Akihiko Yoshida's concept painting of Ashley Riot and Callo Merlose that became the box art

See Main Articles Connections and Similarities between Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy and Ivalice
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Subsequent Final Fantasy XII releases added incrementally firmer links between Vagrant Story's Ivalice and Ivalice and other worlds in the Final Fantasy Universe.

The 2006 console role-playing game Final Fantasy XII contains several references to Vagrant Story. Terms such as Riskbreaker, Leámonde and Kildea (albeit with different spellings in the localizations), are commonly used in both games. Yasumi Matsuno, the creator of Final Fantasy XII, was interviewed by Joypad, a French gaming magazine, in 2004 on Final Fantasy XII and the game world he conceived, Ivalice, when he joined Square in 1995. He describes Ivalice as a complex world with a very long history and the stories of Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy XII are said to unfold quite close on the Ivalice map.[1]

The reason for this is the overlap of personnel, primarily Yasumi Matsuno. It was enabled by the enveloping umbrella of shared intellectual property rights, and likely inspired in part by the desire to create homages to co-workers and fellow staff, between the two games. It seems likely that developers share player's nostalgia for prior content, and note the fact that players like to see the return of elements they previously enjoyed, and the fact that old content is easy to add does not hurt either.

Although there are many connections to be shown, there is a short list of examples showing that the Ivalice of Vagrant Story is meant to be the same place exactly as that in the Final Fantasy series:

  • In FFXII, the Iocus Rood Sigil/Blood Sin (cross with an X instead of a cross bar) remains related to the summoning of magic and creatures: it is in the background when the player summons, it is signed by Gabranth in his first major appearance, and a Blood Sin mark identical to the infamous tattoo appears on the skull of the shamaness during Zalera's spell "Death Wail".
  • Vagrant Story is set in Valendia, one of the continents in Final Fantasy XII.
  • Kiltia is mentioned as a sect in Vagrant Story. In Final Fantasy XII there is a religion called the Light of Kiltia.
  • A short passage is quoted from A.J. Durai. 'Arazlam Durai' was the narrator of Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • In a dialogue with Samantha, Sydney mentions how the Priesthood of Iocus worships a 'dead' god who is really a demon. Since the name of the Church associated with the Priesthood is never given, this may be an allusion to Saint Ajora Glabados.
  • Agrias Balm: The Zodiac Brave Story in Final Fantasy Tactics contains multiple references to a knight Agrias, balm used by him, and a place by that name.
  • In one of its Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift/Side Stories has Montblanc requesting Hurdy a bottle of Prudence. Prudence is one of the wines found in Vagrant Story's Leá Monde.
  • The Gran Grimoire plays a major role in Vagrant Story's plot. The term would later be used for other magical books in the Ivalice series, but a set of Gran Grimoires would become a recurring plot item in the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series.
  • One of the clan ranks in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is Riskbreaker. Ashley Riot is a member of the Riskbreakers.


  • The game was originally meant to feature a two-player option. Fans generally assume that Callo would have been the second playable character. Matsuno has stated that there were supposed to be several AI-controlled characters in the game. How the two-player option would have related to these AI characters is unknown.
  • Due to capacity and development time constraints, more than 50 percent of the game's story had to be cut from the final version, and the graphics' polygon count also had to be reduced.
  • Matsuno was reportedly inspired by "everything from Shakespeare to Jet Li" for the plot of the game.
  • Matsuno described Vagrant Story as a game "geared toward hard core gamers" and said the difference between mainstream games and it is similar to the differences between seafood and meat dishes, French cuisine and Japanese cuisine, soccer and baseball, rock and jazz, and Titanic and The Blair Witch Project.
  • A official comic book of the game was released in 2000.[1] It featured an exclusive interview of Yasumi Matsuno.[2]

Arthurian References

Accessories in Vagrant Story make reference to characters of Arthurian legends. (This badly needs confirmation/citation)

Arturos - King Arthur Nimje Coif - Nimue, Lady of the Lake Basivalen - Sir Percival
Morgan's Nails - Morgan le Fay Lancer - Sir Lancelot Tertia - Sir Tristam
Galerian - Sir Galahad Vedivier - Sir Bedivere Polaris - Sir Bors
Marlene's Ring - Merlin Berion - Sir Balin Gervin - Sir Gawain


Matsuno, the game's producer and director, preferred to create a new game title from scratch and use design ideas from staff collaborations, rather than reusing popular characters and designs that are found in sequels. Vagrant Story is regarded as a mixture of genres, as it contains elements of role-playing in its battles and platform games when in the field map. Matsuno explained that the development team was not eager to place Vagrant Story into a specific genre, preferring to create the game with a genre of its own.[2] Link to WP photo of Saint-Emilion, where the design team travelled to perfect the architectural stylings of the game

During the design phase, Matsuno was shown photographs from France, particularly Saint-Émilion in the region of Bordeaux. This region was visited by one of Matsuno's colleagues, who was a wine enthusiast and favored Saint-Émilion, one of the largest vineyards of Bordeaux. Captivated by this small town's architecture, the design team went on a trip to France to adopt these styles into the game. A team of five people was formed on September 1998, including Matsuno and the principal persons in charge of graphics and decorations, to realize the game's setting.[2][3]

Vagrant Story was conceived during a time when most games had made the transition into three-dimensional computer graphics. Games with real-time polygons were the mainstream, and it was decided for Vagrant Story to follow this trend. Murata, the main programmer, expressed his concerns in working towards a large-scale three-dimensional game for the first time. To avoid discrepancies in the frame rate caused by the large number of polygon models, the modeling team had to select an aspect of each character to focus their attention. Art director Minagawa mentioned that painstaking detail were given to each individual model, even to characters that only appear for a few seconds in the game. The same character models were used throughout the game to create a seamless transition between event cutscenes and actual gameplay.[2]

The sound effects of Vagrant Story are credited to Minoru Akao, the game's sound programmer; and Tomohiro Yajima, the sound editor and engineer. A two-player mode was initially planned for the game, but ultimately scrapped.[4] Also, over half of the game's story was cut due to capacity and development time constraints.[5]


A demo disc of Vagrant Story was included in the packaging of Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana in Japan. During the Square Millennium Event held by Square in Tokyo, movies of Vagrant Story such as the opening sequence and the weapon crafting system were presented to onlookers. Matsuno stated that a normal playthrough would take the player five to six hours to complete.[6]

In North America, Vagrant Story was released as part of Square's "Summer of Adventure" that lasted from May to September 2000.[7][8] Vagrant Story was released with two discs; the first disc is the game itself, while the second disc is a demo disc released by Square to give the player a preview of seven titles. The seven titles include three interactive demos and four non-interactive demos; the former being 'Chocobo Racing', 'Front Mission 3' and 'Threads of Fate', and the latter 'Chrono Cross', 'SaGa Frontier 2', 'Chocobo's Dungeon 2' and 'Legend of Mana'. Both discs were included in the North American release on May 15, 2000.[9] Due to a ruling by the Quebec government that video game titles in Canada should be sold with both French and English-language instructions, Vagrant Story's release was delayed in Canada.[10] In the European PAL release, the game did not feature the additional demo disc.


On April 13, 2000, DigiCube published the Vagrant Story Ultimania the official 496-page strategy guide for the game with the ISBN 4-925075-75-6. The contents include staff interviews, a detailed background story, and information on monsters and items. On July 20, 2006, the book was republished by Studio BentStuff and Square Enix. Other merchandise include jewellery, t-shirts, cigarette lighters and posters featuring character artwork and CG renders.[11]


See Vagrant Story Music


In May 2000, Vagrant Story became the fifth best-selling PlayStation title.[12] 100,000 units were sold in the first 20 days of the game's release,[13] despite being overshadowed by other Square titles like 'Final Fantasy IX' and 'Chrono Cross'.[13] Vagrant Story was the third of Famitsu Perfect scores thirteen games to date, and the only game on the PlayStation, to receive a perfect score of 40 from 'Famitsu' video game magazine.[14]"the only outstanding title in the Ivalice mythology" - gaming website[15] referring to it as the only remaining title set in Ivalice that might need an updated release

Reviews were generally positive—multimedia news websites IGN and GameSpot praised the gameplay and story. IGN described the story as "so deep and intuitive that it'll likely please fans", and said the battle system maintains "a needed element of strategy and balance".[13] The comic-book graphics were seen as a breakaway from the clichés of contemporary titles.[16] Extensive detail was given to the background settings and character expressions.[17][16] The game's sound effects have been praised as "well done and impressive, straying from Square's synthed noise",[18] as details such as the background audio help create a believable world for the player.[13]

The battle system, however, was described by GameSpot as too complex for beginner players, as even hard-core players require a "comprehensive understanding" of the weapon customization system.[18] IGN pointed out that enemy encounters can be more difficult than boss battles.[13] Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine noted that the game's inventory was too limited for the vast number of customizations possible; this was considered particularly troublesome because some boss enemies are only vulnerable to certain types of weapons.[19]

Alexander O. Smith is responsible for the English Internationalization and localization of Vagrant Story, using archaic English as compared to its straightforward Japanese version. His effort on translating Vagrant Story was described by Andrew Vestal as an "unparalleled—and unprecedented—work" of Japanese to English video game translation, "in spite of the occasional typo or grammatical hiccup", as quoted by IGN.[13][20] Vagrant Story was awarded "Best PlayStation Game" in the Electronic Entertainment Expo/E3 2000 IGN Awards[21] and was nominated for Best Console Action/Adventure in the 4th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards held by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.[22]


Three years after its 2000 release, Vagrant Story was selected as one of Sony's Greatest Hits. Games released as Greatest Hits were sold at a lower price, often increasing units sold.[23] Vagrant Story is also part of Square Enix Ultimate Hits, selected PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles that are sold at discounted prices and are only available in Japan.[24] It was also released on the PlayStation Store in Japan and Europe.[25][26]

Vagrant Story is acknowledged as a game with an "extreme popularity" outside Japan eight years after it was first released. In October 2007, during an interview with the development team responsible for the remake of 'Final Fantasy Tactics' for the PlayStation Portable, 'Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions', Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu was asked about the possibility of a remake or port of the title to the PSP. Kawazu mentioned that it is "the next natural candidate for such an update", although there would be difficulty in porting the game, because it was a title that already pushed the original PlayStation to its technical limits. Kawazu also remarked that bringing the character Ashley Riot into other Ivalice titles would be difficult since, even in Vagrant Story, "there's really not that much learn(ed) about Ashley Riot".[15]

Vagrant Story
(Japanese: ベイグラントストーリー
Romaji = Beiguranto Sutōrī
Box art illustrating protagonists Ashley Riot and Callo Merlose drawn by Akihiko Yoshida
developer=Square Co./Square/Square Co., Ltd.
Publisher=Japan: Square Co., Ltd.
US/Canada: Square Electronic Arts
Europe/Australia Infogrames
Designer=Yasumi Matsuno
Artist=Akihiko Yoshida, Hiroshi Minagawa
Composer=Hitoshi Sakimoto
Release = PlayStation: Japan February 10, 2000
United States/Canada May 15, 2000
Europe/Australia June 21, 2000
PlayStation Network:
:Japan August 12, 2009
:Europe/Australia December 22, 2009
NA=May 15, 2000 (delayed in Canada)
EU=June 21, 2000 PlayStation Network
JP=August 12, 2009
EU=December 22, 2009
Genre=Console role-playing game
ESRB=T: Entertainment Software Rating Board/ESRB:Teen
Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association/ELSPA: 11+
Office of Film and Literature Classification/OFLC:MA15+
Computer Entertainment Rating Organization CERO: B
Pan European Game Information PEGI 16+
Platforms=PlayStation, PlayStation Network
Media=2 × CD-ROM (NA) / 1 × CD-ROM (PAL) VG Reviews
Fam = 40 of 40
IGN = 9.6 of 10
GSpot = 9.6 of 10
EGM = 9.0 of 10
OPM = 4.5 of 5
Edge = 7 of 10
rev1 =
rev1Score = 8.7 of 10
rev2 =
rev2Score = 9.6 of 10

See Also


  1. 2004, Interview language=French
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 From the Development Team
  3. Leamundis - Architecture language=French
  4. Vandal Online
  5. 2000 Vagrant Story E3 Preview Edition Comic Book, publisher=Eruptor Entertainment & SquareSoft, isbn=4-925075-75-6 Yasumi Matsuno Interview
  6. Vagrant Story: Details Emerge
  7. Square announces a Summer of Adventure RPGamer
  8. Bilyk, Andrew Square's Vagrant Story Hits North American Stores
  9. In Depth Look At Square's Demo CD IGNEvileNewsCorp.
  10. Canadian Legend of Mana, Vagrant Story release update
  11. Vestahl,Andrew Vagrant Story Game Review 2000
  12. Square's Summer Lineup off to a Hot Start IGN staff
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 David Zdyrko, Vagrant Story
  14. Lumb, Jonathan FF XII Scores Perfect In Famitsu
  15. 15.0 15.1 Square Enix Talks about the Ivalice Alliance Mielke, James
  16. 16.0 16.1 SolidSnake|year=2000|title=Vagrant Story: Review
  17. Brown, Jeff 2000 Vagrant Story: Review 2
  18. 18.0 18.1 Bartholow,Peter PlayStation Vagrant Story Review GameSpot|publisher=CBS Interactive
  19. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine Vagrant Story Review |
  20. Andrew Vestahl, Vagrant Story Game Review 2000
  21. 2000 IGN Awards the Best of E3 IGN News Corporation
  22. 2001 Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences 4th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards publisher=Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
  23. Square Classics Hit it Cheap Morris, Tyler
  24. Square Enix Adds 16 to Ultimate Hits Series Winkler, Chris
  25. Vagrant Story Crawls On To Game Archives Spencer
  26. PAL Gamers Getting Vagrant Story On PSN|author=Spencer|date=2009-11-10