The age of the JRPG might be declining in the modern age. It's a statement that will ruffle the feathers of many old-school gamers with fond memories of playing their favorite Squaresoft games on the PlayStation, but it's a statement that does hold a fair bit of validity. With the fast-paced nature in which the video game industry has evolved over time, one must say that JRPGs need to evolve if they wish to stay relevant in the modern day-and-age. Games like Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV have definitely kept up with current times in their own unique way, but this is still a very small step in a massive journey that JRPGs need to undertake to hold the same level of relevance as they did years prior.
Of course, it's not like fans are loving this dramatic shift that this historied genre is taking. After all, the fact of the matter is that JRPGs have their own little quirks and whatnot that have endeared them to fans of the series as a whole, and watching these games take a route that's understandably mainstream is something that no one wants to witness. Take Final Fantasy as an example — while the latest iteration of the series was received warmly, for the most part, fans still had a problem with a large number of omissions in the series. One such omission was the inclusion of various hidden secrets, a time-honored tradition in the Final Fantasy series. While one can understand why this was taken out (for accessibility purposes), it still hits a sore spot for most fans. The original Final Fantasy series had numerous hidden secrets, 30 of which fans didn't even know about... until now, that is.
31 A Flashback Scene Involving Zack (FFVII)
Zack plays a major role in the history of Cloud, to the point where the latter adopts his friend's persona after his untimely demise unhinges his mind for a very, very long time.
Yet, some of his major story cutscenes are entirely optional.
To be more specific, there's a hidden cutscene hidden in the Nibelheim Manor that shows the journey Cloud and Zack took before the latter was shot down. It's a major piece of the story, so it's kinda baffling that this cutscene was relegated as nothing more than an optional cutscene.
30 Gilgamesh Wields The Swords Of Past Final Fantasy Heroes (FFXII)
Final Fantasy XII decided to do something different with the combat system, combining past influences with everything that the developers learned from Final Fantasy XI to create a hybrid combat system that is genuinely engaging at times.
One of the boss fights in this game that serves as a memorable encounter every single time he comes on the screen, Gilgamesh helps players enjoy this combat system to the fullest. All this, while the boss wields swords from past Final Fantasy games.
And we thought we couldn't love Gilgamesh more.
29 Tidus's Dummied Buster Sword (FFX)
Final Fantasy X is an excellent entry in the franchise that serves as a great entry for the series to the sixth generation of console gaming. One of the main reasons for the immense popularity of the series was a combat system that was genuinely engaging.
Tidus can wield several swords that share certain models, save for his ultimate weapon that has a unique design. However, one of these models was actually supposed to be the Buster Sword, which was ultimately cut but could still be found in the game files.
28 Don Corneo Can Actually Choose Cloud As His "Date" (FFVII)
The scene where Cloud needs to collect multiple parts of a costume to cross-dress successfully is one of the more memorable moments in Final Fantasy VII. However, this seemingly throwaway scene actually has extra elements that can alter Don Corneo's choice.
If you dress Cloud up properly, then he will be chosen as Corneo's lucky girl.
It's somewhat jarring and hilarious that a womanizer can't discern between an actual girl and a guy cross-dressing as one, and chances are that most people who played this game had no idea of this outcome.
27 Some Of Terra's Dialogue Was Dummied (FFVI)
Final Fantasy VI is one of the best games the series has churned out — the fact that some people still consider it to be the best Final Fantasy game even after games like VII, IX, and X just goes to show how revolutionary this title actually was.
However, even the greatest of games have ideas that simply don't make the cut. These ideas could even be integrated into the game, before being pulled at the last second. This is what happened with Terra's dialogue when she's vehemently against Kefka placing the Slave Crown on her head.
It's kinda creepy, so we understand why this was cut.
26 You Can't Check Selphie's Model With Scan Because Of Creepers (FFVIII)
Final Fantasy VIII is a rather divisive game, with people lying on extreme ends of the spectrum. While some people absolutely hate the game to its very core, there are others that consider this game to be the finest of the lot on the PlayStation, which is quite a telling statement.
Anyway, one of your party characters, Selphie, generally wears a yellow mini-dress that is perhaps a bit too mini. If you scan her during battle, then you won't be able to move her 3D model around — seemingly because lechers would try and sneak a peek.
25 Apparently, The Game Was Supposed To End On A Downer Note (FFVI)
The story of Final Fantasy VI arguably the best in the series, mainly due to the sheer scale of the events and the manner in which things play out. It exudes a sense of epicness, unlike anything one might've expected. However, for all the positive notes that the story touches upon, there was a concept that, if implemented, would've left a sour taste in the mouth of most gamers.
Basically, the game was supposed to end with the demise of one of the titular characters in the game, Terra. This idea was scrapped because Final Fantasy VI has more of an ensemble cast, so giving one character the limelight wouldn't have fit in with the story that the developers wanted to tell.
24 Bartz's Original Name Was Supposed To Be Butz (FFV)
Time to delve in the realm of the downright silly.
Final Fantasy V decided to reign in the story-heavy approach from the preceding game in the series to focus on a gameplay structure that would flesh out the mechanic explored in Final Fantasy III.
While Final Fantasy V definitely succeeded in revolutionizing the job system of the game, the main topic of this particular entry in the name of the main character, which was smartly changed from Butz to Bartz.
Cue the jokes.
23 Yuna's Line To Tidus Was Switched Out In The English Localization (FFX)
The ending of Final Fantasy X is one of the most emotional moments in gaming history, wrapping up most of the events in the series while also serving as an effective tearjerker. However, there was one change made in the English localization that drew the ire of many Japanese fans.
Basically, in the Japanese version of the game, Yuna sends off Tidus with a simple "thank you." However, in the English dub, this dialogue was changed to "I love you" to make it more emotional. This was frowned upon in Japan because the L-word is taken incredibly seriously, and hugging is generally considered to be the best way to display affection.
22 A Cut Scene Shows Palmer Visiting The Honey Bee Inn For Some "Satisfaction" (FFVII)
Remember when we talked about obtaining extra items for the Don Corneo side mission? Well, one such item is found in the Honey Bee Inn, with a fairly disturbing scene that most people know by now to be one of the more infamous moments in Final Fantasy VII.
However, there was another scene related to the inn that was cut out. After looking around in the game files, it was discovered that Palmer, the evil Shinra cronie, was actually supposed to make an appearance in the inn that's definitely not PG.
21 Meeting With Pupu The Alien (FFVIII)
Final Fantasy VIII has its fair share of secrets that caused fans no end of a headache to figure out. One such secret was an alien encounter that is equal parts memorable and frustrating to pull off.
Basically, you need to go to four different corners of the world map (well, not really) and witness a UFO. Once that is done, go to the canyon near Grandidi Forest to trigger an encounter with an alien, whom you need to give five valuable elixirs. Your reward? A freakin' Triple Triad card.
We hope it's worth it.
20 It's Possible To Get The Excalibur II, Which Is Steiner's Ultimate Weapon (FFIX)
Final Fantasy IX is another brilliant entry in the series, capping off a brilliant trilogy on the original PlayStation that has become the stuff of legends among the JRPG faithful. One of the many memorable characters in this game is Steiner, whose ultimate weapon is one of the hardest to obtain in the entire series.
The name of this weapon is the Excalibur II, and to obtain this weapon, you need to reach the final dungeon in 12 meager hours. Anyone who's played any Final Fantasy game can attest to the fact that achieving this goal is nigh impossible — that is, unless you plan to speedrun the game... but that's no fun.
19 Cloud's Hidden Lawyer Attack (FFVII)
By now, it should be fairly clear that most Final Fantasy games tend to have a substantial amount of cut content that can make a list in itself. This can be in the form of cutscenes, enemies, characters or — in the case of Final Fantasy VII — dummied attacks.
As always, this was discovered by inquisitive gamers that peeked around in the game's debug menu. They found an unused materia called "Housoku" (Japanese for Law), which provided the Gil Toss ability — a tongue-in-cheek reference to the money-hungry and ruthless nature of lawyers in the game.
18 The Master Tonberry That Is A Direct Reference To Star Wars (FFXV)
We've already talked about the movie-savvy nature of Final Fantasy XV, but this reference is so on-the-nose that it deserves a dedicated entry of its own. Basically, the game features a hidden boss in the form of the Master Tonberry, an iconic enemy in the game.
This enemy is wearing a black and red hood, similar to the outfit worn by the Jedi in Star Wars. If you think this is too much of a stretch, let us inform you that the Tonberry also uses a knife that turns into a pseudo-lightsaber when he attacks.
17 The Hidden Boss Ultima Weapon Also Houses The Most Powerful Summon (FFVIII)
The traditional of the superboss is an age-old trope of JRPGs that have posed as an extra optional challenge that most gamers can either opt to go for or avoid. While Ultima Weapon from Final Fantasy VIII isn't exactly hard enough to qualify as being a superboss, it's the summon this creature hides that makes this encounter all the more memorable.
Basically, by using the Draw command, the party can absorb the most powerful Guardian Force in the entire game from Ultima Weapon, Eden. Of course, there's a high chance that by the time you obtain this boss, you won't really be using summons in the first place, but this is still a pretty neat addition nevertheless.
16 A Cheeky Reference To The Heroes Of Prior Games (FFIX)
There's a reason why Final Fantasy IX is generally touted to be the fan favorite among the majority of people in the series — the sheer amount of callbacks to previous games in the series is immense, and endears this game in the eyes of most fans.
One such event can be seen in a throwaway dialogue that occurs during one of the many plays in the series, where Marcus blurts out the line, "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!"
Either this is a great callback to the protagonists of games prior, or it shows Marcus' immense knowledge of cloud and wind patterns.
15 Various Eidolons Were Cut Out From The Final Product (FF Type 0)
Final Fantasy Type-0 was a surprising spin-off that actually managed to be halfway decent. In fact, some fans might argue that it actually stands with Crisis Core as an excellent game in its own right.
One thing that was pretty disappointing in the game was the use of summons, labeled as Eidolons. Using them meant that one of your party members would sacrifice themselves, thereby lowering your mission rating. Some of these Eidolons were even cut from the main game — Pandemonium, Phoenix, and Typhon.
14 Bosses That Were Omitted From The Initial Release (FFVI)
At this point, it feels like talking about cut content from Final Fantasy games has become a sub-theme of this list.
Final Fantasy VI already has some disturbing dialogue that was cut out (which we've already discussed before), but that's not the only thing — bosses have also been omitted from the main release.
The original release had three bosses that were cut out — a weaker version of the Umaro battle, the Colossus, and the CzarDragon. The latter was actually brought back in the Advance version as the Kaiser Dragon, which is definitely the hardest boss in the game.
13 Selphie's Limit Breaks That Were Removed From The Main Game (FFVIII)
We've already talked about Selphie before, but it seems that this character is still the topic of discussion when it comes to hidden secrets. Kinda sucks, since she's arguably the most forgettable character in the main cast.
However, if there's one thing that can be said about her character, it's that her Limit Break is incredibly unique. From casting weak spells to ending the entire game, her power is massive. There were two Limit Breaks that were removed for her — "Percent," which works like a Gravity spell, and "Catastrophe," one of the most powerful spells in the entire game.
12 Emerald Weapon Is Actually Shown In The Background (FFVII: Crisis Core)
Gamers who started out their journey into the wondrous world of Final Fantasy VII will definitely have less-than-pleasant memories about their surprise encounter with Emerald Weapon after obtaining the submarine. Well, it seems that this boss became so iconic that he was also shown in Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core as well.
In Banora Underground, a keen-eyed gamer can actually witness a frozen Emerald Weapon, deep in slumber. While the entire body can't be seen, the shoulders with those iconic eyes are enough of an identifier.
11 The Scene Where Penelo Is Taken Was Censored In Japan (FFXII)
Normally, games made in Japan have some elements that are censored in the West upon release. However, this was a case of an event that was written in the game but removed later on in development due to certain tensions in Japan itself.
The event in question was Penelo being taken by Ba'Gamnan and his gang. Akitoshi Kawazu, the Executive Producer of Final Fantasy XII, admitted that this cut was made because of a high-profile criminal case in Japan that would've made this scene seem somewhat tasteless.
10 The Body Of Nyx Ulric Is Hanging In The Throne Room (FFXV)
Nyx Ulric was the protagonist of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV — a movie that is admittedly quite lame, for lack of a better descriptor. It still served to flesh out the plot of Final Fantasy XV, so fans were somewhat miffed that most of the characters didn't even make it in the game.
However, the developers decided to redeem the two hours that fans wasted on Kingsglaive with an easter egg that shows the body of Nyx Ulric floating in the Throne Room, in the penultimate scene of Final Fantasy XV.
9 Witnessing The Ghost Of Aerith In The Sector 5 Church (FFVII)
Whether this is a bug or not, no one can tell. Whatever it might be, this event just contributes to the mythos of Final Fantasy VII being a game that is still being analyzed extensively by gamers up to this very day.
This event is technically triggered after defeating Jenova LIFE, although the party can head back to Midgar only after rescuing Cloud from Mideel. It's an eerie moment that leaves the player with endless questions, but no answers.
8 The Hidden "Chocobo's World" Area (FFVIII)
To explain this particular area of Final Fantasy VIII, we need to take a trip down memory lane and talk about the PocketStation, a unique memory card for the PlayStation that didn't exactly sell well. Thus, it was never released outside of Japan, and ultimately screwed Western gamers out of a bonus area.
By using the PocketStation with Final Fantasy VIII, gamers could access an area called Chocobo's World, where you could play minigames to obtain items. This was added in as a separate program in the PC release of the game, although there are many fans that still don't know about this area to this day.
7 The Nero Brothers' Sidequest That Took 13 Years To Be Uncovered (FFIX)
The mother of hidden sidequests, Final Fantasy IX sported what just might be the most convoluted questline of all time. Some people say that this is meant to parody the obtuse quests in the previous games, but that's still not a great way to justify the existence of this quest.
Basically, after every major event or battle in Memoria (the final dungeon), the player needs to go back to the Tantalus hideout and talk to the Nero Brothers nine times. Doing so will net you a Protect Ring, which is definitely not worth the hassle.
6 The Hidden Developer's Office (FFIV)
Time for some good ol' fashioned confusion.
After the original Final Fantasy secured a Western release, the two games that were released later on didn't receive the same luxury. Thus, Final Fantasy IV was released as Final Fantasy II in the West, and had a ton of changes. The game was quite easy, and some content was also cut out.
This is not the case in the Nintendo DS remake, where the challenge is ramped up to the max, and cut content was restored. This includes the Developer's Office, found by accessing a hidden passage in the Lali-Ho Pub of the Dwarven Castle.
5 Safer Sephiroth's Health Is Dependent On Several Factors (FFVII)
The penultimate boss fight in Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic fights of all time. The music and the stakes are all ramped up to the max, making for an incredible experience through and through. In fact, this boss fight can be extended even further if you meet certain conditions.
From using the Knights Of The Round materia in the previous fights, to the total number of Level 99 characters in your party — all these factors add incremental amounts of HP to Safer Sephiroth, making for a memorable boss fight.
4 Celes' Time In Jail Is Censored In The Western Release (FFVI)
Remember when we talked about Penelo's censorship in Japan? We specifically mentioned how certain elements of Japanese gaming are censored in Western releases. Well, the abuse that Celes faces in jail is a prime example of a scene that had to be altered to avoid any unnecessary controversies.
This was done in a bid to sway the ratings in the game's favor and ensure maximum sales.
Of course, the fact that she was attacked by her guards is quite a tasteless thing in itself.
3 You Can Go On A Date With Freakin' Barret (FFVII)
The date at the Golden Saucer is another memorable moment in Final Fantasy VII. While most people might've watched this scene with Aerith, it's also possible to get this dating scene with Tifa as well.
Oh, but that's not all the options Cloud has.
If both Tifa and Aerith hate you, then the partner during this date will be none other than Barret. It's a hilarious scene, and somewhat memorable in its own unique way as well.
2 Movie Lines Littered Throughout The Game (FFXV)
Being the most recent Final Fantasy on this list, the game had a pressing need to stay up-to-date with the times and keep the series relevant in the process. In fact, it succeeded, for the most part, adopting an action-heavy mindset as opposed to its predecessors.
The pop-culture references were also on point.
From The Empire Strikes Back to Back To The Future, the referential lines in Final Fantasy XV are numerous in nature... and when we say numerous, we certainly aren't beating around the bush.
1 The Warmech Superboss (FFI)
What better way could there be to end this list than to talk about the secret that started it all — the Warmech superboss from the original Final Fantasy is a unique secret that most fans had no clue about, serving as a genuine surprise.
This encounter has etched its way in Final Fantasy history.
The fact that this superboss isn't unfair means that it actually poses a decent challenge to fans who can get by without having to use any cheap tactics — although that might just be because the original Final Fantasy was quite unforgiving.