The Void (無, Mu?, lit. Nothing) is a recurring theme in the Final Fantasy series. It can be taken in reference to either the physical phenomenon or the philosophical concept of nothingness, though both tend to go hand-in-hand. In Dissidia Final Fantasy, several characters from different games speak of "The Void" as though it were the same dimension across all its appearances.
The Void—as it is referred to as an actual, physical area in space—often takes a form chosen by its "wielder" or current denizens, though it is often seen against a backdrop of pure darkness or celestial atmosphere. The term "Void" is also used in reference to the power to distort, or remove entirely, large parts of space. This is the most present form of the Void in the series.
In most, if not all, instances in which the Void is prevalent, so is the nihilistic attitude of those seeking to make use of its power, often to unmake the world. Oftentimes this starts out as a simple desire for incredible power, but inevitably leads to an intense desire to reduce everything to a state of non-existence. Whether this is due to the Void being sentient, or if it is merely the result of gaining the state of being to make use of such power, is not known.
In Final Fantasy V it is told the Void existed before the world, and that the Crystals that sustain the planet of Final Fantasy V were born in the Void and thus created the world. From this it can be drawn that the Void is the original state of the universe from which all life has formed, or the realm of formation. The otherworldly structures associated with the appearance of the Void that seem to transcend time and space, such as the Interdimensional Rift in Final Fantasy V and Memoria in Final Fantasy IX, could thus be explained as the realm of the formation "bleeding" into the human realm.
Also akin to this is the Void's power to transform. Those being sucked into the Void do not always transform however, but may become stranded "outside of time". The Void appears as the connective tissue between the different worlds in the Final Fantasy multiverse, as some who were sucked into the Void later pop out in other worlds, most notably, Gilgamesh.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy explains that the Chaos fought in Dissidia is a manikin, created by scientists from Onrac using crystal ore recovered on an expedition into the Void. The world of Dissidia, World B, is a near mirror image of the world of Final Fantasy, called World A, and lies on the edge of the Void.
The Cloud of Darkness dwells in the World of Darkness and desires to use the power of the Light and Dark to return all existence to the void (nothingness). The Warriors of the Dark that had been imprisoned within the Dark Crystals of the World of Darkness explain to the hero party that a delicate balance between the powers of Light and Darkness must be maintained to hold the Void at bay.
Whenever an imbalance or "flood" of Light or Dark occurs, the Cloud of Darkness appears to follow through with its plans. Whenever an imbalance occurs, four individuals are selected to become the Warriors of Light or Darkness depending on the imbalance (i.e. Light Warriors against darkness, Dark Warriors against Light). To combat the Cloud of Darkness the Dark Warriors decide to aid the Light Warriors in the battle so their combined powers may overwhelm it.
One of the Warriors of Darkness explains the Void was the beginning of everything and existed before the world was born, and that Light and Darkness cancel each other out if they come into contact and nothing is left where they meet. In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, the Cloud of Darkness's description states that whenever an imbalance occurs, both Warriors of Light and Darkness are chosen if there aren't any.
A thousand years ago the two worlds had been one, but the world was split by the power of the Crystals after the necromancer Enuo was defeated and consumed by the Void. The Void itself was cast in the Interdimensional Rift, and the worlds split in two to seal the entrance to the Rift so no one could enter and take control of the Void's power again.
The warlock Exdeath destroys the Crystals and merges the worlds releasing the Void to control it. Exdeath descends into the Void and is able to control it and swallow several cities into nothingness. Once defeated by the Warriors of Light, Exdeath himself is consumed by the Void and re-manifests as Neo Exdeath. Once Neo Exdeath is killed, and the Crystals are restored from their broken shards, the Void seems to go into remission, and all the areas and people it had swallowed are restored.
In the Game Boy Advance and subsequent versions, the final areas (at least) of the Sealed Temple, known collectively as the Lethe Court, are implied to be within the Void. The final room in this area (subtitled The Void) is where Enuo is fought. There is also a town known as the Phantom Village that seems to be stuck in the Void.
Nero the Sable can manifest a darkness to swallow victims within. This ability was gained from the Mako associated with the dark being Chaos. Nero can also manipulate this darkness to create items. Those absorbed by the darkness are killed. He can bring people into a Hell-like realm called Oblivion, which is where he fights Vincent Valentine in his Arachnero/Gorgonero form.
There is a unnamed void where Squall Leonhart finds himself trapped after briefly traveling through time after felling Ultimecia in her final form. This void differs from the normal Void concept of the series in that the area appears to be outside of normal space-time continuum and presents itself as a barren desert with a gray warping sky. Rather than being part of the more familiar Void concept, Squall is left in it because he is unable to focus on a place and time to return to where he felt he belonged due to his habit of leaving no attachments with those he encountered.
With no sense of belonging to, or being attached to anywhere, he became lost in time after the time compression began to unravel. As Squall traverses the landscape, gradually getting more tired, the land disappears behind him until he becomes stranded on a small piece of land floating within the void. As his memories begin to be warped, he is saved by Rinoa Heartilly, who retrieves him and brings him back to his world.
In the Japanese version, Ultimecia describes the time compression in a more detailed manner than in the English version, explaining the party's very existences will be absorbed by the time compression causing them agony as their thoughts would be ripped apart with their memories fading away leaving them unable to do, think or feel anything, giving a more thorough explanation to what Squall is experiencing within the void.
The final battle against Ultimecia also takes place in a void-like realm, as Ultimecia is in the process of absorbing all existence.
Although not directly referred to as the Void, Kuja deems everything unfit to live with his sudden knowledge of his limited life span, and goes out of his way to destroy the Crystal, the origin of all life, to revert everything to nothingness. This passion is shared with Necron, a mystical being that has deemed the lives of living beings are suffering due to their fear of death. Necron refers to the concept of a world with no life as the "zero world", and in the Japanese version of the game calls it a "world of nothingness".
There is also a black Void-like area between Memoria and the Crystal World that Zidane and his friends must cross to get to the beginning of all time, the Crystal. Going through Memoria is implied to be reaching back through time, until there is nothing but Void left, and the Crystal at the end of the Crystal World. This would comply with previous interpretations of the Void as the original state of the universe before the worlds were born.
While never called such, the Void is heavily referred to by the Chains of Promathia expansion in the form of the Emptiness, specifically the areas Promyvion and Apollyon. The Emptiness is a phenomenon that eats away at Vana'diel's five mothercrystals, which would eventually turn the world into nothingness, reflected in Promyvion as a pure black void with dusty, crumbling "islands" floating within it, inhabited by unworldly monsters composed of the remnants of the crystals' devoured memories. "True" Omega lies in wait as the final boss of Apollyon.
When Lightning meets Noel Kreiss, she says he "crossed the Void" to get to Valhalla. As said by Mog upon Serah and Noel's first visit to the Void Beyond, the place is a "shadow of Valhalla" that serves as a passage between the Time Gates. Time travelers run the risk of getting lost and appearing within this plane during their travels.
There are areas that appear to exist within the Void Beyond and thus outside the normal realm: Serendipity and Coliseum. Serendipity is said to have formed from the desires of its denizens, or at least its owner. The Coliseum seems similar, reflecting the philosophy of its leader, the Arbiter of Time, as the place where warriors battle one another. This would fall in line with the Void's depiction as the realm of formation in other series's entries.
Paradoxes twist the timeline and may cause rifts in the time continuum. A Void-like area consumes portions of Oerba in 200 AF, which the party can fix by resolving the local anomalies in the Temporal Rift. There are also monsters that are trapped in the space between time, called the Rift; one such monster is the Gogmagog that appears in various time periods to challenge Serah and Noel.
After Nova Chrysalia is destroyed and Bhunivelze is felled, their remains are sucked into a new unseen realm with Yeul and Caius remaining behind to act as the shepherds of the dead. The living remain in a black void where Lightning and her companions gather around a glowing blue crystal. It shatters and sends the souls of the living to a new world where humanity can start their lives anew without the control of the gods. This is similar to concepts introduced earlier in the series where worlds are born from the Void, and where crystals are progenitors of new planets.
The realm of Cosmogenesis where Bhunivelze resides also resembles the Void in appearance, and in being a realm of formation.
The void is a generic term that Eorzeans have given to a dark realm they believe exists beyond their own. When a creature is deemed too unnatural to be "of Eorzea" (such as ahrimans), they are categorized as "voidsent", based on the common belief they were sent by a sinister force from beyond the corporeal realm. The void is said to be the origin of the creatures present on the Dzemael Darkhold and the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak. Upon advancing on the instances, some of the creatures will "retreat into the void", while others will emerge from it, effectively changing the monsters currently in the area.
In Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, it is revealed the Allagan Empire researched the void, even making some synthetic voidsent with bioengineering. This resulted in Allagan's downfall when Emperor Xande's attempt to establish a portal into the World of Darkness wiped out the civilization. The Crystal Tower where Xande made the attempt resurfaced after the Seventh Calamity, with the Warrior of Light sealing the portal therein with the aid of Xande's surviving descendants.
The ancient city of magic, Mhach, utilized the void to power their sorcery, using voidsent as weapons against Nym and Amdapor during the War of the Magi. The Machi met their end during their attempt to evade a great flood. They created a flying ark powered by thousands of voidsent sealed within coffins.
It is eventually revealed that the Void was originally one of the thirteen versions of the Source created when Zodiark was defeated in ancient times. The Void is similar to the First as it became imbalanced in the absence of light. The world and its denizens transformed after being consumed by the darkness.
The description of the Alterna spell is: "spell of the Arcana, Alterna consigns entire hordes of enemies to the void at the cost of all MP." Alterna's animation is reminiscent of the appearances of the Void from other series's entries as a crystal sphere that collapses to form a black hole that sucks enemies in, removing them altogether. While seemingly inspired by the appearances of the Void from the series, whether the spell actually transports one to the Void is unknown. It is, however, said to be the most powerful spell of the Ring of the Lucii.
The Void is briefly mentioned as a "space beyond space" that connects parallel universes. After the Warriors of Light and Darkness "defeat" the empty armor suit of the Avalonian Emperor, a rift opens leading them to the Void.
The Void houses the places engulfed on the Dimensional Shift that linked the worlds of Light and Darkness—such as Castle Lux, Alfheim, Castle Burtgang, and Castle Falgabard—along with its inhabitants and lingering spirits. Deep inside is a force of nothingness known as Nil, whose purpose is to bring everything back into nothingness. Nil created several deadly monsters that lurk within the Void known as the "Armies of Nil" of which the most powerful are the "Blades of Nil", the monsters Despair, Suffering, Anguish and Misery.
Despite being forces of nothingness, the Armies of Nil are sentient and seem to be negative on nature. This is further evidenced by how the Blades of Nil focus on stealing certain parts of humanity, such as Hope, Trust, Dreams, and Love. This makes it so far the only time in the series in which The Void behaves in a malignant manner.
As Tempus Finis commences Pandæmonium rises from the sea and floats up to the sky with a fiery emblem of Etro's gate, the doorway to the afterlife, in its middle. As Class Zero makes their way through the temple to the top they walk into the fiery depiction of the gate to start the final battles. After walking into the fire, the cadets appear on a platform suspended in a void with clouds and stars on the background. When the Rursan Arbiter is defeated the cadets appear back at Akademeia in their old classroom.
Whether the fiery image of the gate is truly the gateway to afterlife, or merely a depiction of it, is unknown, but the cadets passing through it to a void-like area refers to the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series's core concept of the deities of the world wanting to use human souls to open the gate to the unseen realm. The void-like area appears otherworldly and is where the Arbiter is to mete out its judgment on those seeking to become Agito. As the cadets defeat the Arbiter, it dissipates into soul crystals and vanishes into the void, whereas the cadets find themselves back in Akademeia on the verge of death. Soon after Arecia Al-Rashia, Tiz and Lean Joker meet in this place.
The voids in the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy games are shown as areas dislodged from time and the rest of existence, like the Void Beyond in Final Fantasy XIII-2, and the void that forms after the end of the world in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The void in Final Fantasy Type-0 may be where the elusive Rursan Crystal exists, as it is the one who brands Cid Aulstyne to become the Rursan Arbiter after Cid seeks it out.
Phantoma is the life energy of all living beings in Orience that can appear in varying colors and types. White phantoma and its variants are described as the energy of the void, and are generally useless for augmenting spells in the Altocrystarium, apart from the Ivory Phantoma that does nothing on its own, but boosts the power of other phantoma. When the Rursan Arbiter is defeated, it disperses into what appears to be white phantoma.
The four Crystals of Orience refer to the Four Symbols, four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations: the Azure Dragon of the East, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Tortoise of the North. While originating from China, the Four Symbols are also widely known in Korea, Japan and Vietnam with each region having distinct names for them. Pandæmonium appears at the peninsula that stands near Akademeia.
In the mythology of the symbols, the original incarnation featured the Shenlong or Koryu, the Golden Dragon representative of the Wu Xing element of Earth, the direction of center, and the highest powers that govern over the rest of the Four Symbols. Its Japanese analogue rather sees no beast represent the aspects of center, and instead represents the element of Sky, or the Void. In Final Fantasy Type-0, Pandæmonium appears to be a portal to the Void with its final area beyond the depiction of Etro's gate on a platform suspended among "nothingness".
It is implied through the course of Shade Impulse that with Cosmos remaining dead, the imbalance of harmony and discord will cause the worlds to sink into the Void, along with the heroes and villains who had been summoned to fight.
Exdeath and the Cloud of Darkness retain their desires to return existence to the Void, and both sink into the Void when defeated for the last time. Dissidia also establishes that it is the power of the Void that allowed Garland to travel back in time in the original Final Fantasy.
The Cloud of Darkness tells Laguna the manikins are cursed puppets that crept out of the Void from its rifts. The creation of a portal to the Void by Exdeath has allowed the Warriors of Chaos to summon the manikins as minions, allowing them to overwhelm the Warriors of Cosmos.
In the 12th cycle's final battle, Kain, Tifa, Laguna, Yuna, Vaan and Lightning locate this portal and sacrifice their lives to close it and stop more manikins from coming through. The gateways in World B are smaller portals to the Void that allow temporary travel to other worlds, which is why arenas from other Final Fantasy games manifest inside them.
The Reports further expand on the Void and how it connects the world of Dissidia to the world of Final Fantasy. A team of scientists from Onrac used crystal ore recovered from the Void to create the first manikins. Because they were mindless automatons, Cid of the Lufaine was recruited to endow a manikin with memories to give it a sense of self.
This manikin became Chaos, and was raised by Cid and his wife. Onrac used Chaos as a tool of war and controlled him with a clone of Cid's wife, who would become Cosmos. When Cid and his wife attempted to rescue Chaos from Onrac, Cid's wife was injured and in his rage Chaos opened a portal to the Void, drawing himself, Cid and Cosmos to World B. Shinryu, a dragon that travels the Interdimensional Rift, visited World B, and the four entered a pact: Chaos and Cosmos would be made gods and summon warriors from the worlds connected to the Void to fight each other.
When one side lost, Shinryu would absorb the memories of the battle from them and grow stronger, imbuing Chaos with more power. Eventually Chaos would grow strong enough for him to open a portal to the Void again, and he, Cid and Cosmos would return to World A.
The Void appears as the BMS for several final boss themes throughout the series:
- "This is the Last Battle"*from Final Fantasy III
- "The Final Battle"*from Final Fantasy IV
- "Decisive Battle"*from Final Fantasy V
- "The Final Battle"*from Final Fantasy V
- "The Extreme"*from Final Fantasy VIII
- "Challenge"*from Final Fantasy X
- "This is the End For You!"*from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
The void is mentioned in the Legend of the Crystals story. It is the emptiness that existed before the universe was created. It was ruled over by the "dark monarch". After endless cycles, the creator and four crystals emerged in fear of the darkness and created the world.
Etymology and symbolism
There are a few different origins where the concept of the Void in the Final Fantasy series may have derived influence. Voids are vast spaces between filaments (the largest-scale structures in the Universe), which contain very few or no galaxies. Void is also a synonym for vacuum, a space containing no matter. These interpretations of the word "void" can be similar to the Void's representation in some installments of the Final Fantasy series as a vast emptiness.
The concept of four elemental crystals that sustain the world that occurred in early Final Fantasy games likely derives from the Japanese five elements philosophy. These five elements are, in ascending order of power: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. The element of Void is not represented as a crystal, but may have taken the form of the Void as a dimension that connects the different Final Fantasy worlds.
In Japanese philosophy 空 kū or sora, most often translated as "Void", but also meaning "heaven" or "sky", represents things beyond everyday human experience, particularly things composed of pure energy. Bodily, kū represents spirit, thought, and creative energy. In martial arts, particularly in fictional tales where the fighting discipline is blended with magic or the occult, one often invokes the power of the Void to connect to the quintessential creative energy of the world. In the Final Fantasy series, villains, notably Exdeath in Final Fantasy V, have tried utilizing the power of the Void for their own ends.
The term void can also refer to a Buddhist philosophical concept, the theme of emptiness (śūnyatā) that emerged from the Buddhist doctrines of the nonexistence of the self and dependent origination, but the exact definition and extent of emptiness varies from one Buddhist tradition to another.