SeeD... (...A code name, for Balamb Garden's elite mercenary force... SeeD... Combat specialists...) ...Don't you already know?
SeeD is a mercenary force in Final Fantasy VIII whose operatives graduate from Balamb Garden. SeeD is a mercenary force for hire, conducting missions around the world as battle support and undercover operatives. Their services are requested by governments and civilians; their tasks range from providing military support to protecting civilians to slaying monsters.
Only Balamb Garden trains SeeD cadets, but members from the other Gardens can transfer to Balamb for the field exam. All SeeD are stationed at Balamb. The SeeD specialize in high-level para-magic via the use of Guardian Forces.
- SeeD (1)
Balamb Garden's mercenary force. Students 15 and older can participate in the written and field exams. They must pass both exams to become SeeD. SeeD members are paid by the Garden according to their rank. In the Garden, their status is no different from that of the other students.
- SeeD (2)
SeeD conducts missions around the world. Most missions involve battle support and undercover work. SeeD is in high demand by groups requiring a small force of undercover specialists. Commissions made through such dispatches are an important part of Balamb Garden's income.
- SeeD (3)
SeeD battle operations are noted for their skillful use of para-magic. Balamb Garden researches the use of GF in conjunction with para-magic. For this, Balamb Garden SeeD members master the most powerful forms of para-magic.
Sorceress Edea and Cid Kramer were a married couple who lived on the Centra coast near a lighthouse. Edea operated an orphanage for the children orphaned by the Sorceress War. One day, a dying sorceress from the future appeared at the orphanage from a time portal alongside a teenage Squall Leonhart, whom Edea recognized as an older version of a boy currently under her care. The sorceress died and passed on her powers to Edea, and Squall addressed her formally with a salute. Edea was confused when Squall introduced himself as a SeeD from Garden, but Squall said they were her idea. Edea said there can be only one Squall in this time, and the teenage Squall disappeared back into the time portal.
Edea came to believe that one day Squall, a boy in her orphanage, would defeat an evil sorceress. To prepare him for this future ordeal Edea and her husband Cid started the Garden to train Squall as a SeeD operative, along with other aspirants and children from the orphanage. The establishing of an anti-sorceress military force was seen as a danger for Edea, as she is a sorceress herself, and Cid and Edea decided they can no longer stay together. While Cid went ahead with the Balamb Garden project, meeting the Shumi NORG and receiving his financial backing, Edea went into hiding on the White SeeD Ship with Squall's step-sister Ellone and other orphans from the orphanage who did not get adopted or enrolled into the Garden.
SeeD's true purpose as an anti-sorceress force was concealed, and NORG came up with the idea of selling the SeeD services, and thus the SeeD was formed as a mercenary force for hire. As the SeeD's true purpose would be to battle a sorceress, they specialized in magic use, namely in the use of Guardian Forces, despite the controversy on their purported adversarial effects.
Squall grew up in Balamb Garden and trained to become a SeeD under Headmaster Cid's watchful eye, though he never learned of his significance or role in the Garden's founding. Twelve years on SeeD has become a robust military force known around the globe, but Cid and NORG's relationship has deteriorated, with NORG pushing for SeeD to be a pure business venture, while Cid is still preparing for the day Squall will take on a sorceress. Squall graduates and is sent out to a mission, but strange events are unraveling as Ellone has arrived at the Garden from the White SeeD Ship and told Cid Edea has abandoned them.
Edea surfaces in Timber where the president of Galbadia, Vinzer Deling, announces her as a new ambassador. Seifer, a SeeD cadet and Squall's rival, takes the president hostage, and is whisked away by Edea who convinces him to work for her. During the commotion returning to Balamb Garden becomes impossible and Squall's SeeD party retreats to Galbadia Garden for further orders. Galbadia Garden's Master, Martine, sends out Squall and his team to assassinate Sorceress Edea, Squall being unaware of her true identity. Edea publicly disposes of the president and assumes his role as the Galbadian dictator. Squall faces Edea and her "knight", Seifer, head on, and she is disgusted upon discovering Squall is a SeeD. Edea defeats Squall with her Ice Strike attack and the SeeDs are taken prisoner. During their captivity Edea has Seifer torture Squall to extract information, namely, to divulge SeeD's true purpose and the reason they persecute sorceresses. Squall is confused by the interrogation, as he has no knowledge of SeeD being anything but a mercenary force for hire.
The SeeDs escape and return to Balamb Garden where an all-out war has broken out between NORG and Cid. NORG wants to save the Garden from Sorceress Edea's wrath by apologizing for the assassination attempt and framing the culpable SeeD members as unaffiliated rogues, and to prove the SeeD's sincerity, wants to give up the SeeD members involved in the attack to her. Cid, meanwhile, has come to believe that the evil sorceress Edea formed the SeeD to vanquish is, in fact, herself, and although he doesn't understand why his wife has turned evil, he wants to stay true to the SeeD's origins as an anti-sorceress task force.
NORG is defeated and driven out of the now mobile Garden, and Cid tells Squall of the SeeD's true purpose, although he doesn't reveal Squall's role in its founding. The White SeeD Ship approaches the seaborne Garden to pick up Ellone, and Squall is surprised to find there is another faction of the SeeD he has never heard of, who refer to themselves as "Edea's SeeD." Likely feeling he cannot stay and wage war against his wife, Cid departs the Garden leaving everything in Squall's hands, promoting him a commander of SeeD. Squall, still unaware of his true significance, is baffled by Cid's decision, and briefly contemplates quitting. While Cid returns to the old orphanage, Squall leads the SeeD to a war against Sorceress Edea. They eventually uncover her true identity as the former matron of the orphanage they all grew up in, but even this revelation doesn't divert them from their task.
Balamb Garden SeeDs, led by Squall, enter an all-out war against Galbadia Garden's G-Forces, led by Squall's childhood rival Seifer, in the Battle of the Gardens. Squall leads his team to infiltrate the enemy Garden and face Sorceress Edea, who identifies them as the "legendary SeeD" destined to face her. The SeeDs defeat her and the near-death experience brings Edea back to her former self, and she addresses Squall and his friends with kindness. Confused, everyone retreats to Edea's old orphanage to talk things over, where they meet Cid who is happy to have his wife back to her old self.
Edea explains she has been possessed by an evil sorceress, Ultimecia, who resides in the future. Ultimecia's goal is time compression, and to achieve it, she sends her mind back in time to possess other sorceresses to seek out Squall's sister Ellone, who has power over time and mysterious telepathic abilities. Squall no longer cares about the SeeD and the war against sorceresses, however, for a girl he has fallen in love with, Rinoa Heartilly, entered a coma during their battle against the possessed Edea.
Squall looks for the White SeeD Ship to reunite with Ellone whose mystical powers he hopes could help him cure Rinoa, but upon finding she has been taken to Esthar Squall decides to abandon the SeeD. He takes Rinoa with him and departs to Esthar, but his friends and Edea follow him. Who is left in charge of the SeeD during this time is unknown.
After saving Rinoa it is learned she has inherited Edea's sorceress powers and become a sorceress. Rinoa is skeptical of the future, seeing as Squall is still the leader of SeeD, an anti-sorceress army, but Squall assures Rinoa is not his enemy. The president of Esthar, Laguna Loire, calls Squall and his friends up for a final SeeD mission to take on Ultimecia, and with Ellone's help, Ultimecia casts the time compression spell and the SeeDs use it to travel to the future. Along the shoreline of the orphanage that no longer exists in the future, they find scattered bodies of soldiers dressed in the White SeeD uniform, with Squall commenting that the SeeD has continued to fight sorceresses throughout the ages.
The SeeDs confront Ultimecia at the summit of her castle where she voices her contempt of the SeeD and speaks of the event as if it was foretold. The time compression spell breaks upon her demise and the timeline begins to revert to its original form. While the others find their way back to their own time, Squall and Ultimecia appear at Edea's orphanage of the past. Ultimecia dies and passes on her power to Edea, and Squall tells her he is a SeeD from the Garden. Edea tells him he is in the wrong time and he re-enters the time portal. Lost in time, he collapses but is found by Rinoa who brings him back to his own time.
Back in Balamb Garden the SeeDs celebrate their victory over Ultimecia with Edea and Cid also attending.
To become a SeeDEdit
SeeD candidates must be between 15 years to 19 years old; at 20, they can no longer apply. They have to pass a written exam, a field exam, and have to be accepted by the headmaster, Cid Kramer.
The field exam is usually a live mission assigned to the Garden. While there are active SeeD members at hand during the exams to ensure the mission success, SeeD candidates are expected to conduct themselves professionally and strive to complete their group assigned missions to pass the exam.
Sometimes (usually due to difficulty of the mission) a prerequisite is required before a student can participate; either the obtainment of a Guardian Force, or the completion of a low-level mission. In such circumstances, the student must be accompanied by a SeeD member for support and safety reasons.
Garden instructors are SeeD members who have been promoted to (or assigned) teaching positions at Garden. It is unknown if any non-SeeD instructors work at Garden. Since instructors are SeeDs they can accompany their students on the prerequisite missions, such as Quistis Trepe supporting Squall at the Fire Cavern.
The exam is graded via observations made during the mission.
Each candidate is judged upon:
- Conduct: How the candidate behaves within the mission and within their team. In the game, the score is determined by how fast the player can withdraw from Dollet.
- Judgment: The decisions the cadet makes and the effect of them upon the mission. In the game, the score is determined by how much time is left at the end of the Fire Cavern mission when Squall defeats Ifrit. The less time left, the higher the score.
- Attack: How aggressive and skillful the candidate is during the mission. In the game, the score is determined by how many enemies are killed only in Dollet during the field exam.
- Spirit: How brave and/or determined the candidate is during the mission. In the game the score is determined by how often the player flees from battle only in Dollet during the field exam.
- Attitude: Judges the candidate's moral and professional behavior during the mission. In the game, various individual actions determine this score, such as how many people they speak to, where everything is based only in Dollet during the field exam.
The grading also includes any additional actions and/or events the examiners deem noteworthy.
The highest SeeD rank obtained depends on the difficulty of the mission where the exam was held, but usually the highest rank obtained is Rank 8, although some exceptions have been made.
The initial rank is calculated as such:
- Initial Rank = ([500 + Sum of Modifiers]/100) + Bonus
- Min & Max Rank = 1 & 10
The tables below show SeeD Scores and Modifiers; the SeeD Scores are what are displayed in the in-game report card.
Perfect exam scoreEdit
The score is determined by how fast the player can withdraw from Dollet.
|Time Remaining||SeeD Score||Conduct Modifier|
|25:00 or more||100||80|
The score is determined by how much time is left at the end of the Fire Cavern mission when Squall defeats Ifrit. The less time left, the higher the score, the best score given at 7 or fewer seconds remaining. The player can allow the game to remain in the screen where the player names Ifrit and let the time run out during it to get maximum score; although the timer does not appear on the naming screen it will keep counting down.
The Steam version has been modified so that the timer must not hit 0:00 at the naming screen. The player will still win, but will receive a score of 0. Thus, Ifrit's name must be confirmed by 00:01 for a perfect score.
|Time Remaining||SeeD Score||Judgment Modifier|
The score is determined by how many enemies are killed only in Dollet during the field exam. Fixed battles and bosses defeated also count for this score, where there are two cases in particular. For Biggs, if his HP is depleted completely before Wedge will join him, then the game interprets it as 1 kill done, no matter if the player deplete his HP again. And about X-ATM092, if the player uses the AP trick without destroying it completely and then flees, then this also account as 1 kill is done.
|Kills||SeeD Score||Attack Modifier|
The score is determined by how often the player escapes from battle only in Dollet during the field exam. The best score is given if the player only has one escape—the mandatory one from X-ATM092.
|Escapes||SeeD Score||Spirit Modifier|
Various individual actions determine this score. The score is determined by how many deductions the player suffers from their attitude only in Dollet during the field exam, and some violations are more severe than others.
- In Anacondaur fixed battle it doesn't matter if Seifer gets the final blow, the player won't get any deductions.
- Talking to anyone include Zell and Seifer, from the moment Squall and his team land in Dollet gives 1 Deduction per each time Squall talks to them. After the team it withdraw from Dollet can talk to anyone and the player won't get any deductions.
- Disregarding Seifer's order inside the vessel gives 1 Deduction.
- Moving toward the radio tower before Seifer orders it gives 1 Deduction per try.
- Talking to Biggs after defeating him gives 2 Deductions.
- Jumping off the cliff like Selphie gives 5 Deductions.
- Failing to save the dog from X-ATM092 gives 10 Deductions. If the player destroyed X-ATM092 in the town square or before, the dog is automatically saved.
- Hiding in the pub when X-ATM092 passes gives 20 Deductions.
|Deductions||SeeD Score||Attitude Modifier|
When escaping the radio tower with a time limit there are two ways the player can deal with the robot spider: evading it, or destroying it; only the first battle is mandatory. In the screen where Selphie jumped down to follow Seifer, the party must cross as fast as they can. When coming down the mountain trail, the ground is shaking so the party must walk down. If they run, they are stopped by the shaking ground and X-ATM092 will catch up. On the bridge the party must run until X-ATM092 jumps over the party; the party must then run the other way until X-ATM092 will jump over them again, then turn around and run toward the town; the X-ATM092 won't have time to jump again. In the the town area evading X-ATM092 is easy; the player just needs to keep heading toward the beach.
If the player destroys the X-ATM092 they get a bonus score of 100 points and thus one whole rank to their starting rank. X-ATM092 cannot be destroyed in the initial battle, but if the player engages it in any time after it can be.
Uniform and mannerismsEdit
Although casual attire is usually worn due to the covert nature of SeeD missions, SeeD does have a formal uniform issued to its members upon graduation. It is worn during ceremony or due to the SeeD's own choice.
Both uniforms are reminiscent of Japanese school uniforms. The male uniform, modeled after the Japanese gakuran, has a standing collar buttoning down from top-to-bottom. The collar is part of a black tunic with gold trim and maroon cuffs. Pants are straight leg and tucked into black knee-high boots. A black Sam Browne belt is worn with the tunic and a blue and silver designed shield is worn over the shoulders. The shield tapers to a double point at the back.
The female uniform, modeled after the Japanese seeraafuku, consists of a black blouse with dark blue shoulders that echo the design of the sailor-style collar. Attached to the collar are two gold-trimmed "wings" that hang over the chest; a maroon tie is worn with a metal clasp adorned with the SeeD logo. The ensemble is completed with a straight skirt cutting off just above the knees. Although the original design appears to include black knee-high socks and black shoes, in the game, female SeeD members wear black knee-high boots instead for their full SeeD uniform, with the shoes and socks reserved for the SeeD trainee uniform.
SeeDs have a signature salute used to greet others of the profession as well as clients. It is used by both SeeD and White SeeD, and Headmaster Cid has also been seen doing it in response. It is used as a formal greeting when meeting for the first time, after a prolonged absence, or when reporting for duty. The salute involves standing in formation and bringing the right hand in front of the saluting person's face, covering their right eye.
All students in the Garden training to be SeeD and have yet to graduate are considered SeeD cadets. SeeD field operatives have a ranking system from 1 to 30 (1 being the lowest rank and 30 being the highest). They can increase their ranking by completing written tests that cover a variety of subjects. Reaching SeeD rank 30 in the Steam version earns the player the achievement Top Rank.
The game uses "SeeD Experience" to calculate the player's SeeD Rank. The formula is [SeeD Exp/100] = SeeD Rank. The formula is rounded down. SeeD Rank A is equivalent to 3100 SeeD Exp and the maximum is 3110, mere 10 points above the threshold. This is why the player's rank often drops from A to 30 when the salary is paid; to prevent this the player should kill 10 enemies before receiving the next salary. Being paid salary for the first time in the Steam version earns the player the achievement First Salary.
Gaining SeeD ExperienceEdit
For every one enemy defeated the player gains a point of SeeD Experience. Enemies killed by Guardian Forces don't count. Every time the player's salary is paid they lose 10 SeeD Experience. When passing a written test the SeeD Experience is rounded to the next level. Several in-game events can increase or decrease the player's SeeD Exp. If the player handles all events perfectly, they can increase their rank with a total of 4.7.
- Showing off Squall's gunblade to the two students sitting on the floor outside the second floor classroom lowers the player's rank by one; even if the player isn't a SeeD yet, it will later be deducted.
- Trying to sneak out of Balamb Garden during the night of the SeeD graduation lowers the rank by one; if the player tries to leave three times, the rank will drop.
- During the Timber train mission, if Squall is never detected by the guards he gains a SeeD rank. If he is detected fewer than ten times it has no effect on his rank, but if the guards spot him ten times or more his rank will drop.
- The rank drops by one if the player escapes the Tomb of the Unknown King with the option available from the map.
- The events in Missile Base can gain the player two ranks. See details here.
- After defeating NORG there will be a male student outside the second floor classroom asking Squall to show him magic. If the player complies the player's rank decreases by one.
- Completing the Master Fisherman quest in Fishermans Horizon will earn 20 SeeD Exp, 0.2 of a SeeD rank.
- During Galbadian occupation of Balamb Town, depending on which method the player uses to find the captain, they will earn SeeD Experience: if they board the train they get 65 Exp, if they use the dog to sniff him out they get 100 Exp.
- Completing the Shumi Village stone collecting quest will earn 50 SeeD Exp.
- Defeating Ultima Weapon gives a whole SeeD rank.
SeeD rank tests are multiple choice and must be answered 100% correctly to raise a SeeD rank. The tests can only be taken up to Squall's current level (i.e if Squall is level 7, the player will only be able to take the tests up to #7). Ranking is decreased by misconduct in the field or if the operative is seen lagging behind.
Above the 1 - 30 ranks lies the A-class SeeD (or Class A Elite SeeD). This is the highest ranking for a SeeD field operative. It can be reached via special consideration or through the written tests.
- Commander: A newly created military rank awarded to Squall Leonhart allowing him full command over Balamb Garden and all SeeD members. This rank is deemed to be the official leader of SeeD.
Rank and payEdit
A SeeD's income is dictated by his/her rank.
- Rank 1: 500G
- Rank 2: 1,000G
- Rank 3: 1,500G
- Rank 4: 2,000G
- Rank 5: 3,000G
- Rank 6: 4,000G
- Rank 7: 5,000G
- Rank 8: 6,000G
- Rank 9: 7,000G
- Rank 10: 8,000G
- Rank 11: 9,000G
- Rank 12: 10,000G
- Rank 13: 11,000G
- Rank 14: 12,000G
- Rank 15: 12,500G
- Rank 16: 13,000G
- Rank 17: 13,500G
- Rank 18: 14,000G
- Rank 19: 14,500G
- Rank 20: 15,000G
- Rank 21: 15,500G
- Rank 22: 16,000G
- Rank 23: 16,500G
- Rank 24: 17,000G
- Rank 25: 17,500G
- Rank 26: 18,000G
- Rank 27: 18,500G
- Rank 28: 19,000G
- Rank 29: 19,500G
- Rank 30: 20,000G
- Rank A: 30,000G
Balamb Garden is located east of the town of Balamb. Students (usually orphans) attend this Garden in hopes of becoming SeeD. It is one of the three Gardens in the world, and it is where SeeDs are trained and stationed.
While not responsible for training SeeDs, Trabia and Balamb Garden carry out an exchange program by allowing would-be SeeDs from Trabia to take the SeeD written test there.
Galbadia Garden does not train SeeDs. However, contact is maintained between the headmasters of Galbadia and Balamb Gardens whenever there is a joint operation. Balamb Garden students can take classes in Galbadia Garden for extra credit, such as with Quistis Trepe.
White SeeD is an off-shoot mercenary group charged with protecting Ellone.
Played during the various battle meetings between the SeeD, the musical extract "SeeD" is considered to be the theme of the elite mercenary group. This theme is also the backing track for the PlayStation 4 dynamic theme included with Final Fantasy VIII Remastered.
Dissidia Final Fantasy seriesEdit
The SeeD uniform appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy as an optional outfit for Squall Leonhart. Little to no changes were made to the uniform's design for the game, and Squall wields either the Revolver or the Lionheart while wearing it. The arcade version has different colorations of the uniform, including a white version reminiscent of the White SeeD from Final Fantasy VIII. The uniform appears as a costume for Squall in Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia.
The SeeD cadet uniform is an alternative outfit for Selphie.
An official Zippo lighter with the SeeD logo was released in 1999. With only 400 pieces ever manufactured, the lighter is considered extremely rare. A collector's item, the lighter comes in a metal container with blue padding and includes a certificate of authenticity.
SeeD is always stylized with a capital D. While naturally referring to cadets being cultivated in a military academy called "Garden", an acronym (or more likely, a "backronym" for qualities a good SeeD should have) has been offered in V Jump Kinkyū Zōkan Final Fantasy VIII Settei Shiryō & Visual Guide, an official guide albeit not one written by Square.
- Specialist Lesson
- elegant man
- Danger Zone
SeeD may also be intentionally similar to "Cid", after Headmaster Cid of Balamb Garden.
- In Balamb Garden, SeeD members have their own, private dorms.
- The transcontinental railroad express from Balamb to Timber houses a private cabin for SeeD members.
- During Zell's intro FMV, the SeeD symbol seen behind him has been flipped.
- Despite not being a SeeD, Rinoa Heartilly can be paid salary when she is alone in the party during a mission in Deling City. The same is true for Irvine in FH. Salary is not paid in Laguna dreams.
- In Winhill the party can run into two men in SeeD uniform who claim to have been hired to protect the town. In truth, the two are Balamb Garden drop-outs, who only pose as SeeD members. The foreign benefactor who has hired them is implied to be Laguna.
- When first meeting Rinoa as her client, she comments on Squall's dancing at the ball, with Squall replying dance classes are mandatory for SeeD, citing need for versatile skills, e.g. to be able to approach people covertly in a dance party.
- The SeeD logo bares some resemblance to the aerial view of the Yoyogi National Stadium in Shibuya, Tokyo.
- The provenance of SeeD is mystical, as Squall inadvertently tells Edea to establish it, but had himself already been raised in the Garden to become one. He visits Edea during the "time decompression" when past, present and future are still joined, likening the encounter to clairvoyance, allowing Edea to glimpse the future. Fate is a theme in the game, and whereas characters like Ultimecia and Ellone try to fight it, characters like Cid, Edea and Squall (though unknowingly), play their parts to make the events unfold as intended. A time travel paradox where the events' origin cannot be determined is called a causal loop.