Final Fantasy Tactics tells the story of the “War of the Lions” in which two Dukes are battling to take over leadership of the kingdom of Ivalice. History is written to show that a man of common blood rose to become king and bring peace to all of Ivalice, but through the game’s narrative it is revealed that all is not as it seemed. Two “heroes” are shown throughout the game; Delita, the future King of Ivalice and Ramza, the main playable character who the pages of history forgot.
The opening chapter in Final Fantasy Tactics introduces the player to the relationship between Ramza Beoulve, the youngest son of a famous noble family and his friend Delita Heiral, who was born a commoner, but was adopted into the Beoulve family. During their youth they discover the harsh realities of the world they live in and the barrier between people’s birth and class. Culminating in the death of Delita’s sister as she is cruelly sacrificed because of her common blood, the pair goes on separate paths. It is here that the story expertly portrays the different choices both men make that lead to their ultimate fates.
Delita aspires to rise above his status and control his own destiny. He very much believes that the end justifies the means and sets in motion a plan to manipulate, deceive and backstab everyone to satisfy his own ambitions. As the story plays out, Delita changes sides and allies, always pulling the strings, before he succeeds in his plan to rise to the throne and marry the princess Ovelia. After becoming the King of Ivalice and supposedly fulfilling his objective, Ovelia confronts him about manipulating her and others and through her distrust attempts to kill him. As Delita defends himself and retaliates, he is left questioning whether the path he chose led him to happiness. Although Delita is remembered in history as a saviour, he is presented as a tragic hero, much like some of Shakespeare’s famous characters.
On the other path, a disillusioned Ramza rejects the noble Beoulve name and sets off to fight for justice, protect the princess who is caught up in the political mess and discover Delita’s motives. Ramza is shown to always hold his morals over anything else and in a world of deceit, he is brave enough to choose what he believes is right. Eventually branded a heretic, by the corrupt Glabados Church, Ramza continues to fight for the good of all, even though his part as the true hero of Ivalice is never known to the public. Ramza is portrayed as a great hero, in that he holds no special powers, but he is just an ordinary man who shows courage and resilience beyond all the other characters. Ramza’s ultimate fate is never confirmed, although it is hinted that he may have lived a peaceful life with his beloved sister.
While Final Fantasy Tactics deals with the barriers between nobles and commoners and the ugly face of human nature during war, in the end it shows that a man can always be content with how he chooses to live his life.