Happy New Year everyone! How did you spend the last minutes of last year and the first few days of the new? I did having the same sentiment: I wish I was home playing more video games. Sue me. I’m not much of a “let’s go out” kind of guy but as the sole member in my house who can actually make a mechanized vehicle move it is inevitable to not be home as much as I want to. Still, hoping you all had a great time! My new year resolutions are already set and wait anxiously to be ignored once more. “Buy less games I won’t play” and “play the games in my backlog” go poof the moment there’s a sale and when I remember there’s light to be farmed in Final Fantasy XIV, respectively.
Light. Reminds me of a fun phrase that is uttered in XIV and that got a hold on me. If you watch the XIV intro movie (the one that plays when you start a game for the first time) you’ll notice it ends (3:28) with “May he ever walk in the light of the Crystal“.
I like this phrase. As a long time FF fan I’ve always been interested in the “crystal” aspect of the game – the thing that drives the adventure, that which you must save, the planet’s presence made physical. In earlier FF games they were representatives of the planet’s elements: wind, water, fire, earth – usually the target of some nefarious individual or evil empire. In later FFs the crystal started losing their position as the center of the story. In VII they became the Materia your characters use but they were commonplace, no longer an important part of the story (save for couple of particular Materia). In VIII… I can’t for the life of me remember where the crystals were – Google it and I bet most wouldn’t remember it. IX tried to cap on this crystal drought by having the phrase “The Crystal comes back” as part of its marketing.
It wasn’t until XIV that the Crystal came back as an important force. Hydaelyn, the planet, is represented as a living Crystal that talks to your character giving you special powers – making you the “hero”, essentially. It’s the main target of the Ascians, the evil group behind the events of the 2.0 storyline and that have shown to have their fingers in most story events so far. Hydaelyn also has what seem to be 13 (get it?) smaller Crystals surrounding it.
In XIV, the phrase “May you ever walk in the light of the Crystal” is the FF to Star Wars’ “May the Force be with you” – an empowering sentence that wishes you well, reminding you that the Crystal will always shine its light on those who fight for her and the good of the world. I like the way it can sound for FF fans the world over. I recently attended a ceremony of Eternal Bonding, and my parting farewell to my friend (this was in another server) was “May your love ever be bathed in the light of the Crystal“. Sounds RPish, and in a form it is, but it’s the perfect way for a FF fan to wish well to another. After all, I often replace “God” with “The Twelve” in my Twitter account. OMT, blasphemy!
Light or Dark, relevant or simple secondary detail – the Crystals are an important force in the Final Fantasy universe, as ubiquitous as the Chocobos or some of the summons/eidolons/espers/GFs/name-of-the-month. I hope it continues to be as crucial as they are, for it is in its light that the adventures of the Warriors of Light can be turned into song for the future.