Thanks to GhostCorps973 for the inspiration!
It’s not so crazy, but I want to say the canon outcome once you arrive at the World of Ruin in VI is Cid dying.
It leads to a scene that has so much more emotional depth. I mean, how many times has a Final Fantasy character attempted suicide, ended up surviving, and had their hope renewed upon realizing she hadn’t lost everything? Shit, Celes.
I don’t think this scene’s Fan Theory or Head Cannon.
At least, I’d like to think so. Sometimes, I think the Yoshinori Kitase and Hironobu Sakaguchi did things a niche game that became a masterpiece. Other things that happened in the game were purely incidental. Tim Rogers’ talks about it here:
Square’s Final Fantasy VI is great because all of its uneasy imperfections were not planned. This makes them different games, yet equally great, though one is clearly better than the other. In Final Fantasy VI, when Cayenne stands at the edge of the platform in the Phantom Forest after the train ferrying his family to the afterlife has departed, there’s this awkward silence. The rectangular train platform has no exit. Shadow stands in the middle of the platform, poised, with his dog. Cayenne stands at the end of the platform, head bowed. Mash is under our control. We can walk left or right. Talk to Cayenne, and he says nothing. He doesn’t move. A word balloon doesn’t even pop up. Talk to Shadow, and he says “Leave him alone,” of Cayenne. Mash says nothing. We run back and forth for a few moments, in utter musical silence, unable even to open our own menu, until the screen fades to black. How many players, at this moment, tried to open their menu, only to find that you couldn’t do it? I, for one, did. What did I want to see? What did the director not want me to see? This strikes me, today, as rather profound. I wonder if Kitase understood how profound that technique was? I think he didn’t (and neither do I, honestly). That moment is very much like the tuning quirk of Final Fantasy VI, very much the most important part of the game as both a piece of narrative and as a video game, for reasons I probably can’t ever explain.
Did Kitase, or even Sakaguchi, understand just how profound this scene was? At the time, they were trying to make a good game great according to conventions. And the convention would suggest that scene should have said music. If anything, they never included this in-game cutscene.
This comes back to Cid, the scientist who genetically altered Terra and Celes. We all know of the Celes’ attempted suicide, but leading up to it:
One year later in the World of Ruin, Cid lives on the Solitary Island with Celes. He spends the year taking care of her but becomes ill. Celes feeds him and depending on the quality of the fish she catches Cid either lives or dies. If he dies, Celes attempts suicide by jumping off a cliff but falls into the water and splashes on shore, still alive. When she comes across Locke’s bandanna her hope for her old friends to have survived is renewed. She finds a note left by Cid showing her the location of a raft he made to use to go search for others. If he lives, Cid shows Celes the raft personally and stays behind on the Solitary Island while she departs.
Which scene would have provided the most impact? Either way, Celes will have the hope necessary to continue on. The former – letting him die – would serve as Celes’ darkest hour, making the most emotional point at it’s most depressing. But if you have a minigame, you should give the player a chance to win at it.
But Kitase and Sakaguchi were making a mini-game. One where the fate of one’s man’s life depends on whether or not you can complete a fishing mini-game. Either you win and he lives, or you lose and he dies. It’s all very cold and calculating when you think of it; this is not a game for them, but for us. Referring to the player breaks the fourth wall. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can break the immersion of the game.
So then, with this in mind, is Cid’s death is canon? Could be because they made it hard for the player to figure out which fish to feed Cid. There are three to five choices but at the most only two. You’re on a time limit to give Cid the correct fish that would keep him alive. And he wants to fish, so give him fish. It’s all the more shocking when you find out that the can die.
Nowadays, breaking gaming convention is the norm. Gaming can match the themes in the story. Final Fantasy VI hit-or-miss this experimentation. However, it worked perfectly in so many cases, that Final Fantasy VI earned its title: