Normally, when one thinks of a Final Fantasy game, they don’t consider the possibility of the game taking place on some version of our real world. While some of the games are actually related to each other (even distantly, as in the links between “Final Fantasy 7″ and “Final Fantasy X”), outside of a very few rare exceptions (like the movie “The Spirits Within”), these games usually take place on completely different worlds that are in no way related to a fictional version of our planet Earth.
“Final Fantasy IV” and its related games presents a strange exception to this.
At first glance, FF4 seems to be a typical fantasy RPG set in a fantasy world with made up nations. Even the geographical layout of the world has nothing at all to do with our planet Earth, yet as you progress through the game’s story you start to wonder about a few things. There are several mentions of the planet itself being called the “Blue Planet,” yet you might consider this a coincidence if it was simply a one-off reference. Besides, the planet seems similar in its overall topography to Earth and therefore calling it a blue planet would make sense – the planet likely does look somewhat similar, continental layouts aside, to Earth from outer space.
But, the references don’t stop there.
The Lunarians, who play a vital role to the game’s story later on in the player’s adventure, mention that they came from a world that was once located “between the Red Planet and the Great Behemoth.” These planets are generally thought to be Mars and Jupiter, and as such this comment seems to be a reference to the asteroid belt between those two planets. At some point about 1,000 years prior to the events of the main game, the Lunarians realized their planet was on the brink of total destruction. It is never made clear to us what exactly happened to their world, but their race was saved from extinction through the construction of an artificial moon, called the Red Moon, which they moved to and used to travel to the nearest inhabitable world. Yet, when they arrived at said world (the Blue Planet), they found that it was way too primitive for their two populaces to coexist, so the Lunarians entered a deep stasis on the Red Moon, placing it in the planet’s orbit, and awaited a time when the people of Earth were more advanced. It was their idea that when the people of Earth were advanced enough, they would visit the Red Moon and make first contact with the Lunarians and, until that time, the majority of them would remain in stasis. It was only radicals like Zemus who wanted otherwise, thinking that rather than wait it was best to use their technology to destroy the people of Earth and claim the planet as their own.
As stated, we don’t know what happened to the Lunarians’s world, but the general consensus seems to be that it was destroyed in some horrific war. This conclusion is reached by the sheer amount of sealed off weapons located in the Lunar Subterrane and the presence of powerful devices like the Giant of Babil. Thus, the Tower of Babil as well as the Tower of Zot were at some point created by Lunarians for reasons that Zemus later uses in his attempt to destroy the people of the Blue Planet. Also, the crystal chambers on the Blue Planet resemble the ones seen in the Lunar Palace, although this link might be a bit less tenuous in itself.
When traveling via the Lunar Whale from the Blue Planet to the Red Moon, the player is given a glimpse of the real-world Earth. Likewise, the chapter cover for the first part of the final chapter in “Final Fantasy IV: The After Years” clearly shows an image of the planet Earth and we can see North Africa and the Middle East in the image.
“But the layout of the Blue Planet looks nothing like Earth!,” you might be screaming now. This is true, of course. However, the graphic for the planet Earth has been used in all remakes and versions of “Final Fantasy IV,” “Final Fantasy IV: Interlude,” and “Final Fantasy IV: The After Years,” so I would be hard-pressed to say that it wasn’t canon. To me, it seems that the layout of the planet in the game is meant to make the game more fun and interesting, yet we are meant to assume that the games take place on a fictional Earth.
It is worth pointing out here that some fans say that the eight crystals on Earth in the games were brought to the planet by the Lunarians and that this explains why the crystal chambers seem so similar to those seen in the Lunar Palace. This is a decent theory, but this must be considered: Kingdoms come and go, and buildings are built and destroyed. If the Lunarians first came to Earth 1,000 years before the events of the main story, and they gave the those crystals to the planet, how is it that they exist within modern castles and buildings? It is possible that as the crystals traveled from place to place, the owners of these crystals designed rooms that were very similar to the ones they might originally have been placed in, but that would purely be conjecture. It is very possible that the Earth had its very own crystals. After all, this makes sense: Earth has eight crystals (four on the surface and four in the underworld) and the Lunarians have eight of their own major crystals, presumably saved from their planet when they departed it in the Red Moon. Perhaps each world visited by the Creator (the main “villain” seen in After Years) or other members of his race, long ago, was given a total of eight crystals. Seeing as how the crystals possess the ability to encourage (perhaps even generate) evolutionary life on a planet and to record said evolutionary history, if the crystals were simply brought by the Lunarians to Earth that would mean that the Creator could only see the past 1,000 years of human history. However, he seems disappointed in the entirety of humanity on Earth, implying that it was a planet seeded by his own people and he is sad by how it turned out. Additionally, he targets the Lunarians, not because they themselves turned out poorly, but presumably because they have protected the people on Earth, inhibiting the natural growth of that planet’s own evolution in an unfair way. So, to me, it makes more sense that we consider the common link: The Creator. If both the Lunarians and the people of Earth have crystals, and they have crystal chambers that look very similar, and the Creator is coming back for the crystals, then likely the Creator is the one that placed them on Earth and the Lunarians’ home world and this explains their similarities and why their chambers have similar styles of architecture (likely because their original holding places looked the same and, even if they were relocated, their owners simply recreated this look).
Within the scope of the original game, however, we do know that gathering the eight crystals on Earth at the Tower of Babil can result in the summoning of the Giant of Babil – a powerful robot that could be used to destroy the world. As a result, theorists have said that the crystals are Lunarian and that they were brought to Earth for one of several reasons: To help speed along evolution of the human race, to help keep the world in balance with the presence of two moons, or to serve as keys to activate the Giant. However, why would you put the keys to summoning a weapon of mass destruction right there on the world that it was aiming to destroy? Thus, going back to the theory in the previous paragraph, it seems more likely that the Giant was simply designed to make use of the crystals located on Earth, rather than the crystals having been brought there for the sole reason of activating the Giant – something that most Lunarians did not want to see happen.
Of course, the philosophical topic of the Creator, his crystals, and how that all ties together could very well be the topic for a whole separate article, yet there are a couple more things to muse about (but which might make for other topics too): The Lunarians and the Creator both possess the ability to create and travel on large, artificial moon-like ships. Perhaps these races have visited other worlds within the Final Fantasy series by traveling in deep-space. This is somewhat implied in the final area of After Years when you can face bosses from FF1, FF2, FF3, FF5, and FF6. Thus, it is possible that the events of those games were before FF4, although at an indeterminate period of time (from a matter of months to thousands of years). Perhaps this means that the Creator or his race had visited those worlds at some point in the past? We know that the Lunarians and their Red Moon travels off into space to places unknown at the end of After Years, with Golbez in pursuit with the Lunar Whale, so it is possible that they or their descendants later arrived on other worlds and either created populations there or became known as Ancients or something to that effect on new worlds.
Lots of food for thought, don’t you think? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!