Time Travel

This page remains incomplete.

Time travel is one of the earliest plot devices in Final Fantasies. This page presents an overview of its appearances, effects and causes.

Final Fantasy I

The whole basis of the FF1 plot is time travel. At the start of the game, the four Warriors of Light appear in the world, presumably1 because they had just arrived from another time. They go on to defeat Garland, who is taken 2,000 years to the past when on the brink of death by the Four Chaoses. He then proceeds to remember his true self as Chaos, and send the Four Chaoses into the future. In time the Warriors of Light arrive into the past as well, and are defeated by Chaos, who proceeds to live on, eventually forget his true self and take on the identity of Garland.

This creates a never-ending loop where Garland always survives, until the last iteration of the loop when the Warriors of Light manage to defeat Chaos in the past. In the end, the game tells us that the events of the time loop never happened, and the world lived its course as it should have to start with, such that the Warriors of Light are only a legend, not the truth.

Several things can be inferred from these events. First, this only works if changing time does not create alternate dimensions, but directly alters the original timeline itself. Only the revised version exists after the changes are made, and only the revised version is remembered…with the exception of the time travellers themselves, who retain memories of the changes they made and the events of the original timeline.

Second, this means that there must have been a 'first' timeline, within which Garland/Chaos first came to be and in which the time loop did not yet exist. The existence of this original timeline is referred to in Dissidia and Duodecim, which give more background to the world and the major players in it. It tells us that Garland/Chaos was a constructed being created as a weapon to end a war.

Final Fantasy VIII

In FF8 there is a lot of muckery with time. First of all there is the Time Compression, that presses all of time into a single moment, and it is said that in such a world no other being would be able to exist than Ultimecia. As for actual time travel, there are two different cases of it. The first is Ellone's power, that sends the consciousness of people into other people in the past. There also appears to be an artificial equivalent of it due to doctor Odine's research. There doesn't appear to be much a regular person sent to the past in this way can do, they will simply add their powers to that of the target person and allows the transported person to see what transpired at that time.

The other case of time travel in the game happens at the very end of the game, when Ultimecia is at the brink of death and has to pass on her witch powers to someone else. She ends up traveling to the past and giving her powers to Edea, and says words that make Edea create the SeeD organization. The existence of SeeD in turn makes Ultimecia in the future hated and feared, causing her to isolate herself and in turn, attack the whole world in all its times - in other words, to use the Time Compression.

Several things are indicated by how these events are presented. First, it appears that the events of the past were never changed. For Ultimecia to have gained hate for the world, SeeD was necessary, and for SeeD to be born, it was necessary for Ultimecia to cause it to exist. Unless the game left something untold, it is impossible for there to have been a 'first' timeline within which Ultimecia didn't cause SeeD to be created. As far as the game lets us know, there is only one course of events.

Second, this creates implications for the future. If time can't be changed (which, to be fair, is never explicitly stated as truth), then Ultimecia must always grow to be hateful and attempt destroying the world. Why the main characters of the game would allow this to happen is left unclear. But do so they must have done according to the game's events, as Ultimecia did appear in their past and cause SeeD to be created, meaning in the future she will attempt to destroy everyone else. It is left unclear what happens to the rest of humanity in the future after Ultimecia's defeat, as by logic the time she lived in must have bore the brunt of her actions prior to her activating Time Compression.

For things to happen in any other way you must presume events that are not mentioned or even hinted at in the game itself. Therefore, the simplest explanation is likely the truth, meaning in the FF8 universe time is immutable, and only one timeline and one course of events can ever exist.

Final Fantasy XI

Coming soon

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Time travel in the FF13 series starts with an incident at the end of FF13. The Gate of Etro opens for a while, and from within chaos bursts into the world. The rampant chaos engulfs Lightning and removes her from the timeline, thus creating a distortion in space-time that causes all sorts of effects up and down the timeline. One such distortion is the existence of the Time Gates, which allow specific people to pass through them to access other times and places.

The people who pass through the Time Gates seem to be mainly Serah Farron and Noel Kreiss. They flit here and there about the timeline attempting to fix what has gone wrong with it, find the lost Lightning and prevent humanity's destruction. In the end, they do find a timeline in which humanity seems to be saved, but end up killing the goddess Etro in the process. This allows chaos to flow out into the world without interference, and causes the world's eventual demise.

Several things can be deduced from the way time travel is presented in the game. First is that there are no alternate realities created by the changes time travellers make on the timeline. All the changes are applied to the original timeline, and most people forget that the original timeline ever happened. Only people that bear a lot of chaos within them can hold on to memories of other timelines, and even so the effect seems to be limited2, and may activate only on time travellers themselves3.

Note that this is all very similar to how FF1 handles time travel. Aside from several additions and clarifications, the baseline is, in fact, the same in both games.

Grimoire of the Rift

In Grimoire of the Rift, time travel is never explicitly stated. However, if you presume Luso's world to be Ivalice in the far distant future, then the grimoire he picked up at his school's library must have transported him into the ancient past of his world. No further deductions can be made based on these facts, as the events in ancient Ivalice have no effects in the future Ivalice, and vice versa.

Crystal of Time

Coming soon


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