From Final Fantasy 3 to Final Fantasy 16, Garuda’s Evolution
Out of all the summons, Garuda has had the most unusual experience traveling through Final Fantasy. Although a female Garuda is shown to be the one that is summoned, the first Garuda in the series is actually a male beast that was born of a malevolent human wizard.
Garuda is the monstrous form of Gigametz in Final Fantasy 3, and it shares its name with a large bird-like creature that appears in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, it serves as Lord Vishnu’s mount, and in Buddhism, it refers to massive predatory birds. This nefarious advisor works for King Gorn of Saronia, and at the conclusion of the storyline involving Saronia, you will face him off against other players as a boss.
In a roundabout way, Garuda is connected to the wind due to the fact that his Lightning attack has the potential to deal up to 800 damage to the entire party. This is almost certainly going to be fatal, and the gear and job requirements for the Dragoon in the previous area are almost entirely centered on the idea of surviving this assault.
When it does not appear as a summoned creature, Garuda appears either as an uncommon foe or a boss who has the appearance of an animal rather than a person. Final Fantasy 3 is the only game in which Garuda has appeared in sprite-based form; the next game credit for Garuda is Final Fantasy 7.
The only distinguishing features of this creature are the human arms that are attached to its fully avian body and the fact that it only appears in two of the game’s optional areas. In Final Fantasy 9 and 10, Garuda serves as a common foe, while in Final Fantasy 12 and 13, he takes on the role of a boss. Late in the series, Garuda was established as a recurring character in Final Fantasy; prior to this point, however, its random and infrequent appearances did not garner much attention.
Garuda’s Changes from Final Fantasy 3 to Final Fantasy 16
The monsters in the Final Fantasy series have always been an integral part of the series. The latest Chocobo or Cactaur can be identified by any fan, and many other monsters, such as goblins, ghosts, skeletons, and iron giants, have appeared in a variety of games. Final Fantasy has no shortage of monsters to slay thanks to the strong art direction provided by Yoshitaka Amano and the efforts of later artists and animators. Is it bad to have to get rid of old foes in order to make room for new ones? Definitely not.
These iconic enemies are accompanied by some monsters that can be persuaded to fight on the player’s side, as well. These monsters are called summons, and their origins can be traced all the way back to Final Fantasy III.
Before the summoning system debuted in Final Fantasy III, Bahamut was nothing more than a quest NPC. Final Fantasy games since then have featured characters like Ifrit, Shiva and Ramuh as well as Leviathan, Titan, and more as both friends and foes. Garuda, the Eikon of Wind and one of the most recent additions to Final Fantasy’s core summon catalog, is a central focus of Final Fantasy 16.
The First Appearance of Garuda, the Summon in Final Fantasy
The harpy-like summon that is now known as Garuda was first introduced in Final Fantasy 11, the game that is responsible for giving players this ability.
Despite this, her role is relatively unimportant, and she only seems to be there because it was apparently required. For years, the Final Fantasy series has been adding new summons to the game, but when it came time for the MMORPG FF11 to assign summons to the game’s elements, there was nothing available that was appropriate for wind.
In Final Fantasy, birds and other flying summons rarely had elements assigned to them, and even when they did, the element they were given was never wind. Both the notable avians Quetzalli from Final Fantasy 6 and Valefor from Final Fantasy 10 were not of a particular element, and as a result, Garuda, an old foe, was promoted to the status of a summon.
In Final Fantasy 11, the backstory of Garuda involved her beginning life as a young bird who was raised by a prince. She set out on a journey to find a cure for his illness, and as a result of her dogged determination, she ended up becoming the source of power that she had been looking for.
Garuda and the prince eventually developed romantic feelings for one another, and when Garuda passed away, the goddess Altana reincarnated her as the Celestial Avatar of Wind.
In order to obtain Garuda Prime as a summonable companion, players must first defeat her in the Cloister of Gales. Garuda got off to a strong start with Final Fantasy 11, but the game did not turn any heads. Even her reappearance in Final Fantasy 14 as a malevolent primal did little to boost her reputation among fans of the series.
Garuda Has Become a Member of Final Fantasy’s Classic Summons
Final Fantasy 14 is still the game that most Final Fantasy fans associate with Garuda. Garuda returned as an antagonist in FF14: A Realm Reborn for one of its story arcs, and her uniquely megalomaniacal attitude struck a chord with fans.
She has reappeared in several fights, and her popularity was even acknowledged in the “Endwalker” expansion. This same Garuda appeared in a crossover with Final Fantasy 15, prompting that game to introduce its own Garuda as an equivalent crossover for Final Fantasy 14.
This new Garuda retains the masculine design of FF3 while remaining female, as do all Garuda summons. She used to be an Astral messenger, but she was defeated and sealed away for so long that her name was forgotten.
She can be summoned to defeat FF14’s Garuda, deciding to take the wind goddess’ name in order to continue supporting the party. Clive then acquires Garuda’s wind power through unknown means. Much remains unknown about Garuda’s appearance in FF16, but more is on the way for one of Final Fantasy’s newest summons.
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