This Final Fantasy title was developed by many of the same people who worked on Final Fantasy Tactics (1997), Vagrant Story (2000), and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (2003). While Tactics and XII take place in the same world (in a region known as Ivalice), Tactics Advance's Ivalice is a separate magical dreamworld, based on XII's setting. Interviews with the development team have revealed that, in the 'true' Ivalice, XII takes place an undiclosed amount of time before Tactics.
This is the first numbered offline Final Fantasy to have battles take place on the field. All other numbered offline Final Fantasy games have battles taking place on separate battle screens, though the online FFXI had a similar battle system and the non-numbered Crystal Chronicles also had battles taking place in the field.
A Bangaa in Rabanastre mentions that his friend counted how many bards were at the fete, but says that he probably didn't include the "spoony bards." This is a reference to an infamous line from the English translation of Final Fantasy IV (Final Fantasy II on the Super Nintendo), in which the sage Tellah calls the bard Edward a "spoony bard." The line has since become a fan favorite and has purposely been kept in all of the English re-releases of Final Fantasy IV.
Gilgamesh, an enemy found in the elite hunt 'Ancient Man of Mystery', is a reference to the same enemy in Final Fantasy V. The music played during this optional battle is an updated version of the same song, 'Clash on the Big Bridge', also played during the Gilgamesh battle in Final Fantasy V. Gilgamesh in Final Fantasy XII also wields a number of swords owned by previous Square Enix heroes, such as Cloud Strife's Buster Sword, Tidus' Brotherhood, or the Loto Sword from Dragon Quest.
This is the only Final Fantasy game to date where the recurring character of Cid does NOT either join or assist your party in any way. Instead Cid is an adversary whom you must do battle with. This is also the third Final Fantasy game where Cid is directly related to one of the main members of your party (Cid is Balthier's father); the other two being Final Fantasy IX and X.
This game contains many references to the games developed by the same team, or based on the same world. For instance, a Moogle named Montblanc runs a clan in Final Fantasy XII, and previously appeared as a main character in Tactics Advance. Similarly, the player can acquire the Riskbreaker clan rank, a reference to the game Vagrant Story.