|“||Lowlifes. Shameless filthy wretches. How you celebrate my ascension with such joy. Hailing the very one whom you have condemned for generations. Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies? The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations? Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler.||„|
|~ Sorceress Ultimecia (expressing her contempt for humanity).|
|“||This is reality. No one can help you. Sit back and enjoy the show.||„|
|“||I am Ultimecia. Time shall compress... All existence denied.||„|
The primary antagonist of the game Final Fantasy VIII, Ultimecia (in Japanese: アルティミシア, Arutimishia) is an extremely powerful sorceress from many generations ahead in the future. She wishes to compress time, in other words to fuse every past, present and future moments into one, resulting in a world where only she would be able to survive. She sends her spirit to the game’s protagonists' era and takes possession of Edea Kramer, a sorceress of the present time. Squall Leonhart and his friends manage to thwart her schemes and track her down to her own era where she ultimately meets her demise by their hands.
Ultimecia is a woman of average height around 30 years old, whose undeniable beauty is somehow downplayed by her strange clothing, her horn-like hair and her tattooed body. She wears a form-fitting crimson gown that exposes her chest, abdomen and legs; with a black fur ruffle collar that extands to the edge of the bodice, padded shoulders and an extended hemline that drags along the floor behind her.
She wears an ornate headdress that makes her gray hair look like horns, with 2 long locks left free to hang which frame her face. She also wears ornately jewelled necklaces and earrings. Her face, stomach and legs are tattooed with coloured, lined patterns, her hands are coloured purple and she walks barefoot. She has several altered features due to both her evil nature and her Sorceress Power: such as yellow eyes, pointed ears, black feathered wings and long claw-like nails.
Ultimecia is notable for the form she assumes during the last stage of the final battle: A gigantic, multi-coloured, oddly symmetrical abomination, almost impossible to describe properly. She has blue bat-like wings full of holes on her head, a strange array of purple blade-like protrusions on her back, arms at hip level, and several features reminiscent of her human form: her horns and the strange membrane-like thing figuring her gown.
Much worse, she has but a black void with a flickering light where her face should be, her chest seems open or have several layers of “skin”, her gown-like membrane is filled with a starry night, and her human body is hanging upside-down where her legs should be; naked, covered in blue and red veins and with dead-like white eyes.
Ultimecia is a malevolent, nihilistic, power-hungry and revengeful sorceress who desires to reshape the universe, which she could rule as its Goddess and where everyone would worship her and be her slaves for eternity. She displays strong contempt and resentment for mankind, evidenced in her hateful speech to the Galbadian people after killing President Vinzer Deling.
When confronting the game's heroes, she demonstrates even higher levels of contempt (mixed with a loathing respect, as she calls Squall "an impressive nuisance"), and a violent hatred of SeeDs (witch hunters). She is also very cruel, leaving people to their death or killing hundreds, if not thousands, of people without second thought, and is very confident in her own power.
She is not totally inhuman though as she takes pity on Seifer Almasy and makes him her Sorceress Knight, when she could have left him being sentenced to death. Also, some of her lines in Dissidia hint that she regrets the happiness and innocence of her younger days, with which she strives to renew no matter the cost.
Ultimecia also proves to be highly intelligent and manipulative: she easily uses the Galbadian bureaucracy to make her way towards its highest spheres of influence; she manipulates Vinzer Deling and Seifer to do her biddings by playing on their insecurities and desires; she possesses Rinoa but plunges her into a coma to lead the protagonists where she wants them to and only uses her “host” when she needs to; and finally she displays keen strategic skills during the worldwide war she ignited between Galbadia and the other two Gardens.
By reading through Ultimecia's words and actions, it becomes obvious that she is fully aware of her upcoming defeat against the "Legendary SeeDs", whom she awaits without fear. Her goal of Time Compression is driven by her desire to overcome her demise by creating a chaotic and unchanging universe where she would live alone forever and where no SeeD could threaten her life, even if it means being alone for eternity. By doing so, she would reverse Fate itself and would be able to endlessly torment those who were supposed to kill her.
It is also made clear that her contempt for mankind is due to the intense persecution that she (and maybe every sorceress before her) suffered from the people of her own time. It is hinted that the future generations knew what she did in Squall's era and wanted to prevent her ascension to power, prejudicing her and her kind for crimes still not committed yet. Ultimecia's gloomy past and motivations were confirmed by the Ultimania guide.Another major trait of the sorceress is her rather strange taste in clothing and more importantly her enjoyment of luxury, style and opulence. When within Edea's shell she dresses with expensive robes and cloaks with an extraordinary golden ornament and an elaborate headdress, and she lives in a luxurious wing of the presidential residence.
The parade held in her honour after she seizes power in Galbadia is visually dazzling and filled with light and coloured crystal, yet exceedingly glittering and luxurious. Finally her Castle, while being creepy and gloomy befitting a Dark Queen of her level, is filled with opulent ornaments and furniture and contains an impressive art collection.
Powers and AbilitiesAs expected of the primary antagonist in a Final Fantasy game, Ultimecia is an incredibly powerful and skilled sorceress. This is due to her own already immense power but also to all the magic she absorbed from every other sorceress of her time, gathering all the Sorceress Power in existence and gaining god-like abilities.
Ultimecia wields many powers, such as an extended perception of her surroundings; enhanced strength and endurance; high-level telepathy, mind-reading and telekinesis; levitation, teleporting and phasing through solid matter; vast control of the weather and the elements; compelling people to the point of turning them into mindless, blindly obedient puppets and making immense crowds do what she wants without them noticing anything; paralyzing many people at once while keeping them able to see and talk; shape-shifting and altering her own body features in seconds; defensive force fields; and infusing objects with her magic to animate them or alter them as she wishes; to name but a few.
Ultimecia's own Sorceress Power is based on Time and Space, which she controls to a nearly perfect extent. As evidenced when she absorbs her fallen enemies into the void of time, or when she separates the party during in different planes the final battle against her. (She chooses three opponents at random and isolates the others, making them appear out of nowhere when she brings them forth.) Another example is when she enables Griever, her Guardian Force (a powerful summoned monster), to remain in battle for as long as she wants to instead of disappearing after a single attack. In Dissidia, she even displays the ability to freeze time for an undefined length during which she is the only one able to act and to move. She seems able to keep it stopped for as long as she wants until she restarts it.
When she Junctions two people, she literally fuses them instead of merely linking their minds. (She does it when she junctions Rinoa to Sorceress Adel's body and when she Junction herself to Griever.) She can also use Junction to possess any other sorceress, and gain almost unlimited access to any living creature's mind, enabling her to gain as much power, magic and knowledge as she wants from it.
Ultimecia can perform feats that go beyond the normal rules of magic, and warp reality itself to a huge extent. Not only she can give life to creatures, but she can turn mere statues into flesh-and-blood beings, while possessing a much less powerful sorceress. She can create flying buildings such as her castle. She can as well turn Guardian Forces and similar divine monsters into her demonic servants. Finally she can seal her enemies' powers, like she does when the protagonists enter her castle, and even destroy one of her opponent entire stock of magic in battle.
To a further extent, she can make what she finds in her victims' minds into reality. She creates Griever through this mean, by reaching into Squall's thoughts and giving life to his conception of the most powerful Guardian Force that can exist, creating a demon as powerful as she is.
During the final battle, Ultimecia vastly increases her already enormous power twice. First by fusing herself with Griever and adding his might to her own, then by assuming her mightiest form and making her power skyrocket to an unfathomable extent. Under this form, not only does she gain access to unique and highly dangerous spells, but her mere existence is enough to tear through the time and space continuum and to gradually absorb the entire universe. Even worse, her already incredible reality-warping abilities increase to the point that she becomes able to make her own thoughts come true. This is evidenced when she comes up with the most devastating spell she can think off and draws it from her mind, becoming able to cast it for real as many times as she wishes.
Role in the Game
War against GalbadiaAt the beginning of the game, the primary protagonist Squall Leonhart and his fellow newly promoted SeeDs, (an elite mercenary force meant to protect people from military or supernatural threats) are hired to protect populations from the powerful country of Galbadia, who recently began to invade the weaker neighbour nations. It soon appears that the responsible for this warmongering is the mysterious sorceress Edea Kramer, a trusted advisor and soon-to-be ambassador of the Galbadian President Vinzer Deling.
The actual story begins when a resistance faction known as the Forest Owls, led by a young girl named Rinoa Heartilly, hires Squall's SeeDs team's assistance to force Galbadia to withdraw from the nations it occupies. Later, the renegade SeeD candidate Seifer Almasy tries and fails to murder President Deling, with Rinoa and Squall's team as witnesses; Edea then teleports into the room, wearing a mask that conceals her face. She paralyzes everyone and talks to Seifer, easily convincing him to follow her.
Attempting to stop Edea on her own while the SeeDs are planning to kill her, Rinoa infiltrates the presidential residence and tries to suppress Edea's Sorceress Power with a special bangle. Unfortunately, the villainess recognizes the bangle and effortlessly knocks Rinoa out with her telekinetic powers. Edea then magically compels Rinoa to follow her like a puppet.
Shortly after, Edea kills President Deling by stabbing him through the chest with her bare hand and seizes power in Galbadia, insulting the crowd who still cheers for her due to her magic. She then gives life to the statues of two reptilian monsters called Iguions and orders them to devour Rinoa, who is later rescued by Squall. Meanwhile, the SeeDs' plot ends up in a failure, leading to a fight between the protagonists and the sorceress, aided by Seifer who has become her Sorceress Knight and her right-hand-man. Edea almost kills Squall with a magically conjured icicle, and has nearly all the SeeDs imprisoned and tortured.
The Battle of the Gardens
The protagonists are able to escape from jail with external help, only to learn that in retaliation for the attempt on her life, Edea ordered a missile attack that targets both Trabia Garden and Balamb Garden (the military academies where the SeeDs are trained). While nothing can be done to prevent Trabia's destruction, they manage to activate special machinery that turns Balamb Garden into a mobile fortress, enabling it to scarcely escape the missiles.
Later, Squall and his friends begin to remember their childhood, which they had forgotten because of their intense use of Guardian Forces. They discover that they were all (including Seifer but excluding Rinoa) raised in an orphanage run by Edea herself, who was back then a kind and loving woman, the complete opposite of the remorseless tyrant she is now. Moreover, it is revealed that Edea and her husband Cid Kramer were the ones behind the creation of the SeeDs and the Gardens, adding to the mystery.
They soon learn that Edea is using the Galbadian army in a worldwide search for Ellone, a young woman whom they knew during their childhood at the orphanage, who has the unique ability to send people's consciousness in the past. In the same time the sorceress is personnaly commanding Galbadia's own mobile Garden and is tracking down Balamb Garden. The two flying fortresses ultimately engage a battle over the ruins of Edea's orphanage, during which the SeeDs manage to invade Galbadia Garden and confront Edea, whom they defeat at last. Unfortunately Rinoa unexplicably falls into a coma shortly after.
Search for EstharWhen they finally enter the ruined orphanage, Squall's team meet the real Edea Kramer, who tells them that she was possessed all along by the game's true antagonist, a sorceress from the future named Ultimecia. She also reveals that Ultimecia wants to compress Time into one single moment.
To do so she needs to find both Ellone and Sorceress Adel. 70 years ago Adel, ruler of the futuristic nation of Esthar ignited the gruesome Sorceress War in order to take over the world, but her own people rebelled against her and managed to trap her in a stasis chamber that they sent into space.
In order to cast the Time Compression spell, Ultimecia needs to have her consciousness in the future, the present and the past at the same time. The machine she is using to reach the game's present era cannot go further into time; therefore she needs Ellone's power to send her consciousness back in Adel's past era.
Squall's team then starts a journey to Esthar, hoping to find a way to wake Rinoa from her coma. They are joined by Edea who hopes to relinquish her Sorceress Power, to prevent Ultimecia from possessing her again; power which she unknowingly passed to the comatose Rinoa when she was defeated.
When the protagonists finally reach Esthar, with Squall, carrying Rinoa on his back, they are led into space to the Lunar Base where Adel is constantly watched over. There, Squall finally meets Ellone who should be able to understand Rinoa's condition with her power. It appears that Rinoa was possessed by Ultimecia all along. The villainess took advantage of the power transfer to possess Rinoa, put her in a coma and waited to be brought in Eshtar to find a cure. She then takes control of Rinoa, whom she uses to unseal Adel's Tomb and send it back to earth before leaving Rinoa, who outlived her usefulness, to die in space. Once again, Rinoa is rescued by Squall who becomes her Sorceress Knight.
The SeeDs quickly form a plan to defeat Ultimecia for good; they intend to destroy Adel so that her Sorceress Power would be transferred to Rinoa. This would force Ultimecia to possess Rinoa again, and Ellone would be able to send the two sorceresses' consciousness in Adel's past, allowing Ultimecia to cast the Time Compression spell during the phenomenon known as the Lunar Cry. Ellone would then bring back their consciousness, halting the Time Compression halfway: all this in order to enable Squall's team to travel through the compressed eras towards Ultimecia's future and engage a battle against her.
Later, Seifer abducts Ellone and Rinoa, unknowingly serving the SeeDs' plan, and brings them to Adel, who is now possessed by Ultimecia. Squall's team manage to reach Adel whom they destroy, putting their own plan into motion and reaching Ultimecia's future.
The Final ShowdownAfter a long journey through a warped universe; where they had to fight against eleven Sorceresses from every era, the protagonists ends up in the future world under Ultimecia's tyrannical rule, devastated and plunged into an everlasting night.
They enter the sorceress' creepy flying Castle, with the corpses of all the elite White SeeDs who died fighting her scattered all around. Inside the castle, a spell cast by Ultimecia deprives the protagonists of all their powers, which are sealed into eight powerful creatures under her command. They are forced to destroy all of the sorceress' minions in order to regain their abilities and finally challenge her once and for all.
After a long and epic battle which tears through the fabric of time and space, Ultimecia is defeated at last and the protagonists are send back in their own era. However the sorceress survived and she travels through the Time Warp she created, desperately clinging to life. She ends up in Edea's orphanage, thirteen years before the game's events, closely followed by Squall. Being too weak to do anything, Ultimecia has no other choice than to transfer what was left of her Sorceress Power to the Edea of the past, who was already a Sorceress and who refused to let any child in her care to suffer this burden.
Ultimecia finally dies, having unwillingly created the time paradox that would lead her to possess Edea; and completed the cycle of time-travel between the SeeDs and her. After advising the Edea of the past to create the SeeDs and the Gardens, the Squall of the present nearly loses himself in the void of Time but he ultimately manages to get back to his own time and reunites with his friends.
As the Final Boss
|“||Reflect on your childhood... Your sensations... Your words... Your emotions... Time... It will not wait... No matter how hard you hold on. It escapes you... And... I can't disappear yet.||„|
|~ Ultimecia in her final form.|
The Final Battle of Final Fantasy VIII is often praised for its length and difficulty. The website 1up.com ranked it 11th on its list "25 of the Most Badass Boss Fights of All Time". The battle is divided in four stages: the fight against Ultimecia in her human form; the fight against her Guardian Force Griever; the fight against Ultimecia who junctioned herself to Griever; and finally, the fight against Ultimecia's final and most powerful form.
When the battle begins, the sorceress chooses three party members at random to fight against, which means that you cannot choose your characters. Moreover, if a character dies and is not resurrected quickly enough, she absorbs them into time and permanently removes them from play, before replacing them with another one, randomly chosen as well. This lasts during the entire battle and proves to be extremely irksome if your party is not well balanced; or worse if your only healer-reviver gets removed from play. It is highly advised to have the whole party at similar levels and several healers and defenders, or else you will have to restart the game over and over.
The best way to deal with her, whichever stage of the battle you are in, is to Cast Meltdown (a spell that doubles the damage the target will get after being hit) on her, to cast Aura on your characters so that they can use their Limit Breaks (their strongest attacks) at will, and then to pummel her with Limit Break combos. Also, make sure to use protective spells and items, and to heal your characters often.
Human FormUltimecia's first form is the least powerful but must by no means be underestimated. She uses a wide array of dangerous attack spells, including but not limited to: Meltdown, Bio (damages and poisons the target), Maelstrom (divides the party’s life-points), Quake and Tornado (heavy damage to the whole party), Holy (heavy damage), and Death (instantly kills a character depending on his level). She also uses many supporting spells such as Dispel (cancels a magic advantage), Double (casts all spells twice in a row), Confuse (the target may attack his allies), and Draw (takes a spell from her foes).
Always dispel her Double or Confuse spells and do not waste any time; the longer the battle lasts, the stronger and angrier Ultimecia gets. She will begin to heal herself, to cast Triple (spell cast thrice in a row) instead of Double and will only use her most powerful spells.
GrieverUltimecia creates the mightiest Guardian Force ever from Squall's mind and make him fight in her place.
Griever is an immensely powerful enemy who can remove a spell from a character's inventory, preventing its use and cancelling any junction to the character's stats. He uses dangerous attacks and he can draw spells from the party.
His most noticeable spells are Doom (kills the target after a few turns), Pain (poisons the target, lowers the accuracy of the attacks and prevents the target from spellcasting), and Triple. When sufficiently damaged, he starts to use his most devastating attack: Shockwave Pulsar, which inflicts critical damage to the whole party. Try to Draw Shockwave Pulsar from him with Quistis.
Ultimecia-GrieverUltimecia junctions herself to Griever and merges with him to combine their power. Summoning Guardian Forces is useless as Ultimecia-Griever instantly destroys them.
The junctioned sorceress will create one, and later two Helixes: small metallic creatures that can blast rays on the party and give her access to fearsome magical attacks such as Ultima (the strongest spell available), Flare, and Meteor, as well as her special attack: Great Attractor, which hugely damages the whole party.
It is advised to use strong protective spells; but keep in mind that she can still dispel your magical advantages. Focus only on Ultimecia-Griever. When damaged enough, she loses her tails and her Helixes, and returns to her human form's spells, but does not become any less dangerous.
Final FormWhen Ultimecia seems defeated at last, she reappears assuming one of the weirdest forms ever assumed by a Final Boss. She begins to absorb the entire time and space continuum and starts the final stage of the battle.
This grotesque but formidable demon can instantly destroy any Guardian Force and dispel your magic advantages. She attacks mainly with Hell's Judgement, a unique spell that reduces the whole party's life-points to 1. The Party must be healed immediately after or else Ultimecia will be able to kill one of them with a mere Claw Swipe.
Later in the fight, she creates the most devastating spell ever: Apocalypse. This spells deals extremely high damage to the whole party and Ultimecia casts it very often, so use your strongest protections. You can prevent her from casting it by destroying her upside-down, lower half but she will then use Holy, Flare, Meteor and Ultima which coupled with Hell's Judgement can be even deadlier.
Role in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy games
|“||I'm not foolish enough to surrender my will to some nebulous deity.||„|
|~ Sorceress Ultimecia (about Chaos).|
In Dissidia: Final Fantasy and its prequel Dissidia Duodecim, Ultimecia is the villain who antagonizes Squall as a "servant" of Chaos the God of Discord. In fact, she only pretends to serve Chaos and plots alongide Emperor Matheus Palamecia to seize control of the universe.
Given that whenever Chaos or Cosmos, the Goddess of Harmony, is destroyed, the Divine Dragon Shinryu revives the fallen deity and restarts the war, they side with Chaos until he kills Cosmos, before planning to prevent her resurrection and dealing with their "master". Ultimecia wishes to compress time to make a world where everything could exist for eternity under her rule.
|“||Everything is an illusion. Your hopes, your friends, your life itself, shall fade.||„|
|~ Sorceress Ultimecia (to Squall).|
Ultimecia proves to be very deceptive, as she transforms into Cosmos several times, misguiding Squall and trying to weaken his resolve. She is also sarcastic, sharp-tongued and mockingly seductive, as she often taunts and berates allies and enemies alike, stating that they are the puppets of their fate and their own illusions. She considers the never-ending battle between Chaos and Cosmos pointless and despises them both.
Ultimecia attempts to gain or to manipulate other villains to her cause. She attempts as well to separate Squall from his comrades so that he would be easier to deal with. She ambushes Squall in her castle alongside Garland but Zidane appears to take care of her ally and Squall defeats her. After Cosmos' death, she prepares to compress time but Squall confronts her and defeats her for good.
In Dissidia DuodecimUltimecia returns in Dissidia Duodecim, in which she can appear under the aspect she had while possessing Sorceress Edea.
In this game, it is revealed than the events of Dissidia are not the first time the characters are involved in the war between Chaos and Cosmos. Ultimecia's characterisation and motives remain the same and she toys with the protagonists' life and resolve as they struggle to contain the invasion of Manikins (crystal-born doppelgangers of the playable characters) summoned by Chaos' servants.
Cosmos ultimately sacrifices herself to seal back the countless hordes of Manikins into the Rift and is resurrected, leading to the events of the previous game.
As a playable character
|“||There are manners, even in battle!||„|
|~ Sorceress Ultimecia|
In battle, Ultimecia is described as a "Sorceress Fusilier" who specializes in long-range and aerial fighting. She primarily uses bolts of energy which she can charge, or stop in mid-air to redirect them, as well as axes and spears of energy. Her specials attacks are based on the spells she uses in Final Fantasy VIII.
Her EX Mode (powered up mode) is a more human variation of her fusion with Griever that enables her to freeze time and paralyze her foes. Her EX Burst (ultimate attack) is called "Time Compression" and consists in a continuous, multi-directional barrage of arrow-shaped energy bolts culminating in "Sorceress Heart" a tremendous explosion.
Appearances in other games
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
Ultimecia is featured in this game, consisiting in music sequences divided between Field, Event and Battle, in which the player has to hold notes in tune to the series' most famous musical themes. In the first game, Ultimecia appears under Edea's shell for the Waltz For The Moon Event Sequence. In the sequel Curtain Call, she is fought during a Battle Sequence.
Pictlogica Final FantasyUltimecia made an appearance as a boss in the 2013 action puzzle game Pictlogica Final Fantasy, Ultimecia is fought as a boss in this game, in which the player must defeat enemies RPG-style while solving puzzles and riddles.
- Ultimecia's name might be a reference to the fact that she is the most powerful of all sorceresses, in the same way as Ultima is the most powerful common attack spell.
- In the German and Italian translations, the Sorceress is known as Artemisia: a common name for a witch in Italian folklore. It must be noted that two famous queens of the Greek city of Caria were named Artemisia.
- In the same way, the Sorceress is known as Artemisa in the Spanish translation.
- The English translation of Ultimecia's hateful speech to the Galbadians radically differs from the original Japanese version.
- The English translation of the game replaces the letter 'c' with the letter 'k' when Ultimecia speaks (lest she possesses someone or appears under her final form), to figure some sort of accent. This would later be dropped in the Dissidia games.
- Ultimecia is heard laughing when the first stage of the final battle in Final Fantasy VIII begins.
- During the first stage of the final battle, Ultimecia uses the "Stop" ability that temporarily prevents its target from acting, mirroring her power to stop the flow of time.
- Ultimecia and Rinoa appear as opposites in almost every way: one having black wings and grey hair, wearing an extravagant red gown and summoning a lion-like monster; the other having black hair, wearing a simple, blue dress, using her dog in battle, and having white wings manifesting when she calls upon her power.
- An extremely popular fan-theory assumes that Ultimecia is in fact Rinoa's future self, driven to evil after outliving Squall. It was stated wrong in the Ultimania guide, which revealed Ultimecia's past and motivations, and explained that no sorceress could live that long, yet many fans remain persuaded that it is true.