FINAL FANTASY XIII
The New Tale of the Crystal
Like the light that shines through the Crystal,
the universe shines with multicolored content.Online description
Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy is the collective name of a series of games made under the Final Fantasy XIII label by Square Enix. Made in the same vein as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and the Ivalice Alliance collections, Fabula Nova Crystallis, which means "new tale of the crystal" in Latin, is based on various worlds and different characters, with each game "ultimately based on and expand upon a common mythos". The connection between the Fabula Nova Crystallis games could be compared to the one that exists between games like Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V: different universes but roughly the same crystal mythos.
Motomu Toriyama, the director of the Final Fantasy XIII series, has described the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology as not written like a detailed history book, but more like a fairy tale that gets passed on. He described it as containing a vast world and mythology that are tied to various deities, making it too large to be told in one game. He lamented that this approach was difficult for some players to understand in one game. The concept was so vast it resulted in creating obscure settings and a lack of explanation of the storyline.
Listed in order of game release:
- Final Fantasy XIII, released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (later released on Microsoft Windows through Steam and on iOS in Japan) is the thirteenth main Final Fantasy game. The game, following a group chosen to trigger an apocalyptic event, takes place across the world of Gran Pulse and the artificial planetoid of Cocoon.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 (formerly Final Fantasy Agito XIII), originally released for the PlayStation Portable and later remastered and brought to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. The story follows Class Zero, a group of elite Agito Cadets from the Dominion of Rubrum, as they fend off attacks from the Militesi Empire and become instrumental to the plans of those behind the war.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2, the direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, released for the same platforms as the original and again later digitally re-released on PC. It details the aftermath of Final Fantasy XIII, including how the events of the original game concluded.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the second sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, released for the same platforms as the previous Final Fantasy XIII games and again later digitally released on PC. The story, set on the dying world of Nova Chrysalia, ends the Final Fantasy XIII storyline.
- Final Fantasy Agito, was a companion game to Final Fantasy Type-0, released for Android and iOS. It had a port for PlayStation Vita in development, but it was cancelled; it was also announced for Windows 10. Using the same setting and many of the same characters as Final Fantasy Type-0, it played out as an episodic story that repeated and altered itself depending on player votes.
- Final Fantasy Awakening, a successor to Agito developed by exteral studio Perfect World, was released for Android and iOS. Using a similar setting to Type-0, the game focuses on multiplayer battles set within Orience's world.
Final Fantasy XV (formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII) started as one of the original entries in the subseries, and was considered such into 2015, but it was deliberately distanced from the series. Its current connection has been reduced to a thematic base upon which original lore has been built. The game follows a prince's quest for revenge after his country is invaded by an enemy power to gain control of the world's Crystal.
The three Final Fantasy XIII games and their accompanying media, with the release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, have been dubbed "the Lightning Saga", denoting their connection to the games' central character. The trademark Final Fantasy Haeresis XIII was registered in the United States on May 1, 2006 but there have been no announcements of plans to make a game of that title, and the trademark was abandoned on April 25, 2011. Square Enix registered a domain name for Final Fantasy XIII-3 on September 7, 2011, but no development plans were announced, and a representative of Square Enix noted the filing was to protect the Final Fantasy XIII IP and was not indicative of a new title. The third installment to the Lightning Saga was later released named Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Each of the "series" of games was made by a different team of developers within Square Enix. Lightning Saga games were developed by the team headed by Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama who had worked on Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, while Final Fantasy Type-0 and its spin-off, Agito, were developed by the team behind Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, headed by Hajime Tabata.
- Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, a web novel, later made into a CD drama, takes place in the weeks leading up to the events of Final Fantasy XIII.
- Final Fantasy XIII Gaiden Shōsetsu: Yumemiru Mayu, Akatsuki ni Otsu, a six-chapter novella included in the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega, taking place from the time of the discovery of the Pulse fal'Cie in Bodhum through the events of Final Fantasy XIII.
- Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, a novella released with Final Fantasy XIII International Ultimate Hits in Japan, which acts as an epilogue to Final Fantasy XIII, covering direct events following the game's ending.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before, a novella that delves into events between Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, filling some of the second game's narrative gaps.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After, a second novella set during and after the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2, completing the story arcs begun in Fragments Before and filling in further narrative gaps revolving around some of the secondary characters.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Chronicle of Chaotic Era, a cancelled prequel novella to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, detailing events that happened between that game and Final Fantasy XIII-2.
- Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-, a ten-episode novella, originally released through Famitsu magazine and then through a dedicated online website, which acts as the expanded epilogue to the Final Fantasy XIII games, tying into the epilogue scene of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and incorporating material from Chronicle of Chaotic Era.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 manga, an adaptation of Final Fantasy Type-0 that covers Chapters 1-3, while adding details and new events.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 Side Story: The Ice Reaper: A prequel manga set around nine years before the events of Final Fantasy Type-0 that explores the story of Kurasame Susaya.
- Final Fantasy Type-0: Change the World -The Answer-: A novel adaptation of Final Fantasy Type-0, that depicts the penultimate cycle of the spiral and its story starts to diverge from that of the game.
- Final Fantasy Type-0: Change the World -The Penultimate Truth-: Sequel to Final Fantasy Type-0: Change the World -The Answer-.
The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos was revealed in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011. The mythos is reintroduced in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII through murals in the Temple Ruins.
The universe is divided in two coexisting realities—the mortal world, the realm of the living, and the unseen realm, the realm of the dead. In the beginning, the god Bhunivelze had killed his mother, Mwynn, to take full control of the mortal world and Mwynn was sent into the unseen world. The troubled Bhunivelze believed Mwynn had placed a curse on the realm of the living so that it would one day be destroyed. Bhunivelze sought to destroy his mother once and for all, but was unable to reach the unseen world without giving up control of the mortal world. To find the entrance to the realm of the dead, Bhunivelze created the fal'Cie Pulse to search the world for the door.
Bhunivelze created the fal'Cie Etro to assist Pulse, only to discard her without giving her any powers when he saw he had unknowingly created her in the likeness of Mwynn. Bhunivelze finally created Lindzei to serve as his protector as he entered a deep crystal sleep until the door to the unseen realm would be found.
While Pulse and Lindzei were given a task to fulfill by their creator, Etro became distressed over her lack of power and purpose. She killed herself to receive Bhunivelze's notice and vanished from the mortal world, and her spilled blood was used by Lindzei to create humanity. Ending up in the unseen realm, Etro discovered Mwynn being consumed by an energy known as chaos. With her last breath Mwynn tasked Etro with protecting the balance of the universe, for if the balance between the mortal and unseen realms was to be disrupted, the universe itself would collapse. The curse Bhunivelze seeks to prevent is but an eventuality of fate.
Not fully comprehending Mwynn's final request, Etro became lonely and developed an affection toward the humans who were fated to follow her in death. Etro placed a piece of chaos within each human being as they passed through to the unseen realm, which came to be known as the "heart", stabilizing the influence of chaos.
Pulse continued to craft the world as he saw fit, while Lindzei protected the world. One day, Pulse and Lindzei absconded, never to be seen again. Many of the humans, in turn, worshiped—and some abhorred—these fal'Cie as gods. Etro became known as the Goddess of Death who waits to greet those who pass through the door to the unseen world, eventually to be reborn in a new form. She supervises the cycle of reincarnation to keep the amount of chaos between the two realms in balance.
As for Bhunivelze, he remains in his slumber to awaken at the end of time.
As the games in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series share a common mythos, they have common concepts albeit used with varying interpretations. Crystals are a common theme, representing souls, divinity and the origin of magic. This hearkens back to the main Final Fantasy series where crystals have been a staple since the series's inception, but Fabula Nova Crystallis—as the name suggests—aims for new interpretations of the role of crystals in the series.
"Fabula Nova Crystallis" is the sixteenth track on the fourth disc of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack, and plays during the game's final cutscenes before the final battle. It is an arrangement of the game's main theme, "FINAL FANTASY XIII - The Promise". In Final Fantasy XIII-2 "Fabula Nova Crystallis" plays during the secret ending of "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess" downloadable content scenario.
An orchestral performance of "Fabula Nova Crystallis" with the lyrics of "Serah's Theme", conducted by Arnie Roth, performed by the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra and Frances Maya, is present on the third Distant Worlds album: Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Returning Home. It was originally performed in Tokyo in November 2010. It is the eight track of the second disc. A version is also included on Distant Worlds III: more music from Final Fantasy album.
Behind the scenes
The development of the three games was started at the same time and we gathered to try and find a common platform to stand on and try to build from. But since then, we've been working completely independently of each other. Each game is evolving in its own direction and take place in separate worlds with their own main characters. There exists basically no cooperation between the different teams. I wouldn't even want to claim that we communicate with each other.Motomu Toriyama
The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos was written up in book form by Kazushige Nojima. Starting in April 2004, it took him approximately a year, and his work included input from Shinji Hashimoto, Yoshinori Kitase, Motomu Toriyama, Tetsuya Nomura and Hajime Tabata (all of whom went on to be involved with games set within the mythos). The mythos was deigned to be interpreted freely by the individual directors. The mythos is an original Nojima created. Initially, he wanted to create a new universe with legends, and after introducing his ideas to the team, it was met favorably.
Fabula Nova Crystallis was announced in 2006, then called Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII, but the name was shortened to Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy during the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011. The "XIII" numeric was dropped when what was originally named Final Fantasy Agito XIII was renamed Final Fantasy Type-0.
A video of the Fabula Nova Crystallis lore was shown at the January 18th, 2011, Square Enix Conference. The video details the story of the many gods from the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series. The video was created by a team headed up by Yusuke Naora (art director of Final Fantasy Type-0). The text of the narration was arranged from Kazushige Nojima's mythos book. Yoshinori Kitase joked that the lore was written five years back and Nojima's book had been sealed away since, but they had to take it out for the event.
Officially, the Fabula Nova Crystallis games had been characterized as "different titles based on variations of the Final Fantasy XIII universe". Hajime Tabata, director of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV, has described the concept in this way:
The original idea was to create a series of games around the 'Crystal Legend' mythology, but not restrict developers to a single direction. We wanted it to be quite a broad idea. It was like the mythology of ancient Greece and how so much fiction comes out of those—it would be easier to make future Final Fantasy games if we were to create a shared mythology and base games on that. I remember when Yoshinori Kitase came around and told me to make the first Crystal Legends game—he said that if you pay attention to the legends and the idea behind them, you can make almost any sort of game around it.Hajime Tabata
The figure in the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy logo is one of the gods of the mythos, but when asked by Famitsu, Yoshinori Kitase would not reveal which one.
The general theme of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series is destiny predetermined by higher beings, and human choices whether to accept or rebel against their fate. The series pits humans against divine forces time after time. Despite the gods' power and frequently callous treatment of mankind, using people as mere tools toward their own goals, humans can prevail relying on the strength of their souls, a concept frequently alien to the deities and their familiars.
The series re-imagines core Final Fantasy concepts in "modern" ways. Final Fantasy XIII explores the idea of becoming a "Warrior of Light" (l'Cie) chosen by the crystals to a supposedly divine mission, whereas Final Fantasy Type-0 tells the story of nations powered by Crystals warring over said Crystals—a recurring story in the series.
The concepts of a world destined to end, a world divided between the mortal realm and an invisible world of the afterlife, and a defeated goddess hiding in that invisible world, are similar to the Japanese Shinto creation myth.
The main overarching story theme explores the meaning of humans' free will when faced with destiny carved by deities. In Final Fantasy XIII Lightning and her companions struggle against the fal'Cie rule and the cruel fate of a l'Cie. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Serah and her friends want to prevent the imminent fall of Cocoon and destruction of the timeline. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Lightning needs to save and guide as many souls to the new world as she can while the almighty god Bhunivelze is watching her every move.
The theme of "beginning of the end" recurs in the context of setting the beginning of a new era. In Final Fantasy XIII Vanille speaks about the fateful thirteen days as "beginning of the end", but at the end she and her friend, Fang, sacrifice themselves to give humanity a new start of not depending on the fal'Cie. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII the end of Nova Chrysalia gives birth to a new world, one without gods. In Final Fantasy Type-0, Cid Aulstyne claims his campaign of "beginning the end" is a "glimmer of hope", setting the path toward Tempus Finis, the end of the world.
The Lightning Saga
There are several prominent themes in Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. One of them is "family bonds" presented with various types of relationships: the bond between Lightning and Serah as sisters; the lovers' relationship between Serah and Snow; the father-son relationship between Sazh and Dajh and Bartholomew and Hope, respectively; the relationship between friends between Vanille and Fang and Serah and Noel, respectively; and the relationship of those bound to a servitude as with Caius Ballad and Paddra Nsu-Yeul.
Another theme is "the battle within" as told in the tagline of Final Fantasy XIII, as seen with Lightning and her friends struggling with their inner turmoil: Lightning's journey of shedding her cold persona and accepting her vulnerabilities, Serah's journey of coping with her past as a l'Cie and using that experience to shape the future, Fang and Vanille's journey of accepting their fate and atoning for their actions, Snow's journey of gaining Lightning's acceptance through their shared love for Serah, Hope's journey of looking beyond hate and revenge and creating a future for humanity to be free from fal'Cie rule, Sazh's journey of dealing with his perceived failures as a father, and Noel's journey of creating a future where people can thrive while dealing with his feelings of failure and helplessness in preventing disaster and unknowingly helping bring it about.
Each installment focuses on a different deity within the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos: Final Fantasy XIII focused on Pulse and Lindzei, Final Fantasy XIII-2 on Etro and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII on Bhunivelze.
The most prominent theme in Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Agito is war and its effects on the world. The historical progression of a war and its influence on the younger generation is the main focus of the story.
Director Hajime Tabata has cited several underlying themes in the world and story of Final Fantasy Type-0. One revolves around death and its effects: a key aspect of the story is the memories of the dead being removed from the living by the Crystals. This scenario was created to make people feel their hatred of death. Others included the collision of four "fantasies" (the nations of Orience), a battle between magic and technology, and the two sides of the world (the mortal world and unseen realm). Another underlying theme is a cycle of Orience's death and rebirth and the effort to break that cycle.
An overarching theme in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series is that the deities of the world want to make use of humans, either as their "avatars" (by making them l'Cie), or by attempting to use their unique property, souls, for their own purposes. The theme of humanity versus divinity is highlighted in the game's final chapter where Class Zero is asked to become l'Cie. However, succumbing to the Crystal's Will spells disaster for Orience, and Class Zero fails to become Agito, the fabled savior of Orience. Class Zero can only free the world if they exercise their inner strength as humans and turn down the offer to become l'Cie.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV was announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII: the title was intended to show its standing as an opposite of Final Fantasy XIII, along with representing some of its themes. During its transition, Final Fantasy XV became "disconnected" from the mythos: while it exists as a base, specific terminology was removed, and its role was reduced to a low-key thematic connection around which original lore was created. Speaking on the subject between 2015 and 2016, Director Hajime Tabata stated he did not want to alienate fans from the series, and wanted to distance Final Fantasy XV from Final Fantasy XIII:
We didn’t take the FNC too much into account when developing FFXV mostly because the world of FFXIII and FFXV are completely different. And I think with each FF title people want stories that can be experienced on its own without much background knowledge or something like that so keeping the FNC myth from FFXIII onto FFXV wouldn’t be a very good idea.Hajime Tabata in a video interview during Barcelona World Games 2016 with HobbyConsolas
There are two main reasons for [using the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos]. The first is that the world of FFXV was originally designed with these elements and links to the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology in mind. When we came to read just the game and change it from Versus XIII to XV, we felt it was much better to keep them in there and incorporate them in a very natural way, rather than try and remove all of them at any expense. We'd lose a lot of the world and its attraction if we did that. But why we decided to remove all the specific terminology from FFXIII was because, if you start the story and we introduce these words and ideas from the start, people will think it's still very much part of the FFXIII world. So you'd lose some of the identity as FFXV, and we really want to avoid that. Instead, we decided to not use this specific terminology and to introduce the language of the game in an easy and understandable way, that anyone can follow when they get into the game from there.Hajime Tabata in an interview during the 2015 Gamescom event, as recorded in English by Finaland.
In another interview, Tabata elaborated that the branding and elements directly related to Fabula Nova Crystallis were removed so the game could be marketed as a new product anyone could play and understand. Despite this, aesthetic and other elements were retained. In Tabata's words: "It was a complicated issue, but we had to make a decision about it." As such, Final Fantasy XV uses similar themes and motifs including destiny and human reaction to it, the role of the divine in human lives, and crystals shaping civilization.
The "Versus XIII" name comes into play in juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels that take place in fantastical worlds that are literally and culturally disconnected (Cocoon and Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII; the different eras and timelines in Final Fantasy XIII-2, as well as the normal world and Valhalla; and Nova Chrysalia and the new world in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.). For "Versus XIII" Square wanted the world to be different from the original Final Fantasy XIII by presenting one whole, connected world. This theme has carried over to Final Fantasy XV in the form of a seamless open world. In further juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its white overall color scheme, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and thus Final Fantasy XV, have the theme of black, shown in the cast's clothes, the Kingdom of Lucis, and even the name of the original game engine, "Ebony" (the original name for the engine for Final Fantasy XIII was "White Engine").
Final Fantasy XV retains multiple similarities and callbacks to the lore and other entries in the subseries. The role and attitudes of the Astrals in the world of Eos parallel the relationship between fal'Cie and l'Cie in the lore of Fabula Nova Crystallis. The crystal's role of choosing a human to fulfil a divine commandment regardless of their willingness also directly parallels the concept of l'Cie. Soul fragments appear, and Noctis's slumber inside a crystal is similar to crystal stasis. The corruptive force of daemons is similar to the power of chaos in the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology. The daemons hearken to the concept of the Cie'th and the daemons' Japanese name, (シガイ, Shigai?), is pronounced identically to the Japanese name for Cie'th.
In Platinum Demo – Final Fantasy XV, lodging scenes in Final Fantasy XV and the Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto, a deck of cards can be seen featuring references to Fabula Nova Crystallis; the number cards feature numbers written in Etro script, while the court cards feature l'Cie brands and images of the principal deities. These cards reuse the designs from the Serendipity location in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Square Enix's page stated that Fabula Nova Crystallis translates to "the new tale of the crystal". However, this is not quite accurate—the Latin word for crystal is "crystallum -i", which is a second declension neuter noun. Fabula Nova Crystalli would mean "the new tale of the crystal". As it stands, the title more closely indicates "the new tale to/by/with the crystals", as crystallis is a dative or ablative plural.
It is possible that "crystallis" could still be genitive singular, with the meaning, "of the crystal". Often in Latin literature the plural and singular forms of words are used interchangeably to rhetorical effect—one example of this is in the story of Scylla in Book 7 of Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Orphan in Final Fantasy XIII indirectly refers to the series's title with the line, "From shattered shards, a new crystal legend will arise".
There is a piece of music on the fourth disk of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack called "Fabula Nova Crystallis".
In Final Fantasy Type-0, one of the most ancient agreements in Orience is known as the "Fabula Pact".
- Square Enix - Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy Official Portal Site (Japanese)
- Square Enix - Jump Festa 2008 page (Japanese)
- Square Enix - E3 2006 page (Japanese)
- Wikipedia's entry
- The series myth as recorded by Famitsu
- Translation of the series myth
- Where Final Fantasy Went Wrong, and How Square Enix is Putting It Right (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at US Gamer
- 16 More Things We Learned About Final Fantasy 15 (Accessed: August 30, 2015) at Gamespot
- 『ファイナルファンタジーXV』発売時期を示唆、『Just Cause 3』との技術協力も決定【gamescom 2015】 QUOTE:
- Gamescom 2015 : Interview Hajime Tabata (ENG) (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Finaland
- Final Fantasy XV - Entrevista a Hajime Tabata con preguntas de los fans (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Hobby Consolas
- Square Enix registers Final Fantasy XIII-3 domain, XIII-2 due to release in 2012 (dead) (Accessed: October 07, 2011) at Fusible (dead)
- LEVEL May 2007 Interview English Interview Translation (dead) (Accessed: March 28, 2009) at Final Fantasy XIII.net (dead)
- Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania, p.388-390
- 「ファブラ ノヴァ クリスタリス」複数のタイトルを有する新しい“FF” (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Dengeki Online
- Interview: Kitase And Hashimoto On A 'Final' Final Fantasy (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Gamesutra
- Paris Manga : Interview Kazushige Nojima (EN) (Accessed: October 22, 2018) at Finaland
- Kitase and Toriyama Talk FFXIII-2 and Fabula Nova Crystallis (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Adriasang
- Final Fantasy XV is a 'bromance'. We ask its director why (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Wired
- Final Fantasy Type-0’s Story Comes From Its Director’s Love For History (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Siliconera
- Tabata, Nomura and Kitase Discuss Final Fantasy Type-0 (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Agriasang
- A Few Bits about Final Fantasy Agito XIII Via The 3rd Birthday Twitter (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Adriasang
- 30 minutos con Hajime Tabata (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at La Capitalol Vidada
- Final Fantasy XV’s Map Is One Giant, Connected Land Mass (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Gamespot
- Final Fantasy XV On Noctis’ Age, Brotherhood Episode 2, And Other Questions From Fans (Accessed: March 15, 2020) at Siliconera