How that wild Stranger of Paradise ending rewrites Final Fantasy history

Embrace the Chaos.

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stranger of paradise final fantasy origin
Square Enix

Stranger of Paradise is a retelling of the events of the very first Final Fantasy, following the Warriors of Light on their journey to save the world from the forces of Chaos. As you might expect, however, things aren’t quite that simple, and Stranger of Paradise has a pretty wild story to delve into. Much of that story is delivered through text notes known as the “Fool’s Missive,” so if you aren’t up to date on all the entries, the ending might prove a little bit confusing. We’ll help walk through the big revelations provided in the final hours, as well as the actual ending of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.

Stranger of Paradise Ending Explained

Jack’s plan to break the cycle means he essentially has to “become Chaos.”

Square Enix

The first thing to understand about the game’s ending is something called the “Stranger Project.” In the first Final Fantasy, there was an advanced race of beings known as the Lufenians, who helps the Warriors of Light. In Stranger of Paradise, however, they’re much more of a villainous organization. The Lufenians discovered that the balance between darkness and light has been shifting, which will lead to the world’s destruction. The Lufenians decide to leave the land of Cornelia and use their advanced technology to essentially play god with the world.

Using their dimensional crystal matrix, the Lufenians can reset time in the land of Cornelia, giving them infinite opportunities to fix the balance of light and darkness. The “Strangers” are humans created to fight the darkness that Lufenia pumps into the world. Each Stranger is given a dark crystal that enhances their powers. It also records and then wipes their memories, over and over. The Lufenians also realize that the core problem in Cornelia is humans, whose emotions can combine with the darkness to create Chaos.

During one cycle Jack and the others learn the truth. Furious at the way Lufenians toy with life, Jack hatches a plan to break the cycle once and for all. In order to complete the plan, he asks Astos, an agent of the Lufenians, to “guide” the Strangers to the truth on subsequent cycles. The story that unfolds as you play Stranger of Paradise is the cycle where things finally come to a head, and Jack’s friends regain their full memories before he does.

Jack kidnaps Princess Sarah to force the appearance of the Warriors of Light, who will face and defeat him.

Square Enix

The plan finally comes together when Cornelia is attacked by monsters that kill the royal family. Princess Sarah is among those killed, and her sixth dark crystal draws all of the darkness in the world to her. Jack’s friends then force him to fight and kill them, because his anguish will allow him to absorb all the darkness and embrace Chaos.

Then Jack heads back to Chaos Shrine one more time, which holds the conduit that allows him to travel the staging area the Lufenians use to reset the world. The Lufenians realize Jack has gone rogue and intends to destroy them, and in their panic, they completely cut the connection Cornelia has to their reality. Jack defeats the physical manifestation of Chaos to claim its power for his own, but before he’s wiped from reality by the Lufenians, he is pulled back through time by the Four Fiends, who are actually his friends that have been transformed.

How Stranger of Paradise Sets Up the First Final Fantasy

With Cornelia no longer at the whims of the Lufenians, the world finally can decide its own fate. However, Jack and his friends know that the world still needs heroes to continue saving it from the darkness and Lufenians. With that in mind, the group decides to nurture the darkness and Chaos to help raise the true Warriors of Light, who’ll be born in Cornelia.

This basically kickstarts the time loop of Final Fantasy 1, as Jack turns himself into the villain Garland. The final scenes show Jack kidnapping Princess Sarah, which will eventually make the Warriors of Light confront him, as shown in the very final shot of the game. Stranger of Paradise recontextualizes the villains of Final Fantasy 1 as tragic heroes who helped cultivate the Warriors of Light.

What to expect from Stranger of Paradise DLC

Stranger of Paradise’s future DLC missions can only be obtained through the Season Pass.

Square Enix

While Stranger of Paradise’s ending feels pretty final, the Season Pass does have three brand new missions coming. These missions are titled “Trials of the Dragon King, Wanderer of the Rift, and Different Future.”

While we don’t know exactly what these missions will entail, the first two are likely side stories that could take place between the end of the game and the birth of the Warriors of Light. Dragon King most likely refers to Bahamut, while Wander of the Rift could hint at an appearance by Gilgamesh, a recurring warrior from the series known to leap through time and different dimensions.

What’s most interesting, however, is the Different Future mission, which could give fans a different, happier, ending for Jack and his friends. For reference, Final Fantasy XV had a different, happier ending planned as DLC before it was canceled by Square Enix.

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