Final Fantasy, the video game series that’s been anything but ‘final’, has made a considerable impact not just on the gaming world, but also on the pages of contemporary fantasy literature.
So, how exactly did a bunch of pixelated characters hopping across our screens wield such influence over authors and their hefty tomes?
Chocobos to Giant Hawks?
The first, and possibly most important, aspect is the sheer scope of the worlds Square Enix created.
If you’ve read any of Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle”, you may have noticed his world’s depth, from the currency system to the layout of the University.
Much like the intricate maps and city layouts of Final Fantasy, it seems Rothfuss might’ve spent a wee bit too much time in virtual taverns.
Environmental issues, from the lifeforce-sapping Mako Reactors in FFVII to the Sin-tainted oceans of FFX, run deep.
N.K. Jemisin, in her “Broken Earth” series, paints a world under ecological collapse.
Well, maybe. But who wouldn’t fancy a ride on the Highwind while navigating through a post-apocalyptic Earth?
You thought Cloud’s and Squall’s angst was reserved for teenagers with oversized swords?
The nuanced character development we see, especially in later FF titles, mirrors the emotional depth and complexity found in characters like Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive.”
Moody hero with hidden depth? Check.
Just as in the games, where a side quest could lead to acquiring that elusive ultimate weapon, authors like Sarah J. Maas in her “Throne of Glass” series often indulge in side plots that are just as compelling as the main narrative.
Sometimes, they even steal the show.
Mixing Technology and Magic
FF has always toyed with the balance between the mystical and the mechanical.
A theme picked up by authors like Brian McClellan in his “Powder Mage” trilogy where gunpowder sits alongside sorcery, lending the stories a similar charm to FF’s technological landscapes brimming with magic.
In the end, while it’s a playful stretch to claim that every modern fantasy author has a hidden stash of FF games under their bed, there’s no denying the influence of this legendary series.
It’s as if the literary realm looked at Final Fantasy and thought, “Well, why should video games have all the fun?”