Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is billed as a re-envisioning of the very first Final Fantasy. Stranger of Paradise goes much further beyond that initial concept and delivers and new context to the entire world Final Fantasy takes place in. To understand the ending of Stranger of Paradise, knowledge of the original game is required.
What happens in the original Final Fantasy?
The original Final Fantasy is a story about the Warriors of Light and the forces of Chaos. Garland, a beloved knight falls to corruption and, in his turn to evil, captures Princess Sarah of Cornelia. The Warriors of Light, four chosen fighters destined to restore the world, head to the Chaos shrine to rescue her. The heroes kill Garland, but he is then warped into the past by the Four Fiends. Each fiend represents a key element that they corrupt. They are as follows:
- Lich (Earth)
- Tiamat (Wind)
- Kraken (Water)
- Marilith (Fire)
These are also the four elements the Warriors of Light are destined to protect. The fiends then serve Garland, who in the past embraces Chaos fully. The Warriors of Light then hunt down the Four Fiends in the present timeline. Doing so allows them to travel back in time to destroy the past versions of themselves. Once the fiends are defeated, they battle Chaos in a climactic battle. With Chaos defeated, they are unable to return to their time, which ends the time paradox Garland created. The world moves on in this new timeline in relative peace, but the Warriors of Light are lost to time and memory.
The ending explained
Lufenians were an advanced race in the original title. They were capable of overseeing much of the world and its fate. Stranger of Paradise features the Lufenians as a major antagonistic force. In Stranger of Paradise, the Lufenians can control time itself. Strangers then hunt down the darkness that Lufenia itself has created.
This process is the core balance the Lufenians are hoping to achieve. To help them on their journey, each Stranger is given a dark crystal to aid them on their journey. Jack and his companions are hunting Chaos and can’t seem to recall or want anything else. Chaos in this new title is created when humans and their emotions become one with darkness and manifest Chaos. This is a fact the Lufenians are afraid of.
Each time they fail at balancing light and darkness, they then use their conduit to reset time and try once again. Jack starts to sense his past attempts at hunting darkness and decides to try and remember his previous lives.
Astos, a dark elf is an agent of the Lufenians, betrays them and aids Jack in breaking the time loop. After the royal family of Cornelia is slain by monsters, Princess Sarah then dies, revealing the final dark crystal. All the darkness in the world is drawn to the castle, and each of Jacks’ companions forces him to kill them. Once Jack is successful, he absorbs all darkness and heads to the Chaos Shrine to complete his transformation.
The Lufenians panic and sever their connection to Cornelia completely. This allows Chaos to manifest in physical form. Jack and Chaos do battle, and Jack is successful but before he can claim the power for his own and is wiped from reality by the Lufenians, he is then warped back in time by the Four Fiends.
The Four Fiends are his party members that wielded the dark crystals. Jed, Ash, Sophia, and Neon greet Jack. The land of Cornelia is now free from the schemes and manipulation from the Lufenians, but they are aware they need heroes to ultimately defeat the darkness that will now spread unchecked.
Jack then becomes Garland and captures Princess Sarah. This event causes Cornelia to send Four Warriors of Light to save her. The Warriors of Light confront Jack, who has now become Garland. This moment completes the bridge to the story of the original Final Fantasy.