It took me 2.5 months, but I finally got caught up on Final Fantasy 14. The whole time I was playing I took random notes to use for ideas for this website, but apart from the Inquisition and Heavensward, nothing was really fleshed out enough for an entire post. That said, there were a lot of good ideas, so I decided today to briefly discuss many smaller topics instead of one big one. So here are some Final Fantasy 14 Tidbits (spoilers throughout, although nothing too major this time).
Early in the game, you go visit each town and hear a speech where a leader talks about the town, its culture and its current problems. When you get to the merchant city Ul’dah which is known for its wealth, one of its leaders, Raubhan, mentions in his speech that the wealth of the city is not its money but its people. This reminded me of the famous story of St. Lawrence. During a time of Roman persecution, he was told to bring the treasure of the church to the Roman officials. He then brought them the poor of the city and presented them as the treasure of the church. Naturally, the Romans weren’t happy and had him roasted alive. While he was dying, he was said to have quipped, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” He’s now the patron saint of both chefs and comedians.
During the paladin storyline, one of the points made to the characters is that “Honor is a means to an end, not the end itself.” This reminded me of honor as a happiness substitute (as discussed in the Yakuza 3 post a while ago). The simple version is that honor is a sign that you may be virtuous, but it is not the virtue itself.
In the Crystal Tower storyline (which is heavily inspired by Final Fantasy III by the way), you encounter the leader of an ancient civilization named Xande who you are trying to stop from regaining power and returning to take over the world. Xande has become functionally immortal- though there are some steps in the process of returning from death (the final goal of the questline is to stop the source of his immortality). While discussing why he cared so much about staying alive, he mentions “What worth is wealth and power when all must be consigned to death and loss?” This is actually a pretty common theme all over the Bible. One place that comes to mind in particular is the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) where a rich farmer builds up a new barn to store even more goods only to die before he can use any of it.
In the Stormblood expansion, the people conquered by the Garlean Empire are routinely treated as animals beneath the Garleans. They are consistently mistreated and abused all throughout the expansion as you try to liberate them. There is an inherent dignity to all human life which is why the abuse of the conquered people is wrong. This is why, for example, the church argued against the mistreatment of the Native Americans by the Spaniards (which admittedly wasn’t always successful).
At one point in the game, the leaders of the various countries of Eorzea meet with the Emperor of Garlemond in an attempt to reach a peace agreement before war breaks out again. One thing that the emperor mentions is that his people in the past were from Eorzea before being driven out because they couldn’t use magic. He then says “After centuries of exile, reclamation may be mistaken for invasion.” This reminded me of the Crusades, which is presented by modern historians as an invasion rather than a reclamation of old Christian lands.
In Shadowbringers, the monsters tormenting the world called Sin Eaters work kind of like zombies- if someone is hurt by them they may start turning into one. Since the injured people can’t control this, they are mostly shunned by society as no one wants to be there when they turn into a monster. That said, there is a colony of them at the south edge of the world map where a few kind souls take care of them while they suffer, until poisoning them with their favorite food right before they transform. This reminded me of how lepers were treated in the Bible and by the church (check out St. Damian of Molokai for example). You can also see it with Mother Teresa’s Little Sisters of the Poor in modern times. The one big difference is that last part where the person was poisoned. Catholicism is against euthenasia. This is due to the dignity of human life I mentioned earlier, as well as the church’s stance against the ends justifying the means as I’ve mentioned in many other posts (so preventing more suffering from killing someone who will become a monster is not ok).
Finally for a more comedic example, in Shadowbringers you find that your ally Urianger, like Alphinaud, can’t swim. Rather than learn, he decides it’s a better use of his time to learn how to walk on water via magic. This works for a time before he loses concentration and starts sinking and needing rescue. This reminded me of when Jesus walks on the sea (Matthew 14:22-33). Peter says “Lord, if it is you, bid me to come to you on the water,” to which Jesus replies “Come.” Peter starts walking before he notices how windy it is and he starts sinking due to his doubts.
So there are a bunch of random Catholic ideas I noticed while playing through Final Fantasy 14. It’s definitely got a great story for an MMO and for a Final Fantasy game, so it was easier to come up with ideas than it would have been for many other games and especially for other MMOs. If you have the time and patience to get through the slow paced base game, I’d definitely recommend checking it out (although do remember it’s basically got 7 years of content now, hence my 2.5 months of playing catch up). You might even notice random Catholic ideas that I missed since the game has so much going on now.
Song of the Post-
Final Fantasy 14