Stories in the series frequently emphasize the internal struggles, passions, and tragedies of the characters, and the main plot often recedes into the background as the focus shifts to their personal lives.[23][75] Games also explore relationships between characters, ranging from love to rivalry.[3] Other recurring situations that drive the plot include amnesia, a hero corrupted by an evil force, mistaken identity, and self-sacrifice.[3][76][77] Magical orbs and crystals are recurring in-game items that are frequently connected to the themes of the games' plots.[74] Crystals often play a central role in the creation of the world, and a majority of the Final Fantasy games link crystals and orbs to the planet's life force. As such, control over these crystals drives the main conflict.[74][78] The classical elements are also a recurring theme in the series related to the heroes, villains, and items.[74] Other common plot and setting themes include the Gaia hypothesis, an apocalypse, and conflicts between advanced technology and nature.[74][76][79]

Final Fantasy installments are generally stand-alone stories, each with different settings, plots and main characters, but the franchise is linked by several recurring elements, including game mechanics and recurring character names. Each plot centers on a particular group of heroes who are battling a great evil, but also explores the characters' internal struggles and relationships. Character names are frequently derived from the history, languages, pop culture, and mythologies of cultures worldwide. The mechanics of each game involve similar battle systems and maps.
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