• Final Fantasy IV - Being True to Yourself

    You remember Final Fantasy IV? That game about the old man and the bard who go head to head in one of the most heated battles ever seen in an RPG to date. There's also something about a dude getting redemption or whatever. Seriously though, while redemption is a central theme to Final Fantasy IV's plot, I'm here to talk about another message. That of being true to yourself.

    I don't know if you've played The After Years, but if not, I'm about to drop some spoilers so AVERT THINE EYES! Remember how Cecil did all of that work to rid himself of his Dark Side and become a Paladin? Well, Dark Knight Cecil returns with a vengeance at being cast aside. You see, while Cecil did much to atone for and bettered himself for it, his dark side was still a part of him. Pretending that part of him doesn't exist just leads to future problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil
    Cecil: You are myself. That is true... the part that has shut itself from the world, once upon a time [] But those days are over. You are no longer alone!
    Cecil isn't the only one to go through this. We see it as a central theme with Kain as well. He struggles with the feelings he has for his best friend's love. He gets brainwashed a few good times, and Rosa is often seen at the center of this conflict. Not learning from Cecil's mistakes, Kain tries to rid himself of his Dark Side, only to have the same issue rise up again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kain
    I've been held back all this time by the past. I thought those days had been buried for good... But things didn't work that way. My past is as much a part of me as any part of my body. The happiness, the sadness... And all the hatred...
    This shows both Kain and Cecil learning that their hatred, jealousy, shame, and mistakes... they're all a part of who they really are. You can try to shut those parts out of your life, but doing so will only bring about more problems. Be true to yourself, even the parts you don't like. This doesn't mean never change or grow as a person, but rather to acknowledge your struggles and not pretend they were never there.

    We also see more minor examples. Rydia can originally cast both black and white magic magic, although she fears her fire magic because of what happened to her village. Her mother, a summoner, was killed by Cecil, as were the rest of her people, and while she uses Titan in self-defense, she isn't a summoner as a child. However, when she grows up, she casts aside her white magic in favour of black, despite her original phobia of one of the central spells, and summoning becomes at the core of who she is. She overcomes her trauma and accepts these aspects of herself.

    Smaller examples include Tellah and accepting what happened to his daughter rather than deflecting blame on the poor spoony bard. Rosa resolving to help Cecil (despite his protests) because that's what she wants and that's what's important to her. Yang and his temporary case of amnesia before remembering who he is and what he's fighting for, Cid committing treason to stand up for what he believes in, and of course the truth about Golbez. These all relate back to the central theme about being true to yourself.

    While Final Fantasy IV is still very much a story about redemption, next time you give it a play, try seeing what other messages the game brings to the table. Do you find this story to be about being true to oneself? Was there another interpretation you had that you'd like to share? Let us know and thanks for reading!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Final Fantasy IV - Being True to Yourself started by Pumpkin View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Sephex's Avatar
      Sephex -
      I recently played through the Steam version of Final Fantasy IV and had a blast. Since that version of the game is much more cinematic and obviously has a much better translation than the SNES version I obsessively played back in the day, the themes you wrote about in the article did really stand out to me. I also played most of The After Years (I felt the pacing of the game was awful and I screwed a lot of things up and the difficulty curve pissed me off). I looked up what happened in the story instead and was happy they continued the theme of redemption, though a lot of scenes felt like, "Hey, look at us echoing what happened in the original! This sort of happened in the original FFIV!"

      That being said I do plan on playing though the Steam version of The After Years one day since I think they cleared up some issues I had with it.

      Whoa, I got sidetracked! Anyway, awesome article. I always love me some FFIV action!
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