A Chocobo (チョコボ Chokobo) is a large, normally flightless galliforme/ratite bird capable of being ridden and are a staple of the Final Fantasy series. The chocobo was created by Koichi Ishii, a video game director who worked on various Final Fantasy titles. Their specific abilities vary somewhat from game to game. Most dwell in forests. While timid in the wild, and vicious if threatened, they tame rather easily and make good transports. In this role they tend to be capable of crossing shallow water and are noted for their high speeds. Chocobos have occasionally been sighted as lightly armoured war mounts in which case they can assist their riders with beak and claw. Most often they can be caught in the wild and ridden without fear of random encounters, escaping after the player dismounts. Overall, the species is a very versatile and useful bird, which comes in handy as horses are essentially non-existent in Final Fantasy games.
While ordinary Chocobos are yellow, certain rare breeds are of different colors and have special abilities, such as crossing mountains or flight. Again, specifics vary. An even more rare, more extreme variant is the Fat Chocobo (or Big Chocobo), which resembles a yellow chocobo with a serious weight problem and can humorously stock the party's items in its stomach (FF III & IV) or appear randomly when summoning a chocobo in battle (FF V & VII). A frequently occuring food for Chocobos, Gysahl Greens, are named after a town in Final Fantasy III and go on to feature in subsequent titles, although occasionally incorrectly translated as "Gishal". Final Fantasy V was the first installment to have Chocobos play a role in the plot. Boco (sometimes translated as Boko) went on to become a recurring Chocobo name in later installments.
A basis for Chocobos was Kyoro-chan, a character in TV advertisements for Morinaga & Company's chocolate candy, Chocoball (チョコボール chokobōru), having in common with the Chocobo that it is a bird with the call of "Kweh" (クエ Kue). "Kue" is sometimes replaced with "[Wark]" in the English translation. Morinaga has also released a tie-in product Chocobo no Chocoball (Chocobo's Chocoball). The Chocobo design is said to be based off of Hayao Miyazaki's Horseclaws, which appear in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
The Chocobo signature theme is an immediately recognizable upbeat ditty that is present in one form or another in all Final Fantasy games since Final Fantasy II, frequently as variants or remixes: For instance, the Final Fantasy VII Chocobo races have a frantic version, while the futuristic and relatively realistic Final Fantasy VIII has a more modern one. It is titled with the suffix "de Chocobo," and is prefixed by the name of the style it is played in. For example "Techno de Chocobo" from Final Fantasy VI features a dance remix, while "Cinco de Chocobo" from Final Fantasy VII features a cool jazz remix (in 5/4 time, 'Cinco' being Spanish for the number 5). A new version of the theme titled "Swing de Chocobo" was created by Nobuo Uematsu for the concerts titled VOICES and Play! and was performed by a number of different orchestras between 2005 and 2007.
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Chocobos have appeared in all numbered installations except the first, Final Fantasy: Tactics and Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance. Chocobos appear as a summon in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII. Fat Chocobo appears in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX. A chocobo by the name of "Boco" appears in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy: Tactics. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest features several chocobo-shaped weather vanes in the town of Windia. In Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, the best shield obtainable for the Clavat race is called a Chocobo Shield and bears the face of one. An artifact called the Chocobo Pocket gives the player an extra command slot. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children does not feature Chocobos physically, but there is a Chocobo silhouette on a sign that reads "Chocobo House" at 0:56:02 (in the upper-left corner). Another Chocobo Reference in Advent Children appears as Cloud rides his motorcycle (Fenrir) up to see Reno and gang at Healin Lodge. As Barret reports his upcoming visit, Cloud rides past a sign with directions to Healin Lodge with other signs pointing towards Midgar City, Kalm and the Chocobo Farm. The film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. has a couple of visual references to Chocobos.  In the animated sequel to Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, one of the main characters can summon Chocobos. These Chocobos are much different from the normal Final Fantasy kind; they have no feathers and are pink. In the anime series Final Fantasy: Unlimited, there are many chocobos, but one that joins the cast named Chobi. Chobi later gains a 'power-up' in the form of the legendary Ciel-Chocobo armour, enabling him to fly.
Chocobos have several games dedicated to them. The PlayStation spin-off game Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, released in Japan, has a playable Chocobo named Boco as the main character. It has a sequel that was released both in and out of the country, Chocobo's Dungeon 2. Chocobo Stallion is both a Chocobo breeding game and a Chocobo racing game. Was released in a collection of games entitled Chocobo Collection along with Dice de Chocobo (an interactive board game) and Chocobo Racing, which plays similarly to Nintendo's Mario Kart series. Hataraku Chocobo is game for the WonderSwan. Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice is a game for the Game Boy Advance. Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales is a video game where you play as a White Mage, Black Mage, and a Chocobo. The objective of the game is to complete minigames. It was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan, and supports the Nintendo WiFi Connection. It will be released in the US, and is set for a tentative April 2007 release.
Chocobos are a common sight in other Squaresoft and Square Enix games. A Chocobo serves as a mount in Seiken Densetsu, but is later changed into a 'Chocobot'. It was removed from the 2003 remake Sword of Mana (Shinyaku Seiken Densetsu in Japan), in favour of the 'Cannon Ball Travel', which originated in Secret of Mana; however, a Chocobo can be seen in Sword of Mana by waiting for a certain period of time after the completion of the game. Wild black Chocobos in Legend of Mana are random monsters and uncapturable, but it's possible to grab bird eggs from several locations, and these have a chance of hatching a tame yellow Chocobo, a pet that would fight alongside the player. Moreover, if the player has a game save from Final Fantasy VIII on their memory card during the Monster Corral tutorial quest, the egg obtained during this quest will hatch a Chocobo (rather than a Rabite). A Chocobo Egg is a rare item in Secret of Evermore which boosts the main character's total hit points. A Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts known as the Metal Chocobo has a key chain resembling a yellow Chocobo. A type of Gummi Ship (a flying vehicle used in the game) named "Chocobo" is in the form of one. There's also a drawing of a Chocobo in the cave on Destiny Island. It has been crossed out, possibly by Donald Duck, whose drawing is right next to it. A banner picturing a Chocobo hangs over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in Parasite Eve. A Chocobo skeleton can also be found nearby. In Tobal 2 a Chocobo is obtainable as a combatant. The Chocobo is parodied in the browser-based game Kingdom of Loathing as the Cocoabo familiar, which can charge monsters to deal damage, heal characters by nuzzling them, run around monsters to confuse them, and dig in the ground to give the characters extra money. The Cocoabo is shaped like a Chocobo but is apparently made of cocoa or chocolate,. In Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete a blue Chocobo-like creature drives the wagons of the traveling circus, Carivan. The red dragon Ruby mentions it was a Chocobo, but quickly changed it into "Chuckoboo". Battle for Wesnoth features a "Chocobone" unit. The official unit profile on the Chocobone states that "Riding the bones of ostrich-like large birds once used as mounts by a lost civilization, the skeleton Chocobones can move faster than most cavalry units." In World of Warcraft, two racial mounts, the Blood Elf Hawkstrider and the Gnome Mechanostrider, both bear close resemblance to chocobos.
Chocobos are something of a running gag in the webcomic VG Cats. The comic has made fun of breeding , Kentucky Fried Chicken (named as Kentucky Firaga Chocobo) , and getting a Chocobo License in FFXI . Chocobos appear in the webcomic and Final Fantasy parody 8-bit Theatre starting in episode 673, where they are the center of Red Mage's plan for getting off an island on which the "heroes" find themselves stranded. Red Mage initially attempts to make vehicles out of them such as an aircraft or a boat, but then moves on to eugenics to create a golden chocobo, which sparked various results, including a genetically-engineered atrocity bearing a resemblance to a Fat Chocobo. He finally succeeds in creating purple-colored Golden Chocobos through brain surgery. Small creatures called Dragobos in RPG World are stand-ins for Chocobos, transparent to the point of a "please don't sue us" sign. One is a party member and a companion to a "Mubble." An episode of the popular web animation Weebl and Bob, parodying Final Fantasy VII, features a badly drawn chocobo uttering "wark".