The following is list of allusions in Final Fantasy VI.
- Shadow's past as a thief alludes to the transition from Thief to Ninja in the original Final Fantasy.
- To get to the Rich Man's house in South Figaro, Locke must tell the password: "Courage". One of the other options is "Wild Rose" ("Rosebud" in the SNES/GBA releases). This alludes to the Wild Rose Rebellion in Final Fantasy II.
- Kefka poisoning the water supply of Doma Castle alludes to the Emperor Mateus poisoning the Deist wyvern water supply.
- Locke's ability to open locked doors in Narshe alludes to the Thief's ability to open locked doors in Final Fantasy III.
- The Floating Continent refers to the location of the same name in Final Fantasy III.
- A 16-bit sprite of Onion Knight occasionally appears in the loading section of the Final Fantasy Anthology port of Final Fantasy VI.
- In the GBA and succeeding versions, the method for encountering Leviathan is similar to his first appearance in Final Fantasy IV where he attacks the party's ship while they are crossing the ocean.
- The boss battle against the Behemoth Kings in the Cave on the Veldt alludes to the boss battle against Scarmiglione where the battle begins normally, but after being defeated, the boss attacks the party with Back Attack as an undead.
- There is a crescent-shaped island located on the far east of the World of Balance map, similar to the island where Crescent Village is located in the world of Final Fantasy V.
- Gogo shares the name, job, abilities, and appearance with the boss in the Sunken Walse Tower. The name of Gogo's Desperation Attack, Punishing Meteor, also refers to the Famed Mimic Gogo, who counters all attacks with an attack of his own, essentially "punishing" the party for failing to mimic him properly (i.e. doing nothing).
- Gilgamesh appears as an esper in the GBA and successive versions. One of Gilgamesh's attacks has Enkidu appear on the field. Both have the same sprite as the Gilgamesh and Enkidu from Final Fantasy V.
- To obtain Gilgamesh as an esper, the player has to bet the Excalipoor at the Dragon's Neck Coliseum. When Gilgamesh is summoned in battle he will execute one of four attacks at random. One of these is the Excalipoor, which deals 1 HP worth of damage. The Excalipoor originates from Final Fantasy V and also deals 1 HP damage.
- Lone Wolf the Pickpocket makes a cameo appearance; the party encounters him in a few similar ways by first meeting him while he is locked in prison, and later when he steals a treasure before the party can reach it.
- Much like Bartz Klauser who gets a discount at the shops in his hometown Lix, Edgar also gets a discount in Figaro Castle.
- Ultros's third battle (Esper Caves) is much like Gilgamesh's second battle (Big Bridge) where he casts Haste, Protect, and Shell on himself. Ultros casts Haste and Protect on himself. Both of them give the party a speech.
Final Fantasy VI Japanese version
- In the GBA version, a soldier in Figaro Castle mentions that there are Kefka worshipers who insist on spelling Kefka's name with "C's", both a reference to Kefka's Japanese spelling of his name, as well as poking fun at certain fans who insist on spelling Kefka's name the Japanese way.
- A 16-bit sprite of Squall occasionally appears in the loading section of the Final Fantasy Anthology port of Final Fantasy VI.
- In the GBA and mobile versions of Final Fantasy VI, encountering Gigantuar is done the same way as encountering Jumbo Cactur in Final Fantasy VIII, with the party battling it in a fixed encounter, in the only desert Cactuar appear in.
- Neslug in Final Fantasy X is based on Ymir, the boss in Narshe Mines. In the GBA and mobile versions of Final Fantasy VI, Neslug is an optional boss in the Dragons' Den.
- The Malboro Menace, Abyss Worm, Earth Eater, and Neslug optional mini-bosses in the Dragons' Den are named after specific conquest monsters encountered in the Monster Arena in Final Fantasy X. In addition, these mini-bosses are encountered in the lower level of the Dragons' Den called the Cloister of Trials, referencing the trials from the original game.
- Auron's Blurry Moon katana shares its Japanese name, Oborozuki, with Shadow's ultimate weapon.
Other Square Enix titles
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- The Air Force boss, in terms of it being a ship with a face on it, it having a massive laser gun as its ultimate attack, and overall possessing a similar build, was similar to the Blade from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. In the Japanese version of the latter, it even possessed a similar name to Air Force, called "Axe Force."
- A dummied enemy in the game, Kaiser Dragon, had a similar name and role to the Czar Dragon in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (with the Japanese version of the latter even sharing the same name). In addition, in some versions of Final Fantasy VI, the Zombie Dragon enemy was named Zombone, which is the name of the Kaiser Dragon's second form in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and also featuring a similar name in the Japanese version of the latter, although unlike in that game, there is no apparent connection between the two enemies.
Non-Square Enix titles
- Sabin's Blitz "Aura Cannon" ("AuraBolt") has the same button commands as the famous "Hadouken" from Street Fighter. They are both ranged attacks, but Aura Cannon's appearance more closely resembles the more powerful "Shinkuu Hadouken" from the later X-Men vs Street Fighter and VS series games. The attack also resembles the Kamehameha from the Dragon Ball series.
- In the same vein, the "Raging Fist" ("Pummel") shares the button command and name of a special move in the Art of Fighting series, and is one of the signature moves of the Kyokugenryu style of karate, practiced by protagonist Ryo Sakazaki.
- The Air Force boss boasts a wave cannon and a minor enemy called Bit that absorbs attacks, just like the R-9 starfighters in R-Type.
- Samurai Soul monster's name is unusually spelled entirely in katakana, much like the title of Samurai Spirits, the fighting game franchise known in the West as Samurai Showdown. The monster's name is likely a reference to it.
- The Gestahlian Empire contains many allusions to the Galactic Empire from the Star Wars universe.
- In A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin uses the phrase "Rebel scum." A common phrase Imperial soldiers use to refer to the Returners is "Returner scum," or "Scum! You're Returners!".
- The Imperial soldiers tend to act like the Imperial Stormtroopers due to their perceived incompetence. When Locke rescues Celes, if he is dressed in an Imperial soldier's uniform, Celes asks him, "Aren't you a little short for an Imperial soldier?" an allusion to the line given by Leia Organa to Luke Skywalker.
- Magitek Armor units are similar to All Terrain Personnel Transports.
- Setzer says that "the Empire has made him a rich man" before joining the Returners. This alludes to The Empire Strikes Back, in which Lando Calrissian makes a deal with the Galactic Empire, though not for money but to save his city. Lando later joined the Rebel Alliance.
- Biggs and Wedge are named after Star Wars characters, although the original characters are members of the rebel alliance, not the Galactic Empire.
- Kefka's betrayal of Emperor Gestahl nearing the game's second act resembled Darth Vader's betrayal of Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. Unlike Vader, however, Kefka remained evil.
- The overworld sprite design of the Gestahl's personal guard resembles that of the Emperor's Royal Guard from Return of the Jedi.
- Setzer tells the party that the Falcon is the fastest ship in the world, while Han Solo says the Millennium Falcon is the fastest ship in the galaxy.
- The Ultima Weapon is likely inspired by the Lightsaber.
- Owzer, a rich obese man with a frog-like face, may have been inspired by Jabba the Hutt.
- In A New Hope Han, Chewbacca, Luke and Leia are forced into a garbage chute during their escape from the Death Star, and encounter a garbage monster before escaping. In Final Fantasy VI, when the party escapes the Magitek Research Facility, they are forced into a garbage chute where they encounter the espers Shiva and Ifrit.
- Cyan's Desperation Attack, Tsubame Gaeshi, was a famous technique mastered by Sasaki Kojirō, a famed Japanese swordsman in the Sengoku period of feudal Japan. Kojirō was best known to have been slain by Miyamoto Musashi during a duel at the island of Funajima.
- Celes Chere invites comparison to Medieval French heroine Joan of Arc, who is popular in Japan and may even have been the inspiration for Celes being given a French name. Joan, who has been the subject of a number of operas, was a general at the young age of 18 and was opposed to immoral tactics in warfare (including the poisoning of the water supply of a city under siege), and was captured as a result of her defiance of her kingdom's military policies (albeit more indirectly than Celes). Joan of Arc is a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church, but secular sources have often claimed that she—like Celes—was psychologically unstable (a famous example being Luc Besson's 1999 film The Messenger), and she, too, threw herself from a great height purportedly in a suicide attempt. Finally, Celes's affinity for ice would suggest fire to be her nemesis; Joan of Arc was burned to death.
- Darill may have been inspired by the real-life pilot Amelia Earhart who set piloting-records in her time and mysteriously disappeared in an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937.
- The basic Imperial soldier armor is colored brown, which might be a reference to the Sturmabteilung of Nazi Germany.
Mythology and religion
- Siegfried was inspired by Siegfried (known as "Sigurd" in Norse mythology). He's the dragon-slaying hero of the German epic poem, Song of Nibelungs.
- The final series of bosses is a throwback to the Divine Comedy. The first tier of enemies consists of a demon shown from the waist up, symbolizing Hell with Lucifer frozen up to his waist. The second tier is a menagerie of machinery, animals, and people representing Purgatory. The third tier, the formerly overcast and dark background has beams of light shining through the clouds, and the two enemies look like Jesus lying in Mary's lap, but with "Mary" as a disembodied head and "Jesus" looking like Kefka. The fourth tier, the heroes rise up from the overcast background to a sea of glowing white and gold clouds. The final part of The Divine Comedy has Dante meet God, who tells him the meaning of life. Here, Kefka descends from on skies appearing as a fallen angel, and tells the party that life is meaningless.
- Kappa is translated as "Imp" in the English scripts. In the GBA and mobile release the exclusive Imp equipment is more obviously themed to them, including a cloak made of reeds and a saucer as a helmet.
- In earlier versions of Final Fantasy VI, before the player fights Kefka, he says "Life... hope... dreams? Where do they come from? And where are they going?" This may refer to the title of one of Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
- Lady, known as Maria in the Japanese version, and Rest, allude to the Pietà, a sculpture that depicts the recently-deceased Jesus Christ post-crucifixion being cradled by the Virgin Mary, his mother.
- Final Fantasy VI uses elements and techniques from various operas making the game almost an allusion to opera form itself. It makes heavy use of leitmotifs in its music, utilizes Mad Scenes, and Kefka uses elements of both operatic clowns and harlequin. Some of the songs (e.g., "Dancing Mad") also feature vocalizations similar to that of an opera. The game ends with a curtain call showing who each character was "playing". Several of the characters' outfits (e.g., Terra and Kefka) resemble outfits from an Italian opera.
- The last name Figaro alludes to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.
- Relm has a brush weapon known as Da Vinci Brush, alluding to Leonardo da Vinci.
- During the raid on Thamasa, Kefka says Leo Cristophe was "always, always, ALWAYS such a Goody Two-Shoes!", referring to the fairy tale of the same name.
- Strago says, "And then I raised my staff, and POW! Right in the kisser!", a reference to The Honeymooners.
- When the Chainsaw's Death attack is used, Edgar and Gogo don a hockey goalie's mask in similar fashion to Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.
- One of the passwords for a boy in South Figaro during the Gestahlian Empire's occupation is "Rosebud". Aside from it being a reference to the Wild Rose Rebellion, it is also the name of the protagonist's most treasured object in the film Citizen Kane.
- The PlayStation bestiary entry for Leaf Bunny and Chippirabbit refers to the Rabbit of Caerbannog from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- During the burning of Figaro Castle, two soldiers say "Fire, Fire!! Heh, heh heh heh heh." This refers to the pyromanical Beavis of Beavis and Butt-Head.
- The Three Dream Stooges names in the SNES version are named after the The Three Stooges: Moe, Larry, and Curly.
- During the last battle against Ultros, he calls Typhon in with the famous The Price Is Right catchphrase, "Come on down!".
- At one point in the SNES translation, Terra states, "I want to know what love is... now!" "I Want to Know What Love Is" is a 1984 power ballad recorded by the British-American rock band Foreigner.
- Also in the SNES translation, Edgar states, "Cold as ice......" "Cold as Ice" is a 1977 song recorded by the British-American rock band Foreigner.
- The theme titled "Johnny C. Bad" plays in the Dragon's Neck Coliseum. It refers to the song "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.
- There is a pair of platforms in Cyan's dream sequence that are connected to each other by a pair of staircases, one of which goes up, and the other goes down. This is an allusion to the Penrose stairs, an Impossible object that can only be drawn in 2D space.
- The Tyrannosaurus was one of the last dinosaurs to live on Earth before the extinction triggered by a massive comet or asteroid impact 66 million years ago. The Tyrannosaur enemy uses the Meteor spell for an attack and as its Rage.
- Right before the battle of Narshe in the GBA version, if the player talks to one of the civilians, they will say “Narshe is a neutral city. We want no war here, but that @#$% Empire won't listen!”, with "@#$%" being a typical method of censoring swear words in comic books/comic strips.