End times is a recurring story element in the Final Fantasy series, where the world either is heading toward destruction, or meets its end by some manner. In cyclical worlds, when an era comes comes to an end, another takes its place. In some installments, the coming of the end is prophesied in some manner. The player characters generally work towards averting the coming end. The end times in the series are known by various names, such as cataclysm, Apocalypse, or final days. End times imagery within the games often derives influence from real world mythologies and religions. The coming of the end times in the games is typically shown with the sky or the moon glowing red, bathing the landscape in an ominous hue.
The cataclysm is the destruction of the World of Balance, shifting the world to the World of Ruin. This happens when Kefka Palazzo moves the Warring Triad out of alignment, shattering the world's main continents into a series of islands, releasing many ancient sealed monsters, and killing countless people and animals. In the ruined world that follows many plants refuse to grow, monsters infused with magic roam the wasteland, and Kefka is worshiped as a god. Though the world is already in ruin, Kefka still seeks to destroy more of it, reigning unopposed.
When Sephiroth summons the Meteor, its fiery looming form overtakes the view of the firmament and the world descends into chaos. Some fight to find a way to avert the impending end of the world, while others fall into despair and apathy. With only limited time available until the world will meet its end, Shinra Electric Power Company hatches a plan to destroy the Meteor with a rocket loaded up with Huge Materia. However, the world's only hope may be Holy, the Ultimate White Magic.
The future world where Squall Leonhart and his friends travel via time compression is a lifeless place where Sorceress Ultimecia reigns supreme and the SeeD have been defeated. Ultimecia is in the process of absorbing all of time and space into her own body, essentially becoming the world itself.
Final Fantasy XIII series
In the climax of Final Fantasy XIII, the planetoid Cocoon comes crashing down upon the world of Gran Pulse. The complete destruction of both worlds and humankind is averted, but most of Cocoon is effectively destroyed. The event comes to be known as the Day of Ragnarok, in allusion to Norse mythology. The destruction had been foretold by seeress Paddra Nsu-Yeul of the Farseers tribe.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the world again faces destruction as the now-crystallized Cocoon's fall would lead to ecologic collapse and eventually, mankind's extinction in a desolate wasteland known simply as the Dying World. Noel Kreiss, who believes he may be the last human alive, embarks on a journey through time with Serah Farron to change the course of history, but in doing so end up with a different end of the world scenario: the mysterious destructive power of the unseen realm, chaos, erodes the demarcation between the worlds of the living and the dead. Time stops, shifting the world into Nova Chrysalia, a world doomed to be destroyed by the chaos that now runs free.
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning becomes the savior whose job is to save the souls of the still-living people in wait for the coming of the new world in the wave of the old one's destruction. She has 13 days as the "doomsday clock" perpetually counts down the world's final hours. The world's final end is known as the Apocalypse. A chain reaction will occur when the planet goes supernova and collapses into a black hole that sucks in the chaos and anything else within its gravity to create a new unseen realm.
In the Final Fantasy XIII series, which has come to be known as the Lightning Saga, the universe is always coming to an end from the point of view of the god Bhunivelze, who wants to rule an eternal world where nothing is ever destroyed and no one will ever die. To make this vision come true, his servants orchestrate various plans across the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series.
The original world's destruction came to be known as the "Final Days", where the populace's fears manifested into tangible terrors that plunged the world unto despair and endless destruction. In the climax, the war between Hydaelyn and Zodiark shattered the very fabric of reality into the Source world and its thirteen shards. The few survivors of the original world try to restore it, while a rogue member of their ilk seeks to bring the Final Days back to the currently stabilized world to re-enact the world's destruction once again.
Long night is an ecological disaster on the world of Eos where sunlight will permanently disappear from the world, leading to the eventual extinction of all life on the planet, as only daemons can exist in such a world. Only the prophesied King of Light is said to be able to bring dawn back, and when the world plunges into darkness, the survivors await for his arrival.
The Cataclysm was a catastrophic disaster that permanently changed the world less than 1200 years ago, though its exact nature is unknown. According to legend, humanity was saved from its effects by the Hero-King Mesa.
Tempus Finis is the predestined end of the world of Orience where the Judge acts as the arbiter on the world's l'Cie; if none is capable of rising to the position of Agito, the Judge will commence the end and rebirth of Orience in an endless spiral. The Nameless Tome is an ancient book said to predict the coming of Agito and Tempus Finis. When the world's end is at hand, the oceans turn black and the skies turn red, and the Judge's abode Pandæmonium rises into the sky.
The Day of Reckoning is an apocalyptic event that occurs in the year 2026. Due to the influence of Marilith of the Four Chaoses, the country of Ajima attacks the nation of Westa with the Flare Cannon, a nuclear military weapon stolen from CID Inc. by Maina. Mootie, a young eidolon, attempts to defend humanity from the attack by deflecting the blast with Megaflare; however, in doing so, Mootie is influenced by Chaos and transforms into a corrupted version of his true form, named Bahamut, the God of Destruction. Bahamut casts Megaflare on the planet, which causes the earth to become scorched and inhabitable for humanity, a state that continues as of the year 2499.