plays out, we are shown text on the screen which discusses the current situation in Ivalice. After a long war, many soldiers returned home, only to find themselves destitute. This caused many people to turn rogue, which lead to the formation of a revolutionary group, known as the Corpse Brigade.
The most peculiar thing about the text during this scene is how slowly it plays at a certain point. When the words “little money” appear on screen, each individual letter shows up at an incredibly slow pace, as if the game is trying to draw attention to this point.
When comparing the English localisation of the game to the versions released in other languages, it seems that this was a glitch. The text plays at a consistent speed in the non-English versions of the game.
7. The Nose Controversy
Fans have waited a long time for a true sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics. While the Advance series of games are entertaining enough on their own, they lack the drama and setting that made the original Tactics so good. With the game’s creator, Yasumi Matsuno, leaving Square Enix in 2005, the chances of a proper Tactics sequel arriving are slim.
While Final Fantasy Tactics might be gone, for the time being, that doesn’t mean it is forgotten. The characters and music from the game have appeared in the Theatrhythm series, and Ramza has appeared in several of Square Enix’s mobile games.
The Dissidia Final Fantasy series has a new entry in the arcades, which will likely see a release on the PlayStation 4 in the future. Ramza Beoulve is one of the new playable characters in the game. His appearance was not without controversy, however, as he now has a nose. No one in Final Fantasy Tactics had a nose, which was an intentional aesthetic choice. According to the character designer of the game, there were serious discussions over whether Ramza should have a nose.
6. The Short Second Life Of Argath Thadalfus
One of the most despicable characters in the Final Fantasy series is Argath (originally known as Algus in the PlayStation version of Tactics). He is not some wannabe god monster with anime hair, whose motives and personality are not meant to be taken seriously. Argath looks down on the people he is sworn to protect, for no other reason than he believes himself to be above the common people. He murders Delita’s sister, Teta, in order to get to the man who is holding her hostage. Argath needs to be killed for the proceeding battle to end, though you will likely want to do this anyway, as revenge for Teta’s death.
When Final Fantasy Tactics received an updated port for the PlayStation Portable, it included some new story content. You can meet Argath in battle once more, as he has returned to the world as an undead Deathknight. This gives you another chance to get revenge on Argath, and this time, it is even sweeter. In order to return to Ivalice, Argath sold his soul to the Lucavi. As his body is destroyed for the second time, he will return to a much darker fate in the afterlife.
5. The Elegant Flier
Final Fantasy Tactics is filled with unused content. Along with the Saint Ajora pictures and the hospital battle mentioned above, there are other dummied out battle maps, characters, and portraits. There is evidence to support the idea that characters like Simon, Orran, Valmafra, and Elidibs were meant to be playable characters at one point.
One of the most peculiar pieces of unused content in Final Fantasy Tactics involves a strange sprite, that appears on the job menu if you try and use a cheating device to add Teta into the party. Instead of Teta, you will see the sprite for a young dark skinned girl, who has pigtails in her hair and is dressed in fine blue and gold robes. The main theory as to this character’s identity was that she was a younger version of Rapha, whom may have been seen in a flashback.
The identity of this character was finally revealed by Yasumi Matsuno on Twitter. According to him, the character was called the Elegant Flier. Matsuno could not recall anything else about her, other than the name. This information at least confirmed that she is a new character, and not a younger version of Rapha.
4. Cloud’s Ribbon
One of the main reasons that Final Fantasy Tactics saw an international release was due to the massive success of Final Fantasy VII. It didn’t take long for Squaresoft to start releasing every single one of their games in America. This was especially true of their old SNES Final Fantasy games, which were all quickly recycled onto the PlayStation.
Even through Final Fantasy Tactics was released shortly after VII, Cloud Strife was already considered to be an iconic character. The fact that he showed up in Tactics as a playable character is a testament to this fact. Had it been a few years later, then he probably would have appeared on the cover as well.
Cloud is actually a powerful character in Final Fantasy Tactics. Most people don’t bother to use him, however, as he joins the party quite late into the game. Cloud actually has a unique trait among male characters in Tactics, which makes him even stronger. The Final Fantasy series has a recurring item, called the Ribbon, which grants total protection to status effects. In Tactics, only women can equip this item. Cloud is the exception to this, which is most likely a reference to the cross-dressing scene in Final Fantasy VII.
3. Agrias’ Birthday
Agrias Oaks is one of the most popular characters in Final Fantasy Tactics. Like Ramza, she has a strong belief in doing what is right, rather than what is expected of her. She is one of the first unique characters to join him on his quest, and she remains loyal to him throughout their journey. Agrias has also appeared in numerous other Square Enix games, as a representative of Final Fantasy Tactics (usually alongside Ramza).
In the updated version of Final Fantasy Tactics that was released on the PlayStation Portable (known as the War of the Lions edition), a new Agrias scene was added into the game, though most players likely missed it. This scene cannot be seen until you have reached the final chapter of the game. You need to have half a million pieces of gil, and to have kept Alicia, Lavian, and Mustadio in your party. Should you reach a city on the 1st day of Cancer, then you will see a scene involving Mustadio buying Agrias a birthday gift. He has bought her the Tynar Rouge accessory, which grants the protect, shell, and haste status. This scene implies that Mustadio has feelings for Agrias, though she remains blissfully unaware of his affections.
2. The Job Points Glitch
Final Fantasy Tactics might be the most unbalanced game in the series. Even if you remove the overpowered guest party members (like Agrias and Cid), you can still turn the generic random characters into unstoppable juggernauts. There are numerous ways you can go about this, and it doesn’t take much digging to discover how to do it. It seems that every single job has the potential to become godlike on the battlefield.
In order to become stronger, each character needs to learn new abilities that are associated with their job. To do this, they need to buy the abilities using job points, which are earned in battle. This can be a lengthy process, especially for the more powerful abilities.
If you can’t be bothered actually playing Final Fantasy Tactics, and just want to make super strong characters, so that you can finish the game as quickly as possible, then you can use the JP scroll glitch. This can only be performed with certain jobs in the original version of Final Fantasy Tactics. You can do the glitch by scrolling the page backwards and forwards whilst selecting an ability to purchase. This will give you the maximum amount of job points for that class.
1. The Fate Of Ramza Beoulve
One of the main themes of Final Fantasy Tactics is whether we should believe documents about the past. The entire church of Glabados is based on the belief that Saint Ajora was an angelic figure, which Ramza discovers is not true. Once the story of the game ends, it is revealed that the events we just witnessed came from an account written by Orran Durai, and may be suspect themselves (like how Orran’s family seems to be made up of badass warriors).
At the end of the game, Orran witnesses Ramza and Alma riding past on Chocobos. The last time we saw the two, they were trapped in another dimension, which exploded. Orran isn’t sure if the people he saw were actually Ramza and Alma.
The reason Orran doesn’t know the truth is because there is no Twitter in Ivalice. The creator of Final Fantasy Tactics revealed the truth about Ramza’s fate in a Twitter post. According to Yasumi Matsuno, he survived and fled to another country, where he went on to have a new adventure. If the day comes when Square Enix decides to stop making terrible cell phone games and make a true sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics, then maybe we will get to see Ramza’s adventures outside of Ivalice.