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Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Decoding the paradoxes (Spoiler)
Just finished the first round of FF13-2 within 40 hours gameplay and I would like to share about how I personally understood the story behind such complicated-look world view. I will be also explaining some confusions regarding on Time flow, Timeline correction, Valhalla, Cause & Effect. (I will try my best to make it easy as there are too many paradoxes to be discussed about….)
Every single unique object/character never has double or more existences at a space and time. You carry unique items and accessories anywhere without duplications as well as you will not see another identical 'YOU' right after you turn back to original place where you left off. (Proof: when you return to New Bodum 003AF in the middle, you are told that you just left there few hours ago).
Here are two perspectives of Time Flow in the game: World-Oriented (WOTF) and Personal-Oriented (POTF). Those 2 time flows are conceptually different. Or more simply, WOTF is measured by era. For example, the following year of AF002 is AF003; the year before 002 is 001 (The AF, or After Fall, means the starting year after the fall of the Cocoon). POTF is measured by the memory of history that humans have. For example, to Noel, the life back in AF700 (The Dying World) was the past, however the new academia AF4XX is the future (due to the history change).
"If you change the future, you change the past" said Yuel, as it implies that "If you change the future of your own (POTF), you will change the past of the world (WOTF)" because your future will be exactly happening and becoming the past of the world it supposes to. That's why people's memory has to be auto-corrected in order to be in line with the new-modified world. Here are some facts:
- Noel started to have memory losses of his past at every action they took to correct the history - he was losing the memory of events that happened before his start of time travelling.
- In Yasyasu Massif 01X AF, eclipse didn't happen. Hope and other people didn't remember they had ever met Serah before.
- People blurred out Alyssa's name since her disappearance in Academia 4XX AF.
Nevertheless, Noel and Serah, who did all the changes, still kept those things in their mind clearly. In Academia 400 AF (Artificial Fal'Cie insurrection), Caius said that their
existence is the paradox itself because the past of their POTF doesn't match with the past of WOTF. The change of history didn't take any effect to them from the beginning (except for Noel's memory loss).
The future year time with "XX" stands for same era with different history, different memories. Some part of history that wasn't changed was still remained in the corresponding timeline. Eclipse in 010 AF and Artificial Fal'Cie insurrection in 400 AF was still happening. Alyssa was disappeared in 4XX AF but the history wasn't deleted. Therefore those facts explain that, the change was just taken place within an instant (a time point) during a time period. The time right after this point is 4XX AF. And even seconds before that, it was still 400 AF with lots of corpses on the street.
Timeline correction is not just about correcting human's memory. It's more importantly involving the 'Cause & Effect'. We take a look at the Proto fal'Cie Project that Hope mentioned at very early stage.
From what he told us, the objective was to develop an artificial fal'Cie, in order to re-levitate Cocoon. The project was proposed by Alyssa, and directed by Hope (Explained in Augesta Tower 200 AF). As soon as everything was prepared, they 'time-travelled' to 390 years later (they claimed that they actually had been sleeping for 390 years) so that they could continue to lead the development of Academia. But here comes the paradox – to fulfill the world future that already 'existed', the existence of Alyssa was a must (in the history). Even though she was 'deleted' from Academia 4XX AF, she still existed back in Yasyasu Massif 010 AF, 01X AF. In the other hand, after the correction of timeline, Alyssa should have died in the moment she tried to escape from being evicted to Gran Pulse (She said that she saw her name on the grave in her dream. Because Paradox made different timelines started to bounce each other). If her propose of project was the 'cause', then the academia city in 400 AF would be the 'effect'. In order to prepare the 'cause', world saved her from that escape. Because the development of the academia (effect) needed her lead (cause). Once the effect was finally made, she was no longer needed in this timeline.
This is the most mysterious part through the whole game – What is Valhalla actually? Valhalla is the realm of death and chaos at the edge of time in the distant future, ruled by the Goddess Etro. In the ending, when Caius managed to use Noel's sword to kill himself, his "Heart of Chaos" was destroyed and he died, but this also caused the death of Etro. Etro's death caused Etro's gate to open and the chaos of Valhalla erupted from Etro's gate and both New Cocoon and Gran pulse transformed into Valhalla.
People thought that Valhalla doesn't have the time flow. In fact, Valhalla does have it, but abnormally. If it doesn't, Caius wouldn't say that he already killed Lightning BEFORE the last battle with Noel. Here are several points I want to talk about:
1. Prologue and ending paradox.
Prologue: "Sleep in peace, divine Etro. I will stand guard over your legacy." – by Lightning. That means the goddess died before the final battle (Caius vs. Lightning). But in fact, Caius actually died (killed by Noel) AFTER the final battle in Valhalla.
Ending: Lighting became crystal sitting in the Palace.
So, this should be how the time flows in the 'proper' way:
Caius was killed by Noel -> Goddess died ->world transformed to Valhalla -> Lightning was awaken -> Final battle
However in Valhalla, the time flows like this:
Goddess died (effect) -> world transformed to Valhalla -> Lightning was awaken -> Final battle -> Caius was killed by Noel (cause)
The effect that taken place before the cause is happened makes time flow unexplainable (as World time).
2. In 700 AF, the real purpose of Caius heading to Valhalla.
World in 500 AF was transforming into Valhalla due to goddess's death. Therefore, Noel, who is from 700 AF, should have been 'deleted' because the 'effect' of letting Caius get killed was successfully made and he was no longer needed in this timeline (similar case to Alyssa's). But remember, Noel was taking
his action in the Valhalla. There is no such Paradox thing in here because the timeline itself doesn't make any sense. They need not to be corrected.
Caius wanted to save Yeul from her curse. He had been waiting for the one who can succeed him as Yeul's Guardian, until 700 AF. And yes, he met Noel. This leads to 2 key points:
a. The 200-year-history between 500 AF and 700 AF must exist, otherwise the 'cause' of letting world transform to Valhalla would be gone, too (Assume that Caius couldn't meet Noel since Noel didn't even exist).
b. After Noel killed him, the goddess died. And it successfully caused the world to transform to Valhalla. So, the moment Caius left off from 700 AF, he must be thinking: Alright, the cause (Noel) is prepared and ready. He will kill me. Now it is just the matter of the time.
3. Historia Crux Time line
Historia Crux has more than one possible way of connecting nodes. Although it doesn't really matter too much, it provides an important clue: The time line that connects every node displayed in Historia Crux is essentially based on POTF. That is, this time line stands for Noel's journey. But why isn't it Serah's ? Because only the places that Serah had been to alone didn't appear in the Historia Crux. Now let's look at the very end node of this time line. What is it? After Ending CG, what is the new location unlocked?
It is Valhalla.
When you enter Valhalla from Historia Crux again, what is happening then?
To conclude, we can't really say that the world was being transformed to Valhalla. The Valhalla is exactly the future of the academia. The time flow in the academia was twisted by too much impact of chaos, to be unobservable.
Here is the simpler case. In 2012, let's say if one day you suddenly meet another identical YOU coming from the future, year 2015 for example. By that time you already see the 'effect' (YOU time travelled from the future to visit you in that past) happening in front of you. But what could the cause be? Why will YOU decide to travel back? You must prepare for a purpose to make that happen. Because if you don't, you will not travel back and you will have memory loss (of having met the YOU from future before).
Anyway, the game is just the game.
...You are so terribly wrong on so, so many things, but I would just like to ask if English is your first language. There were a few parts that just didn't make sense grammatically, and it threw off whatever it was you were trying to say.
1) No, Academia 4XX AF did not occur just seconds after 400AF. The only reason they (Yaschas Massif 10, Academia 400) still appear on the Historia Crux was because Square promised we'd be able to revisit every single area in this game. Neither of those time periods exist in that state, they were simply left in so we could replay them. In fact, as someone else on this forum mentioned to me, the game outright states that there aren't parallel timelines; Instead, when the timeline changes it completely replace the old one.
2) While Alyssa's involvement in creating the gravity chamber to travel forward in time was pivotal, as far as we know she only came up with the idea. She may have helped in the research, but she was only needed for the initial suggestion. More importantly, it is said outright in the game that changing the future changes the past. If the paradox allowing Alyssa to survive the Purge (which can only be of Caius' doing, as the paradox Etro caused took place later) was undone, time would re-write how Hope came forward to 4XXAF so that it made sense. Maybe he would have the idea himself, or a different assistant would suggest it. Either way, Bhunivelze would be built. As for Alyssa's name being blurred out, what are you talking about? Everybody, including Hope, in 4XXAF that uses her name continues to use it even after she runs off. Hope even tells you that she had to go do something, and that's why she isn't at Academy HQ.
3) The final dot on the Historia Crux is the beginning of the game, and it appears after the ending boss because technically, Valhalla is beyond time. It's just on the outside edge, it doesn't mean it's the future. If the Historia Crux was the timeline's proper order, that would mean that Academia 500AF would have happened AFTER Dying World and New Bodhum 700AF in the flow of time. Which it didn't. This is just a gameplay mechanic, and you should also realize that you can press a simple button and completely change the way the Historia Crux is ordered. It goes into a view separated by location, and each location you can go up or down to choose different time periods within that place. As for Serah and her being alone, that dot DOES appear on the map. The only reason you can't go right to it ordinarily is because it is part of the storyline events of 4XX AF. All you have to do to get back there is close the 4XX gate and talk to Hope and Alyssa at the Academy.
That's about all I'm willing to type up at the moment. Anyone else care to chime in?
Well, regardless whether what caidychen says make sense or true, that is a theory. I mean everyone has his/her own ideas and I think that's quite interesting and some points I like and support it.
However my main point of replying this thread is, caidychen, I think I read something just like that in the Chinese forum A9VG; although in Chinese, the theory you wrote sound almost like the one in A9VG...