I am finding Final Fantasy’s doomsday scenarios surprisingly comforting

Of all the game universes I could sink my time into recently to avoid the news, the Final Fantasy games have been most effective. Each game presents a bespoke apocalyptic scenario with different characters and continents to explore. However every game shares a collection of universal Final Fantasy motifs that create a comforting fictional continuum that I have successfully lost myself in for hours recently. 

The heroes are different; the world-ending threats are different (though normally some sort of meteor controlled by someone with wild hair), but I get the same sense of calm from Aeris garden in FF7 as Zidane’s gang HQ in FF9’s Lindblum. There are some obvious consistencies, like Nobuo Uematsu’s memorable soundtracks of course. There are no unobtrusive, apologetic ambient strings here. These are bangers you can sing in the bath. 

Strong theme tunes can trigger powerful associations. The prelude gets me every time. Sometimes, I’m almost ashamed to admit, the victory fanfare plays in my head sometimes when I complete a task. I’ve got it bad. It seemed inevitable that Final Fantasy would move to licensed tracks as the series moved away from the days of MIDI keyboards, and the use of Stand by Me at the start of FF15 felt totally right. Final Fantasy always done a great job of showing friendship in moments of calm downtime between apocalyptic battles.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The series has mascots too. Chocobos, and the returning god-like entities that serve as summons—Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut, Odin. When they pop up I enjoy a moment of recognition, even if they’re here to raze a city.

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