Even after completing the visceral and chaos-riddled demo, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin’s story remains mysterious.
We know for sure that the game is set in the same universe as the original Final Fantasy, yet it couldn’t feel more different. The visceral, dark fantasy world feels more like Bloodborne or Dark Souls than it does a Square Enix JRPG. The hero is a gruff man in a t-shirt with a totally normal name: Jack.
The anachronistic approach borders on the absurd. A new interview, however, implies that it’s all intentional — and it might even lead to some potentially huge spoilers.
In an interview with Famitsu that was translated by Square Enix on June 18, Creative Producer Tetsuya Nomura revealed that all of these choices have a deeper meaning in the final game. That even applies to the names of its three main protagonists.
We’re breaking down what those names actually mean according to She Knows and what they could imply about the final game.
What did Nomura say? Tetsuya Nomura’s comments in the Famitsu interview hint at this deeper meaning behind how out-of-place Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin’s characters feel within the game’s world.
“The reasoning behind Jack’s appearance is purely related to the story,” he explains. “Likewise, there’s meaning behind all of their names. But that would be a spoiler, so I’ll save that for another time.” While Nomura won’t explain the names outright, his vague hints are nonetheless pretty telling. Here’s what Jack, Ash, and Jed’s names could mean for their characters.
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A key figure in Final Fantasy lore is Princess Sarah, a character who the villain Garnet kidnaps in the original story. And based on subtitled narration in the demo and trailer, she’s the female voice we hear at certain points. Now, the name “Sarah” comes from the Hebrew word for Princess, giving it an obvious double meaning.
It could therefore be possible that all of the names are related to Hebrew origins. When you consider the protagonist Jack, things get very interesting: The name is derived from the Hebrew word for “supplanter.”
As a supplanter, Jack will disrupt and take a position of power by force. Or he will literally take the place of someone else, usually on purpose. This all feeds into a theory that Jack is destined to kill Chaos, yes, but he will also then become Chaos. Alternatively, it could also just tease the fact that Jack will dethrone chaos by the end of the game and upset the world’s balance.
While Tetsuya Nomura doesn’t want to share too much about the story just yet, it seems like Jack could be a person from another world who is brought to Final Fantasy 1’s universe. From there, he wants to track down and kill Chaos, and could ultimately end up supplanting and defeating him.
Even the English meaning of Jack — god is gracious — highlights the importance of this character. It just remains to be seen what the deeper meaning really is here.
When you hear the name Ash, your mind probably thinks of an ash tree or the ashes left behind when something is burnt. Those don’t seem like they would mean much in the context of this game, but the Hebrew meaning of the name does give a bit more insight into his character.
The name Ash actually comes from a Hebrew word for happy. His name might be less of a groundbreaking story reveal than just a character trait. Ash could hopefully bring a more happy and lighthearted tone to situations in the otherwise dour Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.
It’s possible that the name Ash could also be be connected to something with the game’s world, though there doesn’t appear that the term ash appears much throughout the Final Fantasy series outside of a couple of appearances as an item and one as an enemy in Final Fantasy 9.
There’s not as much to go on with Jed’s name, but it does make his role in the story pretty clear. Jed, and the longer form of the name (Jedidiah), is a Hebrew name that means “friend of the Lord” or “beloved of the Lord.” If Jack does become Chaos or some sort of god over the course of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, then Jed’s name is probably a signifier of his loyalty and closeness to Jack throughout the game.
It might mean that Jed also stays by Jack’s side if he does end up turning evil. Jed’s name doesn’t tease any sort of shocking twist, it might just cement him as a reliable supporting character that players can rely on throughout the game.
It’s also possible that these names even have meanings we won’t understand until we start playing the game. Particularly in the case of Jack, if his totally normal name wound up being a huge hint towards a major plot point, then that would be a clever way to allude to their collective destiny.
But what will that destiny be?
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin will be released in 2022.