Taxonomy in FFs

While this page takes as much information as possible from canon sources, please note that due to the nature of taxonomy there are games where not much information on it is available. In those cases, best guesses are used. These are clearly differentiated in the explanations section, please refer to them should you encounter something confusing in the lists themselves.

Taxonomy in FFs

Taxonomy is the classification of biological entities. This series so far concerns only the areas concerning classification of monster types, which mostly fall into the animalia kingdom. It may later be expanded to cover the plantae and fungi kingdoms.
The purpose of this series is not to take our RL version of taxonomy (especially as it exists in the current day) and use that to categorize the entities within FF worlds, but rather to take a taxonomical system, preferably one that has some form of indication it is canon, and then build up the complete system out of those as if it were done by a biologist(/naturalist) from within that FF world. As such, any division of entities used below could be safely used within canon-compliant fanworks.

Basics of Taxonomy

Most people who would stumble on this page have only a faint idea of what taxonomy consists of. Due to this reason, instead of forging directly ahead and comparing FF world taxonomy to real-world taxonomy without the readers having any clue what is being referred to, this section attempts to define both RL and FF taxonomy terms at the same time. This section gives a basis for understanding the rest of the series.

Taxonomical Ranks

FF Taxonomical Ranks

None of the FFs specifically mention taxonomical ranks. However, what they do give us in relation to this subject are various descriptions given a title that may or may not conform to the names of the actual taxonomical system. In the tables below, you can find out these titles and where in the taxonomical ranks they actually fall. Further explanations on the FF taxonomical ranks can be found below the table.

A ? indicates that while division into that rank exists within the game, the rank isn't given a title. A * after a rank name indicates that it's not found within canon materials but is commonly used on fansites.

Final Fantasies 1-13
RL Rank FF1-6, 9 FF7-8 FF10 FF11 FF12, FFT FF13
Domain
Kingdom
Phylum
Class Type (EN)
種族 (JP)
Family/
Type*
Genus (EN)
カテゴリー (JP)
?
Order Class?
Family
Genus Type (EN)
種族 (JP)
Type/
Family*
Classification, Type (EN)
タイプ, 系, 種族 (JP)
?
Species (monster name) (monster name) (fiend name) Species/
Subfamily*
(mob name) (monster name)
Subspecies/
Breed
- - - (mob name) (mob name) -
Final Fantasies 14+ and Spinoffs
RL Rank FF14 FF15 Crystal Chronicles Agito
Domain
Kingdom Kingdom
Phylum
Class Class, Kindred
Order
Family
Genus Genus Type (EN)
系 (JP)
系 (JP)
Species Species (monster name) (monster name)
Subspecies/
Breed
(mob name) - -

Common Traits

Looking at the table below, one can safely say that the ranks Phylum and Family never make an appearance in FF worlds as far as we are aware. The absence of named Domain can very quickly be explained away by its simplicity - one would be hard-pressed not to be able to differentiate between animals and plants (notwithstanding the special case of Plantoids), which explains lack of its mentioning with how self-evident it is.

The lack of a Kingdom rank in most titles, however, takes slightly more thought. It is, in fact, only known for sure to be used within one FF world. The distinction between kingdoms should still be clearly enough that any budding biologist would be able to group such things as Golems (made of rock and other minerals) and Undead separately from most other types of monsters, which in fact have blood circulation (or can be assumed to have it). This could again be a case of self-evident grouping, but it could in fact be due not seeing a need to group up various Classes of monsters.
Likewise, Order is only known to be used within one FF world. As Order is a more specified category it could well be that most worlds have never thought to establish such a rank, but this could also be due to relatively simple nature of non-MMO games - the one world where it is in use being from an MMO game.

Other than the explanations above, most lacks (especially in the simpler/smaller games, and most especially the distinct lack of Genus or Class in many a game) can be explained away by not being mentioned in the game, but still existing within its world.

FF 1-6 and 9

These games are lumped together for having the same, or at least very similar ranking system. Each only canonically provides us with a monster's 'Type' (corresponding with rl Class), and this only in some cases - examples of types being Undead, Dragon, Mage, Flying, and so on. Some monsters are left without a type.

In addition to the above, you can easily see the monster's Genus by the shape of its sprite/3D model. Those that reuse the same shape are from the same Genus, and should there have been any that reuse the same color palette they would be the same species - however, this latter is a moot point as any sprite with the same color palette also has the same name.
For Genus, FF9 is a bit of a special case within this group, as there are hardly any color palette switches. Please refer to the FF9 taxonomy details for more information on how it's handled.

Aside from 'Type', Genus and species, Kingdom also likely exists, although there is no trace of it mentioned within the games.

FF 7-8

Final Fantasies VII and VIII get the short end of the stick when it comes to taxonomical division. These games do not provide any type of division at all (short of FF8's description of some mobs as either 'flying' or 'undead', and the former does not equate to Avian monsters but instead simply says that the monster in question cannot be touched by Earth-based attacks).

What complicates matters more in these two games is the lack of color palette switches, meaning most (discounting SOLDIER recolors) 3D models are only used once, making it hard to determine even Genus. Please refer to the taxonomy details of these games for more information on how it's handled.

Aside from Genus and species, from general appearance it is quite easy to determine a monster's Class, and determining its Kingdom provides no further difficulty.

FF10, FFCC and Agito

While separate on the table above, this explanation lumps these games together as they share the common characteristic of only letting us know a monster's 'Type' (rl Genus) and its name (species).

As is the case with FF7 and FF8 above, a monster's Class is rather easy to determine, and Kingdom doesn't present many difficulties either.

Final Fantasy 11

Finally, we reach one of the treasure-troves of FF taxonomical information. The game itself might largely only give 'Family' (rl Class), but its supplementary materials4 provide much more. They give us names for the ranks 'Type' (rl Genus) and species, as well as tells of the existence of a (rl) Order rank. The name of that rank isn't specifically given, but is referred to as 'variety' and 'classification'. Due to this, for the purposes of this series Order is treated as named 'Class' within Vana'diel.

Due to the simple nature of the Kingdom rank, Vana'diel also likely has this (it would be weird not to, as they even have an Order rank which is lacking everywhere else), although it isn't named. The Kingdom of mobs can easily be determined by other information however.

Please note that some prominent FF11 fansites use different terminology for the various taxonomical ranks than the ones officially given. They are listed in the table above, but they are not used for the purposes of FF Taxonomy.

FF 12 and 13

While separate in the table above, the worlds of Ivalice and Gran Pulse/Cocoon have similar traits and as thus are treated together. In both, the (rl) ranks Class and Genus exist. In FF12 they are called Genus (rl Class) and Classification (rl Genus). In other Ivalice games, Classification becomes Type (rl Genus), and Genus (rl Class) is absent. For FF13 series, all rank names are missing, and as such rl ones are used instead.

As is the case with earlier FFs, the Kingdom rank likely exists within these worlds, and is easy enough to determine based on appearance.

FF12 Rare Game
Within FF12, there are rare mobs called 'rare game'. Their bestiary entries state a 'derivation', a base mob from which the rare game mob is a rare version of. In taxonomical terms, the rare game mobs are taken to be either subspecies or just rare individual mob of uncommon strength, depending on description.

FF13 Oddities
FF13 world(s) are a special case in that it divides similar-looking monsters into what appears to be different Classes, that is to say, the same-looking monsters can be found both under Feral Creatures and Militarized Units. The game makes it clear that Militarized Unit beasts are different from the variety found in nature, and are instead bred for military purposes.
This has two possible ways to read the situation. Either the in-game bestiary for some unknown reason decides to place natural and modified creatures into different sections, thus making the in-game bestiary not refer to a taxonomical division at all but some other random division…or the in-game bestiary does refer to taxonomical division, which would indicate that Militarized Units are different enough on a cellular level that they are placed in a different Class from their natural-born lookalikes. For the purposes of FF Taxonomy, an approach holding the latter true is taken, with all it implies.

Final Fantasy 14

As is the case with FF11, FF14 provides us with not that many in-game references to taxonomical units, but supplementary materials5 provide us with the missing pieces. Hydaelyn (or at least Eorzea) has the ranks of Kingdom, Class (aka Kindred), Genus and species, as well as different types within the species (seen as mob names in the game).

It is unknown if the Hydaelyn biologists have gotten around to acknowledging the Domain rank, but judging by their level of scientific advancement biologists specializing in the Domain of plant-life certainly exist somewhere, although they aren't mentioned.

Other FFs

The table above lists the Final Fantasies that have some form of indication of taxonomical ranks, as well as all main series FFs. However, other FFs also exist as spinoffs. For the purposes of FF Taxonomy, they are given taxonomical ranks called the same as irl, numbering as many as appropriate for that world's technological level.

Taxonomy in FFs


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