Christian Lessons in Final Fantasy – Part III

Welcome to the third in a three-part series looking at Christian imagery and lessons in the Final Fantasy franchise.

Final Fantasy is my favorite video game franchise, and it is one of the most well-known RPG franchises.  Each entry presents unique characters, a wonderful soundtrack, and complex stories.  Very few of these games have a religion or religions in-game, but they all take advantage of names, places, and concepts from Earth’s religions and mythologies.  Over this series, I’ll walk you through the general arcs of the series and focus on several games that give specific attention to Christianity or Christian lessons.

The Playstation Era – Part II

Final Fantasy X opened the gates to games of killing god-like creatures–Sin, the Occuria, and the fal’Cie (not to mention Bhunivelze).  While earlier games had order versus chaos on the divine level, these games pit humanity against gods–and humanity wins.  Although the defeated ‘gods’ are not actual gods in their worlds, these games appear critical of religion.

Final Fantasy XV, to my pleasure, breaks that tradition.

kings

Although the pantheon of this world–the “Hexatheon” (lit, “Six Gods”)–can be killed, it is the evil Empire that attacks them.  You instead play as the protagonist Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum (and his too-appropriately-Latin-named friends) as he learns to accept his destiny.  I do not say this lightly: if you love the plot of Final Fantasy VI as much as I do, you will enjoy Final Fantasy XV.

But let me explain some Christian lessons we can take from this game.  I hope it sets a new trend!

Spoilers for Final Fantasy XV follow.

Lessons in Final Fantasy XV

  • Memento Mori

skullsI was midway through the game before I realized Noctis’ vest is patterned with skulls.  It is also a motif in the clothes of all the main cast.  Morbid?  Yes.  But in a game about facing one’s fate, it is appropriate.  Death is the destiny for everyone, but we don’t need to fear it if we prepare.  Catholics have long used skulls in art to accept this ephemeral life.  While skull vests might seem more Hot Topic than Vatican, the attitude towards death in game is acceptance of one’s fate and not an unhealthy longing for or glorification of death.  (Check St. Theresa Aletheia’s Memento Mori’s tweets for more).

  • Artificial creation of life is wrong.

promptoScience has made wonderful advances, but there is reason to worry about people playing God.  Children become victims when created without family structures.  The abuse is real, and it creates people who deserve better.  Prompto is this person in-game.  The empire at the beginning meant well by creating artificial life–they wanted to save their citizens from fighting deamons.  But there are moral complications in this choice.  Prompto struggles for his whole life with his identity and building authentic relationships.  Although the main game does not explore the story sufficiently, Episode: Prompto delves into the young man’s struggle with his origins.  Human beings deserve heritage.

  • Virtue is its own reward.

The main antagonist, Ardyn Izuna, is motivated by jealousy and pain.  He legitimately saved the world once upon a time–but instead of a king, he became an outcast.  The protagonist Noctis faces a similar trial and accepts his fate and the pain of himself, his family, and his friends.  I argue that Noctis suffers from depression when initially confronting reality.  However, he is able to find his strength.  The moral for the player is not to ignore problems or to expect temporal rewards for doing well: instead, our reward is in serving others.

Conclusions

The games in the Final Fantasy series vary greatly, some more appropriate in themes than others.  However, they are all enjoyable for what they are and give us insight into different aspects of life, virtue, and morality.

I hope you’ll give some of the games a try!

-Ann Moser, at twitter @interceptorismy.  I play through FFXV on my YouTube channel.

Disclaimer: Posts are mine, and I attempt to write according to orthodox Roman Catholicism.  Please bring any errors in doctrine to my attention.

1 Comment

  1. I find Final Fantasy XV fascinating from a Christian perspective — in a lot of ways, it’s as much a love letter to Catholicism as it is a love letter to Final Fantasy VI and 50s Americana.

    Consider the sheer extent of the game’s Christological typology. It doesn’t just tell a story about a savior who is divinely anointed for the mission of giving his life for the salvation of the world, though of course, it does that. It also:

    – Depicts the sacrificial savior as a sacrificial son. Regis’ role in the sacrifice is particularly telling, because he’s simultaneous distant and intimately involved in his son’s fate.

    – Depicts the sacrificial savior as a sacrificial king. In the end, Noct reigns from the throne that is the altar of his sacrifice, and his kingship is grounded in that same sacrifice.

    – Depicts the sacrifice itself as a ritual that must take place in a space designed like a gothic/baroque cathedral.

    – Depicts the sacrifice itself using the image of the whole burnt offering — after using the power of Providence, Noct’s body is reduced to ash and disintegrates.

    – Depicts salvation using the image of breaking dawn.

    – Depicts the sacrificial savior as a bridegroom whose marriage to his bride is consummated through mutual self-sacrifice.

    – Depicts the sacrificial savior’s passion as a critical part of his story. Noct suffers a lot for his calling, and the game makes it a focus instead of shying away from it.

    And there are plenty of connections to be made even beyond that, especially in the Royal Edition version of Insomnia.

    “A single act of grace can save the human race.”

    (I love this game.)

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