How Final Fantasy Origin’s Garland and Chaos Reference the Original NES Game

Confused about that wild Final Fantasy Origin trailer? Join us as we dive into the ways the bizarre preview references the original NES game.

Final Fantasy Origin
Photo: Square Enix

We already knew that the recently leaked Final Fantasy Origin (now formally known as Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin) would debut during Square Enix’s E3 2021 showcase, but nothing could quite prepare us for just how crazy the game’s first trailer would be or the many bizarre ways that it referenced the original Final Fantasy game.

Actually, you’re forgiven if you watched Final Fantasy Origin‘s debut trailer and didn’t even realize that it appears to be a kind of retelling of the original Final Fantasy game. While some of the specifics of the relationship between Team Ninja’s Final Fantasy spin-off and 1987’s Final Fantasy remain unknown, the two clearly share a number of plot points and characters. Because the trailer honestly did a pretty bad job of making that clear, though, only hardcore Final Fantasy fans were probably able to those references.

To help bring us all up to speed, then, here’s a look at some of the major ways Final Fantasy Origin‘s debut trailer references the original game (including an explanation for why everyone is shouting “chaos”).

Final Fantasy Origin Revives the Adventures of the Warriors of Light

The “Warriors of Light” is an idea seen in various Final Fantasy games, but the concept debuted in the original Final Fantasy. Basically, Warriors of Light are heroes chosen by the crystals (typically in the form of a prophecy) to defeat a great evil and help maintain balance.

Ad – content continues below

The main characters we see in the Origin trailer are our Warriors of Light for this adventure, and they also appear to be the same characters featured in the original Final Fantasy game. So while there are still elements of Origin‘s plot that remain somewhat frustratingly unexplained, we at least know that it will include the Warriors of Light: your everyday heroes of destiny.

Garland Was the Antagonist In the First Final Fantasy

According to Final Fantasy‘s (admittedly sometimes thin) story, Garland was once the most famous knight in the kingdom of Cornelia. Unfortunately for the kingdom, Garland became corrupted by internal and external forces. Soon thereafter, he kidnapped Princess Sarah, fled to the Chaos Shrine (more on that in a bit), and decided to hold the kingdom hostage.

Interestingly, the player actually “defeats” Garland fairly early into their Final Fantasy adventure. However, we soon discover that Garland isn’t quite dead yet and actually managed to survive with help from an entity who not only plays a major role in the evolution of the Final Fantasy games but will clearly play a big role in Final Fantasy Origin.

Why is Everyone Shouting “Chaos” in the Final Fantasy Origin Trailer?

According to our friends at PC Gamer, the word “chaos” is said eight times during Final Fantasy Origin‘s first trailer. While there’s a lot to say about the use of that word in the trailer and how unintentionally hilarious the whole thing ends up being, for the moment, let’s just focus on the meaning of the word in relation to Final Fantasy Origin‘s mythology.

In the original Final Fantasy, Chaos is a demonic figure/evil presence that many consider the quintessential big bad in Final Fantasy games. When Garland is initially defeated at the Shrine of Chaos, he is transported back in time by the Four Fiends of Chaos. By the time that our heroes confront him in the past, he reveals that Chaos has created a kind of time paradox that allows him to live forever. He is even able to transform into the physical form of Chaos to battle our heroes, though they do eventually vanquish him and seemingly restore Garland’s human form to the now corrected present timeline.

So, the reason that everyone keeps saying “chaos” in the Final Fantasy Origin trailer is that the word refers to both the biggest bad of the original Final Fantasy and a grander idea regarding the balance of good, evil, and everything in-between in that universe.

Ad – content continues below

Could Final Fantasy Origin Be Based on Final Fantasy: Memory of Heroes?

While you should definitely file this one under speculation, there are elements of the Final Fantasy Origin trailer that suggest it could be partially based on Final Fantasy: Memory of Heroes: a novel that expands/retells the stories of the first three Final Fantasy games.

Not only is the version of the Final Fantasy story told in that book much more violent/intense than it was in the actual game (which would seemingly fit with what Team Ninja is going for), but it changes the original ending of the game slightly. See, in the game, the Warriors of Light defeat Chaos together and end the time paradox. In Memory of Heroes, the warrior, Setro, delivers the killing blow in order to end his grudge against the demon.

As the warrior character in the Final Fantasy Origin trailer seems to have much more of a vendetta against Chaos and was clearly portrayed as the group’s leader, it’s entirely possible that the project’s plot will borrow some of the ideas introduced in Memory of Heroes. Again, though, there’s a lot about this game’s relationship with the first Final Fantasy that we simply aren’t sure of quite yet.