One of the (many, many) things I love about Final Fantasy VI is that every character has a unique story. With a main party that can consist of 14 characters, that’s quite a feat to pull off and do it well. Three of the four optional characters’ stories are a bit lacking, they still have some substance to them.
Let’s look at some of the characters’ stories.
Locke is a member of the Returners (the resistance group set against the empire) and a thief – excuse me, “treasure hunter.” Throughout the game, you unravel Locke’s story and why he’s in of the resistance.
Years prior to the start of the game, he met a girl named Rachel, and they fell in love. In an accident, she lost her memory, Locke was blamed by her father and the town, and he left, though mostly because the entire town turned on him. Eventually, the town was destroyed by the empire, but not before Rachel regained her memory and with it, her love for Locke. Rachel’s death pushed Locke to the Returners.
Locke’s love for Rachel and their past together contributes to every part of his story in the game, often times in ways that aren’t obvious until you discover his past, or on subsequent play throughs. After the world is destroyed, Locke is found searching for the Phoenix esper, that is believed to be able to bring someone back from the dead. After finding it, he is temporarily reunited with Rachel, absolved of his past, and finds hope for the future again.
Edgar and Sabin
Edgar and Sabin are brothers and sons of the former king of Figaro. At the king’s death (also at the hands of the empire), the people were trying to figure out which of the two would become the next king. Sabin was hurt by the fact that no one seemed to care about what happened and wanted he and Edgar to leave the kingdom. Edgar wanted to help Sabin, but he also didn’t want to go against his father’s wishes. So, Edgar proposed a coin toss to settle the matter between them – Edgar became king and Sabin won his freedom.
The two brothers lost touch for a while. During that time, Edgar “befriended” the empire, though he was really a Returner, and Sabin met and trained with a martial arts master in order to be able to protect Edgar. Eventually, the brothers are reunited, and more of their story is uncovered.
Sabin knew Edgar would take better care of the kingdom and Edgar knew Sabin valued his freedom. The coin toss was rigged with a doubled-headed coin, ensuring the outcome. Edgar essentially bound himself to the kingdom and their father’s wishes, despite wanting to leave with his brother, so that Sabin could live the life he wanted.
Relm and Shadow
Relm has a talent for painting. Her paintings are magical, though, and whatever she paints becomes real. Shadow is an assassin with a dog named Interceptor. Interceptor doesn’t listen to anyone except Shadow, however, he has a soft spot for Relm. When Shadow and Relm are together, Interceptor often ignores Shadow in favor of Relm.
Through a series of optional events and dream sequences (Shadow’s memories), you discover that Strago (Relm’s grandfather, and one of the other main characters) knows Shadow, and that Shadow was a former thief named Clyde. Not only that, Shadow is Relm’s father, which explains the way Interceptor acts around her.
Clyde tried to leave his previous life behind him. This eventually led him to Thamasa, where he married one of the residents, and fathered Relm. In continuing to run from his past, Clyde left his family and Thamasa, and took up the persona of Shadow, an assassin for hire who had killed his emotions.
A Story to Tell
These are just a few of the characters’ stories and only parts of their respective stories. The depth that Square managed to put into each of the characters in Final Fantasy VI is amazing, especially considering how many there are. It also portrays two significant lessons – everyone has a story to tell and everyone’s story matters.
Whatever your story is, it’s a story worth telling. People find comfort and hope in the stories of other people. When you look at the characters of Final Fantasy VI and each story told, they include both tragedy and triumph. The tragedy is what people often go through, and the triumph is what gives people hope. Sure, these are stories in a game, but they are also stories that real people experience.
Whatever your story is, it matters. Your own tragedies and how you’ve overcame it can give hope to others currently going through the pain of that tragedy. Maybe you’re in the middle of your own tragedy right now. Find others who can support you in it. Maybe someone else who has gone through a similar experience and found peace on the other side. There’s hope at the end and you’ll have a story to tell from it.
Wherever you’re at in life, you have a story to tell. And that story matters.