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Author Topic: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory  (Read 2416 times)

Spooniest

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My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« on: February 16, 2012, 12:52:48 pm »
Hear me out before you tell me I'm crazy.

If you take the original Final Fantasy (Garland, "WARRIORS, revive the power of the ORBS!" and so forth) as the Ur Example of the series (and really, why wouldn't you seeing as it came first), then Final Fantasy 5 can be seen as the apex of the series, with the leaning toward what Yahtzee Croshaw calls "retarded angsty drama" coming immediately afterward, in Final Fantasy 6. The ATB is at possibly its most refined state, without being too twitchy, and the Job/Ability system gives the player the most options customization-wise of any of the games. The music sets a light, but slightly Sci-Fi tone, and the colors are bright and snappy. The story never gets too complicated or takes itself too seriously, and the atmosphere is vintage fantasy.

It's what the series is rooted in, and what Final Fantasy 13 and its ilk are trying to distance themselves from. I hope somebody at Square realizes this sooner or later; it would be a shame if this "Dark and Edgy," hyper-sexualized tone went on for the rest of the series. They say identity is only truly realized when a person can "be themselves." I think it would be nice to see Final Fantasy just be itself.
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KaioShin

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 01:47:06 pm »
I think it would be nice to see Final Fantasy just be itself.

But is that what Final Fantasy is or is it what you want it to be? Because there are surely as many if not more FF7 and FF10 fans who will call either the series highpoint and how the series should be. Personally I don't want to fuel another "which FF is the best" debate, but that is what this question will ultimately lead to. Considering how different even FF1, 5 and 6 are from each other, there was never a singular identity to the series, each FF game is a new thing, and that has been this way since FF4.

Can I call you crazy now?

(Side note: when it comes to artstyle - if the 2D Final Fantasy had first been released with modern technology they'd have just as ridiculous art as the current 3D ones. Just look at Kefka's final boss sprite. It's only thanks to the low-fi nature of the old hardware that a lot is left to the imagination of the viewers. I'm pretty sure that in the minds of the designers, the characters looked not very different from how the characters look now. Take off the nostalgia glasses and get real people)

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 01:51:19 pm »
Criticism accepted, but you actually haven't presented your own viewpoint, only reasons why mine is flawed.

What's your idea of a good Final Fantasy game, Kaio? Assuming you've ever thought about it, of course.
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KaioShin

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 02:20:58 pm »
Eh, now that is a whole other topic then. But why the hell not, my ideal Final Fantasy game would look like this:

- A story in the style of FFXII, but with Bosch as main character as originally intended and properly fleshed and spaced out (in the last third of XII it's hard to even remember there is a story amid the endless dungeons)
- A party with all characters being over at least 20 years old
- There should be a nice love story somewhere in there, but without teenager BS (see point 2)
- Lot's of character customization options like in FFVII (materia combinations), while keeping each character with a distinct playstyle/role. Somewhat of a contradiction I know, but it wasn't too badly handled in XIII for example.
- No FF battle system to date convinced me 100%, so I'll just say "something new" here.
- As much optional and post-game content as in FFX (but no Blitzball FFS! Bring back the card game from FFVIII)
- The soundtrack of FFVII

There you have it. And yes, no mention of any Pre-PSX FF as reference, I just don't see anything in them that hasn't been approved upon later in one way or another. (Any singular element - as a whole entity there are tons of faults with the FF titles I did mention too, they just had individual aspects in which they excelled)

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 02:31:02 pm »
Eh, now that is a whole other topic then. But why the hell not, my ideal Final Fantasy game would look like this:

- A story in the style of FFXII, but with Bosch as main character as originally intended and properly fleshed and spaced out (in the last third of XII it's hard to even remember there is a story amid the endless dungeons)

You're talking about handing it over to the Ivalice Alliance then.

- A party with all characters being over at least 20 years old
- There should be a nice love story somewhere in there, but without teenager BS (see point 2)

Agreed on both points. What if you follow In Medias Res (the way Final Fantasy 4 did) and have a couple that's already been together since before the game started? None of this coy are-they-or-aren't-they shit.

- No FF battle system to date convinced me 100%, so I'll just say "something new" here.

What about Chrono Trigger's ATB Version 2.0? Where the battles are laid out on screens in the dungeon, instead of two separate screens?

- The soundtrack of FFVII

So lots of combining elements from techno/electronica with traditional instrument samples, and a lot of 1955-1975 American Pop music influence?

I do have to say I'd play the shit out of that, but I'd love for them to have a larger cast, the way Final Fantasy 4 and 6 were getting.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 02:37:18 pm »
I would agree with Spoony here. The FF series started as something in the genre of old, swords and sorcery-style Western fantasy. Only later on did it try to add steampunk, angst, and other elements in order to try and regain popularity.

And I hate to say this, but there's a reason all of the FFIV remakes keep selling so well. It's because that's around the time when the series finally got where it needed to be. It had a good cast of characters, a great story (although a bit cliche now), and an overall fun game that one can play over and over without getting tired of it.

Now, I'm not saying that the newer FFs didn't have aspects that I liked. Obviously I like most of the series.

My ideal FF would have:

- Roughly the job class system from FFV/Tactics, but with the leveling system from XII. I found that the international version of FFXII had it right: it's customizable and fun to do, but you won't wind up with every character being the same like in FFX/Vanilla FFXII.
- I gotta agree with Kaio here. Mature characters, please. Having one younger character is fine, but an entire cast? We've done that before, thanks.
- I don't particularly have any focus on the story. A new story would be nice, as long as it isn't all cliche and angsty like the new FFs tend to be (that means no general "OMG, this person is going to destroy the world!" as the main series focus. It can be a part of it, but not the focus).
- I actually liked the battle system from FFXII a lot, but I personally think a really good battle system would have options. You can play it like an old-school FF if you want, you can play it like XII/XIII if you want, etc. Add in some more interesting battle mechanics (like quicktime limit breaks from FFVIII, etc).
- Mini games and side quests that do more than just give you the ultimate equipment for the game. Add in some content that makes it worth going through all this trouble for. A new character, extra spells/summons, a new, better mode of transportation, etc. I'm surprised no FF has done it since, but I think an area like the Gold Saucer from FFVII would be appropriate nowadays. In the age of achievements, having a ton of mini-games for the player to complete just fits in. I remember spending hours upon hours in the Gold Saucer when I first got FFVII.
- As far as soundtrack goes? It depends on the setting. If it's going to be a somewhat medieval affair? Can't go wrong with a mixing of FF I/IV/IX. If it's going to be more modern? I'd take some VI and VII.
- New features that an FF has never had. Stuff like tons of character customization. Making it so when I change a piece of equipment, my character actually gets new visual equipment for me to see. That always hooks me in an RPG. A decent crafting system wouldn't be a bad choice. FF XII somewhat went in that direction with the monster parts. Just make it somewhat Monster-Huntery where I sell the monster parts to buy new equipment (and make it so that some equipment actually takes visual cues from the monster it came from).

That's it for me. 'course, I'd also cream my pants over a full 3d remake of IV or VI (preferably IV).

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LostTemplar

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 02:41:55 pm »
FF12 had a story? And anybody would have been better than Vaan - he's as flat as a board. Absolutely no reason for him to exist at all.

I definitely agree with everybody being over 20 and cutting out the teenager stuff. That's what always stung me when playing the Tales games. The developers even say it's aimed at teenagers; nevertheless I want to play the games, but a grown man can only take so much idealized romantic clichés.

If I think Final Fantasy battle system ATB comes to mind - I do like FF13's system and even FF12's MMO-inspired experience, but in my opinion they should revert to ATB, or even turn-based. I actually think I liked FF10's turn-based system the most.

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 02:42:19 pm »
That's it for me. 'course, I'd also cream my pants over a full 3d remake of IV or VI (preferably IV).

~DS

I'd love a remake of 6 at some point, but let's just keep this pants-creaming stuff to ourselves...

I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it, the real "technical problem" with full-on remakes is that Squeenix just doesn't want to pony up the dough.
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LostTemplar

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 02:56:29 pm »
A remake of 6 would be awesome as it's my favorite one. As for FF4, doesn't the DS one count? ;)

Bregalad

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 03:03:28 pm »
Quote
A story in the style of FFXII
There was a story in FF12 ? All I remember from it is that it was some kind of offline MMO without anything interesting in it.

I think at this point, the series will never be good again no matter what you guys says or wathever.
I actually liked how the series moved to steampunk in FF6/7/8 and I liked how it went back to medieval fantasy with 9, and went to asian style with 10.

I'd like to remember you guys it's wrong to say the series went wrong on 6 because of steampunkness, as even FF1 had some sci-fi steampunk aspects (Airships, Robots, etc...) it's just it was secondary.

It's also wrong to say "Final Fantasy [n]" was a huge departure for the series, because honestly the games never had much in common except the fact they were RPGs and that several important people were behind them. All of them have completely different battle systems and universes, and this is a very good thing.

I think things went wrong somehow during the development of FF10, 'cause I think all FFs before 10 were great (ok except 2 for reason I already mentioned but it's probably 'cause they rushed it too much), I think FF10 is mostly great but there is a few things I really, really, dislike in the game, and after 10 everything seems almost completely wrong to me. The FFTA games are the only one who has their moments but overall they're still bland and boring.

When it comes to remakes, I think it's a huge problem that Square Enix completly depends their sales on remakes, and release now more remakes than original games. FF4 has been remade no less than 5 times (PS1, WonderSwanColor, GBA, Wii, DS), which of course is way too much. Remakes once in a while are nice if the developers put any effort in them, ideally as much efforts as if this was a brand new game. Which is not the case most of the time, Square just gives some money to TOSE and says "Hey could you guys remake FF4 a 6th time for the [insert system here]" and don't even supervise the product, they just make profit out of it.
If I feel even I could have remade the game better, then it's probably not a good remake.
(this applies to Square Enix but to Nintendo too)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 03:10:58 pm by Bregalad »

KaioShin

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 03:14:44 pm »
What if you follow In Medias Res (the way Final Fantasy 4 did) and have a couple that's already been together since before the game started? None of this coy are-they-or-aren't-they shit.

FFIV is the only Final Fantasy I haven't played (and consequently beaten), so I don't get the reference. :-[ That the couple was already together before the game started, I love that idea.

Quote
What about Chrono Trigger's ATB Version 2.0? Where the battles are laid out on screens in the dungeon, instead of two separate screens?


Oh now that you mention fighting directly in the dungeons, I actually did like FFXII's battle system a lot. The only downside was that it played itself automatically too much and that by endgame status ailments just got too insanely annoying.

 
FF12 had a story? And anybody would have been better than Vaan - he's as flat as a board. Absolutely no reason for him to exist at all.

I view the story seperately from the characters, which is why I mentioned Bosch specifically as an archetype, a battle-hardened veteran as opposed to a teenage boy. And yes FFXII had a story, it was basically a rip off of Star Wars, but I love the fuck out of Star Wars. A big empire, a conspiracy, a pirate gang fighting a war against said Empire, I love those elements. I mentioned already that XII's execution was lacking, but in principle and general direction, I'd love for that kind of story to be revisited.

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 03:15:31 pm »
This reminds me of an idea I pitched on the Romhacking Discussion board when I first got started here. What if, instead of a re-make, they did what I've heard colloquially referred to as a "de-make?"

You take the storyline of, say, Final Fantasy 7, and redo it in the style of Chrono Trigger, essentially doing a version of the game as though it were on older hardware.

It'd be faster, cheaper and more unique to market.
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LostTemplar

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 03:27:56 pm »
Although probably a very bad example, FF7 NES comes to mind.

Well, I for one would like a properly "de-made" FF7 (or other later FF). I love sprite art. Although stunning graphics like FF13 are certainly nice to look at, CT-style sprites still leave more room for your very own imagination. I liked that, especially as a kid.

SargeSmash

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 03:55:22 pm »
FFXII always struck me as a JRPG wanting to be a WRPG.

For me, the optimal Final Fantasy comes from either one of two schools:  the intensely story-driven nature of Final Fantasy VI, or the more standard, fast-paced romp that is the original.  But even though I enjoyed the original, I never really got into FFV at all.  Which is probably strange, but there it is.  I think the reason that FFVI is so well-regarded is that it really combines the best of both worlds, though.  Stellar gameplay and a heck of a story.

I agree with Kaio, though, in the idea that Final Fantasy really doesn't have an identity, given the variation in the series.  It's also why the series is so polarizing.  Something like Dragon Quest, however, is more of a buildup over time of the same formula, so you could argue that it's stayed true to itself more than anything.  Of course, for that it gets accused of being stale or unimaginative...  which depending on your point of view is either a fair assessment or missing the minute refinements and overall charm of the series, even if it does rely on the same formula.

By the way, FFIII for NES is a phenomenal game, as is the remake.  If you want a gameplay-oriented take on the series, you can't go wrong with it.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  -- Mark 8:36

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 03:59:07 pm »
Dang it Sarge, you had to get my dander up, didn't ya...

I gave 3 the obligatory playthrough back in 1999, but it's never really been able to hold my attention since then. One of these days, I'm gonna get back into it...it truly is the installment that pushes the NES right to the limit.
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Nec5

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 03:59:45 pm »
No more remakes.  Make a sequel.  Hell, use the same engine.  Just make something new.  It's not that hard.  Please.  For the love of Pete.  And who the hell is Pete anyway?
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Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2012, 04:01:57 pm »
Think of it like this: You're a kid in the 40's and your dad hits his hand with a hammer by accident.

"FU--------r the love of Pete!"

Pete, by the way, may be St. Peter.
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SargeSmash

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2012, 04:05:25 pm »
By the derision that FFXIII has been met with (and to a lesser extent, FFXIII-2), it doesn't seem like it's all that easy.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  -- Mark 8:36

KaioShin

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2012, 04:11:39 pm »
By the way, FFIII for NES is a phenomenal game, as is the remake.  If you want a gameplay-oriented take on the series, you can't go wrong with it.

If by "gameplay-oriented" you mean that it has no story to speak of and the characters also have no personality and no background? (Except in the DS remake, each got like 5 lines of alibi backstory) And it was grindy as hell too. I played like 15 hours of the DS remake and it was just horrible. But to each to his own :P

Spooniest

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Re: My crackpot Final Fantasy theory
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2012, 04:15:49 pm »
Final Fantasy 1 is the same way, it's not necessarily a bad thing.
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