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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII contains numerous allusions to previous Final Fantasy games, the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, number 13, as well as some pop culture, history, and mythology references.
- Lightning is called "the knight of light": a synonym for a Warrior of Light, a recurring motif in the series.
- Many recurring jobs are represented as garbs, including Warrior, Monk, Black Mage, White Mage, Red Mage, Blue Mage, Dragoon, and Ranger.
- The traditional "Victory Fanfare" is cheered by the crowd in the Slaughterhouse whenever Lightning wins. It is also played when certain parts of some side-quests are completed.
- A girl wearing a chocobo-themed outfit hums "chocobo" to the melody of "Chocobo Theme".
- After a quest where Lightning must find lost chocobo chicks in Yusnaan, a troupe of chocobos dances outside Augur's Quarter. This may allude to dancing chocobos from previous games; chocobos perform for the player in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII to award the player a rare item of some kind.
- When Caius summons Bahamut, he appears, performs his summon ability, and vanishes: this method of summoning a monster is used between Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IX.
- A group of musicians, including the Tour Guide, walking around Yusnaan, play "Opening Theme".
- When completing an objective in a sidequest, the theme "Obtaining an Important Item" plays, e.g. when winning the race against the petitioner for "Faster Than Lightning" sidequest.
- The Slaughterhouse posters around Yusnaan depict the Warrior of Light from Yoshitaka Amano's Final Fantasy artworks, in his original blue design, fighting an enemy.
- The Soul of Minwu accessory, the upgrade to the Soul of Thamasa+, refers to the White Mage Minwu.
- Bhunivelze in his second form can use Falling Star, synonym to and has similar animation to Starfall (a falling meteorite), one of abilities used by the final boss of the game, Hell Emperor.
- The bard at the tavern in Ruffian sings a song that directly lifts the melody of the overworld theme on the Floating Continent, "Eternal Wind".
- The accessory Falcon Charm is named after the airship Falcon and referring to its airship status, and how fast transportation speed they provide, it boosts Lightning's ATB recovery.
- The Splendid Admiral garb is based on Yoshitaka Amano's artwork of Faris Scherwiz.
- The Tycoon's Comb accessory, the upgrade to the Samurai's Comb+, refers to the Kingdom of Tycoon and the pendant Lenna and Faris wear.
- The Tour Guide may play "Clash on the Big Bridge" from Final Fantasy V.
- Almagest used by Bhunivelze in his third form refers to the ability the final boss of Final Fantasy V uses.
- The Heartstealer garb is based on Yoshitaka Amano's artwork for Locke Cole.
- Lightning's masculine garbs are based on the model of Setzer Gabbiani.
- The moogles Moghan and Mogwin are named after two of the Ten Moogles.
- After completing sidequests regarding Biggs and Wedge in Yusnaan, they change their profession and may be heard playing rendition of "Terra's Theme", referring to how in the opening of Final Fantasy VI Biggs and Wedge control Terra Branford.
- Dancing Mad ability used by Bhunivelze in his second form, refers to the track of the same name, the game's final boss theme.
- Lightning can wear Cloud Strife's "SOLDIER 1st Class" uniform along with the Buster Sword, and comes with with the Slayer ability, which includes elements of Braver and Cross-slash (Cloud's Limit Breaks), Cloud's victory pose and the Final Fantasy VII victory fanfare. Lightning's official render pose in her SOLDIER outfit mimics Cloud's idle battle stance.
- A garb modeled after Aeris Gainsborough's Final Fantasy VII attire named "Midgar's Flower Girl" has a victory pose similar to Aeris's, and the victory theme is the one heard in Final Fantasy VII. The trailer for the outfit contains a scene where Lightning is pierced through the chest, a reference to the iconic scene from Final Fantasy VII.
- The garb Witching Hour resembles Tifa Lockhart's outfit.
- The accessory Highwind Charm is named after the airship Highwind, and referring to its airship status and how fast transportation speed they provide, it boosts Lightning's ATB recovery. It is the upgrade of the Strahl Charm.
- Earth Eater drops an item called Desert Rose. Desert Rose is a special item in Final Fantasy VII dropped by Ruby Weapon.
- The Elixir in the achievement icon resembles the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Potion.
- The broken spiral staircase leading to the top of the Oasis Lighthouse clearly resembles the staircase that leads out of the Forgotten Capital area.
- During the ending of Final Fantasy VII, the Lifestream bursts out of the earth to help Holy combat Meteor. The Lifestream takes the form of bright azure threads of energy. The souls of humanity finding a new home during the ending of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII also take this form.
- The ending of Lightning Returns references the real solar system, like Sephiroth's Supernova summoning sequence towards the end of Final Fantasy VII.
- Yuna's summoner costume is one of the garbs available for Lightning, under the title "Spira's Summoner". The render for the garb is reminiscent of Yuna's battle stance from the game. The victory pose is similar to Yuna's and the victory theme is replaced with the track from the game.
- Tidus's weapon, the Brotherhood, can be obtained along with the Sphere Hunter garb.
- There is a shop building in Luxerion's The Warren called "Jecht's Goods" and has a logo of the Zanarkand Abes blitzball team, referring to Jecht, the Zanarkand Abes blitzball player.
- Song of Prayer (the Japanese name of "Hymn of the Fayth") is the auto-ability exclusive to the Summoner's Shield.
- Yuna's Gunner dressphere under the title "Sphere Hunter", can be obtained as a garb for Lightning. The victory theme is replaced with the track from Final Fantasy X-2.
- The video showcasing the Spira's Summoner garb from Final Fantasy X presents a scene where Lightning is welcomed by moogles, referring to a situation from Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna wears a moogle outfit as a disguise.
- When Lightning enters a battle with a Sphere Hunter as her field garb, she might say: "It's mission time", alluding to mission-based gameplay of the game.
- The accessory Strahl Charm is named after the airship Strahl and referring to its airship status, and how fast transportation speed they provide, it boosts Lightning's ATB recovery. It is the upgrade of the Falcon Charm.
- One of the quest givers, Lamont, is named after the moniker Larsa Ferrinas Solidor uses before his true identity is revealed by Balthier.
- The Jagds are referred to in the Jagd Frozen Yogurt sold in the Luxerion's Beverage Shop, and the Jagd Woods within the Wildlands.
- Two prominent colors from Lightning's default garb—red and white—refer to Lightning's Final Fantasy XIII attire, where red and white are the dominant colors.
- In the opening FMV, a waitress in a cat suit sends a kiss. This is a nod to the FMV from Chapter Twelve of Final Fantasy XIII which depicts the return of Lightning and her party to Eden where a girl sends a kiss. In both cases the events in which they participate are interrupted by acts of violence.
- When Lumina destroys the chandelier during the fight between Snow and Lightning, Snow stops its fall with his l'Cie powers and the ice he creates has the form of Cocoon's crystal pillar that was created at the end of Final Fantasy XIII.
- Lightning calls Hope "Mr. Hope Estheim", but he asks her to "just call [him] Hope": this is reminiscent of the cutscene in Chapter Four where Lightning asks Hope to call her "Light", short from "Lightning".
- Players can make Lightning turn around quickly causing her to catch her head and shake it, alluding to the easter egg where moving a character side to side rapidly would make them perform a special action in Final Fantasy XIII.
- Chef Aryas in Aryas Village of the Wildlands makes a "Legendary Recipe" dish called "NORA Special", referring to the group NORA. He says it "evokes sun-dappled afternoons on the seashore", referring to NORA's formation place, Bodhum, a seashore town.
- When Hope and Lightning form the plan of breaking into the Patron's Palace by using the play The Song of the Savior, they allude to Lightning's words: "Keep your eyes front. I'll watch the rear" and "It's not a matter of can or can't. Some things in life you just do." These words are recalled several other times in the game.
- When Lightning explains Snow why she didn't kill him when he was a Cie'th, she says that "[he's] too stubborn to die". Before this, Lightning tries to snap him out of it by punching him, similar to how she frequently punched him in early game.
- There is a shop in Yusnaan called Nix and Styria General Store, referring to Snow's twin sisters Eidolon. Aptly, Snow is the ruler of the city.
- Morris in Yusnaan will play "Serah's Theme" from Final Fantasy XIII for Lightning if she completes the sidequest, "Play it for Me".
- The final dungeon contains four trials that are corridors in ethereal locations which were consumed by the Chaos after the Apocalypse:
- The Altar of Judgment trial is a corridor set within the space of Oerba. The track which plays here is "Dust to Dust" and when entering a battle here the music won't be interrupted by a battle theme (except for the enemy guarding a door), similarly to how it was in Final Fantasy XIII.
- The Altar of Atonement trial is a corridor set within the space of ruins of Eden. The track which plays here is "Blinded By Light". In the announcement trailer Eden was shown along with the song "Blinded By Light".
- In Ruffian of the Dead Dunes there is a woman called "Crystal Legends Student" who relays info about the world's mythology when spoken to. The "Fabula Nova Crystallis" part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy name translated roughly to "new tale of crystal". Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, as well as Final Fantasy Type-0, are part of the same mythos.
- Bhunivelze's final form is meant to be defeated by staggering him, similarly how Orphan takes damage only after it's staggered in Final Fantasy XIII. Unlike Orphan, Bhunivelze can still receive damage from regular attacks. The Limit Break-type abilities ignore resistances of both final bosses and deal normal damage regardless of enemy's elemental susceptibility.
- The attack Lightning uses to finish Bhunivelze is Last Resort, Hope's Full ATB skill. While in the Japanese version she says "Last Resort!" when she uses it, in the English version it's changed to "I bring you salvation!" shortly after Bhunivelze asks, "Is that your last resort?"
- The cactuar statue in Yusnaan refers to an episode from Snow's life detailed in the Japanese companion novels, where he met the Gran Pulse fal'Cie Cactuar and fought alongside it against Royal Ripeness.
- Olga in Yusnaan will sing "Serah's Theme" from Final Fantasy XIII-2 to Lightning if she completes her quest, "Songless Diva".
- The Beverage Shop in Luxerion sells Captain Cryptic's Coffee for a full heal. Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz is a sidequest in Final Fantasy XIII-2, hosted by Captain Cryptic.
- Primrose, the client for the quest "Friends Forever", says she used to be a chocobo. This alludes to Chocolina.
- When Lightning throws the moogles she finds during the "Where Are You, Moogle?" quest, it alludes to the Moogle Throw ability Serah and Noel could perform with Mog in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
- The Ultima Weapon and Ultima Shield are gifts to Lightning from Serah: this refers to Mog, who doubles as a weapon, was a gift from Lightning to Serah.
- The ability Artemis Arrows parallels in name (more evident in the Japanese release) and function with Serah's full ATB skill, Ultima Arrow.
- Noel's weapon if fought on Day 8 or later, is called Endless Paradox. This refers to the ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2 where Caius tells Noel to bear the "eternal paradox".
- The default female miqo'te costume appears as one of Lightning's garbs called Miqo'te Dress. The victory pose is modeled after the Miqo'te race specific pose and the victory theme is changed to that from Final Fantasy XIV.
- Three swords and shields from Eorzea in Final Fantasy XIV can be obtained as Lightning's equipment. The swords are the Lominsan Cutlass, Ul'dahn Blade, and Gridanian Sword. The shields are the Lominsan Escutcheon, Ul'dahn Crest, and Gridanian Sigil.
- Similarly to Pandæmonium, which is the final dungeon of Final Fantasy Type-0, Luxerion Cathedral's Temple of Light, the final dungeon of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, has four long corridors that have windows that look out to abstract areas from the game's past.
- Bhunivelze is from the official Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy mythos. His turning into a crystal in the end alludes to the official mythos where Bhunivelze fell into a deep crystal sleep to sleep till he would be ready to challenge Mwynn at the unseen realm. Like in the official mythos, Bhunivelze desires to be the all-powerful ruler of the universe.
- Bhunivelze wanting to make Lightning the new goddess of death to facilitate the cycle of life may allude to Mwynn giving Etro a similar task in the official mythos.
Allusions to the number thirteenEdit
Being the third and final chapter of the thirteenth installment of the series, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII makes some references to the number itself. Although many of these are not necessarily deliberate allusions to the number 13 (whether they are or not is speculative), they are nonetheless present.
- In the beginning, Lightning has a six-day limit before the world will end, but the limit can be extended to thirteen days, although if Lightning completes enough quests she can unlock the lost hours and gain an extra day.
- Hope Estheim was transported from Nova Chrysalia to the Ark one hundred and sixty-nine years before the start of the game. 169 is the value of 13 squared (13 × 13 = 169).
- The default sword for Lightning, Crimson Blitz, raises Lightning's Strength and Magic by 130 points.
- Fang and Vanille woke up thirteen years before the beginning of the game.
- The sidequest "Born from Chaos" says that thirteen brave heroes tried to kill a Zomok, with twelve of them losing their lives.
- A quest involves getting a Chocobo Girl's phone number that has 13 numbers.
- One of the Luxerion sidequests requires Lightning to find thirteen clocks around the city.
- The length of "Almighty Bhunivelze" on the game's soundtrack is roughly thirteen minutes.
- Dr. Gysahl in Canopus Farms in the Wildlands has thirteen assistants. Furthermore, the thirteenth assistant, Claudia, is the only assistant whose name is revealed and who plays a role in the story.
- Prior to the Chaos being released, each day had thirteen hours before and after noon, rather than twelve.
- Lightning can obtain a sword called the Thirteen Nights. The sword may also refer in name to the fateful Thirteen Days from Final Fantasy XIII.
Other Square Enix projectsEdit
- Lightning has access to an ability called Magnet which acts like its Kingdom Hearts counterpart in that it draws enemies into a certain spot in the battlefield and deals continuous damage.
- The Dark Discord and Crystal Silence shields have a heart resembling the one from the series' logo. As one shield is black and the other one is white, it also refers to the conflict of light and darkness which appear in both games.
- Lightning has a Tomb Raider garb available for download.
- The Troubled Archaeologist in the Dead Dunes' Ruffian and later in the Temple Ruins may be a homage to Lara Croft; a woman interested in the ancient world who speaks in an approximation of received pronunciation.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry SkiesEdit
- In Dragon Quest IX, when a human gives their prayer to a guardian Celestrian, they give off Benevolessence, which is a crystallization of human gratitude. There, a Celestrian gives the Benevolessence to Yggdrasil when they return to their home, the Observatory, similar to how Lightning gives Eradia to the tree Yggdrasil after each day. The Yggdrasil of Dragon Quest IX will bear fruit if enough Benevolessence is collected, similar to the way collecting enough Eradia makes fruits grow on Yggdrasil in Lightning Returns, although the fruits have different purposes.
- Lightning's task as the savior is akin to that of a psychopomp, a being who escorts newly deceased souls and gives them safe passage to the afterlife. The same can be said for Vanille as she guides the dead to the new world, and in Etro's position as the goddess of death.
- Lilitu is a garb available for Lightning. Lilitu is the Babylonian translation of the mythical figure "Lilith". Its Japanese name, Kiskil-lilla, is a straight transliteration of the Lilith figure described in Tablet XII of the Epic of Gilgamesh, ki-sikil-lil-la-ke.
- The monster Zaltys is named after a benevolent household spirit, with the name itself being the Lithuanian word for the grass snake.
- The silver horns on Vanille's headdress may pay homage to Auðumbla, a cow goddess known for freeing the first god Búri from a block of ice, and saving Ymir, the first of the Frost Giants, from death by feeding him chilled milk (ice cream). Since Vanille's name is French for "vanilla", it may allude to the ice cream flavor.
- In the mural found within the Dead Dunes, Etro resembles a valkyrie, one of the female warriors who bore the valorous dead to Valhalla.
- "Anubis" is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian mythology. He is the son of Nephthys and Set.
- Set or Seth is usually depicted as a Set animal in Egyptian mythology. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, however, the Set's head is more akin to a bird. Set has a head similar in shape to the god Thoth, being an ibis. The choice for the artistic difference is probably so Set was not just a complete palette swap of Anubys.
- The Pallas Athena garb is named after the classical Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare after which the city of Athens is named. In Olympian myth, Athena is protected by her Aegis, a formidable protective barrier identified as either a decorated animal skin or a shield and it afforded her near invincibility, much like the Heroic Guard ability attached to the garb.
- The Amazon Warrior garb is named after the the Amazons, believed to have been a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labors of Hercules. Amazon warriors were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art. From the Early Modern period, their name has become a term for female warriors in general.
- The Szczerbiec sword is named after a Polish coronation sword.
- The garb Art of War is called Furinkazan in Japan. Fūrinkazan (風林火山?, lit. Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain) was the battle standard used by the Sengoku period daimyo Takeda Shingen.
- Shogun is a garb for Lightning. Shogun, which literally means military general, was one of the hereditary military governors of Japan from 1192 to 1867.
- There is a scene in the ending FMV that alludes to the painting "Creazione di Adamo" by Michelangelo.
- While Bhunivelze's color scheme of white and gold and some of his facial features are often associated with angelic beings, his horns and other elements of his facial design harken to demonic beings. Bhunivelze's neutral stance resembles the Sabbatic goat, or Baphomet, a symbol commonly associated with Satan worship yet predates to occult beliefs like Paganism. Bhunivelze can be compared to the concept of Lucifer, the leader of the fallen angels who turned on his creator and is ultimately consumed in hellfire when the old world ends in the Book of Revelation. Lucifer means "light-bringer", which reflects Bhunivelze's title as the god of light.
- The horns on Vanille's headdress have similarities to Bhunivelze's crest, which serves as the symbol of the Order of Salvation. They evoke the image of a halo which is a symbol often associated with saints and rebirth, but as they resemble devil horns, they may allude to Bhunivelze's true nature.
- The Order's planned use of Vanille for the Soulsong can be compared to ritual purification and Jesus Christ's role as the Lamb of God, whose sacrificial death as a servant of God purged the sins of humanity and purified them, as the Order sought to use Vanille as a sacrificial lamb and have her die in a ritual to destroy the dead and purify the living of their burdens in preparation for rebirth in Bhunivelze's new world.
- The actions of the Children of Etro in Luxerion can be compared to the Thuggee, a hated assassin group who kill for their goddess Kali on the notion that the number of people they murder averts the end of days.
- The garb Sohei Savior is called Vajra Bodhisattva in Japan. Vajra means "thunder" in Sanskrit, and Bodhisattva is the highest rank of Buddhist in Buddhism religion, who will becomes a new Buddha in the future.
- The Dead Dunes' bandit group is called Monoculus: monoculus is a Latin for "one-eyed" and a symbol of the Illuminati is a single eye which is also a symbol of spying. Adonis says to Lightning the group was following her, aptly referring to the group's name.
- The prominent use of black-and-white checkered board refers to the Illuminati, who supposedly categorize the world for the good and the evil.
- The Japanese name of the Intruder garb is named after Strider, an alias the ranger Aragorn used in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
- The fictional character Sherlock Holmes is referred to by the non-player character Holmes whom Lightning is asked to search for. Like the character he is named after, Holmes provides information regarding the case which Lightning takes care of.
- On of Lightning's garbs is called Dust and Shadow. Dust and Shadow is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel by Lyndsay Faye.
- On the world's final day Lumina says they will soon depart for the "brave new world". Brave New World is a famous novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley.
- The quest that demands Aeronite's defeat, "What Rough Beast Slouches," derives its title from a W. B. Yeats poem, Second Coming, which has the line, "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" The poem refers to the origin of a monster (often interpreted as the Beast of Revelation and/or the Antichrist); fitting given the approaching end of the world in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
- The Canvas of Prayers requests that allow the unsealing of the world's highways are handed out by NPCs named Ford, Dent and Zaphod. Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent and Zaphod Beeblebrox are the three major character in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy franchise.
- The description for the adornment Delicious Mushroom is: "A mushroom that looks like it might help you grow bigger..." may allude to Super Mario where consuming mushrooms makes Mario grow. Alternately, it may allude to Alice in Wonderland.
- Gordon Ramsay is referred to in the English version through the non-playable character Gordon Gourmet who is a culinary expert who helps a failing restaurant. The character's Japanese name is simply "Master Gourmet".
- Most ATB-oriented rapiers—Callais Hawk, Brass Falcon, Vulture, and Nightingale—are named after birds.
- During the final section of the second-to-last and final FMVs, multiple references are made to the real world. The souls of humanity pass planets that look like Saturn and Mars, before settling on a planet that is geographically identical to Earth, with Europe and Africa visible.
- The train and the station in the epilogue FMV are modelled after a location in France. The signs at the train station in the new world have writing in French: Blanc-Château ("White Castle", the name of the village) and Gare ("Station"). The locomotive is a A1AA1A 68000, owned by the French rail company SNCF. The logo on the first car "SCFF" imitates an old logo of the SNCF.
- In Madam's bar in Augur's Quarter in Yusnaan, Lightning can buy a "Ton Berringnon". This alludes to the real world champagne Dom Pérignon, as well is a word play on the recurring creature, Tonberry.