Final Fantasy IX was developed and published by Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) in 2000 for Sony's PlayStation, though the PlayStation 2 was released in the same year. It was the third and last numbered game in the series to be released on the console. Final Fantasy IX was later re-released on the PlayStation Network, along with the previous two entries in the series, before eventually receiving a PC port in 2016.
While Final Fantasy IX was being developed at the same time as Final Fantasy VIII, the game took a different path towards returning to the series' roots, offering a more traditional fantasy setting while making multiple references to older games in the series, its primary influence being the original Final Fantasy. The game introduced many new features, such as Mognet, Active Time Events (ATE), and a revamped equipment and skill system. The game was initially shipped on four PlayStation discs, mostly due to the FMV cut scenes. Final Fantasy IX is known for having some of the best visuals of its generation. It sold better at its initial release than both of its PlayStation predecessors, but over time has not fared quite as well.
Final Fantasy IX takes place primarily in the four continents of the fantasy world Gaia. The majority of Gaia's population lives in the Mist Continent (named due to the thick layer of mist covering it). However, small populations on the other three continents - Outer, Lost, and Forgotten - although these other continents are unexplored by those on the Mist Continent. The Mist Continent is divided into four major powers: Alexandria, Lindblum, Burmecia, and Cleyra, all separated by extensive mountain ranges.
The game has a medieval fantasy setting, unlike its predecessors - Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. The setting has more in common with older Final Fantasy games. The population relies on hydropower and wind power, though it also learns to harness the mist covering the Mist Continent to power more advanced engines, such as those found on airships. According to Hiroyuki Ito (the game's director), Gaia is influenced by Norse and Northern European Mythology, as the development team is attracted to the drama and depth presented by them.
Queen Brahne Raza Alexandros XVI of the kingdom of Alexandria lusts for power and seeks to increase her domain by conquering the surrounding lands. Regent Cid of Lindblum worries how this will impact Princess Garnet and dispatches the Tantalus Theater Troupe to kidnap her.
The princess yearns to escape from her wicked mother and willingly boards the Theater Ship. During the operation, Vivi, a lone black mage, and Adelbert Steiner, Captain of the Royal Knights of Pluto, become involved. During their escape, the Theater Ship is shot down and crashes into the Evil Forest. Brahne is outraged Garnet escaped with a valuable crystal, a royal heirloom, and dispatches the Black Waltzes to retrieve her.
One of the Tantalus members, Zidane, wants to find the missing princess, but their leader, Baku, dissents and dismisses Zidane from Tantalus. Vivi and Steiner join Zidane in rescuing Garnet from the forest's carnivorous flora and escape the woods, leaving Tantalus behind. The escapade rouses the forest made sentient by the Mist and petrifies itself. Mist is a malevolent substance whose influence hardens people's hearts and makes regular animals into ferocious monsters. It covers the lower reaches of the Mist Continent, and thus most kingdoms opt to build their empires on the plateaus above it.
A Tantalus member, Blank, wishes to aid Zidane, but when delivering him a map of the rarely-traversed surface of the Mist Continent, he gets caught by the forest vines and petrified along with the woods. Zidane, Garnet, Vivi, and Steiner pass through the Ice Cavern to get above the Mist, and Zidane defeats Black Waltz 1, Brahne's lackey sent to retrieve Garnet's royal pendant. Before arriving in the village of Dali, Garnet adopts the alias of "Dagger" to blend in with the peasantry. The villagers kidnap Vivi, and the party is shocked when they rescue him and discover the villagers are manufacturing black mages, automaton dolls who cast powerful magic, from the Mist for export to Alexandria.
Garnet ponders returning to Alexandria to confront her mother about the black mage business, a notion Steiner approves of. After besting Black Waltz 2, they board a cargo ship piloted by automaton black mages. They come under fire from Black Waltz 3, and Vivi, Zidane, and Steiner confront the golem leaving the journey's destination in Garnet's hands. The princess hesitates but ultimately decides to head for Lindblum, resulting in an erratic flight through the South Gate crashing the Black Waltz's airship.
The four meet with Regent Cid in Lindblum. They are surprised to find he has been turned into an oglop, an insect most find disgusting, by a magic spell from his absconded wife, Hildagarde Fabool. Cid refuses to mobilize against Alexandria for fear of leaving his borders unprotected. While Lindblum hosts the Festival of the Hunt, Brahne's black mage army advances into Burmecia, home of Zidane's friend Freya Crescent who aids him during the festival. Zidane wants to accompany Freya to Burmecia, and Vivi wishes to learn more about the black mages; he has no memory of his past beyond being cared for by his late "grandpa" Quan and fears he may not be human.
Cid orders Garnet to remain in Lindblum. In retaliation, she tampers the festival feast with sleeping weed and absconds with Steiner back to South Gate. The others venture to Burmecia, recruiting the gluttonous Quina Quen along the way. They find Burmecia abandoned and decimated by Brahne's black mage army. They meet the queen and General Beatrix at the city apex and a mysterious man named Kuja. Beatrix defeats Zidane's group, and Brahne sets her sights on the isolated kingdom of Cleyra.
Meanwhile, Garnet and Steiner run into Marcus from Tantalus, who wants to save his friend Blank from the Evil Forest, but needs an item known as Supersoft to heal his petrification. Garnet feels culpable for Blank's fate and agrees to help Marcus's quest, much to Steiner's dismay. The three are attacked by the malfunctioning Black Waltz 3 and destroy him for good before making their way to the city of Treno, where they sneak into the basement of a noble's mansion. The noble turns out to be Garnet's old tutor, Doctor Tot, who relinquishes the Supersoft willingly and advises the three to take the Gargan Roo pathway to Alexandria, where Garnet meets with her mother and Marcus and Steiner are imprisoned.
Zidane, Freya, Vivi, and Quina head for Cleyra, where the Burmecians are said to have evacuated. They make their way into the city perched atop a colossal tree hidden behind a perpetual sandstorm. They warn the Cleyrans of the impending attack, and the Cleyrans perform a ritual to strengthen the sandstorm that protects the village. Something goes wrong, and the sandstorm dissipates. Brahne has turned on the princess and ordered Garnet's Eidolons extracted—magical creatures of legend. The queen's court jesters, Zorn and Thorn, extracted Garnet's Eidolons into summoning gems, and Brahne uses the Eidolon Odin to obliterate Cleyra after Beatrix steals the nation's jewel. Zidane's crew hitches a ride on the Alexandrian airship, Red Rose, back to Alexandria Castle, leaving Quina behind.
Steiner and Marcus have broken free from imprisonment, with Marcus departing for the Evil Forest to save Blank. Zidane's party joins forces with Steiner, and they free Garnet from Brahne's clutches with the assistance of the enlightened Beatrix. While Steiner, Beatrix, and Freya stay behind to secure their escape, Zidane, Vivi, and Garnet attempt to use the Gargant system to flee back to Treno. A monster spooks their ride, and they crash in Pinnacle Rocks, where they meet the Eidolon Ramuh. Having again lost Garnet, who still holds the royal pendant, Brahne hires two bounty hunters—Lani and Amarant—to capture her and kill Vivi, whom Brahne considers a rogue black mage.
Garnet is ambivalent on the power of Eidolons that had remained latent within her without her knowledge and that have now been stolen to be used by Brahne. After passing Ramuh's trial, giving Garnet the power to summon him, the three witness the invasion of Lindblum by a black mage army and another Eidolon, Atomos. Sneaking into the surrendered city, Zidane and Garnet meet with the now powerless Regent Cid, who reveals Kuja is the one supplying Brahne with the black mages. It is rumored the origin of Mist, the main ingredient in black mage production, lies in the Outer Continent, and the party sets off to locate Kuja there.
They run into Quina at Qu's Marsh, who had escaped Cleyra and returned to his/her home. Quina helps the party locate Fossil Roo's entrance, an ancient route that leads to the Outer Continent. Lani accosts the party on her quest to retrieve the princess, but they defeat her. On the Outer Continent, the party finds the Black Mage Village, where many sentient black mages like Vivi live, having defected from the Alexandrian army and founded a settlement far away from conflict. Vivi discovers that black mages have a lifespan of about one year, and many of the earliest builds of black mages have already started to "stop."
After passing through the dwarves' village of Conde Petie, they meet Eiko Carol, a young girl and last of the summoner tribe, who leads the party to her home of Madain Sari. They find Madain Sari is a ruined village where Eiko lives alone with a group of moogles. Garnet learns the truth of her past: she is a summoner born in Madain Sari, but in the aftermath of the village's destruction ten years ago, she had washed up in Alexandria, where she had replaced the recently deceased Princess Garnet. Having lost her memories in the calamity, Garnet was raised believing Queen Brahne was her mother, never having learned she possessed Eidolons.
Zidane convinces Eiko to open the path to the Iifa Tree, a giant tree that towers over the landscape and is mysteriously shrouded in Mist despite the rest of the continent is free of it. The group descends the trunk to the core of Gaia, where they encounter Soulcage, who reveals the Mist's real purpose: Mist is the by-product of the Iifa Tree's actual function, stopping Gaian souls from returning to their crystal in the planet core. The discarded souls are released as Mist on the Mist Continent via the Iifa Tree's roots covering the whole planet within its crust. The malevolent substance is responsible for the monsters that roam the continent's depths and incited war among the nations until Mist-powered airships were invented.
Upon Soulcage's defeat, the Mist dissipates, and the heroes return to Madain Sari, where they find the bounty hunter Lani and her brooding companion Amarant. Upon finding an identical crystal in Madain Sari to that of Garnet's royal pendant, Lani takes Eiko hostage. Amarant no longer tolerates her methods, turns against her, drives her away, and joins Zidane's party.
They leave Quina in Madain Sari and return to the Iifa Tree and find Kuja. Queen Brahne and her navy appear off Iifa's coast to challenge him, as Brahne no longer considers him useful, having attained the power of Eidolons. Kuja summons his Silver Dragon and monsters of Mist to repel her, and Brahne retaliates by summoning Bahamut. Kuja calls the airship Invincible to enslave it. Under Kuja's command, Bahamut wipes out Brahne and her soldiers and black mages with a devastating Mega Flare.
A dying Brahne washes up on the shore and, with her final words, apologizes to Garnet, who must now become the queen of Alexandria. Alexandrian forces retreat from Lindblum, and Garnet inherits her mother's jewels from the kingdoms she had conquered. Garnet shares the jewels with Eiko—each keeping two—to reinforce their bond as the last of the summoner tribe. Zidane is distraught; he must part with Garnet for whom he had begun to have feelings and departs to Treno with the others to participate in a Tetra Master tournament.
The ceremonies of Garnet's coronation are short-lived as Kuja summons Bahamut to destroy Alexandria. The others fly in from Treno with Regent Cid's experimental airship, the Hilda Garde II, that can operate without Mist. Eiko and Garnet bring together the fragments of the ancient divided summoning gem, the real reason Brahne kept pursuing Garnet's royal pendant, and summon Alexander, the holy Eidolon guardian of Alexandria, that vanquishes Bahamut. Kuja, in awe of its power, calls for the airship Invincible to enslave it. A mysterious older man appears aboard the Invincible, reproaches Kuja for his rebellion, and destroys Alexander and most of the city. Kuja, left without an Eidolon, flees.
Garnet is rendered mute by the trauma of seeing her kingdom decimated, and she, Zidane, and their friends, now including Steiner and Freya, take refuge in Lindblum. Cid's mind is not what it used to be as an oglop, and thus his newest airship, the Hilda Garde II, is poorly designed. The party sets to find a cure for Cid but turns him into a frog instead. The party is reunited with Quina, who has washed ashore in Lindblum, and Cid gives the party the ship Blue Narciss to track down Kuja, accompanying them on their quest.
They stop by the Black Mage Village and discover Kuja has tricked the black mages into following him by claiming he knows how to extend their lifespan. Knowing where Kuja resides, the group infiltrates his Desert Palace but falls into a trap and becomes imprisoned. Kuja forces Zidane and three of his friends to fly to the Forgotten Continent and retrieve the Gulug Stone from Oeilvert in exchange for the life of their other friends. It turns out Kuja possesses Hilda Garde I, Cid's new airship model that can fly without Mist that Hilda took when she left him after turning him into an oglop.
Oeilvert turns out to be an ancient archive from a lost Terran civilization with many artifacts, including an ancient Eidolon, Ark, which must be defeated to obtain the Gulug Stone. To Zidane's surprise, only he can decipher Terra's language though he has never heard of this other world.
Meanwhile, Regent Cid and the remaining party members break free and shut down the palace security system, Valia Pira. Kuja snatches the Gulug Stone from Zidane and absconds with an abducted Eiko to Mount Gulug, where Kuja wishes to obtain an Eidolon stronger than Alexander. He believes this would let him defeat Garland, the older man who had appeared aboard the Invincible. The heroes pass through Esto Gaza to track him down and witness Zorn and Thorn—Brahne's jesters who now obey Kuja—attempt to extract Eiko's Eidolons, although she is too young to withstand the ritual. Mog, Eiko's pet moogle, reveals her true Eidolon form through Trance, a surge of powerful emotions that momentarily enhances one's inner capabilities. With her help, the court jesters are destroyed.
Having witnessed the power of Trance, Kuja deduces he does not need a new Eidolon after all. Unable to naturally enter Trance, Kuja formulates a plan to assimilate enough souls to enter a form of permanent Trance; as Kuja is a Genome initially constructed as a vessel for Terran souls, he can absorb them and wishes for all the gathered souls to simultaneously enter Trance to become all-powerful. While Kuja flees, Zidane's party finds Queen Hilda, Cid's estranged wife, who fled Lindblum after an argument with her husband, and escorts her back to Lindblum.
Hilda makes amends with Cid and turns him back into a human. Cid puts the finishing touches on his new airship, the Hilda Garde III. The black mages have realized Kuja was using them and return to the Black Mage Village. Garnet returns to Alexandria to visit her mother's resting place. When Zidane follows her, she recovers from her silence, takes his dagger, and cuts off her ponytail in a promise to continue to fight for her people and her adoptive mother.
After she went missing, Kuja had abducted Queen Hilda as he had needed her airship, the first Hilda Garde. While captive, she learned of his plans and tells the party of Kuja's ambitions and that he hails from the planet of Terra. She directs them towards Ipsen's Castle on the Forgotten Continent. Within the inverted structure, the party finds four elemental mirrors: seals to the portal to Terra. After defeating the worm-like Taharka and rescuing Amarant from his arrogance, Zidane forms four parties to secure each elemental shrine simultaneously. The defeat of the four guardians and placing the mirrors to the shrines opens Terra's path through the Shimmering Island.
Terra is a mysterious dead planet that exists on the inside of Gaia. Millennia ago, Terra had an advanced magical civilization, and its inhabitants wished to become immortal and preserve their culture for all time. The life source of all planets in the cosmos is a crystal at the planet core that collects all living beings' memories when the souls of the dead return to it at their life's end. Terrans' wish for immortality disrupted the natural order, and when the Terran crystal weakened, the Terrans assimilated other planets' crystals to preserve themselves.
Thousands of years ago, Terra attempted to fuse with Gaia, but it ended with disaster, and Terra shifted to the inside of the planet of Gaia. Terra's red moon moved to Gaia's orbit, and many Terran landmarks appeared on Gaia, such as Terra's magical tree of Iifa and Oeilvert. Terrans tasked the android Garland, the older man who annihilated Alexandria and whom Kuja wishes to vanquish, to become the overlord of Terra and Gaia both, restoring Terra to its former glory before entering a deep rest. Garland crafted the Genomes to be used as vessels for the Terran souls when the time would be right for Terra to assimilate Gaia, whose crystal has been deprived of its natural soul cycle by the Iifa Tree for thousands of years. Kuja was one of Garland's creations whom he sent to Gaia to incite a war to amplify the souls' rate to attempt to return to the crystal. Kuja's will was strong, and he rebelled against his creator, knowing that if Garland's plans were to succeed, he would no longer need Kuja and make him into a regular Genome.
In Terra, the party meets the Genome girl Mikoto who leads the party to the Genome village of Bran Bal. Garnet glimpses the Invincible stationed outside the village and reclaims the memories when the airship destroyed Madain Sari and passes out. While the others care for her, Mikoto tells Zidane he is a Genome from Terra made by Garland to one day succeed Kuja, as after Kuja was created, Garland had seen the errors in his design of having created him as an adult, rather than as a child capable of emotional growth. She leads Zidane to Garland, who confirms everything, and, horrified by what he has learned, Zidane attempts to fight him. Garland reluctantly decides to discard Zidane and make him a regular Genome and seals him within the Pandemonium, a palace where the ancient Terran souls rest. Garland fails to remove Zidane's soul, and Zidane's friends free him, and they confront Garland together.
Kuja has followed the party into Terra on his Silver Dragon and stolen the Invincible. He showcases his new mastery of Trance, achieved by draining the souls held within the airship and using the soul of a hateful person—Queen Brahne—as a catalyst. Kuja dispatches the party with an Ultima spell and announces he will rule both Terra and Gaia. Garland warns him that his power is meaningless, but Kuja kicks his old master off Pandemonium's precipice to his death.
Garland remains an omniscient voice and from beyond the grave tells Kuja his new-found goal is for naught; a limit on his lifespan was set when he was created, and his demise is fast approaching. Kuja's euphoria turns into rage, and in his vanity, he deduces that if he is going to die, he will take the world with him. Kuja obliterates Terra with wave after wave of Ultima spells, and the party and resident Genomes escape aboard the Invincible back through the Shimmering Island to Gaia. The Mist has returned to the world, now enveloping the entire planet, flowing once more from the Iifa Tree.
While the Genomes move in with the black mages in their village, the party finds the foreboding entrance to Memoria hovering above the Iifa Tree, where Gaia's memories and Kuja await. The armies of Alexandria and Lindblum stave off the horde of Silver Dragons, blocking Memoria's entryway, and Invincible breaks through, carrying the party into Memoria that leads them back in time. Memoria is a place made manifest from the memories stored within Gaia's crystal, and the party witnesses the significant moments of their lives intertwined with the earliest stirrings of Gaia. Garland's lingering voice guides them through the dimension before leaving them at the Crystal World entrance, a realm where time does not exist, only memories of every life originating from the first Crystal where all planets are born from.
After traveling through Memoria to the beginning of all time to the Crystal that is the universe's life source, they find Kuja, intent on destroying it. Zidane and his friends face Kuja in battle, and in the last effort, Kuja devastates the party with Ultima. The party awakes on the Hill of Despair, finding themselves in the presence of Necron. It is a deity-like being roused by Kuja's nihilism that arises to deny all existence by returning the world to the Zero World, a world without a Crystal, as he sees the suffering of living beings arising from their fear of death. The party defeats Necron, who marvels at the party's will to persist, even knowing they cannot escape death and heeding their desire, departs.
Kuja uses the last of his strength to teleport the heroes onto the banks of the Iifa Tree. The others return to Alexandria on Cid's Hilda Garde III while Zidane searches for Kuja. He locates Kuja deep within the dying Iifa Tree, and as the latter accounts for his sins, the collapsing tree's roots converge on them both.
Sometime later, Tantalus returns to Alexandria to perform "I Want to Be Your Canary" for Queen Garnet. Vivi has died, having come to the end of his lifespan, but as a legacy, copies of him have been made, now known as "Vivi's sons." However, Vivi was unable to say goodbye to Zidane; he reminiscences on his time with the party in a soliloquy, thanking Zidane for helping him come to terms with his existence.
Everyone gathers up in Alexandria to see the play, Freya has found her lost love, Sir Fratley, and the two repair their relationship despite Fratley's amnesia. Amarant arrives with Lani, Quina works as a chef in the Alexandria Castle, and Cid and Hilda have adopted Eiko. Beatrix and Steiner, now a couple, act as Garnet's bodyguards and accompany her on the balcony where she watches the play. During the play, a shrouded form masquerading as Marcus casts off his cloak to reveal a returning Zidane. Alexandria celebrates, old friends cheer from the stands, and the queen runs through the crowd and leaps into Zidane's arms.
Final Fantasy IX plays out like any other game in the series. The protagonist moves throughout the many towns, dungeons, caverns, and the like, exploring different areas and interacting with non-playable characters (NPCs). A field icon with a "!" or a "?" indicates that an object can be inspected or that there is either an item, a switch, a chest, or something similar nearby. This time around, the player can save their game and use tents to recover HP and MP by speaking to Moogles, whereas Save Points were used in previous games. The Moogles may also ask Zidane to deliver messages as a part of Mognet.
As usual, different modes of transport are also available later on in the game, such as Chocobos, boats, and Airships. When traveling on foot on the world map or in places that contain monsters, the player will face random encounters.
The new feature, Active Time Events (ATE), has many purposes. ATE's primary purpose is for additional character development, as it shows events that are coinciding with the main adventure. It is also used to provide unique items or control two different parties when the group is split up to solve puzzles and navigate dungeons.
Final Fantasy IX retains the active time battle system that originated in Final Fantasy IV. The system is based on a time meter given to each character and monster participating in the battle. The time gauge will fill, and once full, the character can act. The speed that the gauge fills is related to each character's speed stat. During their turn, characters can perform several actions, with more advanced actions being character-specific. The basic actions include attack and item. Individual characters will have specific, advanced commands which make each unique and useful in their own way. Zidane has the "Steal" command, which takes an item from the enemy, and the "Skill" command allows the player to select one of many unique abilities. Other characters can use magic, summon, and eat. One of the unique commands is a dual-command in which Vivi and Steiner can attack simultaneously for a devastating attack.
Final Fantasy IX introduces a new "Trance" system in battles. Each character has a Trance gauge that slowly fills battle after battle every time that character is attacked. Once it is filled, the character will go into a trance. Trance increases attack and defense and grants special, powerful commands. Zidane's Trance increases the potency of his abilities, and Dagger and Eiko's summons all become much more powerful. Once in Trance, the trance gauge will empty any time the character acts. When it reaches zero (usually within a few turns), the character will return to normal. Trance can be canceled out if the character in Trance dies or is inflicted with Zombie status. The trance system was often criticized for how hard it was to utilize effectively. Often, players would trance in insignificant battles and would be unable to Trance when they most needed it.
Status ailments return, with old favorites like Poison and Sleep, and some newcomers like Heat, which will cause a character to die if they act. The effects are canceled with Esuna or other magical spells, items, or upon entering Trance.
Each character has several stats that directly impact their performance in battle. Attack, strength, and magic will affect both physical and magical attack power. Defense and magic defense affect defense against physical and magical attacks, and evade and magic evade will increase the chances of dodging an attack. Spirit influences all aspects of the character, raising attack, defense, the success rate of special skills, and the rate at which the Trance gauge fills. Finally, the speed rating will allow the ATB gauge to fill faster. Upon leveling up, a character's stats will increase.
Final Fantasy IX revives the concept of fixed character classes, where different characters are assigned a different class. For example, Zidane is the only character capable of using Thief techniques (stealing, etc.), while Freya is the only character capable of using Lancer/Dragoon techniques (Jumping, etc.).
To learn new abilities, characters must equip different items which come with special abilities attached. Once equipped, the characters can use these abilities (as long as the ability matches their class), and after each battle, they gain Ability Points (AP). Once the character gains enough AP, the ability becomes usable without the item having to be equipped.
Abilities are separated into action and support categories. Action abilities use up MP and include magic spells and special actions that can be used during battle to harm foes, heal allies, etc. Support abilities only become available when they are equipped with magical stones and have the ability to neutralize status effects, increase attack power, etc. The maximum number of stones that can be equipped increases as the characters level up.
- Zidane Tribal: A blond thief with a monkey tail. He is a member of the Tantalus, a group of thieves/actors. He is a lighthearted, dagger-wielding chick lover who bears a much more sinister past and purpose. When tranced, he can access his Dyne abilities.
- Garnet Til Alexandros XVII (alias Dagger, birth name Sarah): The Princess of Alexandria, a beautiful black haired girl. She is mostly a Summoner class (her normal summon command is "Summon," but when tranced, it becomes "Eidolon" and guarantees the creature's appearance). However, she also has powerful White Magic at her disposal. Additionally, she can wield both rods and rackets.
- Vivi Orunitia: A young Black Mage child is trying to find the major answers in life while trying to understand his existence and life. Very shy, quiet, humble, and kind, he also controls powerful Black Magic (which becomes Double Black when tranced). Vivi also equips staves for a physical attack.
- Adelbert Steiner: He is the Captain of the Knights of Pluto, who serve in Alexandria. He is a protector of Princess Garnet and a man with a high sense of justice. He is also very stubborn and sometimes very square-minded. Swords are his weapons of choice, which grant him great physical strength (which is even more remarkable when tranced).
- Amarant Coral: He is a bounty Hunter and a wanted man. He and Zidane have a past together, where Zidane is instead humorously the cause of Amarant's criminal reputation. He is quiet, and nobody knows the reasons or thoughts behind his actions. His primary weapons are claws and his monk-like "Flair" abilities, gaining the ability to use them on all allies or enemies while in a trance state.
- Freya Crescent: A female Dragon Knight from the kingdom of Burmecia is in search of her lost love, Fratley. She is strong, smart, and brave. Her primary weapons are spears, which she uses to jump in the air, coming down upon her enemies with a powerful blow (or several powerful blows while tranced).
- Quina Quen: A bizarre-looking guy (or girl), he is part of the Qu race. He is sent by his “master” to join Zidane and the rest of the party to learn about food and life around the world and become a great cook. His weapon of choice: giant forks. As part of her quest to eat all the foods in the world, Quina can eat enemies with 1/8 HP (sometimes learning powerful Blue Magic) or enemies with 1/4 HP during trance.
Eiko Carol: A six-year-old girl living in Madain Sari, the lost village of the Eidolon summoners. She is one of the two remaining summoners in Gaia (the other being Garnet) but is more of a White Mage than a Summoner; when in trance, her White Magic becomes Double White. She wields both her summoner's flutes and rackets. She also has a big crush on Zidane and feels rivaled by Zidane's desire for Garnet.
Other major characters
- Queen Brahne: Queen of Alexandria, and mother of Garnet. She is a cruel and warmongering ruler, taking over the entire Mist Continent and having ambitions for the entire planet of Gaia.
- Kuja: The primary antagonist. He is an Angel of Death created on Terra to help cause deaths that would cycle souls to the dying planet and revive it. Upon seeing Trance, he yearns for the power, eventually gaining it and using it to obliterate the planet of Terra and nearly destroy all of existence.
- Beatrix: Introduced as a major antagonist, Beatrix eventually becomes an ally to the player (the player even controls her for a small number of battles). She is a very skilled swordswoman, the most famous warriors known on the planet. She challenges the party three times before finally joining them to stop Brahne. Beatrix is Steiner's love interest, and she wields the powerful "Save the Queen" sword, which only she can wield (even if the player does somehow acquire it).
- Regent Cid: Garnet's uncle and Regent (ruler) of the kingdom of Lindblum. When he first appears in the game, he is an Oglop. Later he is transformed into a frog, as opposed to the human form he had hoped for. Eventually, he is turned back to a man by his long-lost wife, Hilda. One of the party's best allies during the game.
Minor Playable Characters
- Blank: Friend of Zidane's and Member of Tantalus whom took a part in the plot to kidnap princess Garnet. Also, instrumental in the escape from the Evil Forrest.
- Marcus: Lead character in the play I Want to be Your Canary performed by Tantalus Group and a close friend of Zidane's.
- Cinna: Part of Tantalus and the kidnapping scheme of princess Garnet. Known to be sensitive about his features.
- Beatrix: World renown general of the Alexandrian forces and love interest for Steiner.
- Terra Master
- Jump rope
- Chocobo hot and cold
- Frog catching
- Ragtime Mouse
- Hippaul racing
- Gambling Nero brothers
- Black Jack
Final Fantasy IX was delayed, and in the months leading up to the release, Square signed a deal with Coca Cola. They ran a series of Coca Cola commercials on TV featuring the characters and environments of the Final Fantasy IX world.
An often criticized piece of Final Fantasy IX was not a part of the game; instead, it was the official strategy guide. For the guide, Square tried a new idea to incorporate most of the guide online. Many users felt cheated that the official guide lacked much detail, the further depth being featured in online-only content. When attempting to access the content, many users encountered great trouble. There were initial plans for this feature to be included with Final Fantasy X's release, but these were abandoned due to the overwhelmingly negative response. There has been no other official strategy guide that attempted a fusion of online and offline. The original PlayOnline guide can be found for free online.
|Disk 1||Disk 2||Disk 3||Disk 4|
|1. "A Place to Call Home" - 02:08||1. "Cid's Theme" - 04:00||1. "City Under Siege" - 02:23||1. "Aboard the Hilda Garde" - 04:07|
|2. "Memory Erased by a Storm" - 01:14||2. "Out of the Frying Pan" - 03:10||2. "Rose of May" - 02:34||2. "Daguerro, the Hermit's Libary" - 02:05|
|3. "The Meeting" - 01:38||3. "Lindblum" - 02:11||3. "Fossil Roo" - 02:31||3. "Ispen's Castle" - 01:59|
|4. "Sky of Alexandria" - 00:55||4. "A Song from Her Memory" - 01:53||4. "Conde Petie" - 03:43||4. "The Four Mirrors" - 02:46|
|5. "Vivi's Theme" - 03:11||5. "Festival of the Hunt" - 03:47||5. "Black Mage Village" - 03:22||5. "Guardians" - 02:03|
|6. "Sword of Fury" - 02:42||6. "Qu's Marsh" - 03:17||6. "Unfathomed Reminiscence" - 03:47||6. "Terra" - 02:10|
|7. "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" - 01:53||7. "Quina's Theme" - 03:52||7. "Before the Altar" - 02:09||7. "Bran Bal, the Soulless Village" - 03:11|
|8. "Find the Princess" - 03:14||8. "Aloha de Chocobo" - 02:57||8. "Eiko's Theme" - 03:36||8. "Pandemonium" - 03:04|
|9. "Court Jesters" - 03:21||9. "Ukele le Chocobo" - 02:53||9. "Madian Sari, Village of the Lost Summoners" - 03:49||9. "Not Alone" - 02:36|
|10. "Steiner's Theme" - 02:27||10. "Freya's Theme" - 03:02||10. "Eidolon Wall" - 02:31||10. "Unforgettable Sorrow" - 03:30|
|11. "Prima Vista Orchestra" - 01:45||11. "South Gate" - 02:56||11. "Iifa, the Ancient Tree of Life" - 02:29||11. "Another Nightmare" - 02:26|
|12. "Eye to Eye" - 02:50||12. "Faerie Battle" - 2:28||12. "Amarant's Theme" - 02:29||12. "Silver Dragon" - 03:48|
|13. "The Fateful Hour" - 0:16||13. "Burmecian Kingdom" - 03:55||13. "Devil's Ambition" - 02:20||13. "Memoria" - 02:14|
|14. "Thy Warmth" - 0:35||14. "A Face Unforgotten" - 03:24||14. "Outlaws" - 02:11||14. "Crystal World" - 03:44|
|15. "Tragic Love" - 03:35||15. "Kuja's Theme" - 02:25||15. "Foolproof Love Letter Scheme" - 02:53||15. "The Darkness of Eternity" - 04:43|
|16. "The Evil Within" - 01:31||16. "The Wavering Blade" - 03:17||16. "Tetra Master" - 03:40||16. "The Final Battle" - 06:15|
|17. "Danger in the Forest" - 02:29||17. "Dark City Treno" - 02:53||17. "Moogle's Theme" - 01:56||17. "Star-Crossed Lovers" - 01:32|
|18. "Battle 1" - 02:40||18. "Theme of the Tantalus" - 02:21||18. "Something to Protect" - 02:22||18. "Kiss of Betrayal" - 0:28|
|19. "Fanfare" - 0:57||19. "Immoral Memory" - 02:26||19. "Light of Destiny" - 02:56||19. "I Want to be Your Canary" - 01:18|
|20. "Distant Memory" - 02:27||20. "Garnet's Theme" - 02:40||20. "Master of Time" - 02:44||20. "Inseparable Hearts" - 01:22|
|21. "Battle 2" - 04:05||21. "Gargam Roo" - 01:47||21. "Oeilvert" - 02:17||21. "Behind the Door" - 02:07|
|22. "Game Over" - 01:56||22. "Cleyra's Trunk" - 02:43||22. "Chamber of a Thousand Faces" - 02:52||22. "Melodies of Life - Final Fantasy" - 07:35|
|23. "RUN!" - 02:48||23. "Cleyra Settlement" - 02:21||23. "Look Back, See the Frog!" - 02:03||23. "Prelude" - 02:46|
|24. "Sweet Dreams" - 0:10||24. "Eternal Harvest" - 01:16||24. "Esto Gaza" - 03:49||24. "CCJC TVCM 15"" - 00:20|
|25. "Over the Hill" - 02:38||25. "Grieve for the Skies" - 02:35||25. "Mount Gulug" - 02:07||25. "CCJC TVCM 30"" - 00:34|
|26. "Ice Caverns" - 03:00||26. "Extraction" - 01:16||26. "Broken Spell, Healed Hearts" - 02:03||26. "Melodies of Life (The Layers of Harmony)" - 03:21|
|27. "Village of Dali" - 02:29||28. "Beyond the Twilight" - 03:07||29. "Steiner's Delusion" - 02:45||30. "Fleeting Life" - 03:03|
|31. "Zidane's Theme" - 02:47||32. "Black Waltz" - 01:39|