Final Fantasy IX Wiki

Vivi from Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the PlayStation console. It is the ninth main installment in the Final Fantasy series and was originally released in Japan on July 7, 2000, followed by a North American release on November 13, 2000, and a European release on February 16, 2001. The game was later re-released on various platforms, including PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.

Plot and Setting

Final Fantasy IX is set in the fictional world of Gaia, a planet divided into four main continents. Each continent has its unique geography, culture, and civilization, from the medieval European-inspired Kingdom of Alexandria to the technologically advanced Lindblum. The game’s setting is a blend of traditional fantasy elements, like castles and dragons, mixed with steampunk aesthetics, including airships and advanced machinery.

The story begins with Zidane Tribal, a member of a group of bandits known as Tantalus, who is tasked with kidnapping Princess Garnet of Alexandria. Unbeknownst to her captors, Garnet has her reasons for wanting to leave the castle and willingly joins Zidane. The plot then unfolds into a larger narrative, involving the sinister Queen Brahne of Alexandria, who seeks to conquer other nations using powerful magical weapons.

As Zidane and Garnet, along with their growing group of allies, including the young black mage Vivi and the knight Adelbert Steiner, travel across Gaia, they become embroiled in a deeper conflict. This conflict revolves around the mysterious world of Terra and the ancient history of Gaia, exploring themes such as existentialism, the nature of life and the soul, and the impact of war and colonialism on different societies.

Each character’s backstory is deeply intertwined with the larger narrative. Vivi’s journey, for instance, deals with existential questions about life and purpose, as he learns about the origins of black mages. Similarly, Garnet’s struggle is one of identity and duty as she grapples with her role as a princess and her responsibilities towards her kingdom.

The game also explores the concept of memory and the past. The characters frequently encounter remnants of lost civilizations and must reckon with Gaia’s history and its impact on the present. The antagonists, including Kuja and Garland, have their motivations rooted in this history, adding layers to the conflict.


Final Fantasy IX features a rich and engaging gameplay experience, drawing from the series’ traditional mechanics while introducing new systems and refinements. The game’s core gameplay is divided into exploration, battles, and character progression, with several mini-games and side quests to enhance the player’s journey through the world of Gaia.


Players navigate through a variety of environments, including towns, dungeons, and the world map. Exploration involves interacting with non-playable characters (NPCs) to gather information, purchase items and equipment, and advance the story. The game uses pre-rendered backgrounds for most locations, which are visually detailed and serve to create a unique atmosphere in each area.

Final Fantasy IX introduces the Active Time Event (ATE) system, which allows players to witness events happening elsewhere in the game world. These events provide insight into the characters’ thoughts and actions outside of the main party, enriching the narrative and offering additional context.


The game features a turn-based battle system in which the player’s party and enemies take turns to perform actions. Battles are initiated through random encounters on the world map and in dungeons, or as scripted events within the story.

The Active Time Battle (ATB) system from previous Final Fantasy games returns, with each character and enemy having an ATB gauge that fills over time. Once the gauge is full, the character or enemy can take an action, such as attacking, using an item, or casting a spell. The ATB system creates a sense of urgency and dynamism in battles, as players must make strategic decisions in real-time.

In addition to the standard commands, each character has a unique skillset tied to their character class, such as Zidane’s “Steal” ability or Vivi’s “Black Magic.” These abilities add depth to the battle system, as players must consider the optimal use of each character’s skills.

Character Progression

Final Fantasy IX’s character progression system is centered around the acquisition and growth of abilities through equipped items. Each character can equip a weapon, armor, and accessories, which often grant abilities that can be learned by the character. As the character gains experience points (EXP) and levels up, they also earn Ability Points (AP) that contribute to learning these abilities.

Once an ability is learned, it can be equipped using Magic Stones (MS), which are gained as characters level up. Each ability has a Magic Stone cost, and players must strategically allocate their available MS to customize each character’s abilities to suit their playstyle and combat strategy.


Eidolons, or summoned creatures, play a significant role in Final Fantasy IX’s gameplay and story. Garnet and Eiko, as summoners, can call upon powerful eidolons in battle, which can deal massive damage to enemies or provide support to the party. Summoning eidolons consumes a large amount of MP (Magic Points) and requires a full ATB gauge, making their usage strategic and situational.

Mini-games and Side Quests

Final Fantasy IX includes several mini-games and side quests that provide additional content and challenges for players. Notable examples include the card game Tetra Master, which can be played with NPCs throughout the world; Chocobo Hot and Cold, a treasure-hunting mini-game featuring Chocobos; and various optional boss battles and dungeons that reward players with powerful equipment and abilities.

These side activities offer a break from the main story and allow players to delve deeper into the game’s world and lore, providing a more immersive and rewarding experience.


The development of Final Fantasy IX was a meticulous process that involved a talented team of developers, artists, and composers, led by key figures in the Final Fantasy franchise. The game was developed by Square (now Square Enix) and aimed to pay homage to the series’ history while delivering a fresh and engaging experience.

Concept and Direction

Final Fantasy IX was conceived as a return to the series’ roots after the more futuristic and realistic settings of Final Fantasy VII and VIII. Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who served as the producer, wanted the game to recapture the feel of earlier titles by embracing a more traditional fantasy setting and character designs. Hiroyuki Ito, known for his work on Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI, took on the role of director for the first time in the series.

Character Design and Art

The character designs for Final Fantasy IX were a collaborative effort between Yoshitaka Amano, the series’ longtime character designer, and Toshiyuki Itahana, who would later work on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. The characters were designed with a “chibi” style, featuring exaggerated proportions and a more cartoonish appearance. This was a departure from the more realistic designs of the previous two installments and was intended to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

The game’s art direction, led by Hideo Minaba, was inspired by a blend of European architecture, fairy tale illustrations, and steampunk aesthetics. The team utilized pre-rendered backgrounds to create a visually rich and detailed world, with each location featuring its own distinct atmosphere and design.

Music and Sound

Nobuo Uematsu, the acclaimed composer for the Final Fantasy series, created the soundtrack for Final Fantasy IX. Uematsu composed over 100 pieces of music for the game, drawing inspiration from various genres and styles, including classical, folk, and electronic music. The score is known for its memorable melodies, emotional depth, and its ability to capture the spirit of the game’s narrative and setting.

The game also featured a theme song, “Melodies of Life,” performed by Emiko Shiratori and written by Uematsu. The song was used in key moments throughout the story, tying together the game’s themes of love, loss, and the passage of time.

Technical Development

Final Fantasy IX was developed for the PlayStation console, utilizing its capabilities to deliver impressive graphics and seamless gameplay. The game’s pre-rendered backgrounds, detailed character models, and cinematic cutscenes were all created using advanced techniques for the time, pushing the hardware to its limits.

The development team also implemented various gameplay innovations and refinements, such as the Active Time Event system and the character ability system, to create a more immersive and strategic experience for players.


The game’s localization, led by Alexander O. Smith, involved translating and adapting the game’s script, item names, and other in-game text from Japanese to English. The localization team worked closely with the developers to ensure that the game’s humor, cultural references, and emotional impact were accurately conveyed to English-speaking audiences.