In Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Cycles are the name used to describe the recurring wars that are fought between Cosmos, the goddess of Harmony, and Chaos, the god of Discord. Unbeknownst to the two factions, the wars are actually masterminded by Shinryu and Cid of the Lufaine, so that each time a faction wins the survivors are killed and everyone is revived to begin a new war again. Cid wanted to refine Chaos into the ultimate weapon, to take back to his original homeworld and seek vengeance on Onrac, the government that destroyed his family, while Shinryu would absorb the warriors' memories and experiences and become stronger.
There have been twenty cycles seen or alluded to in total in the two games.
1st to 11th cyclesEdit
Cosmos and her warriors lost all these cycles. During the 2nd cycle, three warriors are said to be unable to withstand purification and are not summoned again. It is unknown who they were. There is also an early cycle in which the Warrior of Light appeared, Shantotto and Gabranth left the world through portals to the Rift, and Prishe disappeared forever after Garland defeated Cosmos. It is unknown if this is the 2nd cycle, or a different one.
This is the main story of Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. In this cycle, many Cosmos warriors fell to stop the infestation of manikins, which is why Shinryu did not revive them in the next cycle. At this time, some soldiers from both sides were transferred to the opposing group.
This is the main story of the first Dissidia Final Fantasy, as well as the bonus chapter of Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. In this cycle, several Chaos and Cosmos Warriors have switched sides while Cid feels guilty and has rebelled against Shinryu. At the end of this war, the Cosmos side finally wins and the heroes apparently return to their respective worlds by Cid possessing Chaos to teleport them away.
End of the CycleEdit
- "Here ends the war of the gods. Destiny's hand cannot be stayed"
- —The defeat of Chaos
The 13th is the final end of the cycle, as supported by the game's secret reports and character info on Cosmos, Shinryu, Cid, and Chaos. Shinryu absorbed Chaos's experiences for its own and fled to the Rift. Cid of the Lufaine, released from his prison in Scenario 000, reunites with Cosmos (revived by the power of the warriors' crystals).
In the secret ending, Cid would later depart from World B, but Cosmos chooses to remain, despite the fact that the world, now without Chaos to maintain it, was destined to disappear.
Nightmare World CyclesEdit
The following Cycles only take place in the nightmare world Cid was placed in during the 13th Cycle.
14th to 18th cyclesEdit
Because of Cid's actions, the pact with Shinryu was broken and the dragon sought vengeance for being robbed of the power, experiences and memories of the summoned warriors. To that end, Shinryu forged a pact with Chaos, and sealed Cid in a nightmarish alternate world where the war didn't end in the 13th cycle, Chaos survived, and the war continued until the 20th cycle. In this reality, Cosmos has never won any cycle, and Chaos's power continues to grow from the discord and destruction of the endless war. After the 18th cycle, Chaos is overcome by the power; his mind breaks and he descends into insanity, becoming Feral Chaos. He personally wipes out all of the Warriors of Cosmos right at the beginning of the cycle, and then turns on his own warriors in his madness.
It was said that the Warrior of Light, the only warrior born in World B, finally met his death at the hands of Feral Chaos; he was the last warrior standing in protection of Cosmos.
During this cycle, Shinryu has accumulated enough knowledge and strength from the wars and evolved into his final form, called Shinryu Verus. Little else is known about this cycle.
At the start of the 20th Cycle, Feral Chaos attempted to slay Cosmos herself. However, Cosmos had by this point lost the power to summon warriors, so Cid took the form of a moogle and rescued her from her Sanctuary, sealing her in the Cavern of the Earth near Melmond, where Chaos would be unable to reach her. Denied his victim, Feral Chaos instead challenges Shinryu; Cid seals the northern continent to make sure that the conflict between Shinryu and Chaos was contained, and then sealed himself into the Cavern of Earth with Cosmos.
It is implied that the Confessions of the Creator scenario is the aftermath of the 20th cycle; the world is devoid of all life apart from moogles and the manikins, although there are some spectres of long since defeated Warriors of Cosmos. When the player finds Cid, as the "mured moogle", he is alone, and it is unknown what happened to Cosmos. In musing upon how the player party arrived in the nightmare reality, Cid theorises that they were summoned by him, albeit unintentionally, as neither Chaos nor Cosmos was in a position to summon warriors. Once Feral Chaos is defeated, he regains his sanity and thanks the player party for freeing his father, and the nightmare reality is broken.
The following is a list of the Warriors and which cycles they took part in. Though no cycles before the 12th are named, the knowledge that the more someone fights the more memories they regain allow an approximation of when they likely appeared in the cycle by judging how much they remember of their own worlds. The Warriors are listed in chronological order of their original games in the Final Fantasy series.
Firion may or may not have participated in cycles before the 12th, as he has few memories and needs the wild rose to stir them. If Firion participated in earlier cycles, it was not many for his memories to be so sparse. The Emperor has been in many cycles, including at least one where Garland, Gabranth, Shantotto, and Prishe were present, as seen in an official quest.
The Onion Knight's cycle of entry, like Firion's, was likely just before the 12th cycle or the 12th cycle itself, as he cannot remember his own name yet. It is unknown when the Cloud of Darkness entered the cycle, as she indicates she knows the "legend" of the Onion Knight warrior in the 13th, but no indications of the lengths of her memory are given otherwise.
Cecil appears to have been summoned for the first time in the 12th cycle, but apparently managed to regain his memories of Kain and Golbez during that cycle. Kain is stated in Yuna's museum profile to have taken part in the cycles as long as she and Jecht have, indicating he has been through many cycles, and has thus regained many of his memories of home. Golbez remembers Cecil and Kain and has other memories of their home, but it is not made clear if he remembers as much as Kain, so he may have participated in as many cycles as Kain has or not, but has certainly been through several.
Bartz's museum profile states he does not have vivid memories of his past, but he remembers Galuf, though not by name, and so likely participated in at least one cycle before the 12th. Exdeath's museum profile states that he has recovered most of his memories, including those of Bartz and Gilgamesh, so he has been in many cycles. Gilgamesh, as an outsider to the cycles, may have stumbled into them countless times over their course. Thus, he has maintained all of his memories since he was not officially summoned. He was present in at least one early cycle where he sparred with Prishe.
Terra likely participated in a cycle prior to the 12th, as she knows about airships during that cycle, and in the 13th tells Cecil she has some memories of war and battle from her world. Kefka could have taken part in any number of cycles, as there are no indications of any memories he has or has not recovered. Further proof is that Kefka had enslaved Terra arguably before the 12th cycle, knowing full-hand what she was capable of.
Cloud took part in several cycles, having regained many of his memories. Tifa was summoned for the first time in the 12th cycle, so she has not regained any of her memories except for those of Zangan. It is ambiguous which cycles, if any, Sephiroth took part in prior to the 12th, as he does not fully remember Cloud or Tifa and only remembers the Lifestream and Jenova after fighting them. Thus he has few memories of home and so it is likely Sephiroth only took part in a handful of cycles prior to the 12th.
Squall was present in at least one cycle prior to the 12th, as in an official quest during the 12th cycle Cloud alludes to he and Squall meeting in a past cycle. Squall is also aware in the 13th cycle that Ultimecia is his destined opponent, indicating he remembers her from his world. He also remembers Rinoa toward the end of that cycle. It is unknown how many cycles Laguna participated in, as he doesn't remember Squall or indicate any other memories of home. However, it is unlikely that Laguna would remember Squall no matter how long he fought, as this Laguna appears to be the younger one from Final Fantasy VIII's flashbacks, and thus would not know who Squall is. Ultimecia has been through "many" cycles as stated by her museum profile.
Zidane is stated in his museum profile to have regained many of his memories, so he has taken part in several cycles. The same can be said of Kuja, who by the time of the 12th cycle is bored with the fighting, and the two are initially on friendly terms showing they remember each other well.
Tidus was a new warrior in the 12th cycle, and has no memories of home save for his name and his hatred of Jecht. Yuna and Jecht have both been through many cycles and remember much about their home world including each other, Tidus, and Yuna's pilgrimage. However, Yuna tells Tidus she doesn't remember everything yet.
Shantotto and Prishe were summoned in one of the earliest cycles of the war. It is ambiguous which specific cycle they vanished, but during their time in the wars, they regained many of their memories of each other, with Prishe even remembering her pet name for Shantotto.
Vaan may have taken part in cycles prior to the 12th, or may have been newly summoned during that cycle. He indicates several times he has knowledge of airships and is fascinated with them, but there are no hints of any other memories he has recovered. Gabranth was one of the earlier participants in the cycle, and though the exact cycle is unknown he vanished from the war around the same approximate time as Shantotto and Prishe. In a battle with Shantotto he alludes to fighting her in a previous cycle, so Gabranth has been through at least two cycles. In an official quest where the two meet neither Vaan nor Gabranth indicate they know the other, but as Gabranth was dismissive of Vaan's presence in Final Fantasy XII, he may simply not have acknowledged remembering him.
Lightning has few memories of home and, like Firion, has them stirred by the presence of his wild rose. During the 12th cycle, she uses the term "Primarch" when speaking to the Warrior of Light, indicating that she remembers the Sanctum. She also battles Exdeath and, as a result of the fight, recovers her memory of l'Cie and fal'Cie, but does not use the specific terms, so she may be newly summoned in the 12th cycle or have only taken part in a few cycles prior.
In addition to the above, it is mentioned in Report 14 that there was a warrior in an early cycle who possessed a powerful mind that puzzled Cid, leaving him to wonder if the warrior was connected to Shinryu somehow. It is also mentioned that at the end of an early cycle, three warriors were too badly weakened and perished upon being purified by Shinryu. It is unknown who these unnamed warriors could be, or which god they served. This could refer to the cycle in which Prishe vanished when Cosmos was killed, but it is uncertain.