View Full Version : FF1's Inspiration: pre-production and development

11-01-2014, 12:07 AM
Ultima and Wizardry: The 2 games cited as Sakaguchi's inspiration in many themes and tropes. Dragon Quest was mentioned too, but as a competitor. Japanese culture and ancient world mythology probably had a great deal of influence also.

Sure, most of the Final Fantasy tropes stayed with the series and serve as well-known associated icons, but they all had their origins somewhere in the Square offices back in the day. Other archetypes appeared along the way with each iteration in the series.

Whether it's from some official source, interview or pure speculation, what are the 'inspirations' that make what we find in FF1 (or onward?)

For example:
Black Mage -
Robe and pointy hat, standard wizard trope, right? or is there a more unique inspiration?

White Mage - (Like the Ultima cleric or Wizardry 1 priest?)
Why white robe with red triangles? What culture or symbolism is this reminiscent of?
Why only hammers/wands equippable? My theory is that it upholds the morality of a less lethal weapon, as opposed to a skin-breaking weapon like a dagger used by a black mage.

Leviathan - sea monster from Hebrew scripture
Tiamat - ancient Sumerian "Chaos monster"
Ifrit - Islamic folklore jinn

Any input on these or other real-world influences that ended up in Final Fantasy?
E: Found this interesting page with some speculation on origins behind character names throughout the series. http://www.ffcompendium.com/h/nchara.shtml

Wolf Kanno
11-02-2014, 06:40 AM
Most of it is from D&D actually, especially the misnamed monsters. Bahamut in Sumerian culture is a whale like beast but in D&D, Bahamut is a dragon and Sakaguchi has said they took the idea of Bahamut from D&D. Same with the White Mage weapon pool. Sakaguchi was actually asked this question at PAX recently and he said the staff borrowed liberally from other sources, in fact many of the monsters were renamed or changed/removed when the game was released in the West due to fears of lawsuits.

As for the Red Triangle for White Mages, it was most likely created to add contrasting color to the character sprite as opposed to some deep culture meaning.

I will give more info tomorrow when I have more time.

11-04-2014, 08:59 PM

Awesome, thanks for the reply. Haha, it totally makes sense now. I would like to read that panel/interview transcript if it pops up somewhere. And to think, D&D drew a lot from Lord of the Rings, and LotR drew from Nordic influences, from among other things. My mind is blown now.

Wolf Kanno
11-05-2014, 04:17 AM
This thread (http://home.eyesonff.com/showthread.php/159086-Hironobu-Sakaguchi-Did-a-PAX-Prime-panel?p=3464626#post3464626) has a link to the interview where Sakaguchi is asked the question. The video is a little long but worth watching at least once I feel.

11-05-2014, 08:33 PM
Personally, and as joke-like as it may seem, I always thought the White Mage turned into Jesus on promotion as a kid, and while I don't suspect that was the inspiration now, there are some interesting correlations:

The White Wizard has long reddish-brown hair, Jesus is commonly depicted with long brown hair; the White Wizard has a white robe with red accent, Jesus is commonly shown in a white robe with red accent; White Wizard resurrects the dead, Jesus supposedly did the same; Wizard uses canes and hammers, Jesus supposedly guided a spiritual flock and was a carpenter; Wizard's best hammer shoots lightning, Jesus was supposedly divine and lightning is commonly linked to divine will; Wizard's final spell is Holy, Jesus' final act was apparent ascension into divinity; Wizard's ultimate enemy is demonic, Jesus' ultimate enemy, I assume, is Satan.

As I said before, it's pretty interesting.

12-11-2014, 01:08 PM
Wizard's final spell is Holy

Or FADE, which I never guessed as a kid was religiously themed. I always assumed it just negated the existence of whatever it struck...but I guess that is kind of a metaphysical way to look at it.