- “This is the capital of Esthar. It's really huge. Just be careful not to get lost.”
- —Esthar Guard
Esthar City (エスタシティ, Esuta Shiti?) is a location in Final Fantasy VIII. The capital city of the reclusive nation Esthar, Esthar City spans almost the entirety of the Great Plains of Esthar. It, along with the rest of the country, is hidden behind an OCS (Optical Camouflage System) barrier, an invention that cloaks Esthar from view of the outside world. Esthar City is served by a platform shuttle service that runs throughout the inner city. The city is built of luminous blue buildings and translucent pathways. The Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania mentions the streets are kept so clean the long robes of the national dress will not get dirty. Most shopping is handled by computers, with no physical shops in the shopping arcade.
For a long time, Esthar was governed by the cruel Sorceress Adel. With the help of Dr. Odine, she sought a child to whom she could give her powers. She set her sights on Ellone, but Laguna Loire used Ellone as bait to seal Adel's powers and launch her into space.
Laguna was hailed as the hero of the Esthar revolution, and was elected president with his two friends Kiros and Ward working together with him. The Sorceress War was thus abruptly ended, and with no explanation, Esthar sealed its borders and shut itself off from the rest of the world constructing an optical camouflage system around the entire perimeter of the country to visually conceal it from outsiders.
Seventeen years later the current leader of SeeD, Squall, arrives in Esthar carrying the unconscious Rinoa on his back on his quest to find his step sister Ellone who is reported to have gone to Esthar. On the Great Salt Lake Squall and his friends discover that the city is hidden by a cloaking device and enter, but upon arriving suddenly fall asleep and enter a Dream World of the past. Upon awakening they meet with Dr. Odine who advises them to go out to Esthar's Lunar Base space station to talk to Ellone. Squall splits his group, taking his group into space, while Zell's group protects Sorceress Edea who has traveled with the party seeking a cure for her sorceress powers.
Seifer and the Galbadian army have raised the Lunatic Pandora from beneath the ocean, and steer it over Esthar towards Tears' Point. Zell devises a plan to board it but they are thrown right out. The Lunatic Pandora reaches Tears' Point and initiates the Lunar Cry with disastrous results; the city becomes overrun with monsters and many civilians are killed as the Esthar soldiers stationed in the city are overwhelmed. Only the presidential palace remains untouched.
The limits of Esthar City actually takes up the entire western side of Esthar. While the city can be explored on the World Map the player only gets to enter the city's central districts closest to the Presidential Palace. The city has one outer skyway and two main inner skyways, all leading to the palace.
- Dr. Odine's Laboratory
Located south-west in prospective to the Presidential Residence this laboratory is Odine's primary labs where he conducts sorceress research. While in his other labs outside the city; the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory, he conducts research on the Lunatic Pandora.
- Esthar Airstation
West in prospective to the Presidential Residence the airstation provides docking privileges for aircraft such as the Ragnarok. The background where Ragnarok is stationed in Esthar Airstation before the Lunar Cry (the sky is blue) exists in the game data, but it can never be seen in-game as the player can access Ragnarok only after Lunar Cry as already occurred, and the sky is always tinted pink.
- Presidential Palace
Home of the Esthar presidential staff and the president himself. Sorceress Adel once ruled from this palace and now her stasis chamber is shaped in the Presidential Palace's image. Backgrounds with a blue tint from before the Lunar Cry exists in the game data, but the palace can only ever be visited after the Lunar Cry has occurred.
- Items: Occult Fan IV magazine (the player must leave the palace after Dr. Odine takes Rinoa to his care, and then return there before going to space to find the magazine).
- Draw points: Blizzard (outside the palace)
- Triple Triad: A presidential aide has the Phoenix card as part of Queen of Cards sidequest.
The streets of Esthar are much more expansive than in any other location in the game.
- Items: Combat King 004 (obtain from a soldier on a bridge during the Lunatic Pandora incident)
- Draw point: Curaga (on a junction near entrance)
- Shopping Mall
The shopping mall is a place for shops. The shopping is conducted by operating the terminals.
- Items: Rosetta Stone (Cheryl's Shop; the shop is closed but will randomly give a Rosetta Stone when the player attempts to access it)
- Draw points: Tornado
- A - Items only appear with the Familiar ability.
The largest location in terms of size on the World Map, Esthar City covers the entire western portion of the Esthar continent. Players can enter the "location proper" by either landing on the airstation or driving/traveling to the Presidential Building on the world map.
Cheryl's Shop is always closed, but if the player keeps selecting it from the shopping arcade terminal they will get a free Rosetta Stone. Johnny's Shop (Esthar Shop!!!) is closed at first but can be opened and will sell some potent items that are not available in any other shop. If the player opens Johnny's Shop they can also visit it with Tonberry's Call Shop ability. Johnny's Shop will open at random when the player tries to enter it.
There are two rare magazines that can be found in Esthar City. The first one is Occult Fan IV. To get it, the player must leave Rinoa in Dr. Odine's care in the palace. Next, the player can talk to a presidential aide near the Airstation, who leaves the screen. Returning to the palace the player can find the presidential aide has left a stack of magazines on the floor, among which the player may find the Occult Fan IV. This must be done before Lunar Cry floods the city.
During the Lunatic Pandora chase, the player can obtain the Combat King 004 by talking to a soldier on a bridge near the Airstation.
Boarding Lunatic PandoraEdit
After talking to Dr. Odine while Zell is the party leader in Esthar, the Lunatic Pandora will fly across the city and in order to board it, the player must head to one of three contact points within a twenty minute limit. Random encounters are activated for the scene and the timer keeps ticking during battles. The player must arrive in the contact point screen after contact with Lunatic Pandora has been established, not before, as if the player arrives to the area too early the scene won't trigger until they leave and re-enter the screen.
The three contact points are as follows:
- (1) Center of the city
Lunatic Pandora will arrive at the city centre with 15:00 left on the timer until 12:00.
- (2) Where the two skyways cross
Lunatic Pandora will arrive at the intersection with 10:00 left on the timer until 5:00.
- (3) North of the shopping mall
Lunatic Pandora will arrive north of the mall with 3:00 left on the timer.
The easiest way to complete the scene is thus: As soon as the party exits Dr. Odine's lab the 20-minute timer begins. The party should head bottom-right, then left, and left again, then head up, then right, and right again. This area has an Esthar Soldier from whom the player can receive the the Combat King 004 magazine (only available during this scene). The player should head right once more and the next area is the contact point at 15:00.
Being at a contact point during the correct time frame has the Lunatic Pandora fly past and the party must hop onboard, but a fixed encounter ensues, and the player must clear the battle before the time runs out; if the player runs out of time during the battle Lunatic Pandora will have passed the area and the party must catch it in the next contact point. If the player fails to board the Lunatic Pandora in any of the contact points, they miss the chance permanently and the scene will simply end.
To make completing the scenario easier the player can equip Enc-None to eliminate random battles.
Estharians play with Esthar region rules, where Elemental and Same Wall are the starting rule. However, Same Wall doesn't appear in games unless the player spreads the rule Same to the region first.
- Phoenix card can be won off a presidential aide in the palace as part of the Queen of Cards sidequest.
- Ward's card can be won off Dr. Odine.
- Squall's card can be won off the president of Esthar in the palace, or on the Ragnarok before the Disc 3 final battle at the Lunatic Pandora.
Before the Lunar Cry, monsters may be encountered on the overworld map of Esthar only, but after the said event, monsters can be found inside.
Before Lunar CryEdit
Lunatic Pandora AttackEdit
After Lunar CryEdit
|"Silence and Motion"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
"Silence and Motion" is Esthar's theme. It is an ambient composition of electronic synth whistles and chimes that give the impression of technological progress and marvels that Esthar is abundant with. A piano arrangement of the theme is included on the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VIII album. "SeeD" is played during and after the Lunar Cry incident in Esthar.
Esthar City and its Lunar Cry return as the BMS for "Force Your Way", "The Man with the Machine Gun" and "Don't Be Afraid, respectively.
- The protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife, is alluded to in the shop title; Cloud's Shop. This is not the case in the original Japanese version of the game, where the shop is called "Esthar Shop" (エスタショップ, Esuta Shoppu?).
- The exact reason Esthar is camoflaged is never addressed in the game, but it may be to protect it from Galbadian missiles, as the missiles appear to home in on sight by their optical lens.