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 (ファブラ ノヴァ クリスタリス, Fabura Nova Kurisutarisu?) 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 crystal" in Latin, is nevertheless based on various worlds and different characters, but each game will be "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. Officially, they have 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 thusly:
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.
Each of the 'series' of games are being made by a different team of developers within Square Enix Product Development Division 1. All Lightning Saga games are being developed by the same team, as are Final Fantasy Type-0 and its prequel, Agito. For Final Fantasy XV, the developers have already been talking of the chance of sequels.
The games within Fabula Nova Crystallis are:
- Final Fantasy XIII
- Final Fantasy XIII-2
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
- Final Fantasy XV
- Final Fantasy Type-0
- Final Fantasy Agito
The trademark Final Fantasy Haeresis XIII was registered in the United States on May 1, 2006 but there have been no announcements of any plans to make a game of that title, and the trademark was abandoned on April 25, 2011.
A web novel, later made into a CD Drama, titled Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- belongs to the Final Fantasy XIII expanded universe, while Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i- is a novella released with Final Fantasy XIII International Ultimate Hits in Japan, and acts as an epilogue to Final Fantasy XIII, covering direct events following the game's ending. Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before delves into the events that happen prior to Final Fantasy XIII-2, while Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After portrays events that happened after the game.
The Lightning Saga
The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary conference on September 1st 2012 held "Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Saga: New Developments Presentation", where Motomu Toriyama, Isamu Kamikokuryo and Yuji Abe detailed the next title in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, expanding and concluding the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy.
The three games part of the Lightning Saga are Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
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 later reintroduced in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII through murals in the Dead Dunes.
In the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, 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. However, a troubled Bhunivelze believed that 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 to stop her curse, 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 to the Unseen World.
Bhunivelze then created the fal'Cie Etro to assist Pulse, only to discard her without any power when he saw that unknowingly created her in the likeness of Mwynn. Bhunivelze proceeded to create Lindzei to serve as his protector as he entered a deep crystal sleep until the door to the Unseen World was found.
While Pulse and Lindzei were given a task to fulfill by their creator, Etro became distressed over her lack of power and purpose in the world. Etro killed herself in a desperate act to receive Bhunivelze's notice and vanished from the Mortal World: her spilled blood was used by Lindzei to create humanity. Ending up in the Unseen World, 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 Visible and Unseen Worlds was to be disrupted, the universe itself would collapse. Ultimately, the curse that Bhunivelze sought to prevent is revealed to be nothing more than an eventuality of fate.
Not fully comprehending Mwynn's final request, Etro soon became lonely and developed an affection toward the humans. Etro placed a piece of chaos within each human being, which came to be known as the "heart" or "soul". Pulse continued to craft the world as he saw fit, while Lindzei protected the world. One day, Pulse and Lindzei absconded from the world, never to be seen again. Many of the humans, in turn, worshipped – and some abhorred – these fal'Cie as gods. Etro, meanwhile, became known as the Goddess of Death who waited to greet each human as they passed through the door to the Unseen World and eventually would become reborn in a cycle supervising the amount of chaos between the two realms. As for Bhunivelze, he remains in his slumber until he wakes at the end of time.
"Fabula Nova Crystallis" is the sixteenth track of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack's fourth disc, 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 "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.
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.
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.
Fabula Nova Crystallis was first announced in 2006. The series was originally 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 because 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 is arranged from Kazushige Nojima's mythos book. Yoshinori Kitase joked that the lore was written five years back and Nojima's book has been sealed away since, but they had to take it out just for the Premier event.
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. In Final Fantasy XIII, this is seen with Lightning and her companions struggling against the fal'Cie rule and the cruel fate of a l'Cie, then how Serah and her friends struggle with the imminent fall of Cocoon and destruction of the timeline which will result in the deaths of millions of people in Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning's struggle with saving and guiding as many people to the new world as she can while the almighty god Bhunivelze is controlling her every move in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The theme is also present in Final Fantasy Type-0, where the people of Orience are trapped by fate, and the choices of Class Zero whether to accept their roles or rebel against them.
The Lightning Saga
There are several prominent themes in Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. One of them is "family bonds" and is presented with various types of relationships: the bond between Lightning and Serah as sisters, the lovers' relationship as seen between Serah and Snow, the father-son relationship as seen between Sazh and Dajh, Bartholomew and Hope, respectively, the relationship between friends as seen between Vanille and Fang, Serah and Noel, respectively. Another theme shown 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 of the installments also 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 themes in Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Agito is war and the results it brings to the world. The historical progression of a war and its effects on the younger generation is the main focus of the story. Tabata has cited several underlying themes in the world and story of Final Fantasy Type-0. One of the story themes 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 crated 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). During its original form, Final Fantasy Type-0 primarily revolved around challenging the gods. Another underlying theme is a cycle of Orience's death and rebirth and the effort to break that cycle.
Square Enix's page states that Fabula Nova Crystallis translates to "the new tale of the crystal". However, this is not quite accurate – the Latin word for crystal is "crystallus -i", which is second declension. 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 in fact 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 indirectly refers to the series title with the line, "From shattered shards, a new crystal legend will arise".
- The thirteenth Analect, obtained by defeating Vercingetorix in Mission 64, is called "Fabula Nova Crystallis".
- There is a piece of music on the fourth disk of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack called "Fabula Nova Crystallis".
- In Ruffian of the Dead Dunes there is a woman called "Crystal Legends Student" who relays info about the world's mythology when spoken to.
- In Final Fantasy Type-0, one of the most ancient agreements in Orience is known as the "Fabula Conventions".
- 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 highly similar to the Japanese Shinto creation myth.
- Square Enix registered a domain name for Final Fantasy XIII-3 on September 7, 2011. 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.
- 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 on Fabula Nova Crystallis
- Translation of the FNC lore
- Final Fantasy XV is a 'bromance'. We ask its director why — Wired.co.uk
- Kitase and Toriyama Talk FFXIII-2 and Fabula Nova Crystallis
- (2010-02-01) Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania (in Japanese), 388–390, Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff.Invalid citation format.
- [ENGLISH SUB] Final Fantasy Type-0 [零式] "Natsubi" 2nd Mission scenes