- “Beings of strange form and appearance made by the gods in ancient times. Favored with great strength and intellect, the Espers knew power far beyond that of men, but their power made them proud, and at length they sought to challenge the gods. Seeing this, the gods were angered and struck down their blessed children, and binding their souls and flesh with the Glyph of the Beast, they stole their freedom for all eternity. Now they are bound to live only when summoned by their Glyph, to serve whosoever called them forth.”
- —Espers, Sage Knowledge
- See also: Esper
The Espers (召喚獣, Shōkanjū?, lit. "Summoned Beasts") in Final Fantasy XII are powerful beings created by the Occuria. The Espers that join the player's side are those spurned by their creators; twelve for having rebelled, and a thirteenth for being too powerful. Most of the Espers are based on the Lucavi in Final Fantasy Tactics or other past bosses of previous Final Fantasy games.
Five Espers first appeared as Totema in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and all but two reappear in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings as Yarhi. Lastly, all Espers return in Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift as Scions. Recruiting every Esper in the game adds Belias's sprite on the Sky Pirate's Den and awards the player with the rank of High Summoner.
- “In vainglory they arose, shouting challenges at the Gods. But prevail they did not. Their doom it was to walk the Mist until time's end. A legend of the Nu Mou.”
The scions that would become the Espers were created by the Occuria for varied purposes. While the exact number is never revealed, there are at least 24 scions, with each zodiac sign having a light and dark representative.
Time passed, and eventually, being proud of her power and status and believing herself to be more powerful than her creators, the highest ranking Esper, Ultima, rose up against the gods. Rallying all the scions of darkness, they attacked their creators, but even with the combined force of twelve Espers they were defeated, and banished to the darkest reaches of Ivalice. Sealed in the Mist, they could only walk among mortals once more if called by a summoner via their glyphs.
A thirteenth scion, Zodiark, was also bound by the gods for fear of his power. Unlike his brethren, he is not known to have harbored rebellious desire. It is unknown how long the Espers have been sealed away, but since Dynast-King Raithwall was known to possess the glyph of Belias it is thought that they have been sealed away at least since the era of the Dynast King.
Scions of Light and DarknessEdit
The following is a list of all the scions mentioned, their associated Zodiac signs, and element. It is never stated if Ultima and Zodiark are the Scions of Darkness or Light, but we never see the mentioned Scions of Light regardless.
|Scion of Darkness||Scion of Light||Zodiac sign||Element|
|Belias, the Gigas||Loghrif, the Transcendent||Aries, the Ram||Fire|
|Chaos, Walker of the Wheel||Mitron, the Chastiser||Taurus, the Bull||Wind|
|Zalera, the Death Seraph||Emet-Selch, Angel of Truth||Gemini, the Twins||Death|
|Zeromus, the Condemner||Pashtarot, Knight-Star||Cancer, the Crab||Gravity|
|Hashmal, Bringer of Order||Fandaniel, the Protector||Leo, the Lion||Earth|
|Ultima, the High Seraph||Virgo, the Virgin||Holy|
|Exodus, the Judge-Sal||Halmarut, the Arbiter||Libra, the Scales||Aether|
|Cúchulainn, the Impure||Nabriales, the Majestic||Scorpio, the Scorpion||Poison|
|Shemhazai, the Whisperer||Igeyorhm, the Martyr||Sagittarius, the Archer||Soul|
|Adrammelech, the Wroth||Deudalaphon, the Benevolent||Capricorn, the Goat||Thunder|
|Famfrit, the Darkening Cloud||Emmerololth, Holy Queen||Aquarius, the Water Bearer||Water|
|Mateus, the Corrupt||Lahabrea, Abyssal Celebrant||Pisces, the Fish||Ice|
|Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts||Ophiuchus, the Snake Bearer||Darkness|
List of EspersEdit
In Final Fantasy XII, there are thirteen available Espers. Only five are obtained in the main story; the other eight, represented in italics, are found through sidequests. Espers require Mist Charges equal to their level to summon.
Level One EspersEdit
- Belias, the Gigas (Tomb of Raithwall).
- Mateus, the Corrupt (Stilshrine of Miriam).
- Adrammelech, the Wroth (Zertinan Caverns, in Athroza Quicksands, closest from Ozmone Plain).
- Zalera, the Death Seraph (Barheim Passage, obtain the Barheim Key in the Dalmasca Estersand).
Level Two EspersEdit
- Shemhazai, the Whisperer (Giruvegan).
- Hashmal, Bringer of Order (Pharos at Ridorana).
- Cúchulainn, the Impure (Garamsythe Waterway, complete "Lost in the Pudding" and use the key to reach Cúchulainn).
- Zeromus, the Condemner (Stilshrine of Miriam, obtain the Stone of the Condemner from the Acolyte on Mt. Bur-Omisace after defeating Judge Magister Bergan).
- Exodus, the Judge-Sal (Mosphoran Highwaste, after the Salika Gate is fixed, solve the floatweed puzzle).
Level Three EspersEdit
- Famfrit, the Darkening Cloud (Pharos at Ridorana, fought alongside Doctor Cid).
- Chaos, Walker of the Wheel (Necrohol of Nabudis, must defeat Fury and Humbaba Mistant).
- Ultima, the High Seraph (Giruvegan, Great Crystal).
- Zodiark, Keeper of Precepts (Henne Mines, command at least ten other Espers, finish all Jahara based hunts and speak to Geomancer Yugelu in Jahara).
Once an Esper has been defeated, it appears on the License Board and any character can purchase its license. Espers are assigned to a specific character and once a character has bought the Esper's license, said license disappears from everybody else's boards. The character can summon the Esper by using MP. Summoning an Esper is similar to using a Quickening; the Lv1 Espers take one MP bar to summon, whereas the Lv3 Espers take all three.
Summoning an Esper is instantaneous and takes no charge time. When an Esper is summoned the two other party members disappear, and only the Esper and its summoner appear on the field. The normal music is replaced by the Esper's battle music as long as the Esper is present. An Esper's level is identical to its summoner's, yet, Espers have fixed Attack, Defense and Magic Defense (like wearing the same "equipment").
Each summon lasts maximum of one minute and thirty seconds and ends when either the summoner or the Esper dies, or the Esper uses its ultimate move. The ultimate attacks are area-effect attacks and target the enemy with the highest max HP. In battle, the Esper follows its own gambits, which the player can't set. In this sense, Espers work much like guests. Espers' attacks never deal hit combos or critical hits.
Espers can cast magicks even if they have no MP. This means the player can Syphon their MP freely. Espers are immune to almost all status ailments, which can give a strategic advantage against enemies like Carrot, because whenever an Esper is on the battlefield, the enemies tend to focus their attacks on it.
In the International Zodiac Job System version, summoning Espers no longer takes up MP, using a specific charge meter instead that is also used for Quickenings, and the player can set the Espers' gambits.
Because the Espers level up along with their summoner, their stats grow.
- Base + (Level x Modifier)/128
- Base = Base value. Different Esper has different values.
- Level = The current level
- Modifier = Different Espers have different modifiers (growth rate)
The stat growth is fixed, as there are no random elements involved.
|"Esper Battle" in Final Fantasy XII|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
Battles against Espers are accompanied with "Esper Battle" (召喚獣戦, Shōkan jūsen?), composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto. It is the second track in Disc 3 of the original soundtrack. It plays immediately after the Esper begins its move towards the party. The intro starts with a series of militaristic beats, accompanied by wind instruments, and later joined with a female choir. Intermittently, the choir goes louder, joined with voices of the male choir. The choir is then switched occasionally with loud brass and strings, and reaches climax with all instruments beating together to the martial tune.
|"Esper" in Final Fantasy XII|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
When summoning an Esper into battle, the track "Esper" (召喚, Shōkan?) plays. Composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, it is the second track in Disc 4 of the original soundtrack. It is a variation of the "Esper Battle", with a higher tempo making it fast-paced and a bit chaotic. The choir also joins in with a higher note.
The Espers are not controllable by the player in the original version, but this has been changed in the Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System version.
- “There were two reasons why we couldn't implement that in the original. One was that we were afraid the graphics would suffer -- imagine the Esper occupying the same space as the background or a character, or the Esper getting in the way so that you couldn't see around you. We didn't have enough time when making the original game to adjust the camera work to fix that. The other problem was that for the Espers to be controllable, we had to actually walk them around every map for debugging.”
- —Hiroyuki Itō, the director of Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System
In the manga version of Final Fantasy XII the Esper's glyph marks itself on the summoner's body as a sign of its servitude to him/her. Ashe's group enters the Tomb of Raithwall and to Belias's chamber and Basch, Vossler, Fran and Balthier battle Belias while Ashe, Vaan and Penelo try to enter the door the Esper was guarding to get the Dawn Shard.
Vaan wishes to assist in fighting Belias, but Ashe tells him their mission to retrieve the Dawn Shard takes priority. Vaan is displeased with Ashe's attitude towards power and her friends, and leaves her to retrieve the nethicite herself. Ashe returns to protect Vaan before Belias can strike him down, and the group defeats it, Belias's glyph marking the back of Ashe's hand.
The Espers from Final Fantasy XII appear in this Japanese trading card game.
Most of the names of the scions have something to do with angels, in both Judaism and Christianity. For the Etymology of the Scions of Darkness, see their corresponding articles.
- A name with a hidden meaning is Emet-Selch, the scion of light. His title is "The Angel of Truth". "Emet-Selch" in Hebrew means "Your Truth".
- Nabriales, another Scion of Light, is a name of an angel in Jewish mythology. It is pronounced in Hebrew as "Nabriel".
- Fandaniel matches the basic template of angel names in Judaism, as the "-el" suffix in hebrew means "god" and is usually at the end of many angel names, to mark their superior connection to God.
Some of the Espers take their name after a main antagonist from the first five games in the series:
- Chaos - Chaos
- Mateus - Emperor Mateus
- Famfrit - Cloud of Darkness
- Zeromus - Zeromus
- Exodus - Exdeath
- Mateus and Shemhazai battles are the only Esper fights where it's impossible to fight with a guest.
- Zeromus and Adrammelech are the only Espers that don't return in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings.
- Members of the Ascians in Final Fantasy XIV, who worship Zodiark, are named after the Scions of Light mentioned in the Espers' profiles.