The Final Fantasy games feature numerous iconic monsters that have appeared across the series. Creatures like the moogles and the cactuars have become famous in their own right. with their likeness appearing in merchandise of the franchise. The most famous creature of the Final Fantasy series is the chocobo, to the point where it is considered to be the mascot of the games. Chocobos are large birds that can be used as riding mounts. There exist variations of chocobo that can scale mountains, run across water, and even fly, in order to reveal the secrets of the fantastic worlds to which they belong.
We are here today to look into the unusual history of one of gaming's most iconic mascots of all time. From their original lack of feathers to the ones that are chopped up and served at Square Enix events.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Chocobos!
15 They Were Originally Bald
The early Final Fantasy games had incredible concept art created by Yoshitaka Amano. He helped design many of the iconic monsters and characters that have appeared throughout the series. Amano has stepped back from this role in recent years, though he still creates promotional artwork for the newer Final Fantasy titles from time to time.
Amano may have been too good of a designer for the early Final Fantasy games, as the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo, and the Sony PlayStation all lacked the ability to do his work justice. The characters bore only slight similarities to his designs, though the monsters fared slightly better due to their larger sprites.
It might be for the best that Amano's work wasn't always adhered to, however, as he originally envisioned the chocobos as being bald. Amano's artwork for Final Fantasy II depicted the chocobos without feathers, turning them into far uglier creatures.
14 They Were Inspired By Nausicaa: Valley Of The Wind
The idea of using large birds as mounts is far older than the Final Fantasy series. This is a concept that appeared in ancient mythology before it ever graced a fairy tale or fantasy epic. With that being said, the most likely inspiration for the chocobos seems to have come from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the movie which is often considered to have been the project that created Studio Ghibli.
In Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, there is a race of large avian creatures known as horseclaws. These are used as mounts by the humans of the world, in order to better traverse the harsh environment. The horseclaws are almost identical to chocobos, though they commonly have black feathers rather than yellow. Black chocobos genuinely do exist in the Final Fantasy series and often possess the power of flight, unlike the horseclaws, whose wings did not function properly.
13 They Have Starred In Their Own Series Of Games
Due to the popularity of the chocobos, they have starred in their own video games. These have included numerous genres, ranging from dungeon crawlers to racing games. The inclusion of a chocobo protagonist generally means that the game will be more kid friendly than the average Final Fantasy title. These games generally receive above average reviews and are loved by Final Fantasy fans, even if the rest of the world is indifferent to them.
There have been several different Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon games over the years. These are roguelikes that feature a chocobo as the lead character, as it battles other Final Fantasy monsters in randomly generated dungeons. There was a Chocobo Racing game on the original PlayStation, which featured characters from several different Squaresoft properties (like Aya from Parasite Eve) as they battled on Mario Kart style courses. Chocobos have also appeared in numerous cellphone and social media games, which aren't worth your time.
12 The Black Chocobo Glitch
The Final Fantasy series has been filled with bugs and glitches. This is to be expected when the games can run anywhere from forty to one hundred hours of play. which makes it hard for them to be tested properly. Some of these glitches can help you defeat the final boss in a single move, whilst others can force you to restart your game.
In the SNES version of Final Fantasy V, it is possible to mess up your entire game by incorrectly parking your chocobo. If you land the black chocobo in the center square of the Great Forest of Moore on the world map, then you will be unable to retrieve it. Those who save at this point will be forced to restart the game, as the black chocobo is needed to access other parts of the map. This glitch was fixed in the Game Boy Advance and mobile phone ports of the game.
11 They Officially Made It Into Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is no stranger to unusual mounts. It is possible for characters to ride on everything from horses, to sharks, to dogs, to giant lions, and even dragons themselves. Paladins even receive their own free supernatural mounts that they can summon from the higher planes at a moment's notice.
Fans had wondered years how a chocobo would work in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. There had been many attempts to stat out the creature in online forums, with varying degrees of care given to game balance.
In 2004, the 323rd issue of the official Dungeons & Dragons magazine finally settled the matter and gave stats for the regular yellow chocobo. They actually have some really good stats, such as 18 Strength and 16 Wisdom. The only problem is that they have 2 intelligence, which is the average given to domestic animals. A chocobo-themed Druid might make for a powerful character.
10 The PocketStation Prison
In 1999, Sony released a console known as the PocketStation. It was able to load small games that appeared in regular PlayStation titles. The PocketStation was similar to the VMU that would later come to the Dreamcast. Sony decided not to release the PocketStation outside of Japan, due to its poor reception. This was a late decision, as PocketStation compatibility was included in Final Fantasy VIII and Saga Frontier II.
The lack of PocketStation support in the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VIII meant that you could not access the Chocobo World minigame and duplicate some of the rarest items in the game. If you want to play Chocobo World, then you can import a PocketStation from Japan, which will be compatible with the international versions of the game. The PC ports of Final Fantasy VIII also include their own versions of Chocobo World which can connect to the main game.
9 Eating The Fat Chocobo's Face
The Final Fantasy series has included giant variations of chocobos that are referred to as fat chocobos. These used to act as storage units for the player and would carry excess items for you. Fat chocobos have also sometimes appeared as summon monsters.
There is a Final Fantasy XIV-themed restaurant in Tokyo, called the Eorzea Cafe. This is an establishment that serves Final Fantasy related food and drinks, in a location that is made to resemble the kind of place you would eat in-game. One of the delicious meals you can order at the Eorzea Cafe is the "Fat Chocobo Curry". This is a curry dish that comes with a ball of rice in the shape of a fat chocobo's head, which you can devour with glee. If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be the Chocobo Eater monster from Final Fantasy X, then the Eorzea Cafe has you covered.
8 The Extinct Chocobo
Square Enix have always used inter-company references in their games. Cloud references Xenogears in Final Fantasy VII, while Lucca from Chrono Trigger appears as a character in the world of Xenogears. This is to be expected from a company with so many different franchises and intellectual properties under its control. If Square Enix ever decided to make a Super Smash Bros. style game, then they could easily fill it with recognizable characters.
Parasite Eve was a PlayStation RPG that was set in New York City during the end of the '90s. The game follows a police officer named Aya Brea, who has to stop a woman named Eve from creating the ultimate life form. Despite this, the game features cameos from chocobos. You can see a banner featuring a chocobo outside the American Museum of National History. There is also an exhibit inside the building which contains the bones of a creature that greatly resembles a chocobo.
7 The Time Travelling Chocobo
One of the protagonists of Final Fantasy XIII is a man named Sazh, who keeps a baby chocobo inside his afro. Sazh had purchased the chocobo to give as a gift to his son before the events at the start of the game separated them.
Sazh's baby chocobo appears in Final Fantasy XIII-2, though you wouldn't know this unless you dug through the game's datalogs. The character known as Chocolina, who acts as a merchant throughout the game, was once Sazh's chocobo. Chocolina looks like a sexy woman in a carnival outfit, so how did she change from a chocobo into a human?
According to the game's ridiculous story; Chocolina was transformed into a human by the Goddess Etro to help Serah and Noel on their journey and was given the ability to appear in all time periods at once. This means that Chocolina is kind of like the Doctor from Doctor Who in a more revealing outfit.
6 The Corruption Of Banon
Final Fantasy VI might be the glitchiest game in the entire series. This was partly due to its rushed development, which left several unused superbosses in the game's code. Final Fantasy VI also went out of its way to give all of its characters their own unique abilities, which weren't properly tested.
One of the most unusual glitches in Final Fantasy VI involves the chocobos. It is possible to find chocobo stables across the world, which will allow you to hire a chocobo that you can use to ride between locations. All of the permanent party members have specific sprites for the world map for when they ride on chocobos.
The glitch happens during the section of the game when you use Banon. He is only a temporary party member for a short period of time. It is possible to go out of your way to find a stable and ride a chocobo with Banon. This will cause the sprites on the world map to glitch out. as Banon was never given any chocobo riding data. The later ports of the game fixed this by defaulting to Terra if Banon tries to ride a chocobo.
5 There Was Going To Be A Chocobo Racing Game On The Nintendo 3DS
The Final Fantasy series was born on Nintendo systems. Squaresoft and Nintendo had a close relationship for many years, which led to the creation of many incredible games, such as Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. This relationship soured when Squaresoft jumped ship to the Sony PlayStation, for which they developed Final Fantasy VII. It took several years, but Nintendo and the company now known as Square Enix have made amends and now work together once more.
Square Enix now splits its focus between making games for Sony, Microsoft, Windows/Steam, and Nintendo. The Nintendo 3DS has featured some amazing Square Enix games, such as Bravely Default and the remakes of Dragon Quest VII and VIII. There was going to be a new game in the Chocobo Racing series for the 3DS at one point, which had the tentative title of Chocobo Racing 3D. The game was canceled without explanation, with no word of how far it was in development.
4 The Chocobo Crossovers
As the mascot of the Final Fantasy series, it is only natural that chocobos have encountered other famous video game mascots.
Final Fantasy was once considered to be the rival of the Dragon Quest series, with both games dominating the JRPG market. This rivalry ended when both of their creators merged into one company. The fans expected to see many Final Fantasy & Dragon Quest crossover games, and have mostly been left disappointed. This changed recently when Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest XI both crossed over with each other. You could encounter chocobos in the world of Dragon Quest XI during this crossover event.
Yokai Watch is one of the biggest new Nintendo franchises across the globe. The series has crossed over with Final Fantasy XIV, with many of the Yokai appearing as friendly companions within the game. Final Fantasy creatures would go on to appear in Yokai Watch 3, with Jibanyan (the Pikachu of the series) riding a chocobo in the game.
3 The Chocobo Helicopter
Final Fantasy IX originally looked a lot different. This was because it wasn't intended to be a main Final Fantasy game. It was originally called Final Fantasy Gaiden and would have acted as an homage to the older games in the series. This included character concepts for dragoons who served Bahamut and Hades being the final boss of the game, instead of Necron. The game underwent numerous changes before becoming the title that we now recognize as Final Fantasy IX.
According to the concept art of Final Fantasy IX; the game was originally going to feature a chocobo helicopter. This was an airborne vessel that was powered by several chocobos that flew around in a circle. It is a tragedy that this concept has never appeared in the series. Final Fantasy IX did do away with the horrible breeding aspect of Final Fantasy VII and it did receive the awesome "Chocobo Hot & Cold" minigame though, so everything is cool.
2 The Japanese Chocobo Jockey Game
The success of Final Fantasy VII helped to popularize the JRPG genre across the world. This allowed other franchises like Dragon Quest and Shin Megami Tensei to flourish outside of Japan. The Final Fantasy series itself benefited, as almost every game in the franchise has received an international release. Square Enix has even released English versions of some of their older games for the first time.
There have been a few rare instances of a Final Fantasy game not leaving Japan, as was the case with Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, which was a prequel game that was exclusive to smartphones. The original PlayStation had a chocobo horse-racing simulator, called Chocobo Stallion, that never left Japan. This was a game that was all about breeding chocobos on a farm and using them to win races. This was back when simulator games were still considered to be part of a niche genre, which is likely why it never made it overseas.
1 You Can Eat A Chocobo
Final Fantasy XV had one of the longest and most troubled developments in video game history. It took over a decade after its initial announcement for the game to finally hit stores. Many fans and reviewers refused to believe that the game would ever be released until the moment that they held it in their hands.
Square Enix didn't need to try hard in order to promote Final Fantasy XV, due to its name and the fact that it had a bizarre and mysterious development cycle. Despite this, they decided to go the extra mile and sell chocobo burgers at the 2015 Paris Game Week.
There was a food van set up outside the event which sold chocobo burgers, which were just chicken burgers with a different name. They must have thought it was a good idea to sell meat that was implied to have been carved off the series mascot. It would be like if Nintendo sold Yoshi burgers or Pikachu steaks at E3.
Final Fantasy XV allows you to ride chocobos, though Ignis never comes up with any great recipes for cooking them.