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Final Fantasy XII

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Final Fantasy XII is the twelfth installment in the main Final Fantasy series and is part of the Ivalice Alliance. The game was released on March 16, 2006 in Japan, October 31, 2006 in North America, and February 23, 2007 in Europe and Australia.

Final Fantasy XII was re-released in Japan as an International Version titled Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System, which modifies the game's character development system by introducing jobs. It has not been released outside of Asia.

A PlayStation 4 HD remaster, titled Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, was announced on June 6, 2016. It is based on the International version, and will be released in 2017.[1][2]

Final Fantasy XII spawned a direct sequel, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, for the Nintendo DS.



A battle in Final Fantasy XII.

Like most of the other games in the series, the player characters will level, gain skills, cast magick, use summons, Limit Breaks, and fight monsters, but there are some great differences in the gameplay from the previous games in the series.

Character developmentEdit

To gain levels, the player must defeat enemies in the field to earn Experience Points (EXP). Only alive and active party members receive EXP. If there are multiple active characters in the party, the amount of experience will be divided evenly. Boss battles give no EXP, but do still give License Points (LP) used to purchase licenses on the License Board to learn new abilities and become able to equip new types of equipment.

Unlike with EXP, even reserve party members receive LP from battles. An individual character's ability to use Technicks, Magicks, accessories, Augments, weapons, armor and accessories is governed by licenses. Like the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, but less linear, the player has control over each character's individual development.

In the Zodiac Job System version what abilities a character can learn and what equipment they can use is dictated by their job. Once the player chooses a job for a character, it cannot be changed.


To use magick the player must buy the individual spells from a Magick Shop or a merchant (or find them from treasures in the Zodiac Job System version), and purchase the corresponding skill on the License Board. The use of magick requires MP (Mist Points), which can be restored through movement, the use of an item—such as an Ether—or by activating a Save Crystal.

Effect Capacity dictates how many magick spells and other special abilities can be executed simultaneously; all of the most powerful magicks use all of the effect capacity, meaning when the player casts the game's most powerful magicks other actions are queued until the spell animation has finished.



Summons, called Espers, are obtained through finding and defeating them, unlocking their license on the board. There are thirteen Espers, five found through the storyline, and the other eight lurking in hidden areas.

Each Esper can be purchased on the License Board after the player has defeated them. Only one character can purchase any specific Esper, and that Esper is linked to that character, removing its license from the other characters' License Boards. When the character summons the Esper, it replaces the other two party members. The Esper will briefly remain and fight as long as the summoner remains conscious.

Once the time is up, the Esper will unleash a special attack, given that the requirements for it are met, and disappear. The summon uses up a full segment of the MP bar for each rank the Esper has. For example the Esper Belias is a Rank I Summon and will use up one segment of the MP bar, while Zodiark, a Rank III Esper, will use up all three segments.

In the Zodiac Job System version Espers have a small role in further governing what skills characters can learn by opening new paths in the License Board. The MP bar system has been dropped and using Quickenings and summoning Espers uses a different gauge. The Espers are controllable in the Zodiac Job System version, and the player can unleash their special attack at will.


The Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy XII are known as Mist Quickenings in the English version, and Mist Knacks in the Japanese version. Each Quickening is available on the License Board for purchase by any character. Once a character has purchased a Quickening, that space is removed from all other characters' boards. Each character can purchase up to three Quickenings.

There are eighteen Quickenings on the board. When a character uses a Quickening, one segment of their MP is used up. Upon purchasing the second Quickening the character's MP bar doubles and is segmented in two, and after a third segment is added it triples the available base MP. Each Quickening takes 50 LP to learn regardless of its rank.

Basch quickening

Basch's Level 1 Quickening, Fulminating Darkness.

Quickenings can be used during battle as long as the character has enough MP and is not incapacitated by status ailments. Quickenings can be chained: when used, all active party members who have learned Quickenings of their own will join in on the chain as long as they are not KO'd, under X-Zone, or afflicted with either Stop, Stone, Disable, Confusion, SilencedIn the International Zodiac Job System version, since Mist command no longer draws from the user's MP and instead uses a separate Mist gauge, a character afflicted with Silence can use Mist abilities such as Quickening and Summon, or Berserk. During the chain, the player can randomly get the Mist Charge command which restores the party member's MP. The chain-building is restricted by the time limit and luck, as the available Quickenings are drawn up randomly. Normal Quickening attacks only damage the target enemy, but the player can create a specific combination of Quickenings to open a Concurrence, which deals heavy damage to the target and all targets nearby.

In the International Zodiac Job System version, Quickening no longer uses MP, but has a gauge that functions closer to how Limit Breaks work in other games in the series. This meter can be filled up slowly by participating in battle, or fully by using a Elixir/Megalixir, or activating a Save Crystal. Each job has four Quickening licenses costing 50, 75, 100, and 125 LP. Once three Quickening licenses have been activated, the remaining one will disappear from the board of that character.



Vaan, Penelo and Balthier fighting an Adamantitan.

Final Fantasy XII uses a battle system called Active Dimension Battle (ADB). The way the battle system operates is similar to the one in Final Fantasy XI as there are no random encounters. Monsters move freely across the land and battles are conducted on the field map without transition. Enemies rarely surprise the party, although flying creatures attack from a higher elevation, and other creatures will spring out of the water or ground to attack. Docile monsters can become hostile if the party provokes them, such as by casting magick in their vicinity, or if the player attacks other creatures of the same genus.

Combat can be controlled manually or programmed via the use of gambits. The gambit system is slightly similar to the Macro system in Final Fantasy XI; the player can create a list of commands and dependencies to be carried out automatically by the characters to simplify the combat system. All commands relate to the character itself, the character's allies, or the enemies on screen.

Player can choose between Wait mode (default) and Active. In the Wait mode time freezes when the player is choosing the commands, but only one action can be executed at a time. If the game config is set on Active, multiple actions can be executed simultaneously, as long as the Effect Capacity is not saturated. The player controls one character at the time, called the party leader, but the player can change party leader at any time. If the party leader is KO'd or otherwise incapacitated, the game prompts the player to choose another leader. The player can have up to three party members at any one time, and the rest are kept in the reserve party.

Similar to Final Fantasy X, reserve members can be swapped in any time, unless the character is currently being targeted by an attack or spell, or if the character is performing an action. Final Fantasy XII allows the player to swap fallen allies, meaning the player will only get a Game Over once all party members in both active and reserve parties are dead.

Because battles take place on the fields, the Escape command works differently than in most other games in the series; to escape the player must run away, which can be aided by holding the R2 to stop all character actions (although using this feature makes the characters unable to evade enemy attacks). Some enemies stop pursuing the player characters once they have moved far enough away, but some are more persistent and can only be thrown off by zoning out. Boss battles take place in closed arenas and cannot be escaped from.

Battle ChainEdit

Ffxii chain

The largest loot drops from the enemy after continuously killing the same type of enemy.

A Battle Chain is initiated when a party defeats two or more of the same type of enemy in a row. The Battle Chain Level will increase as a party continues to consecutively defeat enemies of the same type.

As the Chain Level increases with each battle, enemies will begin to drop rarer and multiples of items, and with higher levels, activate healing and buffs on the player's party. If the player kills an enemy of a different type, enters a settlement (any area where only Vaan is controllable) or touches a Save Crystal, the chain will break and the Chain Level is reset to 0.


Traps are littered across the landscape and when stepped on deal damage and/or inflict the party with status ailments. Traps are normally invisible, but appear as glowing red circles if a party member is under Libra. Traps can be avoided by using Float or the Steel Poleyns accessory that makes the party invulnerable against traps. Some traps benefit the party by granting positive status effects and/or healing the party's HP.


Unlike in other single-player games in the series, the treasures in Final Fantasy XII are most often randomly spawning containing random treasures. The treasures can be re-spawned by zoning two zones out. Treasures can contain gil, gambits, equipment or items, and there is a small chance of receiving rare treasure with the Diamond Armlet equipped.

The game's regular version also has so called "forbidden chests" that, when claimed, prevent the player from obtaining the game's ultimate spear, the Zodiac Spear, in Necrohol of Nabudis. This feature was removed in the International version.

Weather and terrainEdit

The area's weather and terrain affect the accuracy of ranged weapons and the damage dealt by elemental attacks. In stormy weather crossbows' and bows' accuracy is reduced, and, for example, in rainy weather Lightning damage is boosted while Fire damage is reduced. While terrain is mostly fixed, apart from the Giza Plains that shifts between dry and wet season, weather is often random, depending on what possible weather effects are available for the area.



Ivalice map


The map of Ivalice does not cover the entire world. It shows the area once under the control of the Dynast King Raithwall, but now mostly under the control of the Archadian and Rozarrian Empires.

On the map are the sovereign nation states of Dalmasca, Archadia, Bhujerba and the area once controlled by the Kingdom of Nabradia including Nalbina Fortress. Ancient temples remain from ages past, like the Stilshrine of Miriam, Mt Bur-Omisace and the Tomb of Raithwall, as well as villages of indigenous people like the garif and the viera. Between the civilized locations are the zones populated by monsters that vary in terrain even within the same area.

The Archadian and Rozarrian Empires compete in terms of military and political influence. The Archadian Empire is governed by the ruling family House Solidor, with an Imperial Senate, but the Senate has little power. This has caused the Archadian Judges to serve the Emperor directly. The Judge Magisters command the Archadian Army, Archadian Imperial Fleets, Archadian Security and Police as well as the Archadian Intelligence. Judge Magisters are feared and respected for their passion for the Empire and the defense of House Solidor. The small kingdoms of Dalmasca and Nabradia between the two empires thus find their existence endangered. Bhujerba is a skycity that pledges neutrality, built on a sky continent made airborne by the magicite in its soil.



Art of the Main Playable characters in Final Fantasy XII by Akihiko Yoshida.

Final Fantasy XII has a cast of six main characters that, once formed, never changes. Three guest characters (not including Hunt-allies) join the party during the story, and the player plays a different character during the prologue. According to the developers, there is no main character, as the game is "about numerous people, not just one person".[3]

Main cast
  • Vaan is a street urchin and an orphan who lives on the streets of Rabanastre with his friend Penelo. He dreams of becoming a sky pirate in command of an airship and to travel the world.
  • Penelo is Vaan's closest friend, an orphan who lost her family during a war between Dalmasca and Archadia. She dreams of being a dancer, and learned martial arts from her late elder brothers who were soldiers during the war. She joins the party along with Vaan to help prevent another war.
  • Balthier, real name Ffamran mied Bunansa,[4] is a sky pirate on the run from his past. He refers to himself as the "leading man".
  • Fran is Balthier's friend and partner and a viera. Like Balthier, she is trying to shake off the past. She rarely speaks, but she usually has words of wisdom to offer.
  • Basch fon Ronsenburg is a disgraced knight who wants to protect his surrogate homeland of Dalmasca.
  • Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca is the Princess of Dalmasca who does everything in her power to rebuild her fallen kingdom. She was married to Lord Rasler, Prince of Nabradia, and although their marriage was politically motivated, they nevertheless were in love.
Temporary playable character
  • Larsa Ferrinas Solidor/Lamont the youngest member of House Solidor, the ruling family of Archadian Empire. He seeks to bring peace to the world.
  • Vossler York Azelas used to fight alongside Basch in the Dalmascan army, but after the war started the rebellion together with the Princess. He looks after Ashe as her closest ally.
  • Reddas is a sky pirate from the Balfonheim. He seeks to stop the Empire from using nethicite to prevent the events of Battle of Nabudis from ever happening again.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)


Rasler and Ashe

Princess Ashe and Prince Rasler are married.

The Kingdom of Dalmasca is a small city-state in the world of Ivalice, a neutral party in the past wars between the neighboring Empires of Archadia and Rozarria. To strengthen the kingdom's status between the Empires Dalmasca had its heir to the throne, Princess Ashe, marry Prince Rasler of the neighboring small kingdom of Nabradia so that the two kingdoms could stand as one against Imperial oppression. Despite the marriage's political nature the prince and the princess were in love.

The couple's happiness was short-lived, as Archadia moved to invade Nabradia to steal its royal heirloom passed down from the Dynast-King Raithwall: the Midlight Shard. In a mysterious event the entire capital of Nabradia, Nabudis, was reduced to ashes, and Archadia advanced toward Dalmasca. Rasler led the Dalmascan army against the Empire at the Battle of Nalbina Fortress, but its paling fell and the prince was struck by an arrow and killed, his body taken away by the captain of the Order of the Knights, Basch fon Ronsenburg. The fortress was lost and Rasler was buried in Rabanastre.

Dalmasca was conquered by Archadia and to be reduced to the status of an occupied state when its King Raminas would sign the kingdom into Imperial rule, seeing no other way to save his people. Rumors spread that the treaty-signing was but a ruse to murder the king, and Captain Basch led the remains of the Order of the Knights to save him. Among his force were Vossler York Azelas, Basch's old friend, and the young soldier Reks.


Reks finds the King murdered.

Reks was separated from the others, and as he caught up he found the king and the other knights of the order killed with only Basch still standing. Basch stabbed Reks, and gloated he murdered the king for his betrayal. Basch was captured by an Imperial official, the Emperor's son Vayne Carudas Solidor, and Reks's witness testimonial was used to prosecute him for high treason. The mortally-wounded Reks stayed at a hospital where he was looked over by his younger brother, Vaan, until becoming increasingly unresponsive before passing away.

Marquis Ondore, head of the neutral skycity Bhujerba, announced the King's daughter, Ashe, had committed suicide and Basch executed for high treason. With both King Raminas and his daughter Ashe dead, Dalmasca was left without a ruler and became governed by the Archadian Empire.

The Misadventures of VaanEdit

Two years later, Reks's brother, Vaan, an orphaned street urchin living in the Dalmascan capital Rabanastre, wants to steal treasure from the Archadian Consul's residence in the old Royal Palace of Rabanastre to take back Dalmasca's riches he deems were stolen by the Empire. With help from Old Dalan of the lowtown slums, Vaan infiltrates the palace during a fête set up to commemorate Dalmasca's new Consul sent from the Imperial capital, the Emperor Gramis Gana Solidor's son Vayne Solidor.

Fran and balthier

Balthier and Fran ambush Vaan in the Palace treasury.

While looting the treasury Vaan comes across the Goddess's Magicite hidden inside a statue, and meets Balthier, a sky pirate bent on stealing the Consul's treasures, and his companion Fran, a viera warrior. Balthier demands Vaan's treasure, but Vaan wants to keep his find and makes his escape.

The underground Dalmascan Resistance movement assaults the royal palace in a military coup to remove the Consul. Vayne was expecting this and had the Imperial forces ready. As the Resistance forces engage with the Imperials on the palace courtyard an Imperial airship Ifrit blasts apart the Resistance forces and opens a gash on the ground. Balthier, Fran and Vaan escape on Balthier's hoverbike, but the Goddess's Magicite Vaan had pilfered from the treasury saps the bike's skystone of power and they crashland into the Garamsythe Waterway, the city's sewer system that was exposed during the attack from Ifrit.

Though Balthier still wants Vaan's treasure, the three decide on a temporary truce as they look for a way out of the sewers. They meet the leader of the Resistance, Amalia, separated from her companion Vossler, retreating through the sewers after the failed attack on the Consul. Vaan and the others help her escape although she detests their thievery from the palace.

The group is captured by the Imperial Guard led by Vayne under the assumption they are thieves, and Amalia is escorted away. Vaan, Balthier and Fran are to be sent to the Nalbina Dungeons, and as Vaan's childhood friend Penelo sees Vaan being escorted away in chains, she runs to the group. She is halted by Balthier who wants to avoid a scene and promises to bring Vaan back safely. Nearby a group of bounty hunters notes the guard capturing their mark: Balthier, and his interaction with this girl, Penelo.

In the Nalbina Dungeons Fran senses there is a way out. As a viera she is keen to the scent of Mist, and locates a leak somewhere in the dungeon that suggests an opening to a cave system, but the way deeper into the dungeons is blocked off. After Balthier and Vaan battle the seeq dungeon masters, an Archadian Judge Magister Gabranth enters and allows the bounty hunter Ba'Gamnan search the prisoners for Balthier. To avoid Ba'Gamnan Vaan, Balthier and Fran follow Gabranth and gain access to the deepest reaches of the dungeon, recovering their weapons and other belongings on the way.

Basch prison

Basch imprisoned in the Nalbina Dungeons.

In the dungeon's deepest area they find Gabranth confronting an emaciated Basch fon Ronsenburg, mocking his disgrace. Basch asks how long they intend to keep him locked up, but Gabranth claims they need Basch as collateral to keep Marquis Ondore in line. As Gabranth removes his helmet, Vaan's group spies he has the same facial features as Basch. After Gabranth leaves Fran points the deep pit below Basch's suspended cage as "the way out." Vaan recognizes the king-slayer responsible for Dalmasca's downfall and jumps onto his cage, yelling at Basch. This rouses the nearby guards and Fran asks everyone to jump onto the cage as she drops it into the pit for an escape route.

The fall breaks the cage and Basch is freed. The four have ended up in an abandoned mine in the Barheim Passage. Basch asks to accompany the others as another swordarm and explains he was framed as the king-slayer by his twin brother Gabranth and Vayne to strip Dalmasca of sovereignty, by having the former slay the king while posing as Basch. The four escape the Barheim Passage back to Rabanastre where they part ways.

Balthier and Fran decide to move on after enjoying a drink at a local tavern. Basch sets out to meet with the local Resistance, and Vaan decides to look for Penelo and show Old Dalan the treasure he got from the palace. He can't find Penelo, but Old Dalan has already heard a certain Basch fon Ronsenburg has returned from the dead and asks Vaan to deliver the sword of the old order to Vossler of the Resistance to remind him of the pact he and Basch once shared as comrades in arms.

Vaan comes to the Resistance hideout amid an argument between Vossler and Basch. The past two years Vossler has looked after Amalia alone as the two started the local Resistance, and he has become paranoid and no longer trusts Basch despite his insistence on being innocent. Vaan yells out that Reks was no liar, to which Basch affirms Reks was the perfect witness needed to frame him. Amalia has been taken by the Empire and Basch wants to help rescue her, but is unable to convince Vossler. Basch asks Vaan to take him to Balthier to request passage to Bhujerba on Balthier's airship, as being a known king-slayer travel by commercial airship could prove risky. Basch wants to go to Bhujerba to talk to its leader Marquis Ondore, who is a secret Resistance sympathizer although superficially allied with the Empire.

Penelo captured

Penelo held captive by Ba'Gamnan.

Vaan and Basch find Balthier and Fran from the Sandsea tavern, being accosted by Vaan and Penelo's "guardian" Migelo who blames Balthier for Penelo's kidnapping. The bangaa headhunter Ba'Gamnan and his group, who are looking for Balthier, kidnapped Vaan's best friend Penelo under the assumption she has a connection with Balthier who would thus come to her aid. Vaan begs Balthier to take him to Bhujerba so he can save his friend promising the Goddess's Magicite as payment. Balthier reluctantly agrees to help and takes everyone to his airship, the Strahl. Vaan is excited as his dream is to become a sky pirate one day.

Balthier, Fran, Vaan and Basch fly to Bhujerba to free Penelo who is being kept captive in the local Lhusu Mines where Ba'Gamnan's gang has a hideout. They meet a boy introducing himself as Lamont, who overhears the four are heading to the mines and asks to accompany them. Balthier is suspicious but lets him come along. Inside the mines they spy Judge Magister Ghis, whose Dreadnought Leviathan is currently docked at the skycity, with Marquis Ondore inspecting the mines.


Larsa's manufacted nethicite.

The party comes to a site of magicite excavation and Lamont pulls out a piece of manufacted nethicite that reacts to the local magicite confirming his suspicions: the Lhusu Mines are providing magicite to the Draklor Laboratory in Archades for secret research on manufacted nethicite behind Emperor Gramis's back, likely via machinations by Vayne and Dr. Cidolfus Demen Bunansa, the Empire's leading nethicite researcher. As a surprise to Lamont Balthier recognizes the piece as manufacted nethicite and demands to know where he got it from. They are interrupted by Ba'Gamnan and his gang. Vaan calls for Penelo but Ba'Gamnan has already let her go, and attacks the party. During the commotion Lamont escapes, urging the others to follow.

After getting rid of Ba'Gamnan, the party finds Judge Ghis has captured Penelo, furious to have discovered an outsider wandering the mines full of Empire's secrets. "Lamont" recognizes Penelo as the girl Vaan and the others were at the mines to rescue, and comes to her aid. Ghis is left dumbfounded as Lamont escorts Penelo to Marquis Ondore's estate as his guest. The others follow the exchange from the shadows, and Balthier explains Lamont is none other than Larsa Ferrinas Solidor, the younger brother to Vayne, and the Emperor's son and thus second in line for the throne of Archadia. Larsa is staying at the Marquis's estate under the pretense of a holiday, but his true intention is to travel Ivalice and discern its political situation, as although Larsa is young he is interested in the world affairs.

Seeking PowerEdit

Vaan spreads rumors of Basch still being alive to discredit the Marquis and catch the local Resistance's attention to gain an audience with Ondore. The ploy works and Vaan and his friends are brought to the Marquis. Vaan asks for Penelo, but she has already left: she has gone onboard the Imperial flagship Dreadnought Leviathan as Larsa's guest. Basch tells Marquis Ondore Amalia is being held captive onboard by Judge Ghis, and Ondore would like to see her saved but getting personally involved would compromise Bhujerba's position. Thus he "captures" Basch, Vaan, Balthier and Fran and has them sent to Judge Ghis onboard the Leviathan under the pretense of helping the Empire catch the Nalbina Dungeon escapees, but his true motivation is to have Basch and the others save Amalia.

Ghis with ashe

Ghis with Ashe onboard Leviathan.

Basch, Vaan, Balthier and Fran are brought to Ghis and find him with "Amalia," who is revealed to be Princess Ashe. Ashe recognizes Basch as the king-slayer and is angered he is still alive. Basch wants to trade their freedom for the location of the royal heirloom, a piece of deifacted nethicite called the Dusk Shard, but Ashe objects. The Goddess's Magicite in Vaan's pocket begins to shine in Ashe's presence, revealing itself as the Dusk Shard, an heirloom of the Dynast-King that points the Dynast-King's kin as the rightful heir. Ghis is delighted the party has delivered the nethicite right to the Empire's hands and seizes the Dusk Shard from Vaan much to Ashe's frustration.

They are imprisoned with Ashe quartered separately, but freed by Vossler who has apparently had a change of heart and come to their aid in an Imperial disguise. Joined by Vossler, the party searches the Leviathan for Ashe's cell and frees her. She is still angered by Basch's presence, but he swears his innocence and loyalty to Dalmasca and thus, to her. As they look for an exit the reassembled party runs into Larsa and Penelo, who have befriended during the time they have spent together. Larsa is keen to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and believes he could convince his father, the Emperor, to allow Ashe reclaim Dalmasca if she will ally with the Empire. Thus he decides to aid the party's escape, and gives Penelo his piece of manufacted nethicite as a "good luck charm" and memento of their meeting. The true reason of Larsa's gifting of the nethicite may be that he doesn't want to be caught with it, seeing that he has likely had it stolen from the Draklor Laboratories.

The party heads for an exit but runs into Judge Ghis who hurls magick at them that is absorbed by Penelo's piece of manufacted nethicite. After being in awe of the nethicite's power, the party defeats Ghis and escapes on a carrier ship piloted by Balthier back to Bhujerba with Vossler remaining behind to secure their escape entrusting Ashe's protection in Basch's hands.

Ondore meets the party

Ondore is unwilling to help Ashe.

Back in Bhujerba the group has another meeting with the Marquis. Ashe wants to expand the small Resistance she and Vossler started back in Rabanastre to create a force strong enough to reclaim Dalmasca, and thus wants the Marquis's aid. Although Ondore, actually Ashe's uncle, is glad his plan to have her saved worked, he is not ready to join the Resistance. Ondore points out that even if Ashe had the means to go to war against the Empire, now that the Dusk Shard has been lost she has no means of proving her identity as the rightful heir to Dalmasca's throne. Ondore wants Ashe to stay with him for her safety while he continues with his own machinations against the Empire, but Ashe knows Ondore will prioritize Bhujerba over Dalmasca and is not content with sitting aside and waiting while her kingdom suffers.

Ashe requests Balthier's aid in retrieving another proof of her royal blood: the Dawn Shard, one of the pieces of deifacted nethicite the Dynast-King wielded to unite Ivalice in the Galtean Alliance hundreds of years ago. While Raithwall gave two of the pieces away to the ruling houses of the kingdoms of Dalmasca and Nabradia, the third shard was buried with him to the Tomb of Raithwall with the knowledge of its existence passed down in his royal lineage.

The party heads to the Dynast-King's tomb on foot, as it is located on a jagd and thus impassable on an airship. They run into Vossler who has escaped the Leviathan and wants to join their cause, even if he detests traveling with sky pirates who are only aiding Ashe for the promises of King Raithwall's treasure. To Balthier's dismay Raithwall's treasure turns out to be the control of the Esper Belias, and naught of monetary value.

Dawn shard

Ashe claims the Dawn Shard.

As Ashe claims the Dawn Shard she is met by a ghostly apparition of her late husband, Rasler. The party exits the tomb only to discover Dreadnaught Leviathan and the rest of Ghis's fleet waiting for them as a result of Vossler having alerted them. As proof of the might of the Empire's manufacted nethicite, they can fly airships even on the jagd.

Ashe is furious at Vossler's betrayal, who has come to believe opposition is futile, and acquiescence the only way to save Dalmasca from further harm. The party is again brought before Ghis who takes the Dawn Shard from Ashe, gleeful the party has again done the work for the Empire in delivering them with deifacted nethicite. Ghis has the party taken away in chains, but succumbs to delusions of grandeur before the stone's power. Ghis plans to use the stone to take over the Empire, and has its power evaluated by placing the Dawn Shard in the engine of the Leviathan. The engine overheats as Mist flows from the stone.


The Dawn Shard destroys the Imperial fleet.

The Mist effusing from the Dawn Shard drives Fran into a frenzy and she breaks free from her shackles and attacks their captors. The others free themselves as well but as they make for the exit they are stopped by Vossler whom the party is forced to defeat. In his final words Vossler asks for Basch to look after Ashe, and as the party escapes on another carrier ship, the Dawn Shard in the Leviathan's engine explodes destroying the entire fleet. As the Leviathan falls the party escapes riding the blast wave, but as they spot the Dawn Shard glimmering midair in the center of the explosion they turn back to retrieve it.

After witnessing the Archadian Eighth Fleet destroyed by the power of the Dawn Shard, Ashe decides to wield it as her weapon against the Empire, as even if the Resistance movement she had started was lost when Vossler became a turncoat, she now possessed a weapon of seemingly unimaginable power. As she doesn't know how to use the now lusterless Dawn Shard Fran suggests they head for Jahara, the village of the garif knowledgeable on magicite lore. Ashe asks Balthier to accompany her, but he demands a ring on her finger as down payment until he comes across a better treasure.

In Jahara the garif tell Ashe they cannot be of help due to the stone eluding even their ancestors, and the garif chief tells Ashe the Dawn Shard has lost its power, as the Mist it inhabited has been released making the Dawn Shard useless as a weapon. They meet Larsa who has come to persuade Ashe to join both him and another mysterious ally at Mt Bur-Omisace to prevent the imminent war. Larsa explains his plan for Ashe to gain the Gran Kiltias Anastasis's blessing to assume the throne of Dalmasca, and then propose peace to the Empire. The idea of making peace with the Empire that stole everything from her repulses Ashe, but she sees no other way to help her kingdom.

That night Ashe talks with Vaan who reveals he also saw an apparition the moment Ashe claimed the Dawn Shard from the Tomb of Raithwall, although he thought it looked like his late brother. The two decide to conceal the ghostly encounter from the others. Vaan explains that helping Ashe reclaim Dalmasca is his way of stopping running away from his problems.

Disgraced by the Eighth Fleet's destruction, Vayne is called back to Archadia, and begins to suspect his father and the Imperial Senate will bypass him for Emperor, giving the throne to his brother Larsa instead, whom the Senate sees as suspect to manipulation due to his youth. Gramis is of failing health, and the question of his succession is to come up soon. Gramis tasks Gabranth to spy on Vayne to discern his true intentions. The Judge Magisters know Larsa is not easily manipulated, and once the Senate realizes this he may be in danger of being assassinated. Judge Magister Drace and Gabranth talk the matter over and decide to protect Lord Larsa for the stability of the nation.


Jote mocks Fran for having lost her viera senses.

Ashe decides to trust Larsa and he joins her party on their passage to Mt Bur-Omisace, the center of the Kiltia faith. While passing through the Golmore Jungle their path is barred by magickal barriers set by the viera. Fran unveils the viera settlement of Eruyt Village, telling the others she is an exile and the viera will not be happy to see her, but her younger sister Mjrn may be able to help. In the village Fran's other sister, Jote, claims Mjrn is not there, and tells Fran to ask the Wood for her whereabouts. Fran has spent too long away from the viera homeland and her kin no longer consider her a true viera as she cannot hear the green word. Jote despises yet pities Fran for her fall, and states the Wood says Mjrn is at the local magicite mine.

The party travels to the Henne Mines, another of the Empire's sites of magicite research, and finds the local researchers slain. Larsa becomes agitated at the sight and wants to investigate the matter. They find Fran's sister Mjrn deep in the mines acting strangely, holding a piece of manufacted nethicite being possessed by a shadow with glowing eyes. When Mjrn drops the nethicite it breaks, releasing her. As Fran rushes to her sister, Mjrn explains she left the Wood to explore the world but was captured and asked to hold a piece of manufacted nethicite to test its effect on a viera. Larsa asks Penelo to return the piece of manufacted nethicite he had given to her earlier, apologizing for not realizing the danger.

Back in Eruyt Village Mjrn is reunited with her kin. Fran asks her to not follow her example and leave the Wood as it only leads to a life of loneliness. Jote gives Fran the Lente's Tear to dispel the jungle's magickal barriers and asks her to never return.

Ashe and al cid

Al Cid meets Ashe.

Reaching Mt Bur-Omisace the party speaks to the Gran Kiltias and meets Larsa's secret ally, Al-Cid Margrace from the ruling house of Rozarria. Although Al-Cid is but one of the many nobles of the ruling class, Larsa hopes that securing his allegiance would help normalize the relations between the nations if Al-Cid could help Rozarria recognize Ashe as the Queen of Dalmasca. All hope for a peaceful resolution is dashed when it is learned Vayne has murdered his father and dissolved the Senate, making him the dictator of Archadia, as Vayne would never allow Ashe claim Dalmasca peacefully.

The murder of the late Emperor was blamed on the Senate, giving Vayne pretense of disbanding it. Among the Judge Magisters only Drace opposed Vayne's ruthlessness and as she sought to arrest him for high treason, the other Judges turned against her. Vayne, knowing Gabranth had been spying on him on Gramis's orders, tested his loyalty by ordering him to execute Drace for turning her blade on the Imperial Lord Sovereign. As Gabranth hesitated Drace quietly asked him to kill her, and to protect Lord Larsa who will have no one should Gabranth be lost as well.

Ashe decides that going to war with the Empire is the only way. As much has become apparent to Ondore as well, who has departed to assemble a Resistance, stepping down as Marquis under pretense of ailing health. As long as Vayne holds the Dusk Shard, however, they will have little chance against the Empire, having witnessed first hand what deifacted nethicite can do. The Gran Kiltias tells Ashe of another of Raithwall's treasures, the Sword of Kings that can destroy nethicite, hidden in the Stilshrine of Miriam to be overlooked by the Gran Kiltias as a neutral party.

Sword of Kings in stilshrine of miriam

The party retrieves the Sword of Kings.

Leaving Larsa behind at Mt Bur-Omisace the party sets out to retrieve the sword. They find it from the depths of the shrine, but as Ashe attempts to test its might against the lusterless Dawn Shard, Rasler's apparition stays her hand. When Ashe later asks Vaan about it however, he didn't see anything. Rasler's ghostly visit convinces Ashe the sword is genuine, and they return to Mt Bur-Omisace and find it decimated by the Empire.

Vayne's envoys—Judge Magisters Bergan, Zargabaath and Gabranth—were dispatched to pick up Larsa and capture Ashe. While Gabranth had Judge Zargabaath take Larsa to Archades, an enraged Bergan killed the holy man Gran Kiltias Anastasis and bombed Mt Bur-Omisace. The party confronts him and discovers he has been augmented by the power of manufacted nethicite, and been driven mad as a result like Mjrn had. Bergan appears with the shadow with glowing eyes, but despite his enhanced powers he is killed, his nethicite-infused body exploding.

The NethiciteEdit

Phon coast ashe and balthier

Balthier warns Ashe of the nethicite's power.

Ashe and her party decide to destroy the Empire's nethicite with the Sword of Kings to level the sides for the upcoming war and head for the Draklor Laboratory in Archades to destroy the Dusk and Midlight Shards in the possession of Dr. Cid, Balthier's father. While resting at the Phon Coast Hunters' Camp Balthier tells Ashe of his relation to Dr. Cid. Years ago Cid traveled to Jagd Difohr but upon his return was never the same again. Seemingly having gone mad, Cid kept talking to thin air about bringing the reins of history back to the hands of man. Unable to bear the sight of his raving father, Balthier had cast aside his privileged family name and his position as a Judge to become a sky pirate. Balthier warns Ashe of letting the power of the stone consume her like it did his father.

They reach Archades and gain access to the city's upper levels with the "help" of Balthier's old acquaintance Jules. They storm the lab but find it void of guards. They find Cid's office in a mess, and run into Reddas, a rogue sky pirate on a mission same as theirs, and the reason for the lack of guards. They team up with him and confront Cid. At first Cid doesn't know who they are, but after listening to a voice only he can hear he points Ashe out as the Princess. They attack Cid but he is protected by the shadow with the glowing eyes he calls Venat. Cid escapes on a small airship with the pieces of deifacted nethicite, saying he is heading for Giruvegan, the ancient city from where it all started. Balthier realizes that Cid hadn't gone mad, but when it appeared he was talking to himself he was, in fact, speaking to the "shadow" Venat.


Reddas in Balfonheim.

Reddas takes the party to Balfonheim, the port town of pirates of sky and sea variety alike. Reddas is a mysterious man as no one knows of his past, only that he showed up at Balfonheim one day and united the pirates, becoming the town's governor. The only thing he reveals of himself is that he wishes to see all nethicite in Ivalice destroyed. Reddas had been visited by Marquis Ondore during the latter's quest to assemble the Resistance, fueling Ashe's determination to catch Cid and destroy his nethicite.

In Jagd Difohr the party comes to an impassable wall of Mist in the Feywood, but Rasler's apparition quells the Mist. Everyone but Ashe is perplexed. They find the gate to Giruvegan and summon the Esper Belias to open it. In the city center they discover the Great Crystal where the Occuria live, who spirit Ashe away to an otherworldly dimension.

The shadows with glowing eyes are Occuria, beings that deem themselves the Gods of Ivalice for their immortality. The Occuria brand Ashe their saint and the new Dynast-King as they had Raithwall before her. They gift her the Treaty-Blade to carve out new pieces of deifacted nethicite from the Sun-Cryst, the source of all nethicite power, to achieve power enough to destroy Archadia and its benefactor, the rogue Occuria Venat. Venat has taught Dr. Cid the secrets to manmade nethicite, undermining the Occuria's power in Ivalice as the true weavers of history. Ashe is conflicted as to her course of action, but as an apparition of Rasler grasps the blade's hilt she follows suit and finds herself back in the mortal world, holding the sword.

Pharos at ridorana

The Pharos at Ridorana.

Ashe and the party leave Giruvegan with the knowledge that Dr. Cid has used them to retrieve the Treaty-Blade, and had no intention of traveling to Giruvegan. Dr. Cid's gambit for doing this a mystery, they head for Balfonheim to talk with Reddas. The political situation in Ivalice is in turmoil, and a fleet Reddas had sent to explore the waters of a jagd has gone missing. Deeming it their next destination as per the instructions given by the Occuria to locate the Sun-Cryst, Reddas lends Balthier's airship a manufacted skystone he had stolen from the Draklor Laboratory earlier to grant it the power to fly over jagd. Reddas joins the party to travel to the Ridorana Cataract, where the Sun-Cryst is housed atop the Pharos lighthouse. Balthier asks Vaan to take the Strahl should something happen to him. At the Pharos's entrance, the party comes across a message carved by Dynast-King Raithwall himself as instruction to his descendants who might one day follow in his footsteps.

The party finds the Sun-Cryst at the top but runs into Gabranth who has been spying on Ashe and her companions to discern her true motives for seeking the throne of Dalmasca, as per orders from Larsa who wants to convince his brother Vayne of Ashe's sincerity. Enraged by the sight of his "treacherous" twin Gabranth attacks them, blaming Basch for holding onto false honor after failing to protect his family and kingdom. He declares himself the true king-slayer but the party prevails. When Dr. Cid arrives, having also been following Ashe, he blames Gabranth for failing at his mission to Lord Larsa, and dismisses him in disgrace.

The occurian swords

Ashe wields the Occurian-wrought swords to lay waste on the Sun-Cryst.

Rasler's apparition goads Ashe to become the Occuria's new Dynast-King, and in the abundant Mist around the Sun-Cryst everyone can see him. Ashe realizes the appearances of Lord Rasler are but images constructed by the Occuria to manipulate her actions. She declares herself no false saint for the Occuria to use, and dispels the apparition who speaks to her in an Occurian voice, pleading her to reconsider.

Cid fights the group, using the Esper Famfrit to aid him. He is defeated, but asks Venat to reintegrate the pieces of deifacted nethicite to the Sun-Cryst that begins to spill Mist over Ivalice. Venat attempts to defend Cid, but he asks for it to step aside, seeing his time is up. Speaking to Balthier one last time, Cid disappears into the Mist, asking Balthier to do what sky pirates do best: fly. Vaan and Ashe try to destroy the Sun-Cryst but it is too volatile. Reddas takes the Sword of Kings from Ashe and reveals his true identity as that of Judge Magister Zecht who had unwittingly destroyed Nabudis with the power of the Midlight Shard. Reddas sacrifices himself to destroy the Sun-Cryst with the others escaping on the Strahl.

Battle in the BahamutEdit


The Battle above Rabanastre.

The party returns to Balfonheim where the pirates mourn Reddas's passing. They learn the discharge of Mist from the Sun-Cryst activated the largest airship ever built, the Sky Fortress Bahamut, which was Dr. Cid's motive for rousing the Cryst. The conflict has suddenly come to a head as Marquis Ondore's Resistance armies are staging a battle in the skies above Rabanastre. They arrive on time to witness the showdown, and Vaan mimics Larsa's voice on the airship's intercom to have the Marquis let them pass. They penetrate both the Resistance and Imperial fleets and dock the Strahl on the Bahamut to stop Vayne before the conflict will destroy Rabanastre. Before they reach Vayne, Gabranth arrives to stop them.

Gabranth has given up everything except his need to destroy his brother to prove his superiority. The party defeats him, and leaves him beaten in the elevator. They find Vayne with Larsa at the command center, Vayne eager to show Larsa how a true Emperor crushes his opponents despite Larsa objecting to the war. As Vayne turns against Ashe Larsa helps the party fight him. Vayne conjures magickal swords to attack the party, but they are dispelled by Larsa's piece of manufacted nethicite. As Vayne is beaten his manufacted nethicite sucks power away from Larsa, and the ship around him.

Vayne- The Undying

Vayne becomes the Undying.

Seeing that Vayne has turned on Larsa, the wounded Gabranth joins the attack and is struck down. Vayne limps away onto the outside Cannon Superstucture and calls for Venat, telling the Occuria it must seek another to realize its ambitions of freeing Ivalice from the Occuria's tyranny. Venat says that with the Sun-Cryst destroyed the Age of Stones is over, and the Occuria have lost their influence on Ivalice's fate, thereby fulfilling Venat's desire. Venat dissolves, investing Vayne with its power as an Undying and he absorbs pieces of the sky fortress onto himself.

Vayne is defeated and explodes into a cloud of Mist, taking Venat to the grave with him. The party must now stop the warring factions and halt the descent of the malfunctioning Bahamut lest it falls on Rabanastre. Boarding the Strahl with Larsa and a dying Gabranth, Balthier has Vaan take the pilot's seat with Penelo as his navigator. Vaan flies the others to safety as Balthier and Fran return to the Bahamut to try and fix its glossair rings in time to halt its descent.

Ashe Basch

Ashe declares peace.

Over the intercom Basch, posing as Judge Magister Gabranth, asks for the Archadian forces to stand down their attack. Larsa takes over the mic and declares Vayne fallen in battle and himself the new Emperor of Archadia. Larsa announces he has made peace with Princess Ashe of Dalmasca to stop the war. As the Bahamut falls from the sky, Judge Zargabaath wants to place his Alexander on a collision course to ram it clear of Rabanastre, sacrificing himself to save the city.

Balthier contacts the Strahl and asks them to stop Zargabaath, as he is amid an effort to restart the Bahamut's engines. Balthier tells Vaan to look after the Strahl while he is gone and Vaan assures Balthier that he will. Bahamut gains power and moves away from Rabanastre, crashing outside of the city with Fran and Balthier still inside despite Ashe's pleads for them to get to safety.



Vaan sets off to meet with Balthier in his new airship with Penelo.

A year later Penelo writes a letter to Larsa. Dalmasca, Archadia, and Rozarria are at peace, and Rabanastre has returned to the way Penelo remembers it from her childhood. The party has split, each living their separate lives. A month from now Ashe will be crowned Queen of Dalmasca so they will not be able to see her anymore. Basch has assumed his late brother's identity as per the latter's deathbed wish for him to protect Lord Larsa in his stead, as should the last of House Solidor fall Archades would be consumed by a civil war. Even if it means Basch will forever be unable to clear his name as the king-slayer, he took up the Judge's armor and became Larsa's bodyguard.

Vaan and Penelo had looked after the Strahl until it was stolen. Penelo notes it is not really stealing if the original owner took it back, however. Balthier had left behind Ashe's ring, which she had given to him as compensation for the treasure Balthier did not get in Raithwall's Tomb, implying Balthier has found the treasure he had been looking for. Vaan flies his new airship to find Balthier, with Penelo accompanying him as "every good sky pirate needs a partner."

Spoilers end here.


The prominent theme in Final Fantasy XII is coping in the face of loss of family. Vaan lost his parents, and then his brother Reks in the war between Dalmasca and Archadia at the hands of Gabranth, thus giving Vaan an animosity towards the Archadian Empire. Like Vaan, Penelo lost her family to the war leading her to fear the empire. Her view slowly changes as her friendship with Larsa develops, a member of the Empire's ruling family.


Ashe lost her husband, father, and kingdom to the Archadian Empire, and avenging them is her main motivation. Ashe's quest for revenge is used by the Occuria, who send a false apparition of her late husband Rasler to spur her thirst for revenge to use her to achieve their own ends. Ashe learns that exacting revenge is not something Rasler would have wanted her to do, and it will not bring him or her father back.

The theme of freedom is strong in Final Fantasy XII. Basch is physically imprisoned but breaks free with the party's help, but later comments the past can bind a man as strong as chains. Multiple characters seek to escape their past, only to find they must face it sooner or later. Fran leaves the woods to gain her freedom of the viera's traditionally restrictive lifestyle, but in doing so is permanently cut off from her family.

Balthier escapes an unbearable situation with his father by renouncing his identity, only to find he must confront his father's madness to move on. Vaan tries to obtain his freedom through becoming a sky pirate to explore the world as he pleases, but realizes it's his attempt to evade his problems. Ashe wishes to reclaim her throne and kingdom, and be free from the Empire's rule once and for all, but first has to overcome her hatred for the Empire and the role it played in robbing her of her loved ones and the downfall of the Dalmascan kingdom.


Vena, the rogue Occuria.

Like with much of the games set in Ivalice, Final Fantasy XII has deconstructive elements regarding religion and theism on the social and human condition. The gods of Ivalice are revealed to be mere living beings, and even the truths of Raithwall are shown to be their machinations to enact their own plans. Although Man is shown to be allowed his own fate, free from the gods, as depicted with Archadia, should mankind undertake one of evil with this freedom it leads to tyranny and dominance over others. Kiltia is shown as a religion in modest balance and order.

The nethicite in Final Fantasy XII alludes to the crystals, a recurring motif in the Final Fantasy series where crystals are the embodiment of divine and magical power. In Final Fantasy XII Archadia, an enemy Empire, steals pieces of deifacted nethicite from the kingdoms of the world to gain power. The same story arc has been used in the series numerous times, although Final Fantasy XII subverts the theme in that being "chosen" to wield the power of the crystal is something the player party must fight against: Dr Cid and his machinations, as well as the influence of the Occuria. When Ashe becomes chosen to wield the power of the nethicite by the Occuria, she ultimately rejects it.


Developed from 2001 to 2006, Final Fantasy XII cost approximately 4 billion Japanese yen (35 million USD) to produce with a crew of more than one hundred people. Yasumi Matsuno, originally announced as both producer and director, bowed out of both roles midway. The official reason given for his departure was health concerns. On February 25, 2010, Matsuno spoke out on his departure from the Final Fantasy XII project on his Twitter page, stating that while he had been sick, he had nevertheless let down the Square Enix staff, shareholders, and fans who had been looking forward to the game.

In Matsuno's place, Hiroyuki Ito and Hiroshi Minagawa took over directorial duties, with Akitoshi Kawazu assuming the role of the executive producer. Matsuno remains credited for "Original Work/Scenario Plot/Supervision". Hitoshi Sakimoto composed the game's music while Nobuo Uematsu contributed a single composition—the vocal theme, "Kiss Me Good-Bye", performed by Angela Aki. Renowned violinist Taro Hakase provided performances for "Symphonic Poem "Hope", which served as a promotional theme along with "Kiss Me Good-Bye".

FFXII Early Gameplay

Early gameplay development of Final Fantasy XII.

The executive producer, Akitoshi Kawazu, has said in an interview[5] that back in 2000 when Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII were announced as being in the planning stages, Final Fantasy X was announced as an offline game while the games Final Fantasy XI onwards would be online games. During the development of Final Fantasy XII that changed, but, just from the early planning stages the team intended Final Fantasy XII to be a different experience from Final Fantasy X.

In early stages of development the main character was to be "big and tough", but as development continued and targeting demographics were considered, he became more youthful. With the casting of voice actor Kohei Takeda, who also did motion capture for the part, he became less so and more "active, upbeat, bright and positive".

Hiroyuki Ito was in charge of creating the battle system and his motivation for the gambit system was to create a "single-player online game" where the player would have independently acting party members who would still act the way the player wanted them to. The gambit system works on the same basic programming algorithms used for the monsters in the SNES Final Fantasy games.[6]

The driving design philosophy behind the game was to have players exploring a world. The same way that walking around a town there are people standing around, the developers wanted there to be the same experience when going through a desert with monsters roaming about. Since that was the type of gameplay the developers wanted to provide to the players, a real-time battle system that got rid of random encounters was chosen.[7]

Final Fantasy XII was initially planned to have a job system but the idea was scrapped when the developers thought it might be too confusing to players, so the idea was condensed into a License Board system. However, players did not respond to the License Board system as anticipated, and the team returned to their previous idea of using a job system in the Zodiac Job System version.[8] One intended theme for the gameplay was to add a feeling of finality and destiny, where the player may or may not end up with the best results.


Early gameplay development of Final Fantasy XII.

This is reflected with the random treasure chests, as well as perhaps the fact that the game's ultimate weapon is easily missed. The developers did not intend players to unlock every license for every character, but plan different paths for each. In retrospect these ideas did not end up working as planned, as many players kept trying at the same treasures until they got the item they wanted, and many players unlocked all licenses in order, essentially making the player characters clones of each other.[8] Some of these ideas were rectified in the Zodiac Job System version.

Almost an entire year before the North American release, the game's playable demo was included along with the North American release of Dragon Quest VIII. Changes to the game's North American version include the addition of widescreen 16:9 support, and additional scenes and content that were left out of the Japanese version, due to rating issues.

Akitoshi Kawazu, the game's executive producer, has later admitted he thought the game is not perfect. The team received fan feedback after the game was released in Japan, and there were players who felt the story wasn't up to the series' standards. Kawazu said it is because of the way the games are made, the story itself is decided early on and the process of getting that realized makes it difficult to change along the way. Kawazu noted there are things he personally would have liked to change, but, practically speaking, they couldn't.[5]

The logo of Final Fantasy XII features Judge Gabranth in blue and purple, with a peach-colored brushstroke on the right. During the time Amano created the logo illustration there was a bit of a distance between his office and the Square Enix office, and he drew up another piece while the Square representative was on the way to pick up the pieces; the one drawn within that hour was the one that ended up being chosen. Amano used Japanese-style ink that was kind of like watercolor, leaving brush marks that led to the the touch and style of that particular piece. Amano has described the forward-thinking brush effect as something that can only come about spontaneously, and said that logos don't necessarily come about following the request.[9]


From the dialogue to the flavor text to the menus, everything was translated by two people: Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder. Smith had previously worked on the localization for Vagrant Story as well as several other Final Fantasy installments, including Final Fantasy X. The voice overs were directed by Jack Fletcher, who had previously directed the voice overs for other Final Fantasy games.

The game about halfway complete when the localization process started in earnest, taking two years to complete. By the time localization started the original director Matsuno was already out of the picture and thus has no influence on the localization.[10] Smith was tasked with writing the script around the lip movements animated for the Japanese version, but the game would still have the same audio file length restriction that had been a problem with Final Fantasy X, where the audio files must be the same length in both Japanese and English. However, the English voice work is smoother in Final Fantasy XII because Smith was prepared for this being an issue, and had the Japanese developers add couple seconds of blank sound to every scene to allow for some wiggle room.[11]

The voice script was slightly smaller than the one in Final Fantasy X, but the non-voiced was large.[10] Writing the voiced script took 9 months and was still only 10% of the total text; translating the rest of the game took 5 months. Because the game was still in active development, new text kept arriving during the work, but because the English version had as much time to be translated as the Japanese script had time to be written, the localized version could be polished.[11]

Dialogue was translated first as it requires more time to get right, and helps set the tone for the world. The movie and scenario dialogue tends to be completed first in the Japanese version due to recording schedules, and similarly needs to be done first in the English for recording. The recording proceeded during the middle of the project, after which the translators returned to finish the rest of the text.[10]

While the medieval tone comes from the original game, the localizers could decide on the specific accents the characters would use and voice models were used to guide the writing: Vaan was Leonardo DiCaprio from the Titanic, Balthier was Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings and Fran was the Icelandic singer Bjork.[11] While everyone in the Japanese version speaks with unaccented, standard Japanese, the translators have explained that it doesn't make sense in the context of a global story to use the same accent of English everywhere.[10]

XII Viera

Since the Japanese text lacked specific accents, the localizers had to derive them from the Ivalician mannerisms and culture. Thus the viera became Icelandic to give their speech an alien quality. To avoid stereotypical Indian accents for Bhujerba, a Sri Lankan accent was chosen. Following the "rule of Star Wars" the Empire is British and the rebels American.[11]

While Japanese games are often comfortable breaking immersion to deliver in-game information, this aspect was to be "Westernized". For example, in one place in Rabanastre where Vaan encounters a chocobo vendor, the Japanese had the vendor explain the yellow birds are chocobos that can be ridden. As Vaan, a street-wise orphan, would know what a chocobo is, the English version instead has the vendor lamenting that some guy rode off on one of his chocobos without paying, to deliver the same information more fluidly. Other differences include the Victorian-styled bestiary that reads more like a biology text book in Japanese, and using metered verse with an unusual rhyme scheme for the speech of the godlike Occurians.[10]

The voice recording was done in Los Angeles under the direction of Jack Fletcher in eight weeks. Smith and Reeder sent descriptions to Fletcher who did casting and voice direction, and sent the translators options fro which they picked from. The development team had a final check and veto power, but never disagreed with the translators' choices. The localization team argued for nine to ten weeks to finish and ended up recording from morning to eve with many nighttime sessions.[10]


The translators did not want to use the "go-to anime voice actors", especially for the Judges who wear masks and thus didn't need the voice actors to be able to match the lip animations. Stage actors were auditioned for the parts, many of whom had never done voice acting before.[11] The localization team valued great character actors, like John DiMaggio, and have actual young actors as the voices for kids, like Larsa, rather than use adult women for the child parts as is common in Japan.[10]

The voice recording for Final Fantasy XII has been compared to doing a play or a film script, being different from a regular JRPG voice recording. Ivalice was to be a classical sort of world with Shakespearean and Greek influences, and the cut scenes were both relationship- and action-oriented, and key to the story. As with almost all games, the script wasn't released ahead of time and all the actors knew were the character names and a few lines of description. Fletcher as the voice director guided the actors in the game world in filling in backstory and setting and helped make the localization from Japanese to English. In games and often in regular animation, actors record individually. The team had dialogue already recorded the other actors could follow, never did a "cast record."[10]

The English voice work for Final Fantasy XII has been highly acclaimed and both Smith and Reeder identify it as the highpoint of their careers, with Fletcher naming it his favorite game he's worked on due to the story and the characters.[10]



FF12 CE logo

NA Collector's Edition logo.

In North America, the game was available in two versions—the standalone game with a suggested retail price of $49.99 and a "Collector's Edition" for an additional $10. The Collector's Edition is an exclusive title offered only by GameStop or EB Games. This edition includes the original game packaged in a steelbook case, along with a special bonus disc, which contains Final Fantasy XII developer interviews, an art gallery, four U.S. and Japanese trailers, and a "History of Final Fantasy" featurette, which gives brief chronicles on all released and upcoming Final Fantasy games.

Impresario-ffvi-iosThis article or section is a stub about Final Fantasy XII. You can help the Final Fantasy Wiki by expanding it.

International Zodiac Job SystemEdit


Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System (ファイナルファンタジーXII インターナショナル ゾディアック ジョブシステム, Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu Intānashonaru Zodiakku Jobbusisutemu?) was released on August 9, 2007 in Japan as part of both Final Fantasy 20th anniversary and Ivalice Alliance campaigns. It is the first game where Hiroyuki Ito has been credited as both producer and director.

Ito didn't want the game to get an "International" title, for how different the game was going to be from the other International versions of Final Fantasy games, published previously; Ito wanted to call the game "Final Fantasy XII Annex".[8] However, they ended up going with "Zodiac Job System". Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System was made by a small group of programmers, with only five main people working on it toward the end of the project. The small team brought on some limitations on what could be achieved, as Ito would have wanted bigger changes to the game than what could be done with the resources he had available.[8]

Ff12 izjs field status screen

The field and status screen in widescreen 16:9 ratio of Zodiac Job System. Notice the minor changes of interface compare to the original version.

The game includes a new take on the License Board system, with twelve boards instead of one, each corresponding to a different zodiac sign and job. The number of jobs was set at twelve as Final Fantasy XII is the twelfth main installment to the series, and because there are twelve zodiac signs, a recurring theme in Ivalice games. The game already had fifteen different types of weapons in place, and the jobs were planned around the idea of what kind of weapon would belong to what kind of job.[8]

The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system was tweaked; guests and espers were made fully controllable, while pressing the L1 activates a Turbo mode, greatly increasing the game's speed. The game features English voices and the widescreen 16:9 ratio support of the North American version, as well as a bonus disc based on the one initially released with the North American version. A new mode allows the player to hunt monsters and Espers in several series of small maps, to gain items and gil.

Below is a list of the new features:

  • The Zodiac Job System – There are now twelve License Boards, each one representing a job. Once a character chooses a job it cannot be changed. Isolated licenses can be accessed by unlocking Espers and Quickenings.
  • Trial Mode – The party must fight through 100 stages, each one containing stronger monsters. Completing this mode unlocks New Game+: Weak Mode.
  • Controllable guests – Guests can now be controlled, their gambits can be edited, and they can level up. Their equipment cannot be removed.
  • Controllable Espers – Espers can be controlled once summoned, and their gambits can be edited. The player can use their ultimate attack at will.
  • Turbo Speed Mode – Holding down L1 speeds up the game, making exploring the world and engaging in battles faster. The music and cutscenes still play at normal speed.
  • Gambit changes – There are 16 new gambits. All the gambits can be bought upon leaving Barheim Passage.
  • Stat growth changes – Each character's stat growth has been altered slightly.
  • Item changes – New items have been added, and some of their effects have been slightly changed.
  • Enemy changes – Enemies have been changed slightly, plus new enemies have been added. A battle against all five Judge Magisters is also included.
  • Magick changes – Water and Watera are renamed to Aqua and Aquara. Many spells have been re-categorized; Bravery and Faith are now White Magick for example. Cure and all tier 1 Black Magick elemental spells have an area of effect (same as their higher tier counterparts) instead of targeting a single unit. Not all magick can be bought, and some must be found in treasure chests.
  • Equipment changes – New weapons have been added, like the Excalipoor, while others have been slightly changed. Armor and accessories have also been slightly changed. Some weapons have different elemental alignments.
  • Shop listings – Some shops have had their inventory changed.
  • Hunt reward changes - Rewards for defeating Marks have slightly changed.
  • Mist Knack (Quickening) changes – They no longer take up MP. Instead, they have their own separate gauge.
  • MP changes – Since Mist Knacks do not use MP, obtaining Mist Knacks does not increase MP. Instead, characters simply get more MP as they level up. Max MP is determined by the character's job.
  • New Game+ – Two New Game+ modes are available. Strong Mode, where all characters begin at level 90, and Weak Mode, where all characters begin at level 1 and never level up. Nothing carries over into these new save files.
  • Treasure respawns – Treasures now respawn by just moving one screen away.
  • Treasure item changes - Some items inside coffers have been switched around, added, or removed.
  • Break damage limit – There is no damage limit anymore. If a character does more than 9,999 damage, the game will show it. Against weak enemies, it is possible to achieve over 100,000 HP of damage with a single attack. This gives the strongest magick spells greater potency to rival melee attack with high hit combo.

Also, unlike Final Fantasy X-2 International, which supported old Final Fantasy X-2 save files, Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System does not support save files from the regular Final Fantasy XII.

Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System has only been released in Japanese, but there is a fan project that translates it to English using the English data of the official US release. It requires both the original Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System game and the original US release. Translation for other languages can be done using official European releases instead of the US release. [1]

During the Distant Worlds concert in Pittsburgh in August 2015, conductor Arnie Roth mentioned a Final Fantasy XII "remake" was in development, yet no such game had officially been announced by Square Enix. The next day, Roth redacted the "remake" part of his statement, apologizing for the error. A remaster of the game, based on the International Zodiac Job System version, was announced on June 6, 2016 for all major regions.

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac AgeEdit


Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age (ファイナルファンタジーXII ザ ゾディアック エイジ, Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu Za Zodiakku Eiji?), the PlayStation 4 port was announced on June 6, 2016. This version is based on the International Zodiac Job System version. It will have remastered graphics with high resolution textures and lighting effects. The auto-save function will be implemented, and support up to 7.1 ch surrounded stereo mode. The original people responsible for the localization return for the English version, Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder.[12] The original game's directors Yasumi Matsuno and Akitoshi Kawazu are not involved in Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, but are given progress reports as needed, although the core the team that worked on the original have returned to work on the remake.[13] On September 16, 2016, Square-Enix released a trailer featuring story events and gameplay at the Tokyo Game Show.[14]

List of changes[15]
  • Visual improvements
    • High-resolution upgrades for backgrounds, character models, and all 2D parts including fonts
    • High-resolution upgrades for movie scenes
    • Introduction of current generation visual expression
  • Sound improvements
    • 7.1ch surround support (the PS2 hardware was only able to handle a quasi-surround sound, Pro Logic II, but the PS4 can produce the audio in 7.1 for discrete surround sound).[13]
    • High-quality voice support
    • English and Japanese voices (switch between them in the game configuration)
    • Original and newly re-recorded soundtrack (switch between them in the game configuration)
  • Usability improvements
    • Shorter load times
    • Auto-save functionality
    • Improved high-speed mode and improved play time operability during high-speed mode
    • An overlay map.[16]
  • Game balance
    • The game balance has been overhauled to make it easier.[17]

Production creditsEdit


Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu
Producer Hiroyuki Ito
Directors Hiroyuki Ito
Hiroshi Minagawa
Game Design & Battle system Director Hiroyuki Ito
Visual Design & Character Texture Supervisor Hiroshi Minagawa
Main System & Event Programmer Takashi Katano
Lead Realtime Rendering Programmer Yoshinori Tsuchida
Programming Supervisor Taku Murata
Main Character Design & Background Design Supervisor Akihiko Yoshida
Art Direction Hideo Minaba, Isamu Kamikokuryo
Visual Effects Director Jiro Mifune
Background Visual Effects Yoshinori Ogura
Lead Motion Designer Takeo Suzuki
Event Motion Designer Hiroaki Saotome
Hi-Polygon Facial Models & Textures Takahiro Matsuhira
Hi‑Polygon Facial Motion Takeshi Sadohara
Battle system Design Kazutoyo Maehiro
Event Director & Scenario Director Jun Akiyama
Scenario Daisuke Watanabe, Miwa Shoda
Dialogue Kyoko Kitahara
Lead In‑Game Event Designer Takeshi Iwabuchi, Masahiro Kataoka
Lead Map System Designer Kazuhiro Kataoka
Lead Menu System Designer Yuichi Murasawa
Sound Effects Director Tsuyoshi Okahisa
Movie Direction Eiji Fujii
Image Illustration Yoshitaka Amano
Music Production & Composition Hitoshi Sakimoto
Story & Concept Yasumi Matsuno
Lead Production Coordinator Hiroaki Kato
General Manager Masashi Hiramatsu
Translators Alexander O. Smith, Joseph Reeder
Editor Morgan Morris Rushton
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
Producer Hiroaki Kato
Director Takashi Katano
Art Director Ryotaro Takahashi (CGStyle)
Technical Director Seiki Iwamura
Game Designer Jun Akiyama
Composer Hitoshi Sakimoto (Basiscape)
Music Editor Keiji Kawamori
Sound Effect Director Tomohiro Yajima
Movie Director Kazuyuki Ikumori
Supervisors Hiroyuki Ito and Hiroshi Minagawa

Voice castEdit

Character Japanese English
Vaan Kouhei Takeda Bobby Edner
Penelo Yuna Mikuni Catherine Taber
Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca Mie Sonozaki Kari Wahlgren
Balthier Hiroaki Hirata Gideon Emery
Fran Rika Fukami Nicole Fantl
Basch fon Ronsenburg Rikiya Koyama Keith Ferguson
Reks Hideki Tasaka Yuri Lowenthal
Larsa Ferrinas Solidor Yuka Imai Johnny McKeown
Vossler York Azelas Masaki Terasoma Nolan North
Reddas Takayuki Sugo Phil LaMarr
Vayne Carudas Solidor Nobuo Tobita Elijah Alexander
Gabranth Akio Otsuka Michael E. Rodgers
Bergan Yōsuke Akimoto Gary Martin
Drace Yoko Soumi Julia Fletcher
Ghis Ryunosuke Obayashi Mark Wing-Davey
Zargabaath Ryuzaburo Otomo Simon Templeman
Gramis Gana Solidor Hidekatsu Shibata Roger L. Jackson
Cidolfus Demen Bunansa Chikao Otsuka John Lee
Rasler Heios Nabradia Yasuyuki Kase Andrew Philpot
Migelo Shiro Saito John DiMaggio
Al-Cid Margrace Norio Wakamoto David Rasner
Halim Ondore IV Akio Nojima Tom Kane
Ba'Gamnan Koji Ishii Steve Blum
Jote Yoshiko Sakakibara Michelle Arthur
Mjrn Yukana Nogami April Stewart
Raminas B'nargin Dalmasca Takehiro Koyama Nick Jameson
Anastasis Tamio Oki Dwight Schultz
Old Dalan Takehiro Koyama Dwight Schultz
Gilgamesh Daisuke Gori John DiMaggio
Uball-Ka Yoshisada Sakaguchi Michael Chinyamurindi
Venat Narumi Tsunoda Anita Carey
Gerun Seiko Tomoe Bernice Stegers
Kytes Tomoko Ishimura Conner DeMita
Havharo Taketora Chris Edgerly

Motion castEdit

Character Actor
Vaan Kouhei Takeda
Penelo Yuna Mikuni
Balthier Sean Ryan
Fran Hiroko Harada
Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca Mei Yoshikawa
Basch fon Ronsenburg Makoto Onaga
Stunts Mark "Cadogan" Lacampo
Jay "Noe" Noyes
Keiichi "Stephan" Tada
Yukie "Fox" Yamada


Final Fantasy XII sold more than 1,764,000 copies in its first week in Japan,[18] and the total number of copies sold was over 2,150,000 after five weeks of release.[19] In North America, Final Fantasy XII shipped approximately 1.5 million copies in its first week.[20] As of March 2007, the game has shipped over 5.2 million copies worldwide[21] and is the fourth best-selling PlayStation 2 game of 2006.[22]

Final Fantasy XII is the first game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu Weekly magazine.[23] It was named best PlayStation 2 game by numerous video game publications and websites, including GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN.[24][25][26] Both Edge Magazine and Famitsu awarded it Game of the Year 2006.[27][28] Final Fantasy XII also received nominations in the categories "Game of the Year", "Best Role-Playing Game", "Best Story", "Best Art Direction", "Best Character Design", and "Best Original Score" from awarding bodies, such as the Interactive Achievement Awards, Game Developers Choice Awards, BAFTA Video Games Awards, Spike Video Game Awards, Golden Joystick Awards, and the Satellite Awards.[29][30][31][32][33][34] The game was awarded the "Double Platinum Prize" at the PlayStation Awards 2006, which was held on 25 July 2006.[35]

CESA FF12 02

Upon receiving the "Grand Award", Hiroyuki Ito took a photo alongside Hiroaki Kato, the game's Project Manager.

At the Japan Game Awards 2006 held on 22 September 2006, Ito accepted the "Grand Award" and "Award for Excellence" for Final Fantasy XII. He thanked the development team and playerbase, and said that the team was grateful for the awards as they could not possibly think about the game's reception during its creation.[36]

In July 2007, Edge Magazine placed Final Fantasy XII 8th in their list "EDGE’S TOP 100 GAMES OF ALL TIME". It was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game, and the only one to appear in the top 10.[37] In March 2009, Edge Magazine placed the game 25th in their list "The 100 Best Games To Play Today". As with their former list, Final Fantasy XII was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game.[38] In the 2009 issue of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, the game placed 8th in the list "The Top 50 Games of All Time". It was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game, and the only one to appear in the top 10. The list was decided on by "a crack team of industry experts", and games were ranked on their initial impact, lasting legacy, and how fun they were to play.[39]


The story of Final Fantasy XII has been released as a manga in Japan. The manga version expands on the storyline seen in the game and adds new events and characters.

Packaging artworkEdit



Final Fantasy XII contains many references to the games developed by the same team, or based on the same world. For instance, a moogle named Montblanc runs a clan in Final Fantasy XII, and previously appeared as a main character in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Similarly, the player can acquire the Riskbreaker clan rank, a reference to the game Vagrant Story.

The names of the Archadian airships are taken from previous summons from the series, while all of the Resistance airships are named for previously appeared characters. The only airship with an original name is the party's airship, the Strahl.


  • Final Fantasy XII is only the second main series Final Fantasy game where Cid is biologically related to one of the main members of the party—the other being Final Fantasy X.
  • Actor Sir Patrick Stewart narrated the television commercial for the European and Australian versions of the game.[40]
  • Veteran voice actor Corey Burton narrated a commercial for the American version of the game.
  • Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, didn't play the game through to completion because he was disappointed by the departure of the original producer and director, Yasumi Matsuno.[41] However, he later stated that the target lines used in the game were what inspired the creation of the target lines used in his game The Last Story.

See alsoEdit


  3. Final Fantasy XII Pushes PS2 to Its Limit (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at
  4. Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania, p.466
  5. 5.0 5.1 Square Talks Firsts for Final Fantasy XII (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at IGN
  6. Final Fantasy's Hiroyuki Ito and the Science of Battle (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 English translation of Hiroyuki Ito interview from the FFXII: International Ultimania (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at IGN
  9. The Art That Shaped Final Fantasy: Thoughts From Famed Artist Yoshitaka Amano (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at Game Informer)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 A Voice for Ivalice: The Localization and Voice Acting of Final Fantasy XII (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at US Gamer
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 [[:File:{{{file}}}|EDGE #278 Tale of Tales Meet Alexander O Smith the translator who's brought some of Japan's biggest RPGs to the West', p.94]]
  12. Alexander O. Smith's Twitter (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at Twitter
  13. 13.0 13.1 How Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is Getting the Band Back Together (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at US Gamer
  14. FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE - Tokyo Game Show Trailer 2016 (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at YouTubeError: Incorrect reference template, use {{refvideo}}
  15. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age announced for PS4 (Accessed: June 06, 2016) at Gematsu
  16. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - E3 2016 Gameplay [HD] (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at YoutubeError: Incorrect reference template, use {{refvideo}}
  17. Here’s everything that’s new in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age (Accessed: October 25, 2016) at Polygon
  18. Japanese Sales Charts, Week Ending March 19
  19. News - Japan: Weekly software sales for 4/10 - 4/16
  22. PS2 2006 Year in Review
  40. Patrick Stewart to voice Final Fantasy XII (the ad) (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at Endgadget
  41. Final Fantasy XII Review (Accessed: October 14, 2015) at Blogspot

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