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The Empire is snuffing out Returners wherever it finds them. We must find a way to strike back before it's too late...

A member inside the Returner Hideout

The Returners is an insurgent group in Final Fantasy VI. They oppose the Gestahlian Empire's conquest of the world. The majority of the game's protagonists are members of the group.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Returner concept art from Final Fantasy Anthology.

The Returners were formed by Banon to resist the Empire's growing influence. The date of their founding is never specified, but they were known to have instigated a riot in South Figaro eight years prior to the game's start, in response to the Kingdom of Figaro allying with the Empire.[1]

In the Third Gestahlian Campaign, the Empire used Magitek to conquer the southern countries of Tzen, Albrook and Maranda, and then set their sights on the north. The Returners station in a hideout in the Sabre Mountains, but their influence is small. King Edgar of Figaro provides funds and resources to the group using Locke as a go-between, but the Returners lack the manpower for open war on the Empire and operate quietly. The kingdom of Doma sides with them, as do individuals in other cities, including Arvis in Narshe. Initially the struggle goes badly for the Returners and their allies, with almost the entire population of Doma perishing in the Siege of Doma. When Figaro is dragged into the war, the Empire occupies South Figaro and Mt. Kolts.

Arvis has Locke rescue a former Imperial soldier named Terra from Narshe. Terra can use magic, a power thought mythical, and has been freed from Imperial control by contact with a frozen esper found in the town mines. This confirms for Banon that the Empire's source of power is the legendary magical beasts known as espers. To discover more, Banon and Terra, along with Edgar and his brother Sabin, return to Narshe to defend the town from attack, and the Battle for the Frozen Esper ensues. After repelling the Imperial force Terra is discovered to be half-esper, and reveals the existence of another realm where the espers live. The Empire had invaded this realm 16 years ago, and seized the espers used to produce their Magitek weapons at the Magitek Research Facility in Vector. The Returners infiltrate the Empire and destroy the facility, cutting off the Empire's supply of magic.

Narshe allies with the Returners, and with Figaro this gives them the resources and technology to attack the Empire's capital Vector, but they lack the manpower. On their request, Terra opens the gate to the Esper World, releasing several espers that decimate Vector. The Returner-Narshe forces occupy most of Vector while the Empire calls a ceasefire to look for the espers with Terra's help. Terra and her friends travel to Thamasa and help locate the espers and their leader Yura, who soon agrees to a peace treaty with Imperial general Leo Cristophe. The peace is short-lived; soon Kefka attacks the town, and kills Leo and his troops and captures the espers as magicite. The Imperials then invade the Esper World and raise the Floating Continent. Although the Returners destroy the Imperial air force in the battle over the Floating Continent, they fail to prevent Kefka from moving the Warring Triad out of alignment. This triggers the cataclysm.

The Returners are mostly wiped out in the global disaster, with the exception of the playable party and, in the Advance and mobile releases, a man in Nikeah who tells the party about the four new espers that can be found.

Spoilers end here.

Notable members[]

Strategy meeting at the Returner Hideout.

Other appearances[]

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia[]

The Returners are a faction in Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia. They are named in tribute to the original Returners and led by Edgar. Edgar founds the Returners when he questions the stated motives of Materia, Spiritus, and Mog, and decides to seek out his own answers about the nature of the new world and the threat posed by the Torsions. Edgar recruits Squall, Shadow, Layle, Firion, and Lightning to investigate the Torsions and assist the group led by Mog. All of them eventually join the main party in order to further their mission.



Returner means "to go" or "come back", as to an earlier condition or place.

The Returners are trying to return things to the way they were before the empire's conquests, and return it to peaceful times. In the World of Ruin, the Returners' "spirit" lingers, with Celes saying she wants to return the world to the state before Kefka ruined it. Kefka brings death and destruction, while the party wants to return life into the dying world, finally materializing it in the ending.

The word "returner" is used throughout the game not simply referring to the organization, but many NPCs in the World of Ruin mention their wish to return to the "good old days" (the World of Balance).


  1. Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p. 61