It’s been a rough few years for fans of the Final Fantasy series. Between the numerous poorly made cell phone titles, a new online game that was still in the alpha stage development when released, and a numbered entry that was announced in 2006 with a release date of “sometime this ice age,” it should come as no surprise that Final Fantasy fans are still nostalgic for the days when the franchise was at its peak.
To this day, the old games in the series are still making money on services like the PlayStation Network and Steam. The reason Final Fantasy I has been re-released seventeen times, and why a port of the now eighteen year-old game Final Fantasy VII was part of last year’s PlayStation Experience event is simple. Fans are filled with nostalgia because they just don’t make Final Fantasy games like they used to. Which is why people are still exploring the data of these beloved titles, hoping to find more pieces of the games they love which have never been seen before.
Due to the way games are made, removing a piece of content tends to create bugs and errors, so it is easier for the developers to make those parts inaccessible rather than erasing them. In the years since these titles were released and with the help of modern computers, fans have searched through the files of these games and uncovered secrets that players weren’t meant to see. Here are seven pieces of lore that may change the way you view these classic titles.
7 – The Dirty Secrets of the Honey Bee Inn
Fans have been asking for a remake of Final Fantasy VII since the days of the PlayStation 2. What they tend to forget is that the game is so politically incorrect by modern standards that it would never happen without some major changes to the story. This is partly due to the fact that the game’s protagonist, Cloud Strife, is a terrorist who occasionally likes to dress in women’s clothes. While most early quests in fantasy role-playing games have you killing giant rats in the sewers, Final Fantasy VII has you trying to find a dress and pretty underwear so you can seduce a mob boss. This quest leads to one of the most unusual areas in the game – The Honey Bee Inn.
Even in a game filled with cyberpunk cities and medieval fantasy villages; the Honey Bee Inn has a very odd shift in tone that separates it from the rest of the game. It is supposed to be the Final Fantasy VII equivalent of a Japanese Love Hotel – essentially brothels where the prostitutes wear costumes. The final version of the game contains cut areas, which had more graphic sexual content than is seen in the rest of the story. This includes one of the heads of the evil Shinra Corporation coming out from one of the girl’s rooms talking about how “refreshed” he was, before chastising another employee for spending time there. This area also suggests that Tifa (the sexy love interest) had worked there in the past in some capacity. A picture which resembles her is still up on the wall (although this could have been the developers just being lazy and reusing her character model).
There are also other areas never seen in the final release, one of which has billboards of the girl’s faces with their price written beneath them. Most disturbing of all is a patron who claims to have stolen a pair of Tifa’s panties, and complains that they have a childlike design. When viewed in the item menu, they are identified as “Panties of Unknown Origin.” This leads to the conclusion that this man in fact stole the underwear of Marlene, the five year-old daughter of player character Barrett who lives in the same bar with Tifa. He seems to enjoy spending his time hanging around in brothels, and has been showing his stolen goods off to everyone. This area also has another cut scene of Cloud pestering the girls for their panties, even asking if he can smell them.
These cuts from the final game were actually mentioned in an interview for the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega guide, Motomu Toriyama (the event planner of the game) wrote the scenes before really knowing the tone of the final product, and most of the scenes he planned were never fully coded. This is why the Honey Bee Inn is such an unusual area in the final game. Should Final Fantasy VII ever get a remake; the only way the Honey Bee Inn makes a comeback will be as part of the “Sexy Cloud wearing a dress, blonde wig, and fuck me pumps” DLC costume pack.
6 – Tidus and the Buster Sword
When fans went through the code of Final Fantasy X, they discovered the most iconic weapon in the series was meant to make a comeback. Among the weapons meant for the main character, Tidus, is a full functional version of the Buster Sword, Cloud’s weapon from Final Fantasy VII.
If you have a Code Breaker device, or a PC capable of emulating the game, then you too can add the classic blade to your arsenal. Due to the modding scene of the PlayStation 2 still being in its infancy, the easiest way to get it involves hacking an existing save file to restore the weapon. The details of how to do this can be found in the description of this video.
While Cloud’s weapon showing up on the planet Spira might seem like an odd thing, it may have been a subtle piece of foreshadowing as to the connection the two games share. In an interview for the Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania guide, Kazushige Nojima (the Scenario Writer for the game) revealed that both X and X-2 are actually prequels to VII. According to Nojima, the character Shinra from X-2 would use all of the information he learned during the course of the game to try and drain the Farplane (the world of X‘s version of the afterlife) for use as an energy source. While he would fail in his own lifetime, his descendants would perfect this ability, and would go on to become the space faring colonists who would populate the world from VII. Their distant relations would go on to name their corporation the Shinra Electric Power Company in his honor.
Why Cloud’s sword would show up a few millennia early on another planet is a mystery, however. Chances are it was just fan service of the non-sexual kind, unless you’re the sort of person who pleasures yourself while thinking of giant swords (i.e. every Final Fantasy fan) so you could have enjoyed it on multiple levels.
5 – The Dragon Seal is Broken!!
About half way through Final Fantasy VI, the world is turned into a wasteland by the hand of the villain Kefka after he gains godlike powers. Due to his actions, eight Dragons are unleashed upon the world and you have the option of fighting them. Once the eighth has fallen, a message flashes on screen stating “Dragon Seal broken!!” but nothing happens. For years people assumed it was connected to a cut boss called Czar Dragon, who was intended to be the most powerful fight in the game, but was removed at a late stage of a development.
When Final Fantasy VI was re-released on the Game Boy Advance, it included a new area called the Dragons’ Den, where the eight Dragons returned for new boss fights. For these rematches, each of the Dragons had a new gimmick that needed to be overcome. The Skull Dragon, for example, can now only be killed by draining his MP, and the Holy Dragon now heals itself for 6000 HP as a counter to your moves. This dungeon ended with a battle against the Kaiser Dragon (a fully realized version of the old Czar Dragon), cementing the connection between it and the other eight Dragons.
What most fans don’t realize is that these changes were actually planned for the original Super Nintendo version of the game. There are several pieces of cut dialogue in the games code that suggest the rematch gimmick battles were planned for the original, but were removed at some point in development. In fact, the battles were meant to be even tougher, as other cut lines suggest that the Dragons had the power to summon each other in battle. Meaning you either had to fight them in pairs or as one long sequential boss fight. So not only did the fans get screwed out of lots of awesome post-game content, but they would also have to wait eight years and buy the game again along with a new console. All for the privilege of getting their ass kicked by the Kaiser Dragon on a matchbox-sized screen.
4 – The Nemesis of Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII took a lot of abuse from critics due to its departure from the formula of the series. Unlike the previous games, which had sprawling world maps full of locations to explore, and quests to complete, Final Fantasy XIII was one giant corridor that you ran down whilst tackling battles one after the other. That, coupled with a confusing story, uninteresting characters, and a battle system that essentially takes away player involvement, has made it one of the least popular titles in the series.
It turns out that the game’s code held an incomplete area that would have satisfied the wishes of the fans and reviewers alike. It was called “The 7th Ark” and would have been a location with optional battles, more boss fights, and a quest structure tying them all together. In the game’s sequel, one piece of the 7th Ark actually returned, but this time he was changed to the proto-fal’Cie Adam. In XIII he was originally going to be the end boss of the 7th Ark, under his original name of Nemesis.
The 7th Ark was going to be released as DLC at one point, but technical issues prevented this from happening. This was during those wondrous years when Square Enix did not know what DLC was. If XIII were released today, the 7th Ark could be released as part of the “Adding in towns, a world map, an airship and all the other things that constitute a Final Fantasy game” pack. At least that would be some content worth buying; it’s just a shame it wasn’t included in the original game.
3 – Eden Was Bartandalaus
Eden (pictured above) is the most powerful summon in Final Fantasy VIII. While most summon monsters in the series are easy enough to recognize due to their being copied from creatures of real world mythology, no-one is sure what Eden actually is. It resembles a weird mixture of a building, a long red cloak, and a giant robot with wings.
When fans discovered the Debug Room for Final Fantasy VIII, they uncovered some new information regarding Eden that wouldn’t become relevant for another decade. It seems that Eden was originally named Bartandalaus. Why is this relevant you ask? Bartandalaus was the name of the villain of Final Fantasy XIII, a game that would not be released for another decade. He was also a giant robot monster with wings.
This raises a lot of questions: was this some intentional reference to a game that may have been in the very early planning stages? Was Eden a glimpse at a future villain, or did the makers of XIII just re-use a design from an older Final Fantasy creature to give the characters of the latest game something to hit? You can now add “almost ruined an awesome summon by association” to the many reasons for hating Final Fantasy XIII.
2 – The Lost Final Fantasy Tactics Characters
Final Fantasy Tactics has a large cast of characters, some of whom look impressive, but don’t actually add anything to the plot. When fans began searching through the code of the game, they discovered that this was not always the case. Despite the ability to recruit many of the creatures in the game, enemies that are designated as story or boss related are stuck with simple pre-set A.I, and therefore cannot be added to your party successfully, even with a GameShark device. Within the game’s files, however, several story-related characters can be added to your party using an outside device, which suggests that they were intended to join the party in the main game.
These four players include Olan the Astrologer (who does join you for one battle in the game as a computer-controlled guest character). Also Simon, the elderly Bishop who actually dies halfway through the story before you can recruit him. His presence as a possible party member suggests that he could have joined you in your search for his missing student (which is the quest that makes up most of the second half of the game). There is Balmafula the Witch, who is on the side of the villains, and then is murdered, but is back alive again later without explanation. You never actually battle her in the original version of the game (she was added to the non-canon multiplayer missions of the PSP remake as a boss fight), and her presence in the story is negligible; was she also intended for more?
The last and most confusing of these is Elidibs, the hardest boss in the game, and who is hidden at the bottom of the most difficult dungeon. Was he also intended as some sort of final reward for players who tackled the last challenge of the game? This might seem silly, but a lot of role-playing games (and Final Fantasy especially) love rewarding the players with the strongest items…after beating the toughest monster. Both Final Fantasy V and VIII added insult to injury by just giving you a key item that said “beat the hardest boss”. An award which may as well have said “Congrats on wasting twenty hours of your life that you could have spent getting laid”.
1 – Aeris in Hell
It’s not something you see nowadays, but some older games would contain places known as a Debug Room. These were essentially small playable areas that could only be accessed through GameShark devices or complex button inputs. They contained numerous developer cheats in order to make bug-fixing an easier process. A group of intrepid fans discovered that Final Fantasy VII contained a Debug Room, and they soon went about uncovering as much information about the hidden workings of the game as they could.
What they found was a creepy message left by the game developers, made all the worse by the person who relays it…
The Debug Rooms are all pitch black and the only contents are characters from the game that stand perfectly still. By talking to these characters you can do pretty much anything in the game; create any mixture of party members, give them all of the items or spells, and go to any location they wish. One of these areas contains a giant version of Aeris, the girl best known for her well-publicized death at the hands of the game’s villain. Her official function in the room is to allow you to teleport to any area, or event in the game. What is most intriguing is the final area on this list, which is called “Hades.” While the game has a summon spell named Hades, there is no such area called that. If you ask her to teleport you to Hades, this is her response.
When going through the debug room in the Japanese version of the game, players discovered that the word “Hades” here is a mistranslation of the word “Hell”.
All of this was never intended to be discovered by players, as this was back in 1997 when the Internet was still in its infancy. This means the Japanese development team left this hidden piece of eerie dialogue in a place that they thought would never be seen (except by the translation team).
In this age of the lazy Creepypasta story, where people just recreate The Ring with video game characters. It is odd to think that inside of this classic, genre defining game is a form of purgatory that is recognized as such by both the characters and the developers. If they include this room in the remake, then perhaps clicking on the “Hades” link will send you to page where you can buy Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. Then the player will truly be in Hell.
Previously by Scott Baird
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