What may well have been common knowledge to Japanese players turned into an epiphany for North American fans of Final Fantasy IX when a player discovered an oft-forgotten, obscure sidequest a few days ago.
The sidequest, entitled “The Lost Nero Family,” was found by GameFAQs user The_Kusabi_, who was perusing the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania guide: an exclusive guide in Japan that has never been fully translated.
The entire mission occurs can be kicked off on Disc 4 by talking to Zenero and Benero early on at the Tantalus hideout in Lindblum, who are wondering where fellow members Marcus and Cinna are. The player will then have to head all the way to Memoria, the final dungeon of the game and proceed through it until a specific cutscene or boss fight, and return to Lindblum. The process has to be repeated seven more times, with the player having to trigger the next advancement point of the sidequest by witnessing a specific cutscene or boss and returning to Lindblum.
With each return, Benero will discover a new member of his family. After the whole group is found, the player will find a Protect Ring inside a treasure chest within the hideout. This rare accessory halves the damage a character receives from elemental attacks, among other things.
After being confirmed by another user, Youtuber GarlandTheGreat had to discover for himself and recorded a video showing how to attain the Protect Ring.
The sidequest was not found in any North American Final Fantasy IX FAQ, walkthrough or even that dreaded BradyGames/PlayOnline strategy guide mishap, meaning that for 13 years non-Japanese FFIX fans, speedrunners and completionists alike were unaware of this secret.
I suppose this invalidates all those North American 100% perfect Excalibur II speedruns of the game, doesn’t it?