Breath of Fire is a long-running role-playing video game series developed by Capcom, better known for its action and fighting games. It originated on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. The series is notable for its recurring characters and ambiguous continuity. The game is like Final Fantasy; the stories are tenuously connected but share various species, characters, and gameplay elements. The names of the two lead characters are usually Ryu and Nina.
The story commonly involves a blue-haired hero adventurer named Ryu, after the Japanese word dragon. He can shapeshift into different types of dragons. Throughout his journey, he befriends Nina, a girl with angelic bird wings who is usually a skilled mage. At its inception, Breath of Fire occurred in a medieval fantasy-style fictional world where humans live side to side with anthropomorphic animals or animal hybrids and sometimes talking plants. Following the mainstream success of Japanese role-playing games in the 1990s, the series began using the original anime-style artwork for later Western releases of the games (rather than the Westernized art that was drawn specifically for the Western releases of the first two games), post-apocalyptic themes, and an increased emphasis on character development. Despite these changes, the core structure of Breath of Fire remains essentially linear and plot-focused. As of 2016, six Breath of Fire titles were released, with three games being ported to handheld game consoles and Nintendo's Virtual Console and two to the Nintendo Switch's Super NES games library. By 2022, the series had sold over 3.3 million copies.
The first three games are connected, albeit separated by hundreds or even thousands of years at a time. The fourth game takes place in an alternate universe, though some argue whether it's a prequel to the first three games. The fifth and sixth games are not connected with the others or each other.
Breath of Fire
Thousands of years ago, the goddess Myria sowed discord amongst the Dragon Clan by offering to grant any wish. Feuding over the goddess' favor eventually split the Clan into two competing factions the Light Dragons and the Dark Dragons who engaged in a destructive war. Myria encouraged the fighting and watched the war escalate. Finally, just as the world was on the brink of destruction, the "Goddess War" ended when a heroic Light Dragon and his companions managed to imprison Myria and seal her away with six keys. Each key has a unique magical property that affects the surrounding landscape; the Light Key is hidden in the port town of Auria, providing boundless prosperity for its residents. Alternatively, the Dark Key resides near the slums of Bleak, accounting for that town's perpetual darkness.
The Dark Dragons continue to hunt their longtime enemies, the Light Dragons, and have driven them into isolation. Unbeknownst to the Dark Dragons, the Light Dragon Clan sealed away its dragon powers long ago. The game's protagonist, Ryu, lives peacefully in a village of Light Dragons survivors. Ryu was orphaned when he was young and was raised by his sister, Sara, a priestess who can summon powerful magic. One night he dreams of a dragon that warns him of impending danger; he awakens to find his village has been set ablaze. Sara uses her magic to draw the Dark Dragons away from Ryu and the other villagers but is taken, prisoner. The Dark Dragon Emperor, Zorgon, has announced that it is the birthright of the Dark Dragons to conquer the planet. Zog intends to release Tyr by assembling the six Goddess keys. Ryu leaves the village and embarks on a quest to collect the keys before Zorgon can.
Breath of Fire II
The fictional world of Breath of Fire II is very reminiscent of the previous game, though very few locations have survived the 500-year transition. Windia, home to the royal Wing Clan, still resides to the north. New species include the Shell Clan, a race of giant armadillos, and the Creeping Clan, a monarchy of artisan frogs. The Dragon Clan from Breath of Fire has perished, leaving only scattered statues as proof of their existence. A new religious idol named St. Eva has replaced the Dragon God, and the St. Eva church is rapidly becoming popular all over. Long ago, a demon attacked the woodland town of Gate Village. According to local legend, a huge dragon suddenly appeared and banished the demon. The dragon can still be found slumbering on the outskirts of Gate Village, where it guards the entrance to Infinity.
Ryu Bateson begins the game as a young boy, the son of a priest in the town of Gate. When his sister Yua Bateson goes missing, Ryu's father asks him to fetch her before she gets into trouble. Ryu's search eventually leads him to the wilderness outside Gate, where he finds Yua napping beneath the head of a sleeping dragon. Acting on Yua's advice, Ryu follows suit and falls asleep under the dragon. When he awakens, his family disappears, and no one in town recognizes him. Later that night, a young orphan named Bosch decides to loot the church. Finding nothing of interest, he accompanies Ryu to another town. Many years later, Ryu and Bosch are living in the Town of Origin, performing odd jobs for the Ranger's Guild. After an item is stolen from the home of a wealthy man, Bow is falsely accused of the theft and forced to flee. With the authorities out looking for him, Bosch is left with little recourse but to go into hiding, leaving Ryu to find the real thief.
Breath of Fire III
Long ago, the world's inhabitants lived in technological bliss during the Age of Machines. The machines had one primary purpose: to prevent the Desert of Death from consuming the lands by keeping them at bay. However, war and quarrels ensued between the people of the land, and the area was entirely swallowed by sand. In anguish over being unable to save the people, the goddess split the world into two continents, dividing them by a barrier of water known as the Outer Sea. The Desert of Death was contained in the former continent, allowing life to flourish in the latter. The goddess maintained an ongoing construction of machines, sending them to the hospitable continent through a giant transportation vehicle known as the Black Ship, aiding the humans in rebuilding society. However, the threat to the world was not yet over. In fear that the world would one day be destroyed by the power kept by the Dragon Clan, the goddess created four Guardians. She gave them one objective; to find and eradicate every member of the Dragon Clan to eliminate that threat. However, the Dragon Clan never fought back or made any form of resistance. As a result, the once proud clan was virtually eradicated.
The story begins when a dragon whelp turns up alive in a mine. It escapes and takes the form of a boy named Ryu. The first part of the game is about Ryu trying to survive and find his friends, Rei, a Woren, and his sidekick, Teepo. The second part has an adult Ryu, and his friends investigate why the dragons were killed.
Breath of Fire IV
Like previous games in the series, Breath of Fire IV takes place in a fantasy world inspired by classical European and Japanese folklore. Several races resembling humans and anthropomorphic animals populate the land, carrying a predominate medieval sword and sorcery theme. The world itself is divided into two distinct cultural halves: the Western Fou Empire, modeled after feudal China and East Asia, and the Eastern Kingdoms, with areas resembling both Medieval Europe and Arabia. While both cultures remain in an uneasy alliance following years of turbulent war, the actions of several military officials threaten to pull the world apart again. Watching over humanity are the Endless, immortal godlike beings who take the form of dragons and control the elements that sustain the world. Much of the plot deals with the central characters' interaction with the people and Endless who inhabit the earth.
The story begins with Nina, princess of Wyndia, departing with her childhood friend Cray to search for her missing sister Elina, who's also Cray's fiance. Along the way, they stumble upon Ryu, who doesn't remember a thing besides his name: Not who he is or why he's stranded and stark naked in the middle of the desert. Running parallel to Ryu's story is that of Fou-Lu, an ancient emperor who awakens in his burial tomb halfway across the world in the Fou Empire to reclaim the throne that he left behind 600 years ago. Unfortunately for him, those involved no longer want to give the power up to anyone, not even to an ancient god-emperor and founder of the Fou empire. As the story progresses and our heroes travel worldwide, it becomes clear that Ryu and Fou-Lu's destinies are intricately entwined and key to Ryu's memories.
Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter
Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter takes place where humanity has been forced underground due to the misuse of powerful genetically engineered beings called Dragons. The people are ruled by a powerful and oppressive government headed by the mysterious Regents. Life and society are determined by the D-Ratio, a caste system where the aptitude and value of a human being are determined at birth; high-ranking D-Ratios can live in the better sectors and have the opportunity to advance to high-ranking government positions. At the same time, people with low D-Ratios are limited in where they can live and what they can do for society. Once a D-Ratio is determined for a person, it is set for life and can never be changed. Years of living underground have led to a very polluted environment, with rampant air pollution being a major problem. People with high D-Ratios live near the top of the shelter where the air is cleaner, while people of lower ranking are forced to live in the low sectors where the air quality is almost poisonous. With no natural way to raise and reproduce food, humanity turned to the science of genetic engineering to solve these issues. Genics are animals produced for various tasks by the BioCorp organization for use as a food source or labor purposes. Sometimes the Genics escape and go feral, causing multiple problems for the sectors. The Ranger organization was developed to work as a quasi-military police force that puts down rogue Genics and keeps the government's peace. However, the oppressive nature of society has caused much discontent among the people. Thus a secret anti-government organization known as Trinity, led by a former Regent, has been causing problems for the Rangers and the government as they fight back against the system. People have lived underground for so long that the "Sky" is considered a myth.
The story begins with Ryu, a lower-level citizen, and Ranger who happens across a young mute girl named Nina with a pair of artificial wings grafted to her back. Discovering that the polluted air of the lower levels is slowly killing her, he resolves to rebel against the government and take her to the surface where there is hopefully clean air. But Ryu's quest takes an unexpected twist when he accidentally fuses with a mysterious dragon, gaining the power to transform into an obscenely-powerful draconic hybrid but at the cost of his lifespan. Joining Ryu and Nina is Lin, a member of Trinity who wishes to topple the D-Ratio system and expose the secrets held by the six shadowy rulers of the underground world. But chasing them down are the government Regents and Bosch, a high-ranked aristocrat Ranger and Ryu's former partner, whose pursuit of the trio quickly becomes very personal.
Breath of Fire 6: Guardians of the White Dragon
The sixth game takes place 1000 years after an apocalyptic battle ended when a young man utilized the devastating "Power of the Dragon". The fallout from this conflict resulted in the gradual desertification of much of the world. Over the years, the peoples of the world have created new communities, paving the way for an era of peace. However, this tranquillity is interrupted when the expansionist Insidia Empire begins to covertly invade and conquer many of the world's smaller countries. One of the many territories that fell under the Empire's control was Dragnier Village, the home and birthplace of the Hero. In the wake of the Empire's attacks, the village was decimated, and many of its inhabitants were killed. Peridot, a traveling magician, finds the Hero unconscious and manages to wake them. The Hero regroups with their allies only to find that Ryu, the town's mayor, and the Hero's older brother, is missing. This sets into motion the player's quest to locate Ryu simultaneously and halt the spread of the Empire's power.
This was devastating for longtime fans because it was a Japan-only mobile game and received overwhelmingly negative player feedback, and its player base quickly shrunk. The game's server shut down on September 27, 2017, after only six of the game's eight planned episodes were released.
Standing in the Battledome
Breath of Fire as a whole is a fairly powerful verse. The first three games are around city level to planet level. Goddess Myria, with her powers sealed away into six Goddess Keys, are capable of causing earthquakes anywhere on the planet, turning night to day or day to night, turning spring into a perpetual winter, and time and space manipulation. Goddess Myria herself split two continents apart from each other. However, it's assumed that Goddess Myria was responsible for creating pocket dimensions containing countless stars in multiple dungeons, so likely star level to solar system level, depending on how long it took to create this. BoF1 Ryu and his party defeated her by combining into the Infinity Dragon. BoF3 Ryu defeated Goddess Myria without relying on a massive fusion form. Momo herself can summon a planetoid comet to hurl at foes, and BoF3 Ryu can fuse with her. Their speed is massively hypersonic+ due to Judas casually dodging ground to lightning magic from BoF1 Ryu's sister, Sara. BoF1 Ryu and his party defeated Judas. Cannon fodder bandits could react to BoF2 Nina's lightning magic. BoF3 Ryu and his party have fought machines that can shoot lasers.
Breath of Fire IV's top tiers is star level due to the party being capable of generating a supernova. Fou-Lu in Tyrant form can fly into outer space and fire a planet-size energy nuke. Ryu's Kaiser form can fly into outer space too and is Tyrant's equal. It also makes their speed sub-relativistic. Other Endless can summon meteors and generate planetary tsunamis, snowstorms, and rainstorms.
Breath of Fire V's top tier's destructive power is hard to determine. The dragons could decimate the outside world so much that it became uninhabitable and toxic for a while, so the population had to resort to living underground though it was unknown how long it took for the dragons to do this. Ryu’s dragon Odjn is also known as the Destroyer of Worlds. Ryu defeated the previously chosen one of Odjn, Elyon, who seemed still to inherit some of Odjn’s dragon features and powers. Defeated Bosch, the chosen of Chetyre, another dragon and enemy of Odjn. After Bosch’s defeat, Chetyre burst out of Bosch, reborn, only for Ryu to use all his power to kill it. The characters can react and block missiles, guns, and lightning magic making their speed massively hypersonic.
Their hax is pretty decent and ranges from reality warping, BFR, soul manipulation, mind manipulation, time manipulation, spatial manipulation, paralysis, transmutation, and instant death.
Supporters of the Series
- Papa Nier
Breath of Fire I
- Goddess Myria
Breath of Fire II
- Ryu Bateson
- Bosch Doggy
- Rand Marks
- Rinpoo Chuan
- Nina Windia
- Sten Legacy
- Aspara Gus
- Ray Bradoc
Breath of Fire III
- Balio & Sunder
- Elder Jono
Breath of Fire IV
- General Yohm
- Captain Rasso
Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter
- Violet Zeno