Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Console of origin
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Terra Branford, called Tina in the Japanese version, is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI. Her unique abilities make her a key player in the war between the Gestahlian Empire and the rebel factions. Her gameplay name before the player names her is ??????, and her "name" in dialogue is Girl.
Yoshinori Kitase has stated that Final Fantasy VI has no official main character, as the developers aimed to give the entire cast equal development and status without anyone standing above the rest. However, Terra features prominently in much of the game's artwork and is pivotal to its plot; she is present in the game's logo, the game's main theme is named after her, and she was chosen as the heroine to represent Final Fantasy VI in Dissidia Final Fantasy. She is often considered the game's central protagonist, which would make her the first female protagonist in the mainstream Final Fantasy series.
Terra is an eighteen-year-old woman with mint green hair, a red dress with a purple sash around her waist, red boots, red wristbands and purple shoulder-pads (depicted as a purple cape in her portrait for the iOS/Android rerelease). Terra's baby sprite briefly depicts her with blonde hair and in her concept artwork, Terra is blonde with a sleeveless red dress with floral patterns, flowered white tights, two long red gloves, red boots and a purple-pink cloak with the same flowered design as her tights. In Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy she sports both hair colors; in "normal" mode she is blonde and in "alternate" mode her hair is green. Her hair is always tied into a ponytail and sometimes depicted as curly. In Terra's esper form her hair is long and wild, and her body and hair are vivid lavender.
Terra was born in the Land of Espers to an esper father, Maduin, and a human mother, Madeline. Two years later the Gestahlian Empire raided the land and abducted Maduin. Madeline tried to keep Emperor Gestahl away from her daughter, but he struck her down. Intrigued by the prospect of a half-esper, Gestahl took Terra to the Empire and had her raised as a living weapon. The exact details of her upbringing are unknown, but General Leo was acquainted with her and she developed a fondness for moogles. General Celes Chere claims to have known her. Due to her innate magical ability, Terra was given the title of Magitek Elite.
The Imperial general Kefka Palazzo took an interest in her and placed a slave crown on her, forcing her to obey his orders directly. Among them was the order to annihilate fifty of the Empire's finest soldiers to gauge the extent of her powers and the slave crown's effectiveness. At some point after this Terra participated — alongside Kefka, Celes, and Leo — in Gestahl's declaration of war speech, although she did not salute Gestahl due to not being motioned to do so.
Terra is assigned on a mission to Narshe accompanied by two Imperial troopers: Biggs and Wedge. The mission is to retrieve the recently discovered frozen esper from in the mines. The trio reach the esper, but it kills Biggs and Wedge, and resonates with Terra, knocking her unconscious.
She is rescued by Arvis, a resident of Narshe, who removes the slave crown and nurses her back to health. Though Terra suffers from amnesia she gives her first name. The local police want to capture her thanks to her part in the town's assault. Arvis helps Terra escape, but the guards catch up to her in the mines. An agent of the Returners, Locke Cole, rescues her, along with a group of moogles, and Locke takes Terra to Figaro. He promises to stay and help her until her memory returns.
Terra meets with King Edgar Roni Figaro and wonders if he's only interested in her for her special abilities. Kefka arrives to reclaim her, but Edgar posits she is not there. Terra worries over being an Imperial soldier and the prospect of choosing a side and when Kefka returns and tries to burn down Figaro Castle, Terra, Locke, and Edgar escape on chocobos while the castle submerges under the desert.
Terra uses magic in battle, shocking her companions. Terra worries she might not be human, and though the others try to reassure her, the idea troubles her. They head for the Returner Hideout by passing through the Sabre Mountains where Terra meets Edgar's twin brother, Sabin.
The party meets with the leader of the Returners, Banon, who tries to convince Terra to join their cause. He does not want to force her, because, as Edgar said, it make them "no different from the Empire", but tells her she may represent the Returners' last hope, and it is clear their interest in her centers around her wielding of magic. Terra is reluctant to be used as a weapon and speaks to the others in the Returner hideout to learn more about them.
Terra agrees to help the Returners and Banon proposes taking Terra back to Narshe to speak to the frozen esper and convince it to help the Returners to counter the Empire's use of magic. The hideout is discovered and the others flee down the Lethe River while Locke heads for South Figaro to stall the Empire's advance. Banon, Edgar, Sabin and Terra are attacked by Ultros, an octopus inhabitant of the Lethe River, who latches onto Terra's leg and while Edgar pulls Terra away, Sabin fights it off with a Blitz. He is thrown from the raft, and Terra, Edgar, and Banon reach Narshe without him. The three trek through the mines to meet up with Arvis after the local police reject both Terra and the Returners.
Once Sabin arrives in Narshe with Gau and Cyan Garamonde, and Locke returns with Celes, the Returners prepare to defend the esper with their boosted numbers. Celes is a former Imperial soldier who can use magic due to having been infused with it artificially as a child, and Terra asks her if she feels love but Celes takes it for mockery.
The Battle for the Frozen Esper commences with Kefka leading the Empire's forces while Banon directs the defense, and they repel the Empire. The group visits Valigarmanda and it resonates with Terra transforming her into an esper. She flies off. A search party is set up to look for her and they track her down in Zozo where she is found atop the tallest building. She is being cared for by Ramuh, an esper who called out to her when he sensed her. He explains she is frightened as she does not understand or control her power and must meet with her father to recover. Celes agrees to lead a party to infiltrate Vector and retrieve Maduin, with Locke accompanying her.
Locke returns with Maduin, now a magicite shard, and brings him to Terra. She regains her memory and becomes able to control her transformation. With the understanding of her origins and powers, Terra gains confidence and suggests they return to Narshe. The party formulates a strategy to attack the Empire: have the espers attack from the east, while a coalition of Returners and Narshe guards attack Vector. Terra agrees to be the Returners' envoy to the espers.
She leads a team through the Cave to the Sealed Gate to the Land of Espers where she is ambushed by Kefka, but opens the gate to an army of emerging espers who attack Kefka. Terra's group escapes to the Blackjack, the party's airship, but the espers are in hot pursuit and attack the ship, which lands near Vector.
Once they arrive in Vector they find the city up in flames and Emperor Gestahl appears to have surrendered. He invites the Returners to a banquet during which he proposes peace. He asks Terra to relay a message to the espers hiding out on Crescent Island to the east. Locke agrees to accompany her, and General Leo would act as the Imperial liaison. On the way, Terra asks Leo about love, still worried she would be unable to feel it due to her half-esper nature, but Leo assures her this is not the case.
Upon arriving at Crescent Island, Terra, Locke, and Shadow, an assassin hired to accompany them, make their way to the remote village of Thamasa to inquire about espers. The villagers are hostile to strangers, and when they ask an old man named Strago Magus for help, he denies the existence of espers. Terra, Locke, and Shadow stay at the inn and during the night a building goes up in flames with Strago's adoptive granddaughter, Relm Arrowny, stuck inside. Strago asks Terra and Locke to help him rescue her, and they witness Strago's magical abilities.
Strago reveals the truth of his Magi ancestry and agrees to accompany them to the Espers' Gathering Place. Within the Crescent Mountain Cave they discover the statues of the Warring Triad with magical power emanating from them. Terra speculates the espers were drawn by it, and that the statues' power connects the human and esper worlds. The group reaches the area where the espers and their leader Yura are hiding. Terra convinces Yura to set up a conference with General Leo.
Back in Thamasa, Yura and Leo begin peace negotiations, but are interrupted by Kefka who reveals this was a set up for him and Gestahl to retrieve more espers to turn into magicite. Kefka kills Yura and the other espers and wounds everyone but Leo, who fights Kefka, but is killed. Kefka collects the remains of various espers and heads to the Sealed Gate to collect more. The Warring Triad are restored and the Sealed Gate becomes the Floating Continent. Terra leads the funeral service for Leo and wonders if people only want power.
The party flies to the Floating Continent to stop Gestahl and Kefka's plans. Kefka uses the Warring Triad's power to shield himself and kills Gestahl. Kefka moves the statues out of alignment, the Triad's power is unleashed on the world and tears apart land and sea; although the party attempts to escape on the Blackjack, the airship is torn in two and they are separated, flung to all corners of the world.
One year after Kefka destroyed the world, Terra finds herself in the village of Mobliz, which is attacked by Kefka's "Light of Judgment". The adults have died and the orphaned children latch onto her and so Terra stays to care for the kids with a new feeling awakening inside of her, making her unable to fight. Celes and Sabin try to convince her to take up arms, but though she is relieved they are alive, Terra refuses, knowing she would only be a burden. When the town is attacked by Humbaba, Terra tries to defend the children but falls.
Celes and Sabin drive it off and bring her back to town where they take their leave, after Terra says she needs more time to figure out what is going on inside her. When they return Humbaba attacks the town again and on seeing her friends in danger Terra joins the battle in her esper form and helps them defeat the monster permanently. The children are startled by her appearance, but soon recognize her as their "mama." Terra realizes what she had been feeling is love for the children and with the epiphany entrusts the care of Mobliz to Duane and Katarin and joins the party in their battle against Kefka.
As the party prepares to invade Kefka's Tower, Terra's friends worry over her fate as they might have to destroy the Warring Triad, the source of magic, which allows the espers' survival. As the party confronts Kefka atop his tower, even if Terra wasn't recruited into the party, she senses the party calling to her and flies to the tower. In response to Kefka's nihilist rant, Terra says the inevitability of death and destruction do not matter if one has something to live for, and cites "love" when Kefka asks them why they bother to fight.
After Kefka is killed, Terra transforms into an esper and uses the last of her power to help the party escape Kefka's Tower. The magicites shatter as magic vanishes from the world but before vanishing, Maduin tells Terra she will live on as a human if there is something in the world she feels strongly for. The party catches her on the Falcon as her esper power fades and Terra's love for the children of Mobliz allows her to become fully human. Terra stands at the airship's helm and releases her ponytail, savoring freedom at last.
At first Terra is confused, fearful and amnesiac. She is suspicious of anyone who wants access to her powers and not fully knowing what those powers are adds to her wariness. The few memories she has are disturbing and she is upset by reminders of the way her power was used. This allows her to sympathize with Celes Chere, another former Imperial. As she learns more about herself, Terra becomes assertive and determined and adds her opinions to the discourse or spurs the party onward. She shows an affinity for children.
Once she learns her true past and comes to control her powers, she turns her introspection to her humanity, a question that had troubled her from the start. She worries she cannot feel love and asks others about their emotions to try and figure it out. This question becomes so overwhelming she briefly loses her ability to fight, but in the end Terra is courageous and resolves to fight and use her special abilities to make the world a better place.
Terra has one of the highest magic stats, decent physical stats, and she equips a variety of equipment, including all swords and shields and all heavy armor, as well as female-exclusive equipment. This makes Terra one of the best characters as she is exceptional at magical fighting, and an adequate physical fighter. Terra's special ability is Trance, also known as Morph, where she transforms into an esper form, doubling her stats for a period of time. Terra's Desperation Attack is Riot Blade that deals magical damage to one enemy.
Terra is one of two characters to naturally learn magic as she levels up, and when using Magitek Armor she has four additional Magitek abilities exclusive to her: Banisher, Confuser, Bio Blast, and Magitek Missile. Terra begins with a Mythril Knife, Buckler, Leather Hat and Leather Armor.