Friday, July 6, 2007
The Oort cloud, (IPA: BrE /ɔːt klaʊd/, AmE /ɔɹt klaʊd/), alternatively termed the Öpik-Oort Cloud (/ˈøpik/-, like /ˈepik/ with a rounded /e/), is a postulated spherical cloud of comets situated about 50 to 50,000 AU from the Sun. This is approximately 1000 times the distance from the Sun to Pluto or nearly a light year. The outer extent of the Oort cloud places the boundary of our Solar System at nearly a quarter of the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun.
Although no confirmed direct observations of the Oort cloud have been made, astronomers believe it to be the source of all long period and Halley-type comets entering the inner solar system (some short-period comets, based on their orbits, may come from the Kuiper belt).
In 1932 Ernst Öpik, an Estonian astronomer, proposed that comets originate in an orbiting cloud situated at the outermost edge of the solar system. In 1950 the idea was revived independently by Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort to explain an apparent contradiction: comets are destroyed by several passes through the inner solar system, yet if the comets we observe had really existed for billions of years (since the origin of the solar system), all would have been destroyed by now. According to the hypothesis, the Oort cloud contains trillions of comet nuclei, which are stable because the sun's radiation is very weak at their distance. The cloud provides a continual supply of new comets, replacing those that are destroyed. In order for it to supply the necessary volume of comets, the total mass of comets in the Oort cloud must be many times that of Earth.
 Structure and composition
The Oort cloud is thought to occupy a vast space from the outer boundary of the Kuiper belt at 50 AU to as far as 50,000 AU from the Sun. It can be subdivided into spherical outer Oort cloud (20,000-50,000 AU) and doughnut-shaped inner Oort cloud (50-20,000 AU). The outer cloud is only weakly bound to the Sun and supplies the long period (and possibly Halley-type) comets to the inner part of the Solar System. The inner Oort cloud is also known as the Hills cloud, and may be the source of Halley-type comets.. Some scientists think that the Hills cloud may contain much more material than the outer cloud. This hypothesis is employed to explain the continued existence of the Oort cloud over the course of billions of years.
The outer Oort cloud is commonly thought to contain several trillion individual comet nuclei larger than ~1.3 km, each tens of millions of kilometers apart. Its mass is not known with certainty, but is unlikely to be more than a few Earth masses . Earlier it was thought to be more massive (up to 380 Earth masses). However the improved knowledge about the size distribution of the long period comets led to much lower values. The mass of the inner Oort cloud is not currently known.
The vast majority of Oort cloud objects are believed to consist of various ices, but the discovery of the object 1996 PW suggests that it may also be home to rocky objects.
The Oort cloud is thought to be a remnant of the original protoplanetary disc that formed around the Sun approximately 4.6 billion years ago. Its outer part is loosely bound to the solar system, and thus easily affected by the motions of passing stars or other forces.
The most widely-accepted hypothesis of its formation is that the Oort cloud's objects initially formed much closer to the Sun as part of the same process that formed the planets and asteroids, but that gravitational interaction with young gas giants such as Jupiter ejected them into extremely long elliptical or parabolic orbits. The current mass of the cloud (about 3 Earth masses) is only a small part of the mass of ejected material (50-100 Earth masses). While on the distant outer regions of these orbits, gravitational interaction with nearby stars and galactical tides further modified their orbits to make them more circular. This explains a near spherical shape of the outer Oort cloud. On the other hand the Hills cloud, being bound stronger to the Sun, hasn't acquired spherical shape yet. Recent studies have shown that the formation of the Oort cloud is broadly compatible with the hypothesis that the Solar System formed as part of an embedded cluster among between 200 and 400 stars. These early stars likely played a role in the cloud's formation.
 Star perturbations and Nemesis theory
It is thought that other stars are likely to possess Oort clouds of their own, and that the outer edges of two nearby stars' Oort clouds may sometimes overlap, causing perturbations in the comets' orbits and thereby increasing the number of comets that enter the inner solar system. The interactions of the Oort cloud with those of neighboring stars, and its deformation by the galactic tide are thought to be the main triggers which send the long-period comets into the inner Solar System. This process also serves to scatter the objects out of the ecliptic plane, explaining the cloud's spherical distribution.
The known star with the greatest possibility of perturbing the Oort cloud in the next 10 million years is Gliese 710. However, physicist Richard A. Muller and others have postulated that the Sun has a heretofore undetected companion (brown dwarf or gaseous giant planet) in an elliptical orbit beyond the Oort cloud. This object, known as Nemesis, is theorized to pass through a portion of the Oort cloud approximately every 26 million years, bombarding the inner solar system with comets. Although the theory has many proponents, no direct proof of the existence of Nemesis has been found. Furthermore, many argue that a companion star at such a great distance could not have a stable orbit, as it would probably be ejected by perturbations from other stars.
 Oort cloud objects (OCO)
|TNOs and similar bodies|
So far, only two objects with orbits which suggest that they may belong to the Oort Cloud have been discovered: 90377 Sedna and 2000 CR105. Unlike scattered disk objects, their orbits cannot be explained by perturbations of the main known planets and may thus belong to the inner Oort cloud. Their orbits can then be explained by one of two theories. Either these objects were Oort cloud bodies disrupted by the passage of a neaby star close to the solar system, or else their orbits were disrupted by an as-yet-unknown planet-sized body within the Oort Cloud.
|Perihelion (AU)||Aphelion (AU)||Year discovered||Discoverer||Diameter method|
|90377||Sedna||1180 - 1800 km||76.1||892||2003||Brown, Trujillo, Rabinowitz||thermal|
|148209||2000 CR105||265 km||44.3||397||2000||Lowell Observatory||???|
Victoria Crater, an impact crater at Meridiani Planum, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Layered sedimentary rocks are exposed along the inner wall of the crater, and boulders that have fallen from the crater wall are visible on the crater floor. The floor of the crater is occupied by a striking field of sand dunes. The Mars rover Opportunity can be seen in this image, at roughly the "ten o'clock" position along the rim of the crater.
Daspletosaurus is closely related to the much larger and more recent Tyrannosaurus. Like most known tyrannosaurids, it was a multi-ton bipedal predator equipped with dozens of large, sharp teeth. Daspletosaurus had the small forelimbs typical of tyrannosaurids, although they were proportionately longer than in other genera. It was probably similar in weight to a modern white rhinoceros or a small elephant.As an apex predator, Daspletosaurus was at the top of the food chain, probably preying on large dinosaurs like the ceratopsid Centrosaurus and the hadrosaur Hypacrosaurus. In some areas, Daspletosaurus coexisted with another tyrannosaurid, Gorgosaurus, though there is some evidence of niche differentiation between the two. While Daspletosaurus fossils are rarer than other tyrannosaurids, the available specimens allow some analysis of the biology of these animals, including social behavior, diet and life history.
This bipedal ornithopod is known from several partial skeletons and skulls that indicate it grew to between 2.5 and 4.0 meters (8.2 to 13.1 feet) in length on average. It had sturdy hind limbs, small wide hands, a head with an elongate pointed snout, and possibly small armor scutes along the midline of the back. This genus of dinosaur is regarded as a specialized hypsilophodont and a herbivore. Several species have been suggested for this genus, but only one, T. neglectus, is currently recognized; the others have been given their own genera, or are believed to be the same as T. neglectus.The genus attracted media attention in 2000, when a specimen unearthed in 1993 in South Dakota was interpreted as including a fossilized heart. There was much discussion over whether the remains were actually of a heart. Many scientists now doubt the identification of the object and the implications of such an identification.
All species of Psittacosaurus were gazelle-sized bipedal herbivores characterized by a high, powerful beak on the upper jaw. At least one species had long, quill-like structures on its tail and lower back, possibly serving a display function. Psittacosaurs were extremely early ceratopsians and, while they developed many novel adaptations of their own, they also shared many anatomical features with later ceratopsians, such as Protoceratops and the elephant-sized Triceratops.Psittacosaurus is not as familiar to the general public as its distant relative Triceratops but it is one of the most completely known dinosaur genera. Fossils of over 150 individuals have been collected so far, including many near-complete skeletons. Most different age classes are represented, from nestling through to adult, which has allowed several detailed studies of Psittacosaurus growth rates and reproductive biology. The abundance of this dinosaur in the fossil record has led to its use as an index fossil for Early Cretaceous sediments of
Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, the turkey-sized Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the same anatomical features. It was a bipedal carnivore with a long, stiffened tail and had an enlarged, sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to kill its prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.Due in large part to its prominent role in Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park and the subsequent motion picture series, Velociraptor (commonly shortened to 'raptor') is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public. It is also well-known to paleontologists, with over a dozen recovered fossil skeletons — the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen shows a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops
Although no complete skeleton has been found, Triceratops is well-known from numerous partial specimens collected since the introduction of the genus in 1887. The function of their frills and three distinctive facial horns has long inspired debate. Although traditionally viewed as defensive weapons against predators, the latest theories explain how these features were probably primarily used in display for courtship and dominance, much like the antlers and horns of modern reindeer, mountain goats or rhinoceros beetles.Triceratops is the best-known of the ceratopsids, though the genus' exact placement within the group has been a point of contention amongst paleontologists. Two species, T. horridus and T. prorsus, are considered valid, although many other species have been named.
Discovered in 1822 and described three years later by English geologist Gideon Mantell, Iguanodon was the second dinosaur formally named, after Megalosaurus. Together with Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, it was one of the three genera originally used to define Dinosauria. A large, bulky herbivore, Iguanodon is a member of Iguanodontia, along with the duck-billed hadrosaurs. The taxonomy of this genus continues to be a topic of study as new species are named or long-standing ones reassigned to other genera.Scientific understanding of Iguanodon has evolved over time as new information has been obtained from the fossils. The numerous specimens of this genus, including nearly complete skeletons from two well-known bonebeds, have allowed researchers to make informed hypotheses regarding many aspects of the living animal, including feeding, movement, and social behaviour. As one of the first scientifically well-known dinosaurs, Iguanodon has occupied a small but notable place in the public's perception of dinosaurs, its artistic representation changing significantly in response to new interpretations of its remains
Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small and retained only two digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded T. rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring over 13 metres (43 feet) in length and up to 7.5 tons in weight.Fossils of some T. rex have been found in North American rock formations dating to the very end of the Cretaceous Period (late Maastrichtian stage, 65 million years ago); it was among the last dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. More than 30 specimens of T. rex have now been identified, some nearly complete, which has allowed significant research into many aspects of its biology, including its life history and biomechanics. The feeding habits and potential speed of T. rex remain controversial
|Final Fantasy IX|
North American box art
NA Square Electronic Arts
UK Square Europe
AU Square Europe
|Designer(s)||Hironobu Sakaguchi (game producer, original concept)|
Shinji Hashimoto (game producer)
Hiroyuki Itō (game director)
Shukō Murase (main character designer)
Kazuhiko Aoki (scenario writer, event planner)
Yoshitaka Amano (original character designer, image illustrator, title logo designer)
Nobuo Uematsu (composer)
Hideo Minaba (art director)
|Series||Final Fantasy series|
|Release date(s)||JPN July 7, 2000|
NA November 14, 2000
EU February 16, 2001
AU February 22, 2001
|Genre(s)||Console role-playing game|
|Mode(s)||Single player, limited multiplayer|
|Rating(s)||CERO: A (All Ages)|
ESRB: T (Teen)
Final Fantasy IX (ファイナルファンタジーIX, Fainaru Fantajī Nain?) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix), and the ninth installment in the Final Fantasy video game series. It was released in 2000, and is the third and last numbered Final Fantasy game for the Sony PlayStation video game console.
Set in a fantasy world of Gaia, Final Fantasy IX's plot centers on a war between several nations, sparked by an ambitious queen. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with several others to defeat the Queen. The plot shifts, however, when the characters realize that the Queen is a puppet for an arms dealer named Kuja.
Final Fantasy IX was developed alongside Final Fantasy VIII, but took a different path to return to the series' roots with a more traditional fantasy setting. Consequently, Final Fantasy IX was influenced heavily by the original Final Fantasy, and features allusions to other Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy IX introduced new features to the series, such as the Active Time Event, Mognet, and a revamped equipment and skill system. The game has been subject to generally positive reviews and is considered one of the best games in the series. However, the game received mixed reception for its return to the style of older Final Fantasy games.
In Final Fantasy IX, the player navigates a character throughout the game world, exploring areas and interacting with non-player characters. Most of the game occurs in towns, dungeons, caves, and similar areas, which are referred to as "field screens". To aid exploration on the field screen, Final Fantasy IX introduces the "field icon", an exclamation mark appearing over their lead character's head, signaling that an item or sign is nearby. Players speak with moogles to record their progress, restore life energy with a tent, and purchase items — a deviation from previous installments, which used a save point to perform these functions. Moogles may request that the playable character deliver letters to other Moogles via "Mognet".
Players journey between field screen locations via the world map screen, a three dimensional, downsized representation of Final Fantasy IX's world presented in top-down perspective. Players can freely navigate around the world map screen unless restricted by terrain, such as water or mountains. To overcome geographical limitations, players can ride emu-like chocobos, sail on a boat, or pilot airships. Like previous Final Fantasy installments, travel across the world map screen and hostile field screen locations is interrupted by random enemy encounters.
Final Fantasy IX offers a new approach to town exploration with Active Time Events (ATE), which provide character development, special items, and prompts for key story-altering decisions. At specific points, the player may view events that are occurring simultaneously. ATE is occasionally used to simultaneously control two teams when the party is divided to solve puzzles and navigate mazes.
Whenever the playable character encounters an enemy, the map changes to the "battle screen". On the battle screen, the enemy appears on the opposite side of the characters; each battle uses the familiar Active Time Battle system that was first featured in Final Fantasy IV. The character's command list is presented in a window opposite the ATB gauge list; while all characters can physically attack the enemy or use an item from the player's inventory, they also possess unique abilities. For instance, the thief Zidane can steal items from the enemy, Eiko and Garnet can summon "eidolons" to aid the party, and Vivi can use black magic to damage the opposition.
These character-specific commands change when the player goes into "Trance mode", which is activated for a short duration when an uncontrollable gauge fills as character sustains damage in a style similar to the Limit Breaks used in Final Fantasy VII. When the gauge is full, the character's strength is amplified, and the player can select special attack commands. Zidane's "Skill" command list, for example, changes to "Dyne", allowing him to execute powerful attacks; Vivi's "Black Magic" command evolves into "Double Black", allowing him to cast two magic spells simultaneously. Through the Configuration screen, the player can change the Battle Style from Normal to Custom, which allows for two players to control two characters during battle. However, two controllers must be plugged into the PlayStation.
A character's performance in battle is determined by numerical values ("statistics") for categories such as speed, strength, and magical power. Character statistics are driven by experience; when players win battles, they are awarded "experience points", which accumulate until characters gain "experience levels". When characters "level up", the statistics for their attributes permanently increase, which may also be amplified by the types of equipment the character is wearing. Winning battles also awards the player money (Gil), Tetra Master playing cards, and ability points (AP).
 Equipment and abilities
Final Fantasy IX deviates from the style of customizable characters featured in the last two titles by reviving the character class concept, which designates a character to a certain role in battle. For instance, Vivi is designated as a black mage and is the only character who can use black magic, and Steiner is a knight and is the only character who can use sword skills.
The basic function of equipment in Final Fantasy games is to increase character attributes; arming Zidane with a Mythril Vest, for example, increases his base defense statistic. In Final Fantasy IX, weapons and armor include special character abilities, which the character may use once the item is equipped (permitting that the ability matches their class). Once the character accumulates enough ability points in battle, the ability becomes usable without having to keep the item equipped.
Abilities are classified into action and support categories. Action abilities consume magic points (MP) and include magic spells and special moves that are used in battle. Support abilities provide functions that remain in effect indefinitely (e.g., the support ability "Antibody" nullifies poisonous attacks), and must be equipped with magic stones to be functional. The maximum number of these stones increases as the characters level up.
Final Fantasy IX takes place primarily on the four continents of a world named Gaia (synonymous with Final Fantasy VII's Gaia, but not the same world). Most of Gaia's population resides on the Mist Continent, named so because the entire continent is blanketed in thick mist. Lands outside the Mist Continent — the Outer, Lost and Forgotten continents — are uncharted territories not explored until midway through the game. Several locations on the parallel world of Terra and the dream land of Memoria round out the game's areas. The Mist Continent features four factions: Alexandria, Lindblum, Burmecia, and Cleyra. Each country is separated by mountain ranges; the Cleyra civlization, nestled in a giant tree in the desert, is protected by a constant sandstorm.
Gaia is inhabited by humans and various non-human races. The Burmecians are anthropomorphic rats who live in both Burmecia and Cleyra. The Cleyrans, who value dance, split from the Burmecians when the latter started to appreciate "the art of war". The dwarves are short humanoid creatures who appear as inhabitants of the village of Conde Petie on the Outer Continent. Genomes are soulless vessels who exist in Terra to wait for the restoration of Terra when it takes over Gaia; when this occurs, the Terran souls will enter the Genome bodies. Summoners are similar to other humans, but with a horn on their forehead. In the story, only two summoners remain (Garnet and Eiko); the others were exterminated during the Terran warship Invincible's destruction of their homeland of Madain Sari. Lastly, the Qu are large, seemingly androgynous humanoids, who are recognized as fine gourmands. They inhabit marshlands throughout the world where they catch their main source of nutrition: frogs.
In Final Fantasy IX, the game's developers sought to make the game's environment more "fantasy-oriented" than its PlayStation predecessors. Since the creators wanted to prevent the series from following a redundant setting, Final Fantasy IX distinctly breaks from the futuristic styles of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII by reintroducing a medieval setting. In the game, the advent of steam technology is just beginning to rise; the population relies on hydropower or wind power for energy sources, but sometimes harness Mist or steam to power more advanced engines. Continuing with the medieval theme, the game's setting is inspired by Norse and Northern European mythology. According to director Hiroyuki Itō, "[The development team is] attracted to European history and mythology because of its depth and its drama". The main Final Fantasy IX website says the development of the game's world serves as a culmination of the series by blending the "successful elements of the past, such as a return to the fantasy roots," with newer elements.
- Main article: Characters of Final Fantasy IX
The eight main playable characters in Final Fantasy IX are Zidane Tribal, a member of a group of bandits called Tantalus and a womanizer; Garnet Til Alexandros XVII (alias Dagger) the Princess of Alexandria who has a strange connection to "Eidolons"; Vivi Orunitia, a young, timid, and kind Black Mage; Adelbert Steiner, the Captain of the Knights of Pluto and loyal servant of Alexandria and Princess Garnet; Freya Crescent, a Dragon Knight from the city of Burmecia; Quina Quen, a genderless Qu whose master wants him/her to travel the world so that s/he will learn about cuisine; Eiko Carol, a six-year-old girl living in Madain Sari, the lost village of the Eidolon summoners; and Amarant Coral, a bounty hunter framed for a crime committed by Zidane that he tried to prevent. Other main characters include Regent Cid Fabool, the charismatic leader of the Lindblum kingdom; Queen Brahne, Garnet's mother and the power-hungry Queen of Alexandria; General Beatrix, the powerful leader of the female knights of Alexandria; and antagonist Kuja, an enemy of Gaia. Other minor characters and groups also appear; their significance and back-stories are revealed as the game progresses.
During development, the creators made the characters a high priority.The return to the series' roots also affected the characters' designs, which resulted in characters with "comic-like looks". Uematsu commented that they still attempted to give the characters realism while still appearing comic-like. To accomplish this and to satisfy fans who had become used to the realistic designs of Final Fantasy VIII, the designers stressed creating characters that the player could still easily relate with.
Final Fantasy IX begins with Zidane and the Tantalus Theater Troupe kidnapping Princess Garnet during her sixteenth birthday celebration. The group learns that Garnet, who is concerned about Queen Brahne's increasingly erratic behavior, actually wanted to escape to Lindblum to meet with Regent Cid,and had planned to stow away on the theater ship. The Troupe's airship, Prima Vista, is damaged during the escape; it crashes in the Evil Forest, prompting Zidane to continue the trek to Lindblum without the rest of Tantalus. Zidane and Garnet are accompanied by Vivi and Steiner, who became entangled with Tantalus during their escape from Alexandria. During their journey, Garnet adopts the alias "Dagger" and struggles to mingle with the locals. The group learns of a factory that is manufacturing soulless Black Mage warriors for Alexandria's use. Three powerful ones called Black Waltzes are sent by Brahne to retrieve Garnet by force, but in vain.
In Lindblum, Zidane meets Freya and joins in Lindblum's Festival of the Hunt. Regent Cid has been turned into a bug-like oglop by his wife Hilda, for his womanizing behavior. Wishing to protect Garnet from Brahne's newfound aggression, he had ordered Tantalus to kidnap her. When the group learns that Alexandria has invaded Burmecia, Freya investigates the situation with Zidane and Vivi, while Dagger and Steiner head to Alexandria to ask Brahne to stop the war. Both parties are powerless to stop her, and Dagger has her eidolons forcibly extracted from her body. Brahne uses Dagger's eidolons to destroy Cleyra, after which she attacks Lindblum, forcing Cid to surrender. Zidane, Freya, and Vivi, after witnessing the assault on Cleyra, rescue Dagger, befriend General Beatrix, and return to Lindblum.
Afterward, Cid tells the party about Brahne's arms dealer, Kuja. The party travels to the Outer Continent, the location of Kuja's headquarters, through an underground tunnel with the help of Quina.There, the party meets a young summoner named Eiko, who assumes herself to be the last survivor of Madain Sari. They also discover a village inhabited by self-aware Black Mages. Their pursuit of Kuja leads them to the nearby Iifa Tree, an entity that dissipates fighting-stimulant Mist. They also learn that Kuja uses Mist to create the Black Mages. The party defeats the Iifa Tree's core and stops the Mist from flowing. When the party returns to Madain Sari, they confront Amarant, who was hired by Brahne to apprehend Dagger. Dagger slowly realizes that she is also a Summoner from Madain Sari. Amarant joins the party for his own reasons. At the Iifa Tree, Brahne turns against Kuja and intends to kill him with the eidolon Bahamut. However, Kuja uses the airship Invincible to gain control of Bahamut, killing Brahne and defeating her army.
The party returns to Alexandria, and Garnet is crowned Queen. Afterward, Kuja assaults Alexandria with Bahamut. Eiko and Garnet summon the legendary eidolon Alexander, who overpowers Bahamut. Kuja attempts to control Alexander using the Invincible, but is foiled by a mysterious old man named Garland, who destroys Alexander and parts of Alexandria. Kuja, still intent on mastering a powerful eidolon to defeat Garland, shifts his attention to Eiko. The party learns of Kuja's Desert Palace and attempts an assault. However, Kuja imprisons the party and escapes with Eiko to extract her eidolons. During the extraction attempt, Eiko's guardian moogle Mog uses Trance to transform into her true form, the eidolon Madeen, and defeats the process. Learning of the powers of Trance, Kuja escapes to further his aim of defeating Garland. The party rescues Eiko and also finds Hilda, who turns Cid back into a human. He is now able to design an airship for the party that does not need Mist for power.
With Hilda's aid, the party pursues Kuja to Terra by opening a portal. In the Terran town of Bran Bal, it is revealed that Garland was created by the people of Terra to orchestrate the process of assimilating Terra into Gaia, as Terra was a dying world. Garland created Genomes — intelligent, sentient beings who lack souls — to become future vessels for the souls of the Terrans. The Iifa Tree's existence, the phenomenon of Mist, the eidolon's destruction, and even Kuja and Zidane's true purpose of existence, were part of the process. Angered by Garland's motives, the party confronts him. However, Kuja has now obtained enough souls to achieve Trance. Trance Kuja ends Garland's life, but not before Garland warns him of his limited lifespan, and that Zidane was created to replace him. Enraged by this revelation, Kuja destroys Terra while the party rescues the Genomes and returns to Gaia on the Invincible.
The party discovers that Mist has returned and now envelops all of Gaia. Assisted by the combined forces of Burmecia, Lindblum, and Alexandria, they travel to the Iifa Tree, where they are teleported to a mysterious location called Memoria. The spirit of Garland guides the party to Kuja. When Kuja is defeated, he uses his Trance abilities to destroy the Crystal, the source of life, prompting the appearance of Necron, the "Eternal Darkness" bent on destroying life. After Necron is defeated, Memoria and the Iifa Tree collapse. Although the party escapes, Zidane remains to save Kuja, and is later assumed to have died with Kuja in the collapse.
Some time later, Alexandria has been rebuilt, and Tantalus arrives in Alexandria to perform a play for Queen Garnet. During the performance, one of the performers removes his robe and reveals himself to be Zidane. The crs roll as Garnet and Zidane embrace. Other scenes reveal that Vivi somehow has children; Steiner and Beatrix have returned to their old posts as royal bodyguards; Eiko has been adopted by Regent Cid and Hilda; Freya is attempting to start over with her old boyfriend, Sir Fratley; and Quina has frequented the Alexandria Castle kitchen.
 Development and release
Development of Final Fantasy IX began before Square had finished development on its predecessor, Final Fantasy VIII. The game was developed in Hawaii as a compromise to developers living in the United States. As the series' last game on the PlayStation, Sakaguchi envisioned a "reflection" on the older titles of the series. Final Fantasy IX is also considered by Sakaguchi to be his favorite game as "it's closest to [his] ideal view of what Final Fantasy should be". This shift was also a response to demands from fans and other developers. Additionally, the team wanted to create an understandable story with deep character development; this led to the creation of Active Time Events.
In the game's conceptual stage, the developers made it clear that the title would not necessarily be Final Fantasy IX, as its break from the realism of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII may have alienated audiences. This led the Gaming Intelligence Agency to speculate that it would be released as a "gaiden" to the main series. By late 1999, however, Square had confirmed that the game would indeed be published as Final Fantasy IX, and by early 2000, the game was nearly finished. The developers made several adjustments to the game, such as changing the ending seven times.
Final Fantasy IX's release was delayed to avoid a concurrent release with rival Enix's Dragon Quest VII. On October 7, 2000, a demo day for the North American version of Final Fantasy IX was held at the Meteron in San Francisco, California. The first American release of the game was also at the Meteron; limited ion merchandise was included with the game, and fans cosplayed as Final Fantasy characters in celebration of the release. In Canada, a production error left copies of Final Fantasy IX without an English version of the instruction manual, prompting Square to ship copies of the English manual to Canadian stores several days later.
The game was heavily promoted both before and after its release. Starting on March 6, 2000, Final Fantasy IX characters were used in a line of computer-generated Coca-Cola commercials. Figurines of several characters were also used as prizes in Coca-Cola's marketing campaign. That same year, IGN.com awarded Final Fantasy dolls and figurines for prizes in several of their contests.
Final Fantasy IX was also the benchmark of Square's interactive PlayOnline service. PlayOnline was originally developed to interact with Final Fantasy X, but when those plans fell through it became a strategy site for Final Fantasy IX. The site was designed to complement BradyGames' and Piggyback Interactive's official strategy guides for the game, where players who bought the print guide had access to "keywords" that could be searched for on PlayOnline's site for extra tips and information. This caused fury among buyers of the guide, as they felt cheated for the expensive print guide. The blunder made GameSpy readers' "Top 5 Dumbest Moments in Gaming" list, and Square dropped the idea for Final Fantasy X, which was under development at the time.
- Main article: Music of Final Fantasy IX
The music of Final Fantasy IX was created by Nobuo Uematsu, his last exclusive Final Fantasy score. In discussions with Itō, Uematsu was told "It'd be fine if you compose tracks for the eight characters, an exciting battle track, a gloomy, danger-evoking piece, and around ten tracks or so." However, Uematsu spent an estimated year composing and producing "around 160" pieces for Final Fantasy IX, with 140 appearing in the game.
Nobuo Uematsu composed with a piano and used two contrasting methods: "I create music that fits the events in the game, but sometimes, the event designer will adjust a game event to fit the music I've already written." Uematsu felt Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII had a mood of realism, but Final Fantasy IX was fantasy, so "a serious piece as well as silly, fun pieces could fit in." He felt the theme was medieval music, and was given a break to travel in Europe for inspiration - "looking at old castles in Germany and so on." The music was not entirely composed in the medieval mode, Uematsu claims that "it would be unbalanced" and "a little boring". He aimed for a "simple, warm" style and included uncommon instruments such as as a kazoo and dulcimer. Uematsu also included motifs from older Final Fantasy games "because Final Fantasy IX was returning to the roots, so to speak" and incorporated ideas such as "the old intro for battle music" and arranged the Volcano theme from Final Fantasy and the Pandemonium theme from Final Fantasy II.
Uematsu was twice reported claiming without hesitation that Final Fantasy IX has his favorite score. The original soundtrack for the game has 110 tracks; an additional soundtrack, Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack PLUS, was released with 42 more new tracks. Like Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy IX features a J-pop ballad, Melodies of Life. The song was composed by Uematsu, written by Hiroyuki Ito (as Shiomi) in Japanese and Alexander O. Smith in English, and performed by Emiko Shiratori. The song itself was sung in Japanese for the Japanese release of the game, and in English for the North American and European releases.
 Reception and criticism
Final Fantasy IX, though a top seller at the time, did not sell as well as Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy VIII in either Japan or the United States. Reviews for the game were generally positive, with praise to the graphics and nostalgic elements. The game was voted the 24th-best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu and 42nd by the users of the website GameFAQs. Final Fantasy IX also achieved an average review score of 94% on Metacritic, the highest score a Final Fantasy game has received on the site.
Reviewers pointed out that the strength of the game lies on the gameplay, character development, and visual representation. GameSpot noted that the learning curve is easily grasped, and the ability system is not as complex as in Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy VIII. Each player character possesses unique abilities, which hinders the development of an over-powered character. GameSpot describes the battle system as having a tactical nature and the expanded party allowing for more interaction between players and between enemies. Nevertheless, IGN disliked the lengthy combat pace and the repeated battles, describing it as aggravating, and RPGFan feels the Trance system to be ineffective as the meter buildup is slow and unpredictable, with characters Trancing just before the enemy is killed.
The characters and graphics received positive reviews. Although IGN feels the in-depth character traits in Final Fantasy IX could be generally found in other Final Fantasy games, they are nevertheless engaging and sympathetic. GameSpot finds the characters, up to their dialog and traits, amusing and full of humor. IGN also noted that the Active Time Event sytem helps to expand the player's understanding of the characters' personalities as they question many ideas and emotions. Their super-deformed appearance, which also covers monsters of every size, contain detailed animation and design. Praise is given to the pre-rendered backgrounds as careful attention is given to the artwork, movement and animations as well as character interactivity. The movies are seen as emotive and compelling, and the seamless transition and incorporation to the in-game graphics helped to move the plot well.
On the other hand, critics acknowledged that the overall story is recycled from previous Final Fantasy installments and other role-playing games. However, the repeated elements such as evil kingdoms and enigmatic villains are believed by RPGFan as an attempt to emulate the elements of previous Final Fantasy plot and storyline. The main villain, though considered by GameSpot to be the least threatening in the series, is seen by IGN as a mixture of past villains through behavior and appearance. Nevertheless, critics agreed that the audio of the game is of low-quality, being synthesized and recycled from past series. RPGFan feels the in-game sound effects "uninspired, dull and annoying", and the same is said with the music, of which IGN and GameSpot acknowledge as lacking in substance and forgettable. Criticism is thrown upon the composer who seemed to have only reuse and simplify the scores of past series. Nevertheless, reviewers have come to agree that this and many other elements are part of the overall effort to create a nostalgic title for fans of the older Final Fantasy series.
The strategy guide also gained criticism; the book's given links are no longer accessible on the PlayOnline website, but Square-Enix backed up all the files for the guide and placed them in a new site. Tetra Master was seen by GameSpot as inferior and confusing compared to Final Fantasy VIII's mini-game Triple Triad, as the rules for it were only vaguely explained in the game and there were very few rewards earned from playing it despite its extensiveness.