The Final Fantasy games will take you a long time to complete. If you aren’t willing to exploit glitches in order to reach the credits in a few hours like some manic speedrunner, then you’re looking at around a fifty-hour playtime in order to finish a Final Fantasy title.
The people at Square Enix (formerly known as Squaresoft) have a lot of space to fill in the Final Fantasy games. This gives them a lot of leeway to hide messages, references, and secrets within their games.
These can be obvious, such as naming characters after Biggs and Wedge from Star Wars, while others require a keen eye and a deep knowledge of pop culture to recognize.
We are here today to look at the secrets hidden across the many Final Fantasy games that even the die-hard fans aren’t aware of– from the true hero of Final Fantasy VII to the vermin ruler of Spira who was named after an outburst from another famous character from the series.
Here are the 15 Final Fantasy Secrets That Square Enix Never Thought You’d Notice!
15. The Best Adventurer In The World Of Final Fantasy VII Is A Guy Named Joe
Final Fantasy VII has its own equivalent to the Running Man from the Zelda series. If you enter the Chocobo Races at the Gold Saucer, then you will occasionally face off against an NPC racer named Joe. He rides a Black Chocobo that is programmed to always have higher stats than your own bird, even if yours is maxed out.
There is a reason why Joe is such an amazing Chocobo Racer, but it is hidden within a single piece of dialogue in Crisis Core. One of the NPCs in Sector 8 will tell you that they were saved from a monster by Joe, who rode into battle on the back of his Chocobo.
It makes sense that Joe has such an amazing (and game-breaking Chocobo) if he is an adventurer like the members of AVALANCHE. Unlike Cloud and his friends, Joe fights with a Chocobo instead of ganging up on monsters in a team of three.
14. EX BURST – A Problem Comes Along
There is a set of whips in Final Fantasy V that can be used as weapons in battle. The vast majority of players never bothered to use these, as the whips are restricted to two specific classes: the Beastmaster and the Freelancer.
The Beastmaster has the ability to capture an enemy monster and use them as a one-off summon attack. The process for doing this is annoying, so most people just stick to killing the enemies the old-fashioned way.
The Freelancer has the ability to equip every weapon and piece of armor in the game, so why bother with a whip when you could use Excalibur?
The information given for the most basic whip describes it as a weapon that should be used when a problem comes along. This is a reference to the song “Whip It” by Devo, which was the band’s biggest hit.
13. Omega Weapon & Shinryu Are Recurring Characters (Like Gilgamesh)
In Final Fantasy V, the player can battle two superbosses within the final dungeon. One of these is a robot named Omega Weapon, which will destroy the party with its futuristic weapons, and the other is Shinryu, which is a mighty dragon that guards the most powerful weapons with a range of devastating magical spells.
We didn’t get much of a backstory for Omega Weapon and Shinryu in Final Fantasy V. As time went on, the two of them reappeared throughout the series and were given a much bigger role in the lore.
It’s suggested that the version of Omega Weapon and Shinryu that you see in certain Final Fantasy games are actually the same ones each time. The lore states that Omega Weapon was created for the purpose of destroying Shinryu and that it has been pursuing the dragon throughout the multiverse in order to complete this mission.
12. The Realistic Ultima
Final Fantasy II was a bloodbath when it came to the temporary party members. Those who took Leon’s place in the party tended to suffer from a terrible fate before the game ended.
The most famous of these was Minwu, who was a high-ranking member of the Wild Rose Rebellion and one of the most powerful mages in the world. Minwu sacrifices his life to break the seal around the Ultima spell so that Firion can use its power to slay the Emperor.
Minwu shouldn’t have been so quick to throw his life away, as the Ultima spell is pretty bad. It barely deals any damage to the enemy.
The fact that Ultima was so bad in Final Fantasy II was an intentional choice by one of the programmers. Hiromasa Iwasaki decided that Ultima shouldn’t be powerful as the spell is so old that it would outdated. Hironobu Sakaguchi tried to force him to change it, but Iwasaki refused.
11. The Splash! Reference
The English localization teams that work on the Final Fantasy games are generally given a lot of freedom to include references that would be recognized by a western audience. This includes the references to the “Macarena” in Final Fantasy X and the Dream Brothers in Final Fantasy VI being named after the Three Stooges.
Final Fantasy also had a few unique references of its own in the English version of the game. The gravestone in the city of Elfeim originally bore the name of Link from The Legend of Zelda. This was changed to the grave belonging to Erdrick from Dragon Quest.
If you visit the Sunken Shrine, then the mermaids there will tell you of a former mermaid who grew legs and now lives on the surface. According to the mermaids, this lady’s name is Darryl. This is a reference to the movie Splash!, where Daryl Hannah played a mermaid who traveled to the surface world.
10. Cor Was Originally Going To Be A Member Of Noctis’ Gang
Final Fantasy XV features a cast of four characters. This sets it apart from the other games in the series, as it is the only main series Final Fantasy to not feature any female characters as party members, depending on whether you think the default characters in Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III have genders.
The story of Final Fantasy XV is as much about the relationship between the four party members as it is about Noctis’ journey to reclaim his throne.
At one point during Final Fantasy XV’s development, there was going to be a fifth party member. Cor was originally going to join Noctis on his journey, but he was eventually turned into a temporary party member, as the developers wanted to focus on the dynamic between a group of younger men.
9. The Hot Dogs In Final Fantasy VIII Aren’t Actually Hot Dogs
Zell is obsessed with eating hot dogs in Final Fantasy VIII, to the point where stuffing his face full of weiners may as well be his primary character motivation. The last scene involving Zell in the ending of Final Fantasy VIII involves him shoving hot dogs into his mouth.
The hot dogs that Zell are obsessed with aren’t actually hot dogs at all, though. In the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII, Zell is obsessed with eating flavored bread, which isn’t really a thing outside of Japan.
The only time we actually see the bread is during the ending of the game and they bear a superficial resemblance to empty hot dog buns, so the localizers decided to change the identity of the food into something that the western players would be more likely to recognize.
8. The League Of Final Fantasy Characters
The three Final Fantasy games that were released on the Super Nintendo (minus Mystic Quest) received updated ports on the Game Boy Advance. These ports included new post-game content in order to attract older fans who had already played the game.
In Final Fantasy IV Advance, a massive new dungeon called the Lunar Ruins was added, which had individual scenarios for each of the party members. In Cecil’s scenario, he must pass through a town that the player can use to buy rare equipment.
A pig-man in the town will ask you if you “are local?” This is a reference to a cult British comedy show called The League of Gentlemen. Two of the main characters in The League of Gentlemen were a pair of inbred shopkeepers with snout-like noses who asked everyone if they were local or not.
7. Conformer, Yuffie Fights Shinra Due To Blame
Yuffie’s ultimate weapon in Final Fantasy VII must have given the English localization team a heart attack, as its Japanese name is quite complex. In the English version of Final Fantasy VII, Yuffie’s best weapon is called the Conformer. In the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII, the weapon has a name which means “Quarrelsome Even Under The Same Heavens, Irreconcilable Vengeance.”
The true name of Yuffie’s weapon is based on a proverb related to revenge. The Conformer’s original name is all about seeking revenge for the death of a loved one.
This proverb is related to the fact that Yuffie is seeking revenge against the Shinra Corporation for the damage they did to her homeland during the last war.
In Yuffie’s case, she is seeking revenge for Wutai. It’s up to the Cloud and the rest of the party to teach her the error of her ways and how her quest for vengeance is only going to deal her harm in the long run.
6. Cid’s Name Spoils The Story
The villain throughout the first disc of Final Fantasy VIII is a witch named Edea. As the story progresses, the player learns that Edea is actually being possessed by a Sorceress from the future named Ultimecia.
Cid Kramer (the headmaster of Balamb Garden) actually founded SeeD in order to slay the current bearer of Ultimecia’s power, which was especially hard for him, as Edea was his wife.
Cid’s name is actually a spoiler for the story of Final Fantasy VIII. He was named after a real-life German inquisitor named Heinrich Kramer, who wrote several prominent books and papers on the subject of hunting witches. The most significant information was gathered into a book called Malleus Maleficarum.
5. The Secret Emerald Weapon Cameo
Emerald Weapon might be the most frightening monster in the Final Fantasy VII series. Not only it is one of the most powerful bosses in any Final Fantasy game, but it is an underwater horror that combines elements of H.P. Lovecraft and the Godzilla movies.
Emerald Weapon is a colossal creature that glides silently through the water, waiting to bring death to anyone foolish enough to enter its path.
Zack Fair was a lucky man, as he stood near Emerald Weapon without realizing the truth of what it was.
In Crisis Core, Zack can explore the crystal formations in the Banora Underground. If you look closely at the background of the north side of the first area, then you will see the still-slumbering body of Emerald Weapon.
4. The Quiz Card Commercial
The Final Fantasy games are often released years apart. Square Enix used to have several Final Fantasy games in development at the same time in order to ensure a steady stream of games.
This has changed in recent years due to the increased development time of games and the fact that they are always working on the online installments in the series.
It’s rare for Final Fantasy games to reference upcoming titles in the series. Final Fantasy IX actually has a commercial for Final Fantasy X hidden in the game, though most players will likely have missed it.
The enemy known as the Ragtime Mouse will ask players questions that he has written down on a card. If you look closely at the card, it has Japanese writing that says “Pop Quiz! FF10’s theme is GUTS! True or false?”
3. The Masamune Glitch Reference
Final Fantasy was a notoriously buggy game. This meant that a lot of the magic items and spells that appeared in the game didn’t function as advertised. These also included visuals elements within the game world, such as the invisible person within Corneria Castle that has no sprite.
Final Fantasy XII actually has a reference to an infamous bug in Final Fantasy that involves the critical hit ratio. In Final Fantasy, the critical hit ratio of a weapon was tied to its index number within the game.
This meant that the Masamune had a far higher rate of getting critical hits than other weapons, with criticals being seen 40% of the time, as it was the last weapon on the list. The Masamune in Final Fantasy XII also has a 40% critical hit ratio as a shoutout to the famous glitch.
2. Save The Queen References
Yasumi Matsuno was the man behind Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, though he eventually left the latter project. Matsuno is the creator of Ivalice, which also includes another game that he worked on called Vagrant Story, which is now considered to be loosely connected to the Final Fantasy series.
One of Yasumi Matsuno’s trademarks was including references to the band Queen. He had previously worked on Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, which both reference Queen songs in their titles.
Final Fantasy Tactics also has a subtle Queen reference, though it is not in the title of the game. The fourth chapter of the game is called “Somebody To Love”, which is also the name of a famous Queen song.
1. The VERMIN King Of Spira
Barret from Final Fantasy VII was famous for his outbursts, which were aimed at both his allies in AVALANCHE and his enemies among the Shinra Corporation.
This has led to some of the more famous quotes in Final Fantasy VII being attributed to him, such as him referring to the plate above Midgar as a pizza and calling a rope a “golden shiny wire of hope.”
When Barret encounters President Shinra in the Sector 5 Reactor, he calls him “King VERMIN!” It seems that the people at Square Enix took a liking to this name, as it went on to appear in Final Fantasy X-2.
One of the optional bosses in Final Fantasy X-2 is a giant insect known as King VERMIN! who awaits the Gullwings at the end of the Fiend Colony. This creature was named after Barret’s famous quote, which also includes the Japanese name for the monster.
Can you think of any other secrets that Square Enix hid in Final Fantasy? Let us know in the comments!
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