Part 13: Interlude 2 - SpherepunkInterlude 2 - Spherepunk
It's tempting to dismiss this line as a throwaway witticism. We know, as people playing a video game, that there has to be a boss attached to every major plot item. But that's not a justification the characters in the game world can apply. Paine seems to have some sphere hunting experience; perhaps she's noticed that spheres seem to attract fiends.
Something like this isn't without precedent. Let's go all the way back to the prequel for a moment.
Remember this? One of the sidequests was to collect spheres recorded on the pilgrimage of Yuna's father, Braska. Doing so unlocks Auron's Overdrives. Auron was an unsent, which is really just a fiend that has maintained its individual will beyond death. If we believe that spheres have some power to attract fiends, we can speculate that having those spheres helped Auron stay coalesced.
There was also a scene in Guadosalam, where Maester Jyscal, leader of the Guado until his death at his son Seymour's hands, emerged from the Farplane with a sphere recorded before his death. Later, we learn that the sphere contains Jyscal's last words, naming Seymour as his killer. How this happens is never discussed, but I think the most likely explanation is that Seymour threw the sphere into the Farplane to get rid of the evidence, and the memories recorded in the sphere attracted Jyscal's spirit and let it manifest enough to carry the sphere back out again.
Finally, there's this.
Auron's comments come just after the team has arrived in Zanarkand and witnessed an echoed memory of a previous pilgrimage. Not only is this an explicit mention of a connection between pyreflies, which make up fiends and unsent, and spheres, it also suggests that loose pyreflies can be imprinted with memories and manifest those memories, even if not necessarily physically, in areas of high enough concentration.
Note that these are probably not the original souls of previous summoners and guardians, at least not most of them; those who willingly accept death as the price of their pilgrimage, as Yuna's father did, don't need to be sent to reach the Farplane. Some characters voice the suspicion that this is how the viewing platform on the Farplane works; loose pyreflies are reacting to visitors' memories of the dead. Oversoul probably works in a similar way, except that the loose pyreflies, already resonant to that species of fiend from having been one already, react to a fiend's resentment.
So we get a couple of hints into the way dresspheres are supposed to work. We know they contain recorded memories of the past, those memories naturally attract pyreflies, and the Garment Grid probably redirects or focuses that attraction in a constructive way to create the empowered costumes the girls use. Things like this are what make me defend X-2 as more than just a lazy cash-in, because it's evidence that someone either intentionally left hooks for this sort of story when they were making the prequel or went back and scoured the prequel for cohesive plot threads they could turn into retroactive foreshadowing. A lot of thought went into this game that never really gets put on display.
Maechen, in the prequel, says that pyreflies are responsible for the function of spheres, and various wikis tell me that spheres are supposed to be made of crystallized mixtures of pyreflies and water, although I can't find an exact in-game source for that. (edit: But Shoopuf did! See below.) Did anyone think about the potential consequences of a media and telecommunications technology built out of dead people?
Incidentally, while I was replaying the five hours or so of FFX I needed to play to get those screenshots, it struck me that X plays significantly slower than X-2. This seems to be the trade-off between the two games; X is a better designed game, but X-2 is more fun to play.
e: Thanks to poster Shoopuf for tracking down a reference to what spheres are made of, and it's super-relevant too!
I thought I remembered this being mentioned, so I went and looked it up. Basically, yeah, spheres are made from water (possibly Macalania water in specific) and memory-magic.
Final Fantasy X, Macalania Forest posted:
Auron uses his sword and slices a tree bark revealing a secret path. In the secret area...
Tidus: This place... It's just water, isn't it?
Auron: This is what spheres are made of. It absorbs and preserves people's memories.
Suddenly, something is rising from the water.
Wakka: What's that?
Auron: Fiends are also attracted to these places.