I’ve been wondering something for a while.
I first noticed this around the time that Final Fantasy X-2 came out. Though I’m not sure if the game featured the same theme, there are games that have been worked on by certain developers of Final Fantasy that all share the same story beats:
- There is a God, or at least an extremely powerful alien force, that has been guiding humanity’s evolution, or even created humanity.
- Said God does this in order to harvest something from humanity.
- In order for humanity to progress, humanity must fight against and defeat (or even destroy) the thing that created them. Or else, humanity will be gathered up and used by said thing for its own nefarious ends. A human harvest.
- Occasionally, defeating the thing that created them results in the world being forever altered, in such a way that human lives are made more-difficult, but are said to be more-meaningful. (Magic goes away; so, instead of just casting Fire, you have to use some flint to make a spark)
The games that feature this plotline, in one way or another, are:
- Chrono Trigger: Lavos functions like this. It is a planetary parasite that somehow manipulates and then uses the resultant evolved organisms for its own ends. After it’s done, the planet is left ruined, and its spawn go elsewhere, to complete the cycle again.
- Final Fantasy 6j: In an indirect way, magic has been ruining humanity’s ability to live peacefully with one another. Said magic is sourced from three statues, which, when destroyed, don’t really fix the problem; but when the person harnessing all of this power is destroyed, and the world is left bereft of magic, only then is the world allowed to heal.
- Final Fantasy 7: Jenova is basically just a weird The Thing version of Lavos. I don’t understand Jenova’s goals, but they destroy planets, basically.
- Final Fantasy 9: A bit confused, but the story beat of humanity being used for an alien’s nefarious ends seems to ‘rhyme’ with the book’s overall theme.
- Xenogears. Just, Xenogears. in general.
- Final Fantasy 4j: The After Years, in which an alien called the Creator comes and reveals that it is the one who created the Crystals, which serve as monitoring / recording devices.
- Final Fantasy 16 reveals that (spoilers) the crystals are pieces of a malicious God that works to ‘strengthen’ humanity, but to their own detriment. Eventually, if the crystals get their way, humanity would end up going exintct.
People often make fun of Japanese games as having a plot of ‘kill God’. But here’s my question: why do they have this plot? Who was the first? What was, or were, the singular or multiple inspirations that led to this current storyline? Because it’s far too specific to be just made by chance, I feel.
In Childhood’s End (keep in mind: I’ve never read this book, I’m just going off the Wikipedia synopsis, so that I can try to quickly make some story connections here):
- Aliens reach Earth. Secretly, these aliens look like demons.
- The aliens help human beings build a utopia.
- Though seen as beneficial, the aliens are suppressing humanity’s overall growth as a species.
- Instrumentality. That’s right, like in fucking Evangelion.
Though I have never seen anything mentioned in any analysis of these games, I believe that the reason why all of these games share the same general plot synopsis is because of Arthur C. Clarke’s book.
In general, this sort of storyline could be seen as a reaction to the introduction of Christianity to Japan. Christianity in Japan is viewed as a rather foreign, kind of fascinating mythology, and biblical references are made all the time in video games, with very little actual concern as to whether or not these references mean much of anything. Or, I should say, these references are usually made with as much thought as, say, a Western author using terms from Gnosticism. (See: Silhouette Mirage’s naming conventions; not to mention Sephiroth)
On the other hand, Final Fantasy’s general storyline is basically a replay of Star Wars. There’s always an empire; there’s always a rebellion; Biggs and Wedge are there. But the ‘evil alien God who wants to harvest humanity’ thing, there’s something there.
In Final Fantasy, there are always crystals. There’s always an evil alien God that acts as a parasite. Magic is always deleterious, and human beings are always better without it. But why is this story always the same, and what influences led to its creator coming up with this story?
I just can’t figure out what references they’re making, or what that’s inspired by.
If you have any idea, feel free to reach out to me on Bluesky, or by e-mail: icze4r @ gmail . com
I first noticed this when I was young, and the fact that it feels like there’s some reference that I’m just not getting has been like a splinter in my brain. It won’t leave me alone. Thanks