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Considered one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time, Square Enix sought to create the most diverse game world and a vast cast of characters through Final Fantasy VI. Developed by Squaresoft, Final Fantasy VI is a classic game set in the medieval-steampunk World of Balance and Ruin. With an initial release date of 1994 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Squaresoft released an enhanced version of the game for the Playstation, Gameboy Advanced, Smartphones, and even the PC. A pixel remastered version of the Final Fantasy VI will come on Steam by February 2022.
Directed by Hiroyuki Ito, one of the original members of the first Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy VI is a turning point for the series. Hiroyuki Ito created a game wherein none of the playable party members was the “Main Protagonist.” This move from Hiroyuki Ito required solid story-writing and character development for the 14 playable characters. Each has playable characters, and even the main antagonist has a unique music theme.
For combat and gameplay mechanics, Final Fantasy VI still sports the classic ATB system with a few additional first-features for the Final Fantasy series, which were:
- Dynamic party system- There are instances where the story splits the group into different party members, and players can control and switch out between the entire party for another one.
- Desperation Attack- If a party member’s health drops to a certain threshold, they will be able to unleash a devastating attack. This mechanic is much similar to the limit break mechanic.
- Deep customization and advancement of each party member, making them viable to have any role in the party.
The battle system of Final Fantasy VI is reminiscent of Final Fantasy IV. It uses an ATB system wherein a bar next to the character’s name refills throughout the fight, and once the gauge is full, the player can issue an action.
The rate at which the ATB fills up depends on the speed statistic of the character. Each character has a unique ability that suits their personality; for example, Locke, a thief, has the unique ability called a steal.
Square Enix also included the introduction of a mechanic called “Desperation Attack.” This mechanic is the root of Limit Breaks, Trances, and Overdrives, which are present in later installments of the game.
When a character is at critical HP levels, they will be able to occasionally perform a desperation attack that can turn the tides of the battle.
Dynamic party-switching is also a featured mechanic here in Final Fantasy VI. As far as I know, this is the only game where Square Enix implemented this system perfectly.
Sometimes, you will have the option to choose which scenario you want to play (i.e., the crew gets split up into two parties). This mechanic builds up tension and further enforces that the game has no central protagonist.
Customization and Equipment
Final Fantasy VI offers deep customization for every character. You can equip characters with weapons, armors, and powerful accessories called Relics. While the weapon and the armor provide stats-boost for the user, the Relic has a variety of uses that are also interchangeable between characters. Here’s our full guide on the equipment you can find throughout the series.
At the beginning of Final Fantasy VI, two characters only have the ability to wield magic. Throughout the story progression, you will be able to teach other party members magic by acquiring Espers and Magicites. When you equip a Magicite to a character, they will have the ability to summon Espers corresponding to the equipped Magicite.
The World of Balance
During ancient times, a Warring Triad established the World of Balance. War of the Triad caused the World of Balance to corrupt different residents to have an unstable power making them into the magical creatures called Espers. These espers are so powerful that they agreed to seal themselves to avoid more destruction to the World of Balance.
Fast-forward a thousand years after the War of the Triad, the Gestahlian Empire discovered the espers and sought to harness the true power lurking beneath them. The Gestahlian Empire aimed to use these Espers to culminate the Third Gestahlian Campaign.
The World of Ruin
The World of Ruin was the result when the Gestahlian Empire utilized the power of the espers. Kefka Palazzo and the Emperor of Gestahlia found the Warring Triad and used their abilities to amass a Floating Continent. Kefka then betrays the Gestahlian emperor during this, killing him in the process.
He then takes the Warring Tribe to the floating continent destroying the World of Balance and turning it into the World of Ruin. The Warring Tribe’s responsibility is to maintain the balance, and without them, the world fell into destruction.
The Vast Characters of Final Fantasy VI
Terra Branford is an innate magic wielder in the world of Final Fantasy VI. The Gestahlian Empire used this ability of hers to experiment with Magitek. After breaking out of the mind control spell cast by Kefka, Terra Finds the Returners.
The Returners are a rebel group whose primary objective is stopping the Gestahlian Empire from taking over the world. Reluctant in fighting, Terra initially refused the offer of the Returners to help them fight against the Gestahlian Empire. After a few instances, Terra now accepts the responsibility and her true nature of fighting with the Returners to stop the Gestahlian Empire.
Check out our comprehensive Terra Branford guide.
Locke Cole is a member of the Returners. His role for the Returners involves being a spy, a saboteur, and a scout. Locke’s introduction was in the form of saving and smuggling Terra out of the city to send her to the Returners. Locke was successful in his mission.
Later on, the Returners sent Lock to infiltrate South Figaro, where he meets an Imperial General, Celes. Celes and Lock slowly had a romantic relationship with each other. Haunter by his past, Locke pledged himself that he needs to protect Celes no matter what.
Edgar Roni Figaro
Edgar Roni Figaro is the leader and the King of Figaro Castle. He is also a weapons engineer and crafts weird weapons as his hobby. Although Edgar is a King serving the Gestahlian Empire, he also supplies the Returners with his much-needed assistance.
The discovery of the frozen Esper in Narshe intensified the war between the Empire and the Returners. Edgar finally decided to rid the Empire and ultimately work for the Returners in conjunction with their mission to save the world.
Sabin Rene Figaro
Sabin Rene Figaro is the twin brother of King Figaro and a great master of martial arts. Edgar and Sabin’s father died at the hands of the Gestahlian Empire. Devastated by his father’s death, Sabin swore that he would live his own life on his terms and would run away from his homeland.
Sabin initially invited Edgar; however, Edgar refused to side with his twin brother. Sabin left his homeland for ten years; hence he was separated from his twin brother.
As faith decides, Edgar and Sabin reunite during the Third Gestahlian campaign to overthrow the empire from their throne.
Cyan Garamondo is a samurai and a knight in the kingdom of Doma. However, despite Cyan’s immense devotion to fighting for the kingdom and his family, Doma was eventually destroyed through a poisoned water supply courtesy of Kefka that killed everyone except Cyan.
Doma’s demise was a scar to Cyan that he would carry on for the rest of his journey. He blames himself for the kingdom’s fall and believes that he has lost all hope and honor bestowed upon him. When the World of Ruin arose, Cyan returned to Doma and defeated the entities called Wrexsoul and Dream Stooges.
Cyan saw his family one last time and received closure from his beloved ones. With a new resolve, Cyan continues to march forward and fight against the Gestahlian Empire to free the world of their destruction.
Gau is a feral child raised from Veldt; Veldt is a vast plain filled with monsters. Gau can easily mimic monsters. Gau contrasts with other characters that directly reason to fight the empire. However, Gau cannot properly communicate with other members of the party. He usually howls or growls and, at times, uses short sentences to talk to others.
When Gau’s mother was giving birth to him, she died along the process. This tragic event resulted in his father going mad with grief to the point that he considered Gau as a demon and left Gau at the Veldt.
Celes Chere is a Gestahlian Empire-raised Magitek Knight. The Gestahlian Empire infused her with magic to turn her into a knight and serve them. She quickly rose through the ranks with her talent and eventually became a general for the empire.
Celes values morals and self-sacrifice, which contrasts what the empire stands for. She led an expedition to infiltrate the empire. She stayed to distract Kefka while others were escaping. When the emperor offered her a chance to send the world in ruins, she declined and officially turned on the empire.
Setzer Gabbiani initially is a neutral character, not aligning with the empire or the Returners. He is also a gambler who has a casino in his private airship. However, the Returners tricked Setzer into helping them. Over time, this deception from the Returners did not get into Setzer’s head; instead, he even worked with the Returners to set the world free from Kefka.
The facial scars on Setzer’s face represent the perilous life he lives, and he is proud of these scars. Setzer’s face might be covered in scars, but one trait that Setzer values is his fashion sense.
When Strago Magus was young, he hunted the legendary monster named Hidon. Strago is one of the few humans blessed with the power of natural magic. Strago Magus is also the first known true blue mage in the series franchise.
Terra, Locke, and Shadow visited Thamasa during the Third Gestahlian Campaign in which they met Strago. Their main intention was to know any information about the Espers from Strago. Strago was quick to deny his knowledge of the Espers and told the crew that the town didn’t know anything about the Espers.
After a series of unfortunate events, Strago is now part of the crew and joins them to save the world.
Relm Arrowny is a young and talented artist adopted by Strago. She is a Magi’s descendant; hence, she can use magic naturally like her grandfather. As an artist and a magic-user, she utilizes sketches of monsters and summons them to life.
Clyde visited Thamasa and fell in love with a resident. Eventually, their fruitful relationship bore to the child, Relm. However, like Gau, Relm’s mother died, and Clyde left Thamasas to escape his past as a bandit. Strago took Relm in and raised her as his granddaughter.
Shadow is a mercenary for hire and an assassin who travels with Interceptor, his dog. Shadow is willing to work for anyone as long as the price is right. Even to the party members, his is a mystery, as the game only shows you glimpses of his backstory through dreams.
During an interview with the developers of Final Fantasy VI, the developers revealed that Shadow is Clyde. The same Clyde that is the father of Relm.
Mog is the first playable Moogle in the Final Fantasy franchise. Mog became the main mascot for Final Fantasy VI, mainly in North America, and became a staple for giving tutorials in almost every succeeding Final Fantasy game.
Terra met Moog while she was escaping the Narshe guards. She met Moog inside the mines when she fell due to a collapsed floor. Locke came into the scene to help Terra; however, the Narshe guard leader also found her. Since Moogles are generally sweet and caring, Terra and Locke were surprised that Moogles helped them defeat the guard leader.
Gogo is a secret character found during your exploration of the World of Ruin. Final Fantasy VI is his first appearance in the franchise. He has recurring appearances in the later games, such as Final Fantasy IX and even Final Fantasy XIV.
Gogo has no backstory; he is just a mime that emulates other people’s actions. Like the blue mage, he can copy most special abilities and attacks. The only difference is Gogo can copy only his party’s attacks, not monsters.
Like Gogo, Umaro is an optional character found in the Narshe Mines. Umaro’s only friends are Moog, and the other Moogles found deep within the mines. He is a fabled legend here in Final Fantasy; like the yeti, only one resident saw Umaro and knows he exists.
His area is unexplorable prior to the World of Ruin. After the party captures Umaro and Mog, they command them to join the party, which he does afterward.
Kefka, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI, is the first experimental knight of the Gestahlian Empire. Granted that Kefka was the experiment’s first subject, some lapses in the process damaged Kefka’s mind in the process. After the experiment, Kefka had the personality of a Joker-Esque maniacal clown vying for blood.
Kefka’s character design and personality often had critics revering him as the greatest villain and antagonist of all Final Fantasy games.
The History of the World and The Beginning of FFVI
The War of the Three Magi
Doom, Poltergeist, and The Goddess are three Magi that waged war with one another. The humanities caught in the magical war underwent a metamorphosis and changed into Espers. When the three Magi realized the consequences of their conflict, they vowed to seal themselves into stones taking all of the magic power they used. The Crescent Island is the chosen location for their statues.
Humans sought out Espers due to their magical power, which could be siphoned and used as leverage. Fearing their demise, the Espers created a new dimension and sealed the gate between the world of humans and Espers.
These three stone statues key responsibility is keeping the world in balance. Hence the name World of Balance.
The Birth of a Human-Esper Hybrid
A human named Madonna Branford fell into the world of Esper’s, where Maduin, an esper, took her in. They fall into a romantic relationship, and a child was born through this relationship. Madonna and Maduin named their child Terra.
At the same time, Gestahl, the emperor of the Gestahlian Empire, discovered the gate between Espers and humans and successfully broke through traveling to the world of the Espers. Gestahl captured every Esper he could find before the Espers sealed the entrance and banished all humans back to their world.
Unfortunately, Madonna and Terra fell through the dimension before the Espers closed the gate. Madonna then entrusts Terra to Gestahl, which proved to be a futile mistake. Gestahl left Madonna to die and took Terra in.
The First Magitek Knight
With the Espers’ power in hand, Cid experimented on these Espers and created the Magitek, a combination of Esper’s magic and science.
The first successful experiment with Magitek was Kefka, one of the Gestahlian Empire’s generals. Kefka suddenly could wield magical powers due to the experiment; however, being a side effect of an early and unstable process, Kefka’s personality changed as he became a madman.
As years went by, the process and experimentation became more stable; meaning that further subjects of the Magitek experiments did not become madmen like Kefka. One of these Magitek Knights was Celes Chere, who became a daughter-like figure to Doctor Cid.
Kefka saw that Terra was more powerful than he was, decided to brainwash Terra for military use.
The Death of a King and the Tale of His Heirs
The King of Figaro dies at the hands of the Empire. His death was due to the empire poisoning him. With the King’s untimely death, his two sons Edgar and his twin Sabin grew resentment and hatred against the Empire. More so, Sabin expressed his own despise against the Empire and now wants to live a life on his own.
With Sabin’s hatred growing for the empire, he asked Edgar to come with him and live a life without the burden of leading Figaro. Edgar agreed with the condition that he would leave his decision with a coin toss. Heads, Edgar would stay, and tails would mean that Edgar would accompany Sabin. Unknown to Sabin, Edgar used a trick coin with two heads.
With Edgar deciding to become king of Figaro, Sabi then sought to be a martial artist studying under Master Duncan along with Duncan’s son, Vargas.
The Tragic Origin of a Saboteur
Locke started initially as a thief and a treasure hunter. He met a young woman from Kohlingen named Rachel on his journey and fell in love. They eventually stumble upon a nearby treasure cave. While exploring the cave, the cave gave in from the inside, and with the imminent danger approaching, Rachel risked her life for Locke.
With Rachel’s life in peril, Locke brought her to an old man who’s knowledgeable of herbs that can save Rachel’s life. The old man puts Rachel in a state of stasis while Locke searches for the herbs. Locke found the herbs and was able to save Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel woke up with no memories at all.
Seeing how Rachel almost died through his actions, Locke decided to leave Rachel to start anew but shortly after, a Gestahlian Empire attack killed Rachel. This event resulted in Locke having the urge to protect a damsel in distress continuously.
The Bandits That Pulled Off The Heist of The Century
Baram and Clyde were two highway bandits who pulled off a huge train heist. They were highly vigilant after the theft, and one faithful night, Baram was left heavily injured during a chase and asked Clyde to kill him. However, Clyde refused and ran for his life instead. Baram was left dead as Clyde ran towards Thamasa, where Clyde met a woman he fell in love with.
He now goes by the name of Shadow as a wandering mercenary. His relationship with his wife resulted in the birth of Relm. However, by the time his wife gave birth, Shadow had already left Thamasa.
The Debut of A Gambler
Setzer formerly had a gamble through an airship race with his best friend, Daryl. During the race, Daryl’s airship, named the Falcon, experienced malfunction and crashes, killing Daryl in the process. Setzer sought to restore the Falcon, and after its restoration, Setzer buried the Falcon along with Daryl in a grave near Kohlingen.
The Start of the Resistance
Banon initially started the resistance to the empire due to the kingdom of Figaro siding with the empire. He found the Returners, which began operating near Mt. Kolts. The Returners’ primary goal was to dethrone the empire and restore order to the world.
During the Third Gestahlian Campaign, the kingdom of Doma decided to side with the Returners; however, during their allegiance, the Gestahlian Empire attacked the kingdom of Doma by poisoning their water supply, courtesy of Kefka. This attack nearly killed every resident of Doma except Cyan, known as the Siege of Doma.
The Beginning of FFVI
A brainwashed Terra and two Imperial Soldiers named Biggs and Wedge were sent to Narshe to find a rumored Esper found deep within the Narshe Mines. They quickly breezed through the guards and reached the Esper; however, the Esper connected with Terra turning Biggs and Wedge to dust, killing them in the process.
Terra wakes up in an Inn rescued by Arvis. She has no memory besides her name. Locke later helped her to escape Narshe through the Narshe Caves. Terra and Locke make way towards Figaro Castle, where Locke introduced Terra to King Edgar. Unbeknownst to many, King Edgar is working in conjunction with the Returners to dethrone the Gestahlian Empire.
Later on, Gestahl sent Kefka towards Figaro Castle to retrieve Terra. Kefka tried to talk them out to retrieve Terra, and when that didn’t work out, Kefka attacked the castle. However, King Edgar rigged Figaro Castle with the ability to bury itself to the sands taking along Kefka beneath.
During their Chocobo escape, Magitek infused mechanical armors called Magitek Armor attacks King Edgar, Locke, and Terra. This battle is where Edgar and Locke witness the power of magic lying deep within Terra. Terra’s absurd magic power convinced Locke and Edgar that Terra could help their cause in fighting the empire.
Frequently Asked questions
Question: Is Final Fantasy VI The Same As Final Fantasy III?
Answer: This question is usually confusing because Square Enix aptly named Final Fantasy VI as Final Fantasy III in the United States for continuity purposes. Square Enix only released Final Fantasy I and IV in the United States, so naming Final Fantasy VI as the third installment in the series makes sense for their consumers in America.
Question: Will Final Fantasy VI Get A Remake?
Answer: With the recent Final Fantasy Pixel Remastered announcement, Square Enix began releasing Final Fantasy I to Final Fantasy V Pixel Remastered from July 29, 2021, through November 11, 2021; Final Fantasy VI will be getting the same treatment by February 24, 2022.
As for a proper remake similar to Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix hasn’t announced anything to that degree as of the moment.
Question: Which Final Fantasy Should I Start With?
Answer: I started with the PS2 version of Final Fantasy XII as a child. It was one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve ever had in an RPG game. Up to this date, I still keep on replaying Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age due to its simple yet hard to master battle system. The story and the settings are fantastic as well, so if you’re looking to start with a fun and exciting hybrid of action and turn-based RPG, look no further cause Final Fantasy XII has you covered.
The next Final Fantasy I played was Final Fantasy X on the PC; it’s a classic turn-based RPG set in the world of Spira. The story is complex and hard to understand on your first playthrough, so I suggest watching explanation videos if you cannot grasp the entirety as a whole. The diverse characters, excellent battle system, and even the mini-games will get you hooked on Final Fantasy X.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 1 is another game that I would recommend. It’s a mix of action and a turn-based command system that mainly focuses on the fluidity of combat. The story of Final Fantasy VII Remake is somewhat similar to the original Final Fantasy VII, with a massive diversion at the end of the game.
On the other hand, Final Fantasy XIV is a vast online MMORPG that critics highly regarded as one of the best MMORPGs ever made. Square Enix offers a trial for their fabled MMORPG if you’re looking to try this game. To give you a heads up, this MMORPG is a subscription-based game, so keep in mind that you have to pay for the base game, the expansions and still pay for a monthly subscription.
In Conclusion: Is This The Best Final Fantasy Game?
With the in-depth look at how the game started and the various backstories of each character, we can arguably say Final Fantasy VI has the best storytelling out of all the other games in the franchise. The depth and character progression have been fantastic, couple that with the unusual event wherein the main antagonist Kefka, succeeded in overtaking the world, makes it a remarkable story for an RPG game.
Final Fantasy VI: Pixel Remastered is coming up on February 24, 2022; it’s the perfect time to dive into this masterpiece by Square Enix.
Did you find our Final Fantasy VI Game Overview useful? Be sure to check out other overviews of Final Fantasy games.