On June 6, many Twitter users in the United States probably noticed the phrase “Attack and Dethrone God” trending on their newsfeeds. No, it wasn’t in reference to Xenoblade Chronicles or Final Fantasy VII Remake, it was a direct quote from the Fox News show The Ingraham Angle.
Host Laura Ingraham interviewed former FBI agent and author Terry Turchie, who compared the worldwide protests against police brutality sparked by the murder of George Floyd to the radical left militant group called the Weather Underground Organization (WUO) that was active during the 1960s and 1970s.
During the interview, Ingraham read from a graphic that falsely claimed one of the WUO’s core objectives was to “Attack and Dethrone God,” a phrase that does not appear anywhere in the group’s manifesto that Ingraham and Turchie were citing. He made the claim that ongoing protests happening in America had the same aim: to attack and dethrone God.
This led to a wave of mocking tweets from political enthusiasts and gamers alike, who couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that Fox News just broadcasted one of the most common tropes in Japanese role-playing games.
“‘ATTACK AND DETHRONE GOD’ is trending on twitter. we have officially entered the Final Fantasy phase of 2020,” wrote Twitter user Yungvidya. Their tweet was among one of the viral on Saturday garnered well over 22,000 likes.
Yungvidya's tweet includes an image taken from the final battle of Final Fantasy VI where the player confronts the villainous Kefka, a mad clown who has been transformed into the God of Magic with the intent of ending all existence. It fits within the narrative arc of the game, but it's also an exponential escalation toward a more cosmic scale to the conflict.
Even FF7 Remake, released in April 2020, unfolds like this. (Spoilers incoming.) A group of eco-terrorists fight against the Shinra Company by destroying the Mako Reactors draining the planet of its lifeblood, but one of the final battles is against the Arbiter of Fate, a massive entity who seeks to maintain the course of destiny.
An overwhelming majority of JRPGs including Final Fantasy Tactics, Persona 4, Dragon Quest IV, Chrono Trigger, and many more include a final battle where gamers face off against a godlike, near-omnipotent entity. This typically occurs in the eleventh hour of the game’s plot when players might expect one thing, but an extra-dimensional being emerges as the real threat. Either that or the principal enemy is transformed in some kind of magical way to become an even bigger threat.
This major endgame escalation is such a commonly used way to end JRPGs that it has become its own meme and there are multiple Reddit threads of gamers asking if there’s a JRPG out there that doesn’t use this trope. Think of it as the gaming version of the M. Night Shyamalan “What a Twist!” meme. The big twist is supposed to be a surprise, but anyone who’s ever played a JRPG will see it coming.
The Fox New graphic became literal jet fuel for a wildfire of memes that engulfed Twitter over the weekend, but JRPGs isn’t the only genre of games that pitted gamers against gods.
Comedian Desus Nice also reminded his nearly one million followers that anyone with a PlayStation 4 and God of War was prepared for this moment.
“When you see ATTACK AND DETHRONE GOD trending and remember Sony rained us for this,” he wrote. As ridiculous and hilarious as this trending topic has become, particularly for gamers who love JRPGs, it's a grim reminder of just how dire systemic racism has become in this country. Turchie's comments, somewhat foolishly, also liken protestors to the powerful heroes from every Final Fantasy game ever. Doesn't that ... sound like a good thing?