In the genre of role playing video games, Final Fantasy is basically the dominant franchise. With 13 games in the main series and at least that many again in spin-offs, the franchise is the most famous role playing franchise ever. A major reason for the success of the Final Fantasy series is the remarkable stories and plots that are told by each of the individual games. Across the entire series, there have occasionally been plot twists that are truly amazing and memorable. The following are the five best plot twists ever in the main Final Fantasy games.
5. Cid is a Bad Guy (Final Fantasy XII) – Cid has existed in some form or another in every Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy II. In every game he has been some sort of mechanic, scientist, or airship pilot. His presence in a Final Fantasy game is part of what defines a game as being Final Fantasy, rather than some generic role playing game. In every single previous appearance, Cid was a good guy that helped the party and even occasionally joined the party as a playable character. Final Fantasy XII through that convention on its head. When Cid appears, he is revealed as the evil scientist who is encouraging the main antagonist to fight a war in order to gather more nethicite. The plot twist is inspired and it is exhilarating to fight a character that has always previously been an ally.
4. Zidane Appears During “I Want to be Your Canary” (Final Fantasy IX) – The blossoming of love between Zidane and Garnet is handled delicately and heartwarmingly throughout all of Final Fantasy IX. At first the two characters couldn’t seem more dissimilar. But, during the course of their travails there clearly grow strong feelings for each other. This makes it all the more tragic when Zidane apparently sacrifices his life to try to save Kuja from the collapse of Memoria. As the credits roll, it seems that every character in the party receives their deepest desire except for Garnet who has lost her love. Then, with perfect timing, Zidane reveals himself as a robed performer in the play “I Want to be Your Canary” and the game ends with a heartfelt embrace between the two. This touching ending nearly makes up for the unnecessary appearance of Necron as the final boss of the game.
3. Sephiroth Kills Aeris (Final Fantasy VII) – Most fans of the Final Fantasy series would claim this is the best plot twist in the series. And, it would be, if it weren’t borrowed almost exactly from an earlier RPG. But, the idea of the playable female protagonist, and love interest of the main character, dying at the hands of the main antagonist halfway through the game is actually recycled material. A very similar scene occurs with Nei and Neifirst in Phantasy Star II. Still, this is the first time such a scene happens with full motion video and the powerful emotions expressed in the scene are impressive.
2. The Light Warriors Paradox (Final Fantasy) – As awesome as the first game in the series was, there may never have been any sequels if not for this inspired plot twist at the very end of the game. After an extensive quest and completing dozens of legendary deeds, the Light Warriors enter a portal and travel back in time. While in the past they are able to defeat Chaos, which ends the evil scourging the land 2000 years before it ever actually happens. Thus, the deeds of the Light Warriors never actually happened, at least as far as the world knows. This remarkable paradox is brilliant and adds an exquisite twist to an already excellent game.
1. Kefka Destroys the World (Final Fantasy VI) – Destruction of the world is a common goal for the main antagonists in Final Fantasy games. Sephiroth, Sin, Necron, Exdeath, and Zeromus all wanted to destroy the world. But, only one villain, Kefka, has ever actually been successful. Approximately halfway through the game, the heroes face off against the Emperor Gestahl on the peak of a floating continent. Just as they are about to defeat him, his evil lieutenant, Kefka, rearranges the statues that keeps the Espers in check, initiating a cataclysm on the world. Quite literally, the green and lush planet is purged, falling into ruin and destruction. Villains commonly get close, but actually succeeding at world destruction is a brilliant twist. The second half of the game is entirely set in the destroyed world and much of the plot is based around recovering from Kefka’s dire act. One mind-blowing plot twist basically doubles the length of the game.