Final Fantasy 8 Ending Analysis

The ending of Final Fantasy 8 was touted as a great example of graphics in a video game, but few attempts to truly understand just what it was about. This was largely because the ending was extremely abstract, with something of a timeline montage basically representing the compression of time.

Final Fantasy 8 Ending: Squall and Rinoa

In order to understand the ending of Final Fantasy 8 the difference and similarities of Squall and Rinoa must be briefly discussed. Squall and Rinoa both have similiar views of the world in that they are both displeased with it, but each of them reacts in a different way. Squall reacts by becoming an extreme introvert and essentially avoiding the problem. Rinoa reacts by demanding change in her extraverted way and by creating a liberation group. The problem is that each one unchecked by the other results in too much of an extreme.

Final Fantasy 8 Ending: Time Compression

At the end of Final Fantasy 8 Ultimecia ultimately succeeds and time begins to compress. As a result of this, all the possible futures begin to play out with different scenarios occuring. This is seen largely from Squall’s perspective, where Rinoa disappears from his life for a variety of reasons. Either she ends up with Seifer, she just does not meet Squall or she ‘dies’ in space because Squall does not jump out to save her. All of these result in Ultimecia being generated, because all of them present scenarios in which Squall and Rinoa could not be together.

Final Fantasy 8 Ending: the Desert and the Storm

As the various scenarios of time compression play out, what Squall’s life would be like without Rinoa is also shown. His world basically becomes an ever shrinking desert, drying of all life and growing smaller and smaller. This symbolizes that without Rinoa he becomes increasingly distant and disconnected with the world. Rinoa is, of course, the opposite of this in that she constantly waits for Squall to rescue her from the flower field that he promised he would come to. If he fails to do so, her flowery extraverted world becomes a raging storm. She thus becomes a tyrant, the most powerful tyrant that ever lived and her storm devours the world just as Ultimecia had in the future.

Final Fantasy 8 Ending: Rinoa Saves Squall

Rinoa’s growing power as a sorceress as well as her extraversion enable her to break through Squall’s exterior in order to save him from his own introversion. This is an interesting revelation as it could be argued that without Ultimecia directing events from the future it would never have happened. thus potentially painting Ultimecia as the hero of the story, even if an unwitting one. Thus, in order for time to exist, Rinoa and Squall need to get together and hence that is the ending. This is symbolized by the storm clouds being lifted once Rinoa rescues Squall as well as the flowers springing up. Ala, a mixture of the two viewpoints expressed through the environment.

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