FINAL FANTASY VI
As we alluded to earlier, FFVI first launched in the US as Final Fantasy III. The logo once again did not match with Final Fantasy standards, but did gel with the US Final Fantasy II – meaning it was just a logo with a swordy “T.” But look: this time we got a moogle and a spooky shadow!
The actual FFVI logo features Terra, arguably the star of the game’s ensemble cast, riding atop a hulking Magitek Armor. The game’s memorable opening sees Terra trudging through the snow in said armor, though shortly after her inherent magical powers begin to cut loose and her true nature is exposed.
Further explanations could spoil some interesting aspects of the game, and since the logo’s all tied up at this point, let’s just move on. But if you haven’t played this one yet, we’ve called it the best of the series as well as one of the best game stories of all time. So get on it.
FINAL FANTASY VII
This one’s way easy – that’s Meteor, the world-ending spell Sephiroth summons to smash into the planet. But why do that? That’s a bit meatier.
Sephiroth incorrectly believes he is the last of the Cetra, an ancient race that gained access to the all-powerful spell Meteor. As a form of misguided revenge, he plans on bringing Meteor down, injuring the planet so badly that its regenerative powers (called the Lifestream) seep through the crust and attempt to repair the damage. Once it’s exposed, Sephiroth will plunge into the Lifestream and attempt to absorb the energy, basically becoming a new god in the process. So yeah, Meteor is a big part of the story.
FFVII’s undying popularity led to Advent Children, the full-length CG movie that picks up two years after the game’s conclusion. At first pass the logo looks the same, but that’s not actually Meteor – it’s Midgar, one of the key cities of Final Fantasy VII. If you look closely you can see its distinct shape, complete with the pillars and tubes that made it such a memorable location.
The first major FFVII spin-off starred Vincent Valentine, one of the game’s minor supporting characters. Vincent favored guns, one of which he named Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Greek and Roman hell. And would you look at that – there’s three canine-looking heads surrounding the logo.
Apparently Square never had any meetings about the Crisis Core logo, as it’s as plain as can be. On par with the very first one, actually.
FINAL FANTASY VIII
Extremely simple – it’s hero Squall Leonhart holding heroine Rinoa Heartilly. Square made it clear early on that FFVIII was going to be a love story, and even though it’s one of the most divisive games in the franchise (for various reasons, from gameplay choices to the actual cast) there’s no denying that Squall and Rinoa are at the heart of it all. Pun assuredly not intended.
This isn’t taken from one specific scene, as the two embrace more than once. However, the ending closely mimics the logo, as well as a moment the two share on the space-faring Ragnarok.
FINAL FANTASY IX
Part IX was advertised with the phrase “The Crystal Comes Back,” a knowing acknowledgement that parts VII and VIII had strayed from the high-fantasy days of the original games. In them, crystals always played an important role in the story, usually saving the day with magical powers or acting as MacGuffins for the cast to track down before the villains could put them to ill use.
In IX, all life comes from the crystals. The entire lifecycle of the planet Gaia and its inhabitants revolves around the health of the crystals – people are born from them, and when they die their memories and essence transport back to the crystal, refreshing and regenerating it for another batch of spirits. The problem is that another world’s crystal is withering away, and the people of that planet (Terra) found a way to move its fading crystal’s souls into Gaia’s. Cue the grand battle for the crystals, as well as the last “fantasy” Final Fantasy.
Next: Finishing out the series, from X to XIV