Piecing Together Ivalice

As anyone familiar with the Ivalice games knows, the game's world consists of a few continents here, another few there, and to make it worse scattered over several eras - and also possibly several different realities. This article attempts to piece together a coherent world out of the fragments, as much as possible by the information given in the games. We'll explore several different plausible theories for those that do not fit with the other pieces.

All the below is written under the assumption that all Ivalices are set in different times of the same world, with the possible exception of the Ivalice in Tactics Advance, which clearly shows one town transforming into another, one which is severed with the destruction of the crystals that keep it together. The information speculation is based on comes from the in-game and official supplementary materials of the following games.

Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift
Final Fantasy Tactics S
Crystal Defenders
Crystal Defenders+
Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm
Vagrant Story

Setting Up the Base

To get the best possible results, first one must determine the greatest confirmed area and work from there. Comparing all the maps in the Ivalice games one can see that the greatest area covered are in maps from Final Fantasy XII, and among the maps displayed in some way in that game the greatest reach is covered in a map shown during the opening sequence of the game, when the narrator explains the recent history in Archadia's conquest of Nabradia and Dalmasca. The map covers the area traversed in during the game itself, but also immense reaches of Archadia and Rozarria not accessible. We make this our base map.

map_twoempires.jpg

Getting Familiar with the Terrain

Examining the map in question, we can see that Archadia covers most of the Valendia continent to the north-east, and Rozarria does the same for the Ordalia continent to the south-west. Note that with this we presume that the map is drawn the same way as Earth maps are, with north on the upper edge of the map. This may or may not be true, but for now we need something to describe where locations are to make it easier to explain. While examining, also take note of the frayed edges and the water (or mildew) damage on parts of the map. While it makes it slightly more difficult to determine continent lines, the condition of the map and the continental lines can be differentiated between with a little careful examining of the edges.

Examining the edges of the continents, we can see that the Ordalia continent continues to the south, and can continue to the south-west as well. The islands (or what look like islands) to the north-west continue westward as well, at least for a bit. They might also connect and form a continent, or one might be an island while the other is part of a continent, it is impossible to tell. For the Valendia continent, it obviously continues further north and even north-east, but not much else can be said about it. Lastly, the Kerwon continent in the middle at first glance appears to continue south, but with a more careful look you can see continental edges in the south in all the blue, green and red areas. It may be that the continent stops there. If not, it at the very least is connected to its southern parts (or another continent directly south of it) through a thin strip of land.

What Lies Beyond

Aside from the continental lines we can see, other things may be deduced by the borders of the countries in question. Take the red of Archadia. It covers most of the Valendia continent to be sure, but there is also red on the south-east corner of the Kerwon continent, separated from mainland Archadia by unclaimed land. This would seem to indicate that there is more land to the east, or at least south-east, that is part of the Archadian Empire as well. If not, they must have a very good reason indeed to not claim the lands beyond Mt Bur-Omisace (on the north coast of the Kerwon continent facing Archadia) but do so for the south-eastern tip, so far separated from the mainland Archadia. If no land to the east/south-east exist (or even if it does), it may be that another country once occupied the south-eastern tip of Kerwon and Archadia then conquered it. Note that the reason for their non-governing the middle reaches of Kerwon might just be the prevalence of Jagds in the area, where no airship is capable of flying.

As for the blue of Rozarria, we can easily deduce that Rozarria continues at least a little ways to the west, maybe south as well. However, it's impossible to tell anything else about its reach from this map alone.

Expanding Rozarria

map_berveniaregion.jpg

While our base map doesn't show locations or what's beyond its borders, there are several maps in the games that fill out the empire of Rozarria somewhat - namely, the ground-level map from FF12 Revenant Wings, as well as the world map from FFTA2 Grimoire of the Rift.

First we take the ground map of FF12RW under our lens. While many transitions are covered in clouds, they are partially transparent, just enough so to be able to see that there are no big differences between our base map and the FF12RW ground map. It can be placed directly on top of our base map, letting us know the exact locations of Roda Volcano and the Glabados Ruins, the latter of which doesn't appear on our base map as is. There are several other small differences in the coast lines between the two maps, but nothing that couldn't be explained away by slight inaccuracies in the process of drawing the maps in question. Of note is that if our maps are to be believed, the Roda Volcano can fall within the borders of the kingdom of Dalmasca (albeit an incredibly remote part of it) depending on where exactly the country border is, while Glabados Ruins are firmly within Rozarrian rule. However, both are marked on the map as being in the Bervenia region, so we conclude that Roda must fall within the protrusion of the country border extending east from Rozarria, on the other side of the river from the Tomb of Raithwall and within Rozarrian territory.

map_ffta2world.jpg

Secondly, there is the FFTA2 map. While simply looking at the map by itself we gain hardly any information about its location, the region(s) pictured are said to be on the Ordalia and Loar continents, the western land protrusion being an eastern edge of the Loar continent and the eastern land protrusion being part of western Ordalia. Looking at our base map, there are only several places in Ordalia that it can connect to. Either it is off the map far to the south and beyond our base map…or it is in the south-west of our base map, completing the sharp almost rectangular corner of a coastline we see continuing to the west. Examining the FFTA2 map we see that there is a similar rectangular corner on the upper edge. Furthermore, there is a coastline on our base map a little ways south, corresponding to where the Ordalian peninsula on the FFTA2 map ends. Thus, it can be said for almost certain that the FFTA2 map connects there, letting us know the location of a part of the Loar continent as well. Furthermore, we know there is heavy traffic between the two peninsulas.

Of note is also that the map shown in the background of the Crystal Defenders (and other games of the CD series) 'world' screen is the world map of FFTA2. On the road shown the locations are out of order, but it is safe to say that the area is the same and the order of the locations is for artistic/gameplay reasons.

Finished Base

Above we have pieced together the FF12, FF12RW, FFTA2 and FFCD maps. Looking at the maps shown in the remaining Ivalice games, there is no easy way to place them on our base map, so this concludes the section of this article based on evidence and moves to the realm of almost pure speculation. Below is a cleaned up composite map to be our new finished base. It doesn't mention many locations, but you can look at the individual maps it is pieced together from and check them in that way.

map_compositeivalice.jpg

When viewing the map, please note that only a black line corresponds to a coast line, if an edge lacks the outline and is simply colored in, this is merely an indication of the known country affiliation ending. Archadia is coded in red, Rozarria in blue, Dalmasca in gold, Nabradia in brown, the regions of FFTA2 in purple and the areas colored green are known to be land, but no country is known to hold them. Anything white is either water or there isn't any kind of information available at all.

Enter the Speculation

This section of the article deals with the locations that we couldn't confirm with our base map. These come from FF Tactics, Tactics Advance, Tactics S, Revenant Wings and Vagrant Story.

The Floating Islands

In FF12 Revenant Wings, in addition to the ground level map handled above in this article, there is also the Lemures region, a group of purvama where the majority of the game is spent. There is no location given for Lemures, although several hints are given.

Lemures is connected to the ground-level locations Roda Volcano and the Cache of Glabados. It is also said to be a legendary land that sky pirates from Ivalice have searched for for ages. While both Roda and the Cache fall relatively close by to habited areas, the sky pirates not finding Lemures until FF12RW seems to indicate that it's not above any habited areas, otherwise it would have been found already. The most obvious location for Lemures to be in is thus above the Kerwon continent, beyond the Jagds that are typical of its northern reaches. However, Lemures is more likely above water than above land. Thus, likely locations become the great ocean beyond the Inner Naldoan Sea (far east of the Galtean peninsula), less likely above the sea between Ordallia and Valendia continents (it wouldn't be believable to not have that region be regularly flown over, at the very least for military reasons as it is the borderline between Archadia and Rozarria), or even less likely in the sea between Ordalia and Kerwon continents, and thus nominally in Rozarrian waters. The last of these is the least likely as there isn't much chance there isn't heavy airship traffic over the sea separating the two continents, both sides of it being under the control of Rozarria.

The Esnoah Continent

Tactics S is the newest addition to the Ivalice games, and as a social game gets regular updates, some of which expand upon the area of the game. As of this writing there is a 4x4 grid of small areas visible known to be in the center of the continent, the below is based on that.

map_tacticsscontinent.jpg

As mentioned above, the visible area on the world map of FFTS is a grid of small areas located in the central parts of the Esnoah continent. These by itself don't provide any clue as to their location within the wider world of Ivalice, if it is indeed in Ivalice at all. The gridded area seems mostly plains with some forests and desert mixed in, surrounded on several sides by mountain ranges. In short, it could be anywhere inland. There are several small countries, including Duchy of Yug Nard, Spirit Country Iisa and Federation of Nazan. None of these are mentioned in other Ivalice games, and the known ancient countries (Empire of Bazelam to the far north, Demon Country Galthania to the east and Country of the Desert Gihel to the south) are in the exact same situation. The name of the Federation of Nazan is the same as that of the Nazan mountain range to be found in FFTA2, and the name of the country of Galthania somewhat resembles the names of the FFT Ivalice kingdoms, but that is all that can be said about them.

However, there is one other clue, not to be found on the world or area map pages themselves, but in the top menu. The icon set below the 'Area Map' link is what looks like a continent. While this naturally is not concrete proof of anything, it is the best we have.

Above can be seen a blown-up version of the continent icon, the locations displayed on the world map page are presumed to fall somewhere within that continent. When comparing it to our base map, we see no correspondences, except a slight one with the Kerwon continent and even that is only slight and nowhere near enough to say that they are the same location. The only location of the Federation of Nazan and the Nazan mountain range can't in any way be overlapped. Thus, we determine that this continent of Esnoah is somewhere off our base map, a location we haven't seen yet. They do have the practice of Clans as is common in the Ivalice region and throughout the Rozarrian empire, as well as Judges in a guardian/protector duty, indicating that it might not be very far off if the world of Ivalice is much more vast than we know, but that is all that can be said about its relation with the known Ivalice.

On a final note, while the FFTS region is drawn as a continent on the map displayed, there remains a possibility that the known shape of it is not in fact a full continent but only a part of it, as the original graphic only shows a blob of land, and doesn't confirm that what surrounds it is ocean instead of more land. The part with the island is most likely next to a sea or ocean, but that's as much as can be said for absolute certain.

The Dream Ivalice

As established at the very start of this article, the dream Ivalice - the Ivalice from Tactics Advance - is most likely just a dream, a product of magic brought to life based on historical facts. What interests us for the purposes of this article are the several points below.

1) Locations in the dream Ivalice are based on locations in the real Ivalice. Does the map, then, have any basis on the real Ivalice?
2) Most locations in the dream Ivalice can be placed freely by the player. However, there are several that are set in place. Can these set locations have some sort of significance in regards to the real Ivalice?

map_dreamandrealivalice.jpg

For the first question, it is rather obvious from looking at the map that at least as it is, the map can't fit into any of the known locations in Ivalice, especially if we take into account the set locations within dream Ivalice. Giza Plains lies towards the tip of the Galtean peninsula in the real Ivalice, Bervenia is a region directly to the west of Dalmasca (and thus, of Giza Plains), Ambervale is only mentioned, never placed at a set location and Cyril is not present at all. What facts we can glean from these only tell us one thing - if we want to place the dream Ivalice map in the real Ivalice while staying true to them, we need to rotate the dream Ivalice map.

Indeed, rotating the dream Ivalice map works remarkably well. Placing Giza Plains so that the location matches on both maps and then rotating the dream Ivalice map to the left gives us two maps that roughly correspond with each other. Bervenia is by the coast to the south, close to the Glabados Cache, and if these set dream Ivalice locations truly do correspond with the real Ivalice, then the Bervenia region extends to all of the north-eastern parts of the Ordalia continent controlled by Rozarria. Ambervale, then, would be located at the base of the west one of the two northern tips of Ordalia, and there would be a town called Cyril in the middle of the Bervenia region.

The matching of the two maps could just be a big coincidence, but it could also be that the dream Ivalice corresponds more with the real Ivalice than most people give it credit for. Naturally, this says nothing of locations such as Aisenfield or Ozmone Plains known to be located entirely elsewhere in the real Ivalice, but the locations you can't move in the game do appear to roughly correspond with the real Ivalice.

Beyond Cataclysm

Final Fantasy Tactics was the very first Ivalice game to be released. Time-wise, it is set over a thousand years in the future from FF12, during a time when non-human races have disappeared from the world, although not from memory. There was a catastrophe of some kind in the far past, the same one in which the non-human races disappeared. This seems to indicate that the disaster was great indeed, possibly affecting the map greatly.

map_tacticscountries.jpg

To the side can be seen a map of FFT, with the known countries labelled. Dominating the map is the kingdom of Ivalice, formed long ago from individual smaller kingdoms, one of which was called Lezalia (written as Luzariha in Ivalician letters on the map). To the east and north lies the Ordallia kingdom (written as Oldariha on the map), and beyond the sea to the north-east the kingdom of Romanda (Romandah on the map). Other relevant locations on our quest to place this map in an Ivalice world map are the North Ice Sea (the sea in the corner between Ivalice and Ordalia), the presence of Holy City Bervenia on its shores, the Clockwork City of Goug on an island in the West Bugroth Ocean to the south-west, and the Mullonde Holy Place in the Black Coral Sea between Goug and the mainland. The last of these is said to have been part of the mainland originally, but it sunk and became an island several hundred years ago in a natural or magical disaster.

Looking at the base map, there is no immediate way to place the FFT map on it. However, the presence of Ordallia (reference to FF12-time continent of Ordalia) and Lezalia (quite possibly a reference to the FF12-time empire of Rozarria) as well as the other indicators listed seem to be telling us that the FFT map is indeed located on our base map. What remains to be seen is how the land could have changed between FF12 and FFT times to settle the differences and find the right location of the FFT map. Two such possibilities are covered below.

map_fft1possibility.jpg

Possibility #1
Almost the entire map FFT happens in corresponds with the peninsula of the Ordalia continent present in FFTA2. The coastal lines would have had to change substantially to make this possible, but we already established that this did indeed happen in the past. The newly-formed kingdom of Ivalice could have taken the ancient name of the geographical region nearby when the seven smaller kingdoms united. In FF12 times the peninsula was governed by Rozarria, which could have in the intervening time shrunk from a mighty empire to a tiny kingdom, its name having become corrupted into Lezalia somewhere along the way. Meanwhile, a new empire formed in Rozarria's place, taking on the name of the continent itself (Ordalia->Ordallia). Eventually, the new city of Goug was built, close by to where it stood in FF12 times. Mullonde was established around where Nezlow Passage used to be, and the Holy City of Bervenia took its name from a region (possibly also a city) all the way on the opposite side of the continent.

Additionally, this possibility would require that in the great cataclysm of ancient times, the area surrounding Zellea rose from the sea and became connected with a continent to the north-east where Romanda was founded, and at least the westernmost portions of the Loar peninsula from the FFTA2 map sunk. The name 'North Ice Sea' also indicates that the world became a whole lot colder, as the sea would be placed far from the northern reaches of the world where ice could be expected to exist.

map_fft2possibility.jpg

Possibility #2
This second possibility makes the kingdom of Ivalice a far bigger place, setting it to cover a good half of the FF12-time continent of Ordalia that we know of. The westernmost of the two northern peninsulas at the north edge of Ordalia in FF12-time would have had to sink to become the North Ice Sea, creating the coastal line of Ordallia seen on the FFT map. Additional modifications include rising land between the north-western and western peninsulas of Ordalia continent to give space for Gallione and Fovoham, and sinking parts of the south coast of the western peninsula as well as the very south portions of the Ordalia continent we know of from the way of the East Bogroth Ocean. The island of Goug would also have to move somewhat to the north-east. This would place Goug in approximately right place.

With this set-up the Holy City of Bervenia would at least be close by, if not within the FF12-time Bervenia region (provided it was huge, although more likely when the seas started shifting the city of Bervenia was reloacted to a safer place - coincidentally, to what is a possible location of FF12-time Ambervale). It would also place the North Ice Sea further north than possibility #1, making ice more believable at that location - perhaps a minor ice age as a result of the disaster that so changed the face of the world. Minimal additional sinking would be necessary to place the West Bugroth Ocean (maybe only limited to Targ Woods), and there would already be a landmass of some sort for Romanda - the 'islands' seen in the FF12-time map could extend to the corner, and/or possibly the Loar continent continue northwards to provide the land seen on the FFT map. As before, the Rozarrian empire shrunk into the kingdom/region of Lesalia, and Ordallia rose into the power vacuum - although in this possibility only in control of the north-eastern parts of the Ordalia continent instead of the majority of it.

Uncharted Locations
When talking about FFT, there is also one location not shown on the map, known as the Holy Ydoran Empire, where Saint Ajora spent his early adult life. As it is mentioned at all and some events there are known to the people of the kingdom of Ivalice, it must be relatively close by considering the state of travel (slow) in that time period. In possibility #1 the empire could be located for example in the south of FF12-time Ordalia continent, even so far as Valendia or Kerwon continents. In possibility #2 the location becomes more clear, as the only unclaimed land of any greatness lies on the Kerwon continent, although on the Loar continent might also apply (provided Romanda is on another, more northern continent), as well as farther to the north on the Valendia continent.

Conclusions
There had to have been some major revisions indeed in the world to enable the transformation of the FF12-time map into the FFT-time one, both geographically and in the kingdoms and empires ruling the lands. While possibility #1 requires fewer revisions to the coastline, possibility #2 fits locations better, and looks natural in that it could well have been the way the water receded and rose. Possibility #1 also has the kingdom of Ivalice being of smaller size than the huge Ordalia continent (maybe even too small for the original kingdoms), although with possibility #2 the original kingdoms that formed Ivalice could have been of greater size and still have need of unification to fend off Ordallian (in #2 consisting of the north-eastern Ordalia and the Valendia continent) and Romandan (in #2 consisting of either the Loar continent or another one to the north-west) advances. Possibility #2 would also place the kingdom of Ivalice closer to the geographical region of Ivalice from FF12 times, instead of plain across the continent from it and Bervenia.

The Far Futures

Within the Ivalice games there are several places that either have no maps of any kind available, or come with a self-contained map (built from the in-game locations you walk around in) with no references to where that specific location might be. The first of these is the town of St Ivalice from FFTA and FFTA2. It is generally accepted that the town is located in the far future of Ivalice, a time where almost all magic is gone and all non-human races with it. Within the games themselves only several disjointed locations are visited within the town, making the only description of it possible as 'country town where heavy snow occasionally falls'. Naturally, this makes it impossible to locate, especially as such lengths of time has passed as it might have rendered the world to look completely different (through various natural and magical disasters, as is the case with the FFT world map). As it is, best guess would be either somewhere within or close by to what is during the times of FF12 the geographical region of Ivalice - within the vicinity of Ordalia, Valendia and Kerwon - or in the vicinity of the Ivalice kingdom of FFT times.

The second no-map location (and several ancillary ones with it) comes from Vagrant Story, and it is the city of Lea Monde. In-game information tells us that it lies somewhere within the borders of or close by to the kingdom of Valendia, which is our only clue to its location. No map is given for Valendia in the game or its materials, leaving us with speculation only. Judging by the name it might fall on the continent of Valendia (as it is known during the times of FF12), but once again, many thousands of years has passed, enough so that magic is mostly a myth to the laypeople, and the non-human races have long since disappeared, fading to obscurity. It might be that instead of on the once-Valendia continent, it simply lies somewhere close by to it, or even that the founder of Valendia looked through ancient history books and liked the name.


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