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The Final Fantasy series is one of the most successful video game series of all time. Stretching across 15 main series games and countless spin-offs, the series has became one of the leading forces in RPGs. One of the most unique elements of the series is the fact that each game features a new cast of characters in a new world, and as such, the series is constantly evolving and experimenting with new systems.
With each new game comes a new story, and the debate rages on about which game is the best. But not only that, each story has many layers to explore which, of course, prompts a huge number of fan theories. Series producer (among many, many other roles) Yoshinori Kitase discussed a number of those #FinalFantasy fan theories with Kotaku, and here's what he had to say about six of them.
1. Gogo Is Daryl
One of the great mysteries of #FinalFantasyVI revolves around the identity of the optional character, Gogo. As a player, you discover the Famed Mimic Gogo inside the belly of a Zone Eater but learn very little about him/her as the game goes on. Many have speculated that the mimic is, in fact, Daryl, the girlfriend of playable character, Setzer. Daryl supposedly died in a tragic accident before the events of the game.
Kitase-san was asked if this is true and said:
“That’s probably not true. I don’t think there’s any background setting like that. If that’s true, then because Daryl had that beautiful ending, if [she] ended up being Gogo, that would just destroy all that.”
Setzer and Daryl had a loving relationship that ended when they raced each other around the world; seeing that Daryl's airship was clearly superior to his own, Setzer conceded the race, but later found the wreckage of Daryl's ship after she failed to meet up with him. Setzer then placed the ship in a tomb dedicated to Daryl's memory until it was required for the assault on Kefka's Tower.
2. Squall Is Dead
#FinalFantasyVIII features another popular theory which states that the main character actually dies at the end of Disc One. After Squall charges down to battle the sorceress, Edea, she pierces him with a shard of ice. It's quite a well thought out theory — hell, there's a full website devoted to it. But once again, Kitase-san has revealed whether or not this is true:
“No, that is not true. I think he was actually stabbed around the shoulder area, so he was not dead. But that is a very interesting idea, so if we ever do make a remake of Final Fantasy VIII, I might go along with that story in mind.”
3. Rinoa Becomes Ultimecia
Another prominent theory is that the main antagonist of the game, the sorceress Ultimecia, is in fact a corrupted future version of Squall's love interest, Rinoa. Over the course of the game, Rinoa discovers that she has became a sorceress and is possessed by Ultimecia. Because of this, she asks Squall to be her knight if she ever loses control and he agrees. However, while he might have been interested in the previous theory, Kitase-san has a different view of this one:
“No, that is not true. I don’t think I’ll incorporate that even if we do remake the game. But that being said, both Rinoa and Ultimecia are witches, so in that sense they are similar, but they’re not the same person.”
4. The Knights Of The Round Are The Cetra Who Defeated Jenova
#FinalFantasyVII tells the story of Cloud Strife and his party who battle against Sephiroth, a former world renowned Soldier who discovered the truth about his past and went mad. As the story progresses we discover that Sephiroth's "mother" was in fact an alien parasite named Jenova that tried to take over a planet populated by the Cetra, the indigenous people of the planet who felt a spiritual connection to its life-force. As Jenova began assimilating the planet, a number of the Cetra began to fight back. Fans have speculated that the ultimate summon, the Knights of the Round, are the spirits of these warriors given life once again. Kitase-san discussed this theory:
“Everyone’s thinking too deeply, reading between the lines too much. That makes it difficult because if you think about it that way, we might have to make it that way. That’s definitely not true. They don’t have any background story attached to them.”
It's possible that fans may be looking too deeply into things...
5. Aeris Can Be Revived!
No, she can't. But that still hasn't stopped fans speculating on the (many) ways to revive the fan-favorite character. Pretty much since Final Fantasy VII was released, there've been myriad rumors suggesting ways to revive Aeris but alas, they've all proven to be false (except the handy cheat device). Aeris's death was a pivotal moment in the story, and Kitase-san explains that it was never on the cards for her to be revived:
“We did hear that there were talks amongst fans that if you use a bug in the game you can revive Aeris and she will be with you until the end of the game. It might be good in a fantastical story that you can revive the characters, but with FFVII, we wanted to really take another look at that, look at human life, and [make people] realize they don’t come back.”
As much as many fans might want her back, it's not going to happen, not even in the upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII. One thing's for sure, though, #SquareEnix will be desperate to make this moment as impactful as possible in the remake.
6. Final Fantasy X & Final Fantasy VII Take Place On The Same World
This theory revolves around the genius Al Bhed boy, Shinra, who assists Yuna on her sphere-hunting voyage across Spira. Late in the game, Shinra offers an intriguing piece of dialogue that implies he will be the founder of the Shinra company from Final Fantasy VII, which many fans took to mean that Final Fantasy X takes place in the distant past of Final Fantasy VII. This was the one theory that Kitase-san didn't completely disregard:
“I won’t completely come out and say that it is the same world. However, Shinra in FFX-2 was created by [Kazushige] Nojima, the scenario writer, and when he thought him up, he thought it might be good if people would imagine that after a few years after the story of Final Fantasy X-2, that person Shinra will grow up and start the Shinra company. So that is something that he did hint in there. That being said, I’m not gonna say that it’s the same.”
So, there you have it. Six fan theories and only one of them has a crumb of potential truth to it. Ultimately, these theories have come about because of the intricate stories that have been developed for each game in the series; fans have taken inspiration and tried to find answers. Perhaps they've looked a little too deeply into things, as Kitase-san says, but all of the fun of being a fan is finding new ways to enjoy a story.