The following is a list of allusions to previous installments in the series present in Final Fantasy XII, other games by Square Enix as well as mythology, popular culture and the number 12, among others.
- The nethicite in Final Fantasy XII alludes to the crystals, a recurring motif in the Final Fantasy series where crystals are the embodiment of divine and magical power. In Final Fantasy XII Archadia, an enemy Empire, steals pieces of deifacted nethicite from the kingdoms of the world to gain power. The same story arc has been used in the series numerous times.
- The Occuria branding a person of their choosing as the Dynast King by giving them the power to wield nethicite to complete a task laid out by them alludes to the concept of the Warriors of Light where the warriors chosen to wield the power of the crystals set out to save the world. This is subverted in Final Fantasy XII with Ashe ultimately rejecting the role as the Occuria's "pawn".
- Various recurring equipment and abilities from the series return in Final Fantasy XII. In the Zodiac versions the Diamond Armlet has been made Lightning-resistant. In the early series, diamond equipment resisted Lightning.
- The Esper Chaos is based on the final boss of the original Final Fantasy, Chaos.
- Chaos's deathblow, Tornado, refers to the world of the original Final Fantasy. Amid his attack Chaos summons a squared glyph where the four corners hold colored squares. Each corner represents a location where one of the Four Fiends is located, with Chaos in the middle, much like the aerial view of the world at the Flying Fortress.
- The Resistance flagship, the Garland, takes its name from the antagonist of the original Final Fantasy.
- The Mark Marilith refers to the Fiend of Fire.
- The Masamune weapon has a 40% combo rate, identical to the critical rate of the weapon in the original Final Fantasy. This is significant because the Final Fantasy weapon only has this critical rate due to the critical hit bug, which appears to have been deliberately preserved in all later Final Fantasy remakes. By assigning this stat to the Final Fantasy XII weapon, the "bug" is perpetuated further.
- The Pit Fiend bestiary log states that "A myth counts this being as one of the warriors set to defend the Jade Passage to the Devil's Palace". The Jade Passage is the only way into Pandaemonium, Palace of Hell, and the Pit Fiend is an enemy that can be found inside in Final Fantasy II.
- The Esper Mateus and its backstory is based on Emperor Mateus of Palamecia.
- The gun called the Altair shares its name with the location from Final Fantasy II.
- Pandaemonium is the name of a carrier ship in Final Fantasy XII, a reference to the final dungeon of the same name in Final Fantasy II.
- Sky Fortress Bahamut's initial appearance in the midst of a tornado recalls the Cyclone, another fortress inside a tornado.
- Famfrit's title, The Darkening Cloud, refers to the final boss of Final Fantasy III, the Cloud of Darkness.
- The second page for the bestiary entry of the enemy Wild Onion is a message from an Onion Knight named "Nakhiro". In addition, the Onion Queen's second bestiary page elaborates on the Final Fantasy lore and the meaning of the onion within the series. Onion Knights first appeared in Final Fantasy III.
- In Rabanastre, just outside Migelo's Sundries, a bangaa talks of his seeq friend counting things (originally cobblestones). At one point he says: "My friend says that o'er 430 revelers came through the Southern Plaza during the big fete! But even if you count the bards... 'Course, he could be countin' the spoony bards, too. That would be another matter altogether." This refers to the "You spoony bard!" quote by Tellah the Sage in Final Fantasy IV.
- The Esper Zeromus is based on the final boss of Final Fantasy IV, Zeromus.
- The Babil enemy refers to the Giant of Babil. Its bestiary description reads "When they descend to the earth from their home in the heavens, they strike swiftly, and with malice apparent"; the Giant of Babil in Final Fantasy IV is a powerful weapon used for destruction.
- The second page of the Aeronite bestiary entry refers to the Red Wings, the airship fleet in Final Fantasy IV.
- The mark hunt White Mousse originates from an enemy in Final Fantasy IV.
- Balthier's real name is "Ffamran mied Bunansa", his middle name "mied" in Japanese version is (ミド, Mido?), the same name as Mid Previa, the engineer and grandson of Cid Previa in Final Fantasy V.
- The airship Remora is named after the Final Fantasy V Remora summon. A boss called the Air Cutter Remora also appears at the beginning of the game.
- The elite mark Gilgamesh and his partner Enkidu first appeared in Final Fantasy V. He brandishes replicated weapons similar to those used by the protagonists of five other Square Enix games. During the battle, the iconic theme "Clash on the Big Bridge" plays.
- The two copies of the Tournesol, the game's second strongest greatsword, are actually Gilgamesh's versions of Excalibur and Excalipoor. They almost look the same as the Tournesol, but feature a sun (Excalibur) and a moon (Excalipoor) on the hilt. This refers to the Excalibur and Excalipoor in Final Fantasy V, the game where Gilgamesh first appeared, although the more detailed appearance of the weapons with the sun and the moon on the hilts could only be seen in artwork shown in strategy guides.
- The Esper Exodus is based on Exdeath, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy V.
- Clio, head of Clio's Technicks in Bhujerba, is likely named after Mr. Clio from the merged world in Final Fantasy V.
- The Resistance airships Galuf-Val and Xezat Surgate refer to Galuf and Xezat, two of the Warriors of Dawn from Final Fantasy V. They also refer to their respective kingdoms, Bal and Surgate.
- The airship Atomos is based on the the boss Atomos, which became a summoned monster in later games. There is also a mark that shares the same name.
- The monster Archaeoaevis is most likely a reference to the Ronka Ruins boss Archeoaevis.
- The Twintania enemy refers to the boss of the same name in Final Fantasy V.
- The superboss Omega Mark XII is based on the superboss Omega.
- The superboss Yiazmat's description may be a reference to the lord dragon Shinryu: both are feared even by the gods who created them. Omega and Shinryu often appear as superbosses in the same game, a tradition started in Final Fantasy V.
- Orthros and Deathgaze are based on Ultros, a recurring boss, and Deathgaze, an optional boss found on the skies of the World of Ruin. In Final Fantasy XII, Deathgaze is fought on a ferry airship.
- Orthros also appears as an airship in Final Fantasy XII.
- Orthros only appears when a party of women are assembled to fight him; a nod to how Ultros prefers to ogle women while hating "muscleheaded" men.
- During the Dry in the Giza Plains, there is a young girl in Nomad Village named Terra. This is also the name of the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VI.
- Rasler Heios Nabradia may have been named after Prince Ralse, a character from The opera "Maria and Draco" of Final Fantasy VI who was the prince of the eastern lands. Similarly, Nabradia is in eastern Ivalice.
- The flagship Alexander is based on the summon Alexander, which originates from Final Fantasy VI.
- Earth Tyrant's bestiary entry mentions him as a member of "Eight legendary Wyrms of great Power", referring to the Earth Dragon from Final Fantasy VI, a member of the eight legendary dragons that had the appearance of a T-Rex.
- The enemy Dullahan and the boss Daedalus, both of the Headless genus, may refer to the boss Dullahan and the enemy Daedalus, as both share the same sprite, albeit with a palette swap for Daedalus.
- Balthier's description of Jules, "He'd bite a gil given to him by his own mother, and shave it in half to pay for her funeral," bears resemblance to Edgar's description of Shadow in the original translation, that "He'd slit his momma's throat for a nickel."
- The second-to-last obtainable rank in Clan Centurio, "Knight of the Round", may be a reference to the ultimate Summon Materia of Final Fantasy VII, Knights of the Round.
- Gilgamesh carries a knock-off of Cloud's Buster Sword.
- The enemy, Elvoret, is based on the Elvoret boss fought in Final Fantasy VIII.
- The Buer enemy refers to the Buel enemy that originally appears in Final Fantasy VIII, first appearing on the Fire Cavern, a habitat coinciding with the one on the bestiary description of this incarnation.
- The mark Diabolos is based on the Guardian Force Diablos.
- Gilgamesh carries a knock-off of Squall's Revolver. Instead of the Griever, a winged lion associated with Squall, it has a chocobo on the blade.
- Gilgamesh acquires Odin's Zantetsuken in Final Fantasy VIII, but the one wielded in Final Fantasy XII is a fake.
- The Mesmenir refers to the enemy Mesmerize from Final Fantasy VIII.
- The enemy Focalor shares its Japanese name with the Fastitocalon.
- The gun, Ras Algethi, resembles Squall's Revolver gunblade.
- Some of the Espers in Final Fantasy XII are loosely based on the previous final bosses in the series. Shemhazai resembles the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, Ultimecia.
- Ragnarok is a red greatsword with a dragon design. It may be intended to look similar to the red Ragnarok airship from Final Fantasy VIII, based on a legendary dragon ship.
- The Great Crystal maybe based on the Lunatic Pandora.
- The Resistance airship Queen Hilda is named after the character from Final Fantasy IX.
- Gizamaluk is based on the Gizamaluke boss from Final Fantasy IX.
- The Lindwyrm shares the same etymological origin as Lindblum. The bestiary entry for Lindwyrm says the dragon once destroyed a kingdom, and in the Japanese version the name of the country it is said to have destroyed is the exact name of the dragon: Lindwyrm. In Japanese, the word "Lindwyrm" is virtually identical to "Lindblum".
- An non-player character in Archades refers to the Tantalus Theater Troupe when talking about the "mummers of Tantalus".
- Just like Princess Garnet asks the thief Zidane to kidnap her, Princess Ashe asks the sky pirate Balthier to do the same.
- Gilgamesh carries a knock-off of Zidane's left-hand dagger, Orichalcum.
- The Leynir shares its Japanese name and origin with the Wyerd from Final Fantasy IX.
- There exists a Mystic Armor body piece called Maduin Gear, a mintranslation of Madeen's Robes (マディーンの衣, Madīn no Koromo?).
- The airship Valfarre is based on the aeon Valefor.
- Monsters are often called "fiends."
- The elite mark Ixion is based on the aeon of the same name.
- Gilgamesh carries a knock-off of Tidus's Brotherhood.
- Upon encountering a Behemoth with Wakka in the party, he might exclaim "How many steaks do you think we can get out of these?" In Final Fantasy XII, Behemoths drop Behemoth Steaks.
- Fran's level 3 Quickening Shatterheart refers to Shiva's Overdrive animation, Diamond Dust.
- By obtaining all Espers, the player gains the "high summoner" title, referring to a class of summoners from Final Fantasy X, who killed Sin.
- The second page of the Vampyr bestiary entry mentions a kind of magicite that can store sound and images, much like spheres from Final Fantasy X.
- The enemy Mandragora retains its physical appearance to its Final Fantasy XI counterpart.
- The Lu Shang's Badge loot refers to the Lu Shang fishing rod from Final Fantasy XI.
- The enemy Lost Soul is based on its Final Fantasy XI counterpart.
- The concept of party members attracting fiends by having the most Enmity was first introduced in Final Fantasy XI.
- "Bunansa", the family name of Balthier and Dr. Cid, is the surname of Mustadio and Besrudio Bunansa in Final Fantasy Tactics.
- The Mark Carrot originates from an errand in Final Fantasy Tactics, called "Call of the Wild", where a pet malboro kept by a countess goes missing. The malboro in the errand is called Carrot.
- The Espers in Final Fantasy XII appeared as the Lucavi demons in Final Fantasy Tactics.
- The longer of Gabranth's dual-bladed weapon, the Chaos Blade, originally appeared in Final Fantasy Tactics as a knight sword and the strongest weapon.
- High Reaver from Final Fantasy XII was named "Apanda Leader" in the Japanese version, a reference to the Apanda in Final Fantasy Tactics (which in turn is retranslated as "Reaver" in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions).
- During a cut scene where Larsa has joined the party for passage to Mt Bur-Omisace, he, Vaan and Penelo can be heard conversing on the background "I have a good feeling! This is the way!" alluding to the original English translation for Final Fantasy Tactics where the errands had such stock phrases spoken by the party members.
- Aquarius Gems are dropped by Construct-type enemies: an allusion to Final Fantasy Tactics where Construct 8 is activated via the Aquarius auracite.
- Fran's Shatterheart Quickening (咬撃氷狼波, Kōgeki Hyōrōha?, lit. Biting Ice Wolf Wave) is a reference to the Crush Accessory (咬撃氷狼破, Kōgeki Hyōrōha?, lit. Biting Ice Wolf Break) ability from Final Fantasy Tactics. The final kanji for both looks similar, and they're pronounced the same. They have entirely different names in English, however.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics higher level greatswords buff the wielder. The novelty sword Wyrmhero Blade also has this effect in Final Fantasy XII.
- The floor pattern in the Sky Pirate's Den resembles the cover of the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Gran Grimoire.
Allusions to the number twelve
Being the twelfth installment of the main series, Final Fantasy XII makes some references to the number itself. Although many of these are not necessarily deliberate allusions to the number 12 (whether they are or not is speculative), they are nonetheless present.
- There are twelve licenses for Light and Mystic Armor sets.
- After accessing all the Gambit slots on the License Board, party members will have twelve Gambits available for customization.
- After the death of Lord Gramis, Vayne becomes the twelfth Emperor of the Archadian Empire.
- There are twelve new weapons in the International version, whose names' last letter composes the words "FINAL FANTASY".
- Twelve races are presented throughout Ivalice: baknamy, bangaa, garif, helgas, hume, moogle, nu mou, Occuria, rev, seeq, Urutan-Yensa, and viera.
- The Cartographers' Guild has moogles in twelve different locations.
- The Archadian Imperial Fleets contain at least twelve fleets.
- Old Dalan has twelve different pieces of advice for Vaan, depending on the player's story progress.
- The first narration by Halim Ondore IV is chapter twelve of his accord.
- The Great Crystal holds the superboss Omega Mark XII.
- As well as sharing its name with the location in Final Fantasy II, the Altair gun also shares its name with the twelfth-brightest star in the sky.
- Normal attacks have a chance of performing hit combos; the highest combo possible is twelve hits.
- Each Swiftness augment cumulatively reduces one of the modifiers that determines action time by 12%.
- The theme of the twelve zodiacs is in the game in the form the Espers, loot and the job system in the International version. This originates from Final Fantasy Tactics, but befits Final Fantasy XII with there being 12 zodiac signs. In The Zodiac Age, each character may take two jobs, meaning that with six main playable characters, all 12 may be used if the player so chooses.
- Before it is destroyed, the god/goddess statue in the Hall of the Light at Mt. Bur-Omisace has twelve lanterns.
- In Giruvegan, Gate of Wind, many 3x4 diamond-shape patterns are visible on the wall behind the Way Stone.
Allusions to other games
Vagrant Story is another game by Yasumi Matsuno, the original director of Final Fantasy XII. It has a similar aesthetic to Final Fantasy XII.
- The enemies Fafnir, Dheed, Vagrant Soul, Leamonde Entite, Mardu Entite, Salamand Entite, Gnoma Entite, Undin Entite, Sylphi Entite, Luxollid, and Diakon Entite are references to Vagrant Story.
- There is an item called "Snowfly". Snowflies were beings spotted in Vagrant Story.
- Feywood is possibly an allusion to a location in Vagrant Story, Snowfly Forest, a similarly foggy forest where travelers tend to get lost forever. Both forests lead to an ancient city.
- One of the possible clan ranks is Riskbreaker. Riskbreaker was Ashley Riot's rank in Vagrant Story.
- There is a bazaar item called "Crimson Blade" that yields the Blood Sword. The Order of the Crimson Blades is a militia in Vagrant Story.
- The Light of Kiltia refers to the Temple of Kiltia from Vagrant Story.
- A Naturalist named Merlose is mentioned in Final Fantasy XII in the Clan Primer. Callo Merlose is a character in Vagrant Story.
- The character Fermon in Old Archades tells the player "to have a little more respect for fairy tales", a line Sydney spoke in Vagrant Story.
- The Blood-Sin (cross with an X instead of a cross bar) is in the background when the player summons. It is signed by Gabranth in his first major appearance, and an identical Blood-Sin mark to the infamous tattoo from Vagrant Story appears on the skull of the shamaness during Zalera's spell "Death Wail".
- Vagrant Story is set in Valendia. Valendia is one of the continents in Final Fantasy XII and the calendar used in game is known as the Old Valendian Calendar.
- Kiltia is mentioned as a sect in Vagrant Story. In Final Fantasy XII there is a religion called the Light of Kiltia.
- Among the landscapes of Ivalice are traps, red circles of magickally charged energy with positive or negative properties hidden until the player uses Libra. There are also traps in Vagrant Story; square panels that are hidden until the player triggers them, uses the Eureka spell, or the Eye of Argon item.
- Shadowseer, Hell Wyrm, Diabolos, and the Piscodaemon use the Breakart Pentagram ability to do unusually high damage on summoned Espers. The name is a reference to Break Arts from Vagrant Story.
- The Wyrmhero Blade is Erdrick's (aka Loto) sword from Dragon Quest III.
- Wyrmhero Blade is known as the "Dragon Crest" in the bazaar price list, and costs 65,535 gil. The value is a reference to the maximum total experience points attainable in the original Dragon Quest games. Obtaining 65,535 experience points was seen as a popular, if optional, challenge.
- Raithwall's back story is similar to that of Dorgalua Oberyth from Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, which was also directed by Yasumi Matsuno and shares other similarities with the Ivalice Alliance. Like Raithwall, Dorgalua Oberyth unified the war-torn Valerian Isles under his rule, and would later be crowned the "Dynast King".
- Gabranth's shorter sword, the Highway Star, is likely named for the Hironobu Sakaguchi-designed racing game, Highway Star, also known as Rad Racer outside of Japan. It also shares a name with Deep Purple's 1972 hit, "Highway Star."
Dungeons & Dragons
- The name of he enemy Urstix is a portmanteau of ursus (Latin for "bear") and strix (Latin for "owl"). Its Japanese name is "Owlbear," referring to the creature originally created by Gary Gygax for Dungeons & Dragons.
- The achievement in the Sky Pirate's Den and/or trophy/achievement in The Zodiac Age for defeating the Carrot, a type of malboro known for their Bad Breath attack, is titled "Freshmaker." Mentos, a brand of mints designed to combat bad breath, uses the slogan "The Freshmaker."
- There is a man in the bar in Balfonheim who speaks of a man on the Cerobi Steppe who defeated a wyrm and states "But I heard all he does is yell at windmills. Pity the man that rides with him." This refers to the title character of Don Quixote who was known to shout at windmills, believing them to be giants.
- Although mainly alluding to the infamous Lu Shang fishing rod from Final Fantasy XI, the Lu Shang's Badge also alludes to Lu Shang, an ancient Chinese military strategist who helped King Wen and King Wu of Zhou overthrow the Shang dynasty. He is a prominent character in the Chinese epic fantasy novel Fengshen Yanyi (封神演義), sometimes translated as Creation of the Gods, written during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
- The Rogue Tomato mark might be an allusion to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, a 1978 musical horror black comedy film that is a spoof of B movies. Made on a budget of less than US$100,000, the story involves tomatoes becoming sentient and revolting against humanity.
- The Fury may be a reference to the Rabbit of Caerbannog in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Both are mistaken as harmless due to their cute appearances, but are bloodthirsty killers.
- Hashmal's attack, Roxxor, is called "Rock You" in the Japanese version, plus some some other translations, such as the Italian translation. This is a nod towards the band Queen; one of game director Yasumi Matsuno's trademarks is to pay homage to the rock band Queen in his works. Rock You has been changed to Roxxor in the English localization, a likely play on internet slang.
Mythology and culture
- The boss monsters Slyt, Phoenix, Fenrir, and Pandaemonium are each referred to the Sì Xiàng in their bestiary entries. They are found at the Pharos both as bosses and a Mark hunted within the Subterra. The Four Symbols (四象, Sì Xiàng?) is a recurring theme in the Final Fantasy series that refers to the four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellation.
- Though Slyt is a fish, its bestiary entry mentions that the people of the east call it the Blue Wyrm. This refers to a Chinese legend that carp capable of leaping over a great waterfall known as the Dragon's Gate will be granted the right to become dragons.
- The zodiac equipment's original names are 最強の矛, "Strongest Spear", for Zodiac Spear and 最強の盾, "Strongest Shield", for Zodiac Escutcheon, referring to the Chinese idiom 自相矛盾 and the story behind it from the philosopher Han Feizi in his eponymous book of a man selling weapons. To convince people to buy his shield and spear he claimed them to be the sturdiest shield nothing could pierce and the sharpest spear able to pierce through everything. Someone asked what would happen if they tried to pierce the seller's shield with the seller's spear and the man couldn't answer, picked up his wares and left.
- The East Ivalice Company that manages the skyferries may be an allusion to the real-world East India Company.
- Balthier at one point refers to Basch's situation with words that news of his death were greatly exaggerated. According to a widely-repeated legend, a major American newspaper once printed Mark Twain's obituary and, when Twain was told about this, he supposedly said: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
- Final Fantasy XII Scenario Ultimania, p. 494
- E3 2006: Interview with the Final Fantasy XII Staff (Accessed: November 27, 2018) at IGN UK