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Active Time Battle
The Active Time Battle (commonly abbreviated to ATB) is a battle system featured in several titles of the main Final Fantasy series. It was designed by Hiroyuki Ito, and was introduced in Final Fantasy IV. Its second appearance is in Final Fantasy V, which finalized the battle system by adding a time gauge for each party member. When a character's gauge is full, they are given a turn. Once the character performs an action, their gauge is emptied again and refills itself slowly. The order of each character's turn depends on which order their respective gauge is filled. The gauge is retained in all subsequent Final Fantasy games with an Active Time Battle system, except Final Fantasy X. Active Time Battles also appear in Chrono Trigger. Both Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIII use heavily modified versions of the Active Time Battle system.
The gauge can be increased or decreased in several ways.
The gauge will speed up:
- if the character(s) are affected by Haste
- the lower the character's weight
- the higher the subject's Speed, Agility, or equivalent stat
While the gauge will slow down:
- the inverse of the latter two occurs
- If the character(s) are affected by Slow
And the gauge will be stuck:
- if the subject is affected by Stop
The gauge is also affected by abnormal battle conditions:
- Preemptive Strike – the party's gauge is full from the start
- Back attack – the enemy's gauge is full from the start, and thr party's gauges fill slower, with rows being reversed if the game has them
- Side attack – the party starts with full gauges and attacks the enemy from two sides, dealing more damage if they attack an enemy facing away from them
- Pincer attack – the inverse of the above
The Battle Speed setting makes everyone's gauges speed up or slow down at a uniform rate for both sides, and the stronger your attacks, the more of a "penalty rate" the gauge be in until it recovers.
Active and Wait
Games with the ATB system also have two modifiers; Wait, the default, where gauges don't fill while inside of a battle menu (i.e. choosing items or spells), and Active, where they won't, making it possible for a party member to be KO'd or the player to lose the battle and get a Game Over while choosing your items.
|Final Fantasy IV||1991||Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Final Fantasy V||1992||Super Famicom|
|Final Fantasy VI||1994||Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Final Fantasy VII||1997||PlayStation|
|Final Fantasy VIII||1999||PlayStation|
|Final Fantasy IX||2000||PlayStation|
|Final Fantasy X-2||2003||PlayStation 2|
|Final Fantasy XII||2006||PlayStation 2|
|Final Fantasy XIII||2009||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|