What Final Fantasy Tactics borrowed from Berserk [Spoilers for both]


Staff member
I recently finished replaying Final Fantasy Tactics on iPhone (a mobile port of the 2007 PSP remake of the 1997 PS1 game). It's one of my favorite games, but I'd forgotten just how much it borrows from Berserk. It's not a big secret or anything. I've seen people comment on the similarities from time to time over the years, but it's something I wanted to document here for those who have never played the game.

Perhaps there are more, but three specific elements of the game bear striking resemblances with elements of Berserk:

  • The Zodiac Stones
  • Ramza and Delita's relationship
  • The reed flute

The Zodiac Stones are quasi-sentient magical stones (ring any bells yet?), each associated with a Zodiac sign, that transform their human bearers into powerful demons. Furthermore, they are activated after resonating with the owner's "ire and despair." There's more going on here than meets the eye, but it's beyond the scope of this post.

Both the stone's function and the demonic form the humans are transformed into is similar to the Beherit and apostles.






The game's fundamental character relationship is between Ramza, a noble of the Beoulve family, and Delita, a commoner taken into that family's keeping. In many ways, they share parallels between Guts and Griffith. For one, the framing of the game's story is set far in the future, and Ramza's role in history has been forgotten, while Delita is known as a legendary ruler. But there is more.

Delita starts as a commoner, but feels powerless in the kingdom where nobility reigns. He desires true power, first in order to protect his sister, but ultimately to control his own destiny. To do this, he schemes, riding along the waves of the times, allying himself behind the scenes with the political and religious powers at the time, using any means necessary to rise in rank.



Running parallel to Delita's ambitious rise to power, Ramza takes the heroic path, saving the kingdom knowing full well that he and his band won't be remembered as heroes, but heretics. Ramza and Delita eventually have a falling out, but while they remain distant allies, Ramza eventually learns how ruthless his old friend has become.

Finally, the most direct, obvious reference is a recurring one. Ramza's father taught his son and Delita how to make music from a reed -- exactly like Griffith's scene with Charlotte in Vol 6 (ep 9 of the anime). I don't really feel a need to elaborate more on this one. Here are two clips to see for yourself:

Notable is that FF: Tactics in Japan came out months before the Berserk anime was released, meaning the development team sourced these similarities from the manga, before Berserk went "mainstream." They must have been some real fans.


Staff member
Good post! Those similarities struck me as well when I played the game. The one between the beherits/stones and apostles/demons is especially strong.
This makes me really want to play this game again.

I nearly beat it when it first came out. Somehow my game was corrupted and I never really went back to it.

So many people rate it as one of their favorite games of all time. I think I'll replay it when I get all my stuff back.

I also have always adored the music in that game too.
Interesting and pretty neat to think some of the folks behind Final Fantasy are Berserk fans. Well, they have good taste! :guts:


Staff member
JMP said:
Interesting and pretty neat to think some of the folks behind Final Fantasy are Berserk fans. Well, they have good taste! :guts:

Nerdy detail, but the team behind FFT was more of an Enix team (same guys as Ogre Tactics) that Square scraped away prior to the full merger.
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