Final Fantasy Friday: The Final Act

Final Fantasy Friday

Even the most epic stories must eventually come to an end.  Even The Neverending Story had a final page, and I suspect even the freemium Brave Exvius will eventually come to a halt.  Stories rely on their endings for resonance.  You can’t truly talk about them until you know where they end up and how all of those threads draw together.  So with that in mind…

What is your favorite Final Fantasy ending?

A story doesn’t have to have a happy ending in order to be satisfactory.  In fact sometimes a happy ending is woefully misplaced.  The ending should fit the narrative.

In light of that, this is a really .hard question for me to answer lol.  FFVI was the first Final Fantasy ending I ever saw, and I absolutely loved it.  It was so joyful, so full of hope, and I remembered being inspired by it for days afterwards.  It perfectly exemplified and  framed the theme of hope in the game and could very well be the reason my favorite stories are the kinds that are dark and sorrowful with a joyous conclusion.  This bleeds into writing, as well.  Oh, I’ll make my characters (often literally) crawl through hell before they can bask in the light.  They have to earn their happy ending.

However, contrary to the above, I didn’t have a problem with FFVII’s ambiguous end.  It made sense for the narrative (despite what one of the writers at Screenrant seems to think *rolls eyes*), because VII’s story is filled with shadows, secrets, and silence.  It lets its questions resonate without fully providing an answer.  This is clear in the fact that people are still debating what really happened and who is truly at fault.  Though VI explicitly invokes Pandora’s Box, in VII it’s subtly unleashed, but what lies at the bottom is horror not hope, that was extinguished after a prayer.  As the most in line with current events, the game leaves the fate of humanity unknown, because it is (of course this was expunged in the sequel)..

FFVIII’s dreamlike conclusion once more fits the story of the game where the characters enter seemingly trance states to view the past, and according to one theory, all the events after the end of Disk 1 are a dream anyway. In opposition to this FFX has an enlightened and awakened feel to its end, which is a contrast from the state of two of its characters whose names I’ll keep hidden for spoiler’s sake.

FFIX reveals its ending in a play after a necessary redemption, lending the game a similar bookendish quality in mimic to FFVII.  Since it starts out like a subverted fairy tale, a thief kidnapping a princess who “wants to be snatched,” it stands to reason that it would end in a similar way, though not without its portion of despair *spoiler* Oh Vivi ;_; *end spoiler*

So which one is my favorite?  I have to go with Final Fantasy VI.

Though FFVII on a whole holds more powerful emotions for me, FFVI was the first Final Fantasy I finished on my own, and I still remember how amazing I felt because it was a story that showed how hope could still bloom from despair.  It recalls me back to a more innocent time at the end of my childhood before cynicism took hold.  I know if I played FFVI for the first time today, I’d enjoy the ending, but it wouldn’t have the same impact.

What’s your favorite Final Fantasy ending?  If Final Fantasy isn’t your thing (or you haven’t played any yet), what’s your favorite video game ending?  Which had the biggest emotional impact on you?


33 thoughts on “Final Fantasy Friday: The Final Act

  1. I actually really liked the original Mass Effect 3 ending, making me the only person in the world who says that, probably. I liked how the most important part of the story was left open to interpretation in a sort of Schrodinger’s box type way. It was unsettling and jarring, and the abruptness of it really seemed, to me, to convey the wheeling feelings that accompany a sudden end to a years-long conflict. *wanders away babbling about Mass Effect*

    Let’s see… The end of Twilight Princess I loved and hated and loved because I hated it, which prompted a fanfiction haha. And… I loved the ending to Gone Home. I was terrified about what I was going to find in the attic and, well, it was just so well done. Or the ending of Flower, just because it’s so exuberant…

    Hm. Well, I’m going to call it now and say Final Fantasy 13 will eventually and officially be the first FF game I’ve completed, so it will probably have my favorite ending out of all the FF games I will have played by that point 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m ever so slowly inching closer to the end of ME3 where I’ll give my final and official opinion lol. I had one when I first saw it, but I hadn’t watched the entire series from start to finish, so I did a lot of bandwagon hopping. I did the same thing when it came to judging FFXII when I’ve never played it. Sadly, that’s a vestige of my youth I’m still trying to shake.

      What didn’t you like about the end of Twilight Princess? I 100% understand writing a fanfiction when something you love leaves you wanting more. It’s why I wrote Northern Lights, because that aspect of FFVII bugged the hell out of me *grumble*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, it’s cool. Mass Effect 3’s ending pissed a lot of people off.

        And I didn’t like that Midna went back into the Twilight and destroyed the mirror. I mean, it was a great ending and it had to be that way, but she was by far my favorite character and I tried to work out a way for her to come back (which, sadly, even in my fiction it didn’t work so she wound up leaving at the end anyway. Ugh.). Also, I ship Midna and Zelda as being closer (either as friends or more) than the game let on, so when it *did* get to the end, it was even more poignant than in the game. I didn’t so much “fix” anything as make it more emotionally traumatic haha.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You actually reminded me of the endings I hate the most, now that you’ve mentioned Twilight Princess’s. I really dislike when a magical world loses all or a portion of its magic, which is a bit ironic I suppose since that’s what happens at the end of Final Fantasy VI lol. I think I took the hope of the ending too heart, and it was enough to override my usual dislike of that paradigm. It’s like, the real world is mundane enough, I don’t want to have a story where magic leaves the land, because then I’ll think “What if this world was once like this, and I missed that awesome age.”

          Midna is by far my favorite Zelda character, too. The way she was written, she’d have to go back, but, yeah, total bummer. It’s a similar vein to the end of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman in terms of that “Magic leaving the world,” or the probably progenitor of that trope Lord of the Rings :\

          Liked by 1 person

          • Our world once was like this. Hobbits still exist, after all. We just can’t see them because they hide from humans now 😉

            I agree that the “magic leaving the world” idea is a pretty depressing one, even if it’s necessary for story purposes. There’s something strangely comforting about thinking about a world having some sort of tangible magic in it, rather than magic we need to search out or create for ourselves.

            Liked by 1 person

            • True, I mean LOTR does take place in Middle-Earth, which is what Midgard means lol. I’m reading The Poetic Edda right now, and while I knew Tolkien was influenced by Norse Mythology, I never knew quite how much. There’s also Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung to consider, too.

              It’s such a downer ending. I vowed to never ever end any story I write like that ever!

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that VI’s ending is so drawn out, and that everyone’s theme gets played during it. I would ultimately go with IX’s ending for the beautiful reunion between the main lovers. It’s such a happy conclusion for one of my favorite couples. VIII’s was happy too, I guess, but it’s also one of my least favorite FF couples. 😛 X’s is great too as a bittersweet one, though I usually have to retcon X-2 from my memory to accept that ending. Worst ending goes to XV, and I’ll leave it at that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?? That was one of the best ending themes ever with everyone’s leitmotif in a 20 minute medley. I definitely agree with you about IX. I love that Kuja gets a redemption arc, but IX is of course bittersweet because of Vivi 😦

      I’m not a fan of RInoa and Squall as a couple either, which is really a shame, because they’re SO hyped for the game even so far as being the cover insignia. I think VIII is the only game that does that, and they’re honestly the weakest couple in the franchise, at least in terms of narrative.

      I’ll keep that in mind for XV lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, it’s difficult for me to choose between 7 and 9 (though to be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced 6’s!). I love how in 7 Aerith sort of triumphed beyond death, but 9 is very heartfelt and bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • VII is definitely an example of “there are things that death can’t conquer,” and I love that. VII also made me love the bookend ending, since Aeris is the first and last person you see. Honestly, she’s the most important person in the entire game, but you (the player) are so wrapped up with what’s going on with Sephiroth and Cloud, you can miss that it’s really a battle between Aeris and Janova o.O

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You keep reminding me I still have so much Final Fantasy left to experience… I’ve decided I’m working on my Bioware backlog first though. I really respect the diversity they offer and their games have been caged by my backlog monster for far too long!

    My favourite FF ending is Lightning Returns. I wanted to shed many tears of joy at how beautiful it was. It was also bittersweet since it marked the end of my 3 game journey with Lightning. I still miss fighting fate with her 😦 Runner up is FFX, my first. It was so emotional and the music in the credits almost did me in, haha. To date only two games have actually made me break down and start sobbing uncontrollably – The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m really partial to the first one’s ending. Something simple, yet bittersweet, “you saved the world but nobody will remember your existence”, it really got me back in the day, and still stands out to me now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The end of the first Final Fantasy really shocked me with out trippy it was. I was NOT expecting that amount of depth from it, but now that I’ve seen it, it’s set fire to a ton of theories I have about the series as a whole. I thought only FFVIII had a time loop thing going on, though the time thing does happen in FFX, too, at least with “dreams” of the future hehe. While FFI doesn’t have any character development, it sets the basis for the “light warrior” archetype that continues throughout the series.


    • Squeenix knows how to do an ending cinematic scene. You can say a lot about them, but you can’t deny that.

      I’m STILL fucked up over SOMA. I was watching/listening to Chris’s discussion video today at work. I only got through about an hour (it’s two and a half), but it gave me some more insights. Looks like I’ll be writing another long form review/essay type deal for this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t watched any of his discussion videos, but I imagine they’re quite good. His Bloodborne LP was super informative as a new player and he’s just great about presenting his runs from the perspective of the average enthusiast instead of focusing on being an entertainer. He’s entertaining *because* of that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was really good. I only got through a bit, but I picked up more things to talk about. I really like that he’s thorough with his LPs. My husband watched someone else do SOMA, and they finished it in 7-8 hours; they’d already played it, so they knew where to go/what to do. I like that Chris was new to it, so even though I wasn’t playing, I still felt involved since it was new to both of us. He also made his decisions really carefully, and talked out his mental process for the decisions he made. I didn’t agree with all of them, but I understood why he made them and respected his reasoning. You can tell he’s really into the games and cares about it. The worst thing even is watching an LP where the person doesn’t give a shit about the game or mocks it while they’re playing. Like you’re making an LP. At least act like you care.

          I need to go through all of his LPs and see what else I want to watch. I already have Bloodborne on that list.


  6. Any ending that doesn’t feature cheesy Leona Lewis music is okay in my book 😉

    I think FF8 is my fave. Seeing that Squall made it in the party end credits was cool. FF9 is beautiful too, although bittersweet when you realize the narrator is Vivi. FF10 had a good ending, although some of its emotional impact was hurt by FFX-2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But…did he??? I’m pretty much kidding. There’s that theory that he’s actually dead and everything that happens is a dream anyway, but I haven’t played the game recently enough to have sufficient evidence for this. I’m glad VIII had a happy ending for everyone actually. Well, not Ultimecia or Adel, since they were pretty much just evil to be evil, but Seifer was a misguided and confused teenager used as a pawn. I was happy him and his two cronies made it to the end. I think VI and VIII are the only ones (of the ones I’ve played) that have a wholly happy ending. I haven’t played X-2, but I have heard the words “dress sphere” and that makes me sad.

      Liked by 1 person

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