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Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy

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Fabula logo
One myth,
countless stories
FINAL FANTASY XIII
The New Tale of the Crystal
Like the light that shines through the Crystal,
the universe shines with multicolored content.
—Online description.[1]

Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy (ファブラ ノヴァ クリスタリス, Fabura Nova Kurisutarisu?) is the collective name of a series of games made under the Final Fantasy XIII label by Square Enix. Made in the same vein as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and the Ivalice Alliance collections, Fabula Nova Crystallis, which means "new tale of crystal" in Latin, is nevertheless based on various worlds and different characters, but each game will be "ultimately based on and expand upon a common mythos".[1]

The connection between the Fabula Nova Crystallis games could be compared to the one that exists between games like Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V: different universes but roughly the same crystal mythos. Officially, they have been characterized as "different titles based on variations of the Final Fantasy XIII universe". Hajime Tabata, director of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV, has described the concept thusly:

The original idea was to create a series of games around the 'Crystal Legend' mythology, but not restrict developers to a single direction. We wanted it to be quite a broad idea. It was like the mythology of ancient Greece and how so much fiction comes out of those — it would be easier to make future Final Fantasy games if we were to create a shared mythology and base games on that. I remember when Yoshinori Kitase came around and told me to make the first Crystal Legends game — he said that if you pay attention to the legends and the idea behind them, you can make almost any sort of game around it.
—Hajime Tabata[2]

The figure in the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy logo is one of the gods of the mythos, but when asked by Famitsu[3], Yoshinori Kitase would not reveal which one.

TitlesEdit

Each of the 'series' of games are being made by a different team of developers within Square Enix Product Development Division 1. All Lightning Saga games were developed by the same team, as were Final Fantasy Type-0 and its spin off, Agito. For Final Fantasy XV, the developers have already been talking of the chance of sequels.

The games within Fabula Nova Crystallis are:

The trademark Final Fantasy Haeresis XIII was registered in the United States on May 1, 2006 but there have been no announcements of any plans to make a game of that title, and the trademark was abandoned on April 25, 2011.

A web novel, later made into a CD Drama, titled Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- belongs to the Final Fantasy XIII expanded universe, while Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i- is a novella released with Final Fantasy XIII International Ultimate Hits in Japan, and acts as an epilogue to Final Fantasy XIII, covering direct events following the game's ending. Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before delves into the events that happen prior to Final Fantasy XIII-2, while Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After portrays events that happened after the game. Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- is the expanded epilogue to the saga, tying into the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII epilogue scene.

The Lightning SagaEdit

The three games part of the Lightning Saga are Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary conference on September 1st 2012 held "Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Saga: New Developments Presentation", where Motomu Toriyama, Isamu Kamikokuryo and Yuji Abe detailed the next title in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, expanding and concluding the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy.

MythosEdit

The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos was revealed in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011. The mythos is later reintroduced in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII through murals in the Temple Ruins.

Mythos3

Bhunivelze creates Pulse.

In the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, the universe is divided in two coexisting realities—the Mortal World, the realm of the living, and the Unseen Realm, the realm of the dead. In the beginning, the god Bhunivelze had killed his mother, Mwynn, to take full control of the Mortal World and Mwynn was sent into the Unseen World. However, a troubled Bhunivelze believed that Mwynn had placed a curse on the realm of the living so that it would one day be destroyed. Bhunivelze sought to destroy his mother once and for all to stop her curse, but was unable to reach the Unseen World without giving up control of the Mortal World. To find the entrance to the realm of the dead, Bhunivelze created the fal'Cie Pulse to search the world for the door to the Unseen World.

Mythos8

Bhunivelze creates Etro, but doesn't give her any powers.

Bhunivelze then created the fal'Cie Etro to assist Pulse, only to discard her without giving her any powers when he saw he had unknowingly created her in the likeness of Mwynn. Bhunivelze finally created Lindzei to serve as his protector as he entered a deep crystal sleep until the door to the Unseen World was found.

While Pulse and Lindzei were given a task to fulfill by their creator, Etro became distressed over her lack of power and purpose in the world. Etro killed herself in a desperate act to receive Bhunivelze's notice and vanished from the Mortal World, and her spilled blood was used by Lindzei to create humanity. Ending up in the Unseen World, Etro discovered Mwynn being consumed by an energy known as chaos. With her last breath Mwynn tasked Etro with protecting the balance of the universe, for if the balance between the Visible and Unseen Worlds was to be disrupted, the universe itself would collapse. Ultimately, the curse that Bhunivelze sought to prevent is revealed to be nothing more than an eventuality of fate.

Mythos11

Mwynn told Etro she must protect the world balance.

Not fully comprehending Mwynn's final request, Etro became lonely and developed an affection toward the humans who were fated to follow her in death. Etro placed a piece of chaos within each human being, which came to be known as the "heart", stabilizing the influence of chaos. Pulse continued to craft the world as he saw fit, while Lindzei protected the world. One day, Pulse and Lindzei absconded from the world, never to be seen again. Many of the humans, in turn, worshipped—and some abhorred—these fal'Cie as gods. Etro, meanwhile, became known as the Goddess of Death who waits to greet each person as they pass through the door to the Unseen World, eventually to be reborn in a new form. She would supervise the cycle of reincarnation and keep the amount of chaos between the two realms in balance. As for Bhunivelze, he remains in his slumber until he awakes at the end of time.

Overarching ConceptsEdit

As the games in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series share a common mythos, they have common concepts albeit used with varying interpretations. Crystals are a common theme, representing souls, divinity and the origin of magic. This harkens back to the main Final Fantasy series where crystals have been a staple since the series' inception, but Fabula Nova Crystallis, as the name suggests, aims for new interpretations of the role of crystals in the series.

In Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels crystals represent life. People's souls can appear as crystalline specks, and l'Cie in crystal stasis, as well as those who go on to turn into Cie'th, have their souls trapped on the mortal realm by crystallizing the body (some refer to this as gaining an eternal life). The crystals (known as eidoliths) that turn a regular human into a l'Cie are implied to originate from the gods, as when Lightning and her companions enter the domain of the gods to face the god Pulse, his tendrils appear to implant the crystal shards into their bodies. The fal'Cie, directly created by the gods—Pulse and Lindzei—are sentient immortal machines powered by a crystal core, presumed to likewise originate from the gods. L'Cie and fal'Cie, as well as Cie'th, wield magic, and it is implied this power is granted by the crystal, as l'Cie "channel" their spells from their eidolith. A l'Cie can forge a pact with an Eidolon, messengers of goddess Etro, and summon them to the mortal realm via their eidolith. Serah Farron relinquishes a "crystal tear" to her fiancé Snow Villiers, and it is implied to act as an extension of her being, allowing her to see and hear those near the crystal tear even if her physical body is elsewhere.

In Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV the crystals take a more traditional role as in early main series Final Fantasy games as entities that govern great magical power granted to the kingdoms of the world. In Final Fantasy Type-0 the crystal is the one to make humans l'Cie, even if Pulse and Lindzei also exist in the mythos, but one's soul can again be bound on the mortal realm via crystallization of the body. The Eidolons have a different form in Final Fantasy Type-0 than in Final Fantasy XIII, not being mechanical beings, but they are again implied to be of divine origin.

The power to wield magic and summon Eidolons originates from the crystal in Final Fantasy XV, but instead of the power being granted to those chosen as l'Cie, it is granted to the royal family of a kingdom tasked with protection of the crystal. Eidolons in Final Fantasy XV are beings again implied to be of divine origin, but unlike being bound to a l'Cie, they are linked to different locations of the world, yet those who wield the power of the crystal can gain the power to summon them.

Divine tasks given to humans via the intermediary of the crystal is an overarching concept in the series. In Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 these manifest as Foci, tasks given to the l'Cie either by the fal'Cie (in Final Fantasy XIII) or the crystal (Final Fantasy Type-0), but the effects on the l'Cie are different between these worlds. In Final Fantasy XV the crystal appears to lend magical powers to a chosen family, but whether they have a task akin to a Focus is yet unknown.

The concept of l'Cie alludes to the Warriors of Light, a recurring theme in the Final Fantasy series where a group of warriors brought together by circumstance become "branded" the Warriors of Light by the crystal, giving them a mission to save the world and often special powers to achieve said mission. This is part of a larger concept of Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy in re-imagining core concepts of the series in new ways. In previous games becoming a Warrior of Light was shown in a positive and heroic light, whereas the Fabula Nova Crystallis series explores the concept of servitude to the crystal in a more sinister light, bringing the chosen "warrior's" free will into question.

Human souls and their journey to the gate to the afterlife, known as Etro's Gate, plays a role in all of the Fabula Nova Crystallis games, as do the recurring deities Pulse, Lindzei and Etro. This alludes to the original mythos where the creator god Bhunivelze wishes to find a way to enter the realm of the dead without needing to die himself, and creates the three lesser deities to help with the task. In Final Fantasy XIII series and Final Fantasy Type-0, the deities have tasked their followers to find the gate in varying ways, but the humans of the world are largely ignorant of the concept of the afterlife. In Final Fantasy XV it is the people who repeat the legend of the goddess of death who opens the gate to the beyond.

Musical ThemesEdit

"Fabula Nova Crystallis" is the sixteenth track on the forth disc of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack, and plays during the game's final cutscenes before the final battle. It is an arrangement of the game's main theme, "FINAL FANTASY XIII - The Promise". In Final Fantasy XIII-2 "Fabula Nova Crystallis" plays during the secret ending of "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess" downloadable content scenario.

An orchestral performance of "Fabula Nova Crystallis" with the lyrics of "Serah's Theme", conducted by Arnie Roth, performed by the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra and Frances Maya, is present on the third Distant Worlds album: Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Returning Home. It was originally performed in Tokyo in November 2010. It is the eight track of the second disc. A version is also included on Distant Worlds III: more music from Final Fantasy album.

DevelopmentEdit

The development of the three games was started at the same time and we gathered to try and find a common platform to stand on and try to build from. But since then, we've been working completely independently of each other. Each game is evolving in its own direction and take place in separate worlds with their own main characters. There exists basically no cooperation between the different teams. I wouldn't even want to claim that we communicate with each other.
—Motomu Toriyama[4]

The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos was written up in book form by Kazushige Nojima. Starting in April 2004, it took him approximately a year, and his work included input from Shinji Hashimoto, Yoshinori Kitase, Motomu Toriyama, Tetsuya Nomura and Hajime Tabata (all of whom went on to be involved with games set within the mythos).[5][6] The mythos was deigned to be interpreted freely by the individual directors.[7]

Fabula Nova Crystallis was first announced in 2006. The series was originally called Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII, but the name was shortened to Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy during the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011. The "XIII" numeric was dropped because what was originally named Final Fantasy Agito XIII was renamed Final Fantasy Type-0.[8]

A video of the Fabula Nova Crystallis lore was shown at the January 18th, 2011, Square Enix Conference. The video details the story of the many gods from the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series. The video was created by a team headed up by Yusuke Naora (art director of Final Fantasy Type-0). The text of the narration is arranged from Kazushige Nojima's mythos book. Yoshinori Kitase joked that the lore was written five years back and Nojima's book has been sealed away since, but they had to take it out just for the Premier event.[3]

ThemesEdit

The general theme of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series is destiny predetermined by higher beings, and human choices whether to accept or rebel against their fate. In Final Fantasy XIII, this is seen with Lightning and her companions struggling against the fal'Cie rule and the cruel fate of a l'Cie. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Serah and her friends struggle with the imminent fall of Cocoon and destruction of the timeline, which will kill millions of people. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Lightning struggles with saving and guiding as many people to the new world as she can while the almighty god Bhunivelze is watching her every move. The theme is also present in Final Fantasy Type-0, where the people of Orience are trapped by fate, and the choices of Class Zero to either accept their roles or rebel against them.

The theme of "beginning of the end" recurs in the context of setting the beginning of a new era. In Final Fantasy XIII Vanille speaks about the fateful thirteen days as "beginning of the end", but at the end she and her friend, Fang, sacrifice themselves to give humanity a new start of not depending on the fal'Cie. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII the end of Nova Chrysalia gives birth to a new world, one without gods. In Final Fantasy Type-0, Cid Aulstyne claims his campaign of "beginning the end" is a "glimmer of hope", but in the end Arecia Al-Rashia abandons the experiment to open Etro's Gate, and allows the world to continue without the meddling of higher beings in removing the memories of the deceased from the living.

The Lightning SagaEdit

There are several prominent themes in Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. One of them is "family bonds" presented with various types of relationships: the bond between Lightning and Serah as sisters; the lovers' relationship between Serah and Snow; the father-son relationship between Sazh and Dajh and Bartholomew and Hope, respectively; the relationship between friends between Vanille and Fang and Serah and Noel, respectively; and the relationship of those bound to a servitude as with Caius Ballad and Paddra Nsu-Yeul.

Another theme is "the battle within" as told in the tagline of Final Fantasy XIII, as seen with Lightning and her friends struggling with their inner turmoil: Lightning's journey of shedding her cold persona and accepting her vulnerabilities, Serah's journey of coping with her past as a l'Cie and using that experience to shape the future, Fang and Vanille's journey of accepting their fate and atoning for their actions, Snow's journey of gaining Lightning's acceptance through their shared love for Serah, Hope's journey of looking beyond hate and revenge and creating a future for humanity to be free from fal'Cie rule, Sazh's journey of dealing with his perceived failures as a father, and Noel's journey of creating a future where people can thrive while dealing with his feelings of failure and helplessness in preventing disaster and unknowingly helping bring it about.

Each installment focuses on a different deity within the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos: Final Fantasy XIII focused on Pulse and Lindzei, Final Fantasy XIII-2 on Etro and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII on Bhunivelze.

Orience seriesEdit

The most prominent themes in Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Agito are war and its effects on the world. The historical progression of a war and its influence on the younger generation is the main focus of the story.[9] Director Hajime Tabata has cited several underlying themes in the world and story of Final Fantasy Type-0. One of the story themes revolves around death and its effects: a key aspect of the story is the memories of the dead being removed from the living by the Crystals. This scenario was created to make people feel their hatred of death.[10] Others included the collision of four "fantasies" (the nations of Orience), a battle between magic and technology, and the two sides of the world (the mortal world and unseen realm).[11] During its original form, Final Fantasy Type-0 primarily revolves around challenging the gods.[12] Another underlying theme is a cycle of Orience's death and rebirth and the effort to break that cycle.[9]

Final Fantasy XVEdit

Final Fantasy XV was announced in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The "Versus XIII" name comes into play in juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels that take place in fantastical worlds that are literally and culturally disconnected (Cocoon and Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII; the different eras and timelines in Final Fantasy XIII-2, as well as the normal world and Valhalla; and Nova Chrysalia and the new world in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.). For "Versus XIII" Square wanted the world to be different from the original Final Fantasy XIII by presenting one whole, connected world.[13] This theme has carried over to Final Fantasy XV in the form of a seamless open world.

GalleryEdit

EtymologyEdit

Square Enix's page states that Fabula Nova Crystallis translates to "the new tale of the crystal". However, this is not quite accurate—the Latin word for crystal is "crystallus -i", which is second declension. Fabula Nova Crystalli would mean "the new tale of the crystal". As it stands, the title more closely indicates "the new tale to/by/with the crystals", as crystallis is a dative or ablative plural.

It is possible that 'crystallis' could still be in fact genitive singular, with the meaning, 'of the crystal'. Often in Latin literature the plural and singular forms of words are used interchangeably to rhetorical effect—one example of this is in the story of Scylla in Book 7 of Ovid's Metamorphoses.

AllusionsEdit

  • Orphan in Final Fantasy XIII indirectly refers to the series title with the line, "From shattered shards, a new crystal legend will arise".
  • The thirteenth Analect, obtained by defeating Vercingetorix in Mission 64 in Final Fantasy XIII, is called "Fabula Nova Crystallis".
  • There is a piece of music on the fourth disk of the Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack called "Fabula Nova Crystallis".
  • In Ruffian of the Dead Dunes in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII there is a woman called "Crystal Legends Student" who relays info about the world's mythology when spoken to.
  • In Final Fantasy Type-0, one of the most ancient agreements in Orience is known as the "Fabula Conventions".[14]

TriviaEdit

  • The concepts of a world destined to end, a world divided between the mortal realm and an invisible world of the afterlife and a defeated goddess hiding in that invisible world are highly similar to the Japanese Shinto creation myth.
  • Square Enix registered a domain name for Final Fantasy XIII-3 on September 7, 2011. No development plans were announced and a representative of Square Enix noted the filing was to protect the Final Fantasy XIII IP and was not indicative of a new title.[15] The third installment to the Lightning Saga was later released named Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

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ReferencesEdit

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