In Japan, there are a series of strategy guides called Ultimania. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re some of the most exhaustive video game guides in the world, with rundowns of every quest and item, interviews with developers, and more. Naturally, Final Fantasy 9 got the Ultimania treatment in Japan. In America, we got… well, probably one of the worst strategy guides ever designed. Written by BradyGames, the “guide” was essentially a paid advertisement for Square’s PlayOnline service, forcing you to enter keywords on a website for tips on how to do basically anything in the game.
Because the BradyGames guide is one of the most worthless things ever printed on paper, the Nero Family sidequest effectively went undiscovered in the West for over a decade. It wasn’t until some GameFAQs posters noticed an incredibly convoluted quest in Ultimania that was never mentioned in the North American guide, and tested it out for themselves. Solving the quest is a lengthy, laborious process, requiring players to go to the Tantalus hideout on disc 4 to meet with members of the Nero family, complete an event or boss fight, head back to meet another member, then repeating the process several more times. Completing the quest will net you a Protect Ring – not a huge reward, but hey, sometimes going on a previously undiscovered journey is more valuable than the destination.