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05 March 2010 @ 08:02 am
Final Fantasy Friday  
Two bits of "news" this week. Most importantly, next week (tuesday the 9th) Final Fantasy 13 comes out.

Second, the Squenix CEO thinks the Final Fantasy team should "move on to create and generate some ‘next generation’ forms of play".

Needless to say this has caused a certain amount of consternation amongst the "particular audience they have now" who are concerned that they're not going to be "catered to."

So this dove-tails with a couple discussions i've had with people in past month or two about what exactly _is_ Final Fantasy?

I think most fans would agree that there is a certain character to the Final Fantasy series, and you couldn't just slap the name on a game from a different series and have people accept it as a legitimate entry. So how much can they actually change about the series and still have it be a "real" Final Fantasy?

So as best as I can tell, based on my own memories backed up by a little research from a couple different sources, this is what the Final Fantasy series has been, reduced to a simple chart format. (Note that i included FF13, but the information there is somewhat speculative. I suppose if you really don't want to know if Cid is going to be in FF13 and such, don't click the cut.)

FF1 FF2 FF3 FF4 FF5 FF6 FFT FF7 FF8 FF9 FF10 FF12 FF13
Main Theme MusicXXXXXXXXX
Battle Intro MusicXXXXXXX
Victory Fanfare MusicXXXXXXXXXX
Chocobo Theme MusicXXXXXXXXXXX
Crystal (Iconic)XXXXXX
Crystals (Generic)XXXXX
Job ThemesXXXX
SHPB (Evil)XX?
Selectable Party MembersXXXXXXX?

(Edit: For those who haven't noticed the usage of the term in the poll, i forgot to mention that SHPB = Silver Haired Pretty Boy)

You'll notice of course that i also included FF Tactics but excluded FF11. That's because i really like the one, and it's interesting the areas that it overlaps, and i haven't played the other at all so it was hard trying to check off elements for it. And honestly i've never thought that FF11 should have been part of the numbered sequence in the first place.

A couple of those were a little hard to judge of course, like how many job characteristics does a character have to have before they can be considered to have a Job Theme?

There's also a couple categories that i didn't include because they've been in every game so far, having multiple party members, being able to control multiple party members/

Also note that i don't actually have a copy of the FF8 soundtrack, so i couldn't test the music for that one. I've heard it claimed however that the Prelude and Main Theme were in every numbered Final Fantasy game... up until FF13. FF13 is the one that hasn't included "one or both of these tracks."

And yes, i'm sure the new guy wants to make a name for himself, but the prelude and main theme are just two songs and there are it about 80 other tracks they get to do whatever they want with. It's sad to see those two iconic pieces go.

Amusingly however, in related news Sqenix is disbanding their entire music team. And guess who's handling the music for FF14? Uematsu!

We also came up with a more specific subset of traits, how exactly does character development work in each game? After a lot of discussion we narrowed the traits under consideration down to "uniqueness" and "transferability." I.e. how much does the choice of one character over another matter (aside from personality of course,) and can you switch defining attributes between characters?

Of course it can be hard to simplify some of the character systems to just those two elements. Is FF1 the ultimate in "uniqueness" because each class is entirely different? Or are they totally generic because you could have all four members be the same class if you wanted? I decided to compromise on that one, of course you can feel free to comment about it, or just draw up your own table (with blackjack! and hookers! In fact, forget the table!)


(Edit: For Uniqueness i kind of figured the numbers using two caveats, that you wouldn't _necessarily_ make all your characters clones of each other in the games where it gives you the option, and that you wouldn't spend a hundred hours unlocking every ability for every character in order to make them all identical again *cough* like i did for FF10 *cough*)

Some of those numbers are rather hazy. Not only is it more difficult to assign an analog rating, my knowledge of some of the character development systems is rather hazy (FF9 in particular)

I was also going to try and graph them all out on a grid, but that involved too much work :)

And now for the user participation part of the program, the poll!

Instead of listing each FF game as an option for every single question, i'm just going to do a text box. At least try to restrict yourself to one answer for each question. And for the sake of my own (and possibly others') sanity, please answer in the form of "FF7" or "FF8" rather than "FFVII" or "FFVIII". Roman numerals may look cutesy in the titles, but they're a lot harder to read at a quick glance.

Poll #1534226 Final Fantasy Poll

What elements do you think are important for future Final Fantasy games to contain?

Main Theme
Victory Fanfare
Chocobo Theme
Jobs System
Silver Haired Pretty Boys
Multiple Party Members
Full Control of All Characters

What other important elements did I not list that are especially important to you?

In your opinion, which FF game had the best character development system?

Which FF game had the best battle system?

Which FF game had the best characterization?

Which FF game had the best story?

Which FF game had the best music?

Which FF game had the best art style?

Which FF game had the best graphics?

What category did I forget, and which FF game was the best at it?

What is the best possible set of names for the first Final Fantasy MMORPG and its sequel?

Final Fantasy Online & Final Fantasy Online 2
Final Fantasy World & Final Fantasy World 2
Final Fantasy Universe & Final Fantasy Universe 2
Final Fantasy Realms & Final Fantasy Realms 2
Final Fantasy 11 & Final Fantasy 14

How excited are you about FF13?

Very excited! I'm going to be getting it on the first day!
Definitely interested. I'll be picking it up sometime in the next couple weeks,
Not sure yet. I'll wait to see reviews.
I've gotten turned off the series. I'm not going to get it unless everyone raves about it, and maybeo not even then.
I've never liked Final Fantasy, and I have no idea why I'm filling out this poll.

Do you think it will live up to whatever your expectations are?

I'm sure it will be better than I can possibly imagine!
I think I've probably got my expectations about right.
I'll probably be a little disappointed.
My soul will be crushed by the despair of confronting reality.

Which system will you by buying it for?

Current Mood: geekygeeky
Kirin: tonberrykirinn on March 5th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
This is a ridiculous amount of stuff, I'm going to have to start typing this comment as I read or I won't remember half of it...

Top chart stuff:
8 definitely has the Main Theme in the end credits; don't remember where/if it has the Prelude.
There's a Moogle *summon* in FFT, plsu Moogles as a race exist in Ivalice, but are extinct in the FFT time-frame. Borderline case. Likewise it has broken airships from the earlier age.
You left out X-2, which would mostly be a copy of X's column except that it added a serious Jobs system.
13, like a lot of entries actually, lets you freely select party member in the later part of the game.

Character table:
How are the FF5 chars unique? There's no transferability, but I thought they were practically blank slates to write jobs on. Been a while, though.
I would think 7 and 8 uniqueness would be the same; limit breaks only for either.
9's uniqueness is probably higher - you learn from equipment, and the available selection is pretty character-specific.
And 10's I'd bump down a bit - very unique in early game, but once you break the sphere grid barriers in late-game you can do anything with anyone.

Yeah, when it comes down to it, 6 and 12 top most of my lists.
I'll probably pick up 13 more or less right away. My expectations are tempered: it should be really pretty, have a ridiculous story, and an interesting battle system.
DonAithnendonaithnen on March 6th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
As i added in the "Edit" bit after reading this, it's unique in that you _can_ make the characters unique, and the abilities that different characters can have if you choose different paths for them are very different.

I'm not responsible if you give all your characters the exact same job :)

Likewise if you spend 100 hours giving every character every sphere/job/skill/whatever :)

If i recall correctly, for FF7 you were at least theoretically limited by what Materia slots were on the weapons for that character. I don't think 8 has any kind of limitation at all. Isn't there a command to literally just swap the Junctions between two characters?

I really didn't like the combat in 12. No battle transitions (meaning no battle music) sucked, i didn't like not being able to effectively control all the characters, and programming the character AIs was kind of boring and annoying.
Kirinkirinn on March 6th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, customizability was limited by current weapon slots in 7, but the overall differences between what was available for each character were pretty minimal, I think. But yes, you can swap wholesale in 8.

We're just gonna disagree about 12. I thought most of the field music themes (of which there were tons) were awesome so I didn't miss cutting away to a generic battle theme, plus there were actual battle themes for bosses, espers, and a few unique fights I think. And, well, I like programming - my only complaints with the Gambit system were that a lot of the interesting criteria unlocked too late in the game, and they missed a few useful ones.
Laura Parkinson: OneWingstormfeather on March 5th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
And now the many comments (can you tell I like to discuss this stuff too much?):

Okay, I'm kidding about my inclusion of silver-haired pretty boys. Mostly. I mean, at least one bishounen definitely makes things better, but isn't strictly necessary for it to be Final Fantasy. :p

Also, oops, I wasn't immediately placing The Prelude as the Crystal Theme for some reason, and didn't check it off. But yes, yes, that's needed as well. XIII doesn't even have that? Well poo.

As for character development... just in term of developing powers, XII was pretty cool, but also flawed I should add: I mean, having to teach someone to put a hat on their head sounds a bit odd. :p Plus, I'd kinda like a balance struck between being able to develop characters in different ways, and having each character retain some individuality in combat. Plus plus, I think I'd like to make some *choices* maybe, not just have it be a matter of "well, grind enough and every character can have everything to the exact same extent!"

"Best story" is tough, because some draw you in, but at the same time, Square (or Squarenix in later days) has a habit of trying too hard to be "deep" and just going off into "convoluted, confusing, and weird." Yes, I'm staring hard at you, VII. XII on the other hand was more straightforward, which was nice for a change, but on the other hand didn't draw me in quite as much. So... I dunno?

"Best graphics" is a bit odd, since from just comparing each side to side, I'd say it's XII easily, because of the age, but I remember being blown away by VII at the time. (Then again, I was just getting back into video games at that point after having drifted away from them in the NES era, so...)

As for best online name, I'd say that originally, just calling them Online would have been better, but now that they've started down the "XI" road, might as well just call the next one XIV for consistency. It's a bit silly, but I'm okay with it.

As for the how excited about XIII I am, I'm a bit between the first two. I'm picking it up immediately just due to, well, Final Fantasy, but I'm not *as* excited about it as I would be if it hadn't been for, well, a lot of the stuff I'm hearing (drifting away from some of the basics, way too linear, etc.) I'm more excited about XIV, honestly.

Also, as you should know, I *think* I'm picking it up for the 360, but may still change my mind. :p
Laura Parkinson: Vincentstormfeather on March 5th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, also, I would *prefer* if a Final Fantasy game has a Jobs system of some kind (because I really love some of the jobs!), but there have been enough games that didn't do that, that I can't really call it a requirement of the series.
DonAithnen: Games: Sephirothdonaithnen on March 6th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, the skill system in FF12 was kinda interesting, but i didn't like how unfocused it was.

That's why i like FF6s story. It was long and in depth (for a video game anyways) but not especially convoluted.

"Best graphics" can mean whatever you want it to mean. I choose to interpret as "the graphics i liked best." I also included "art style" as an alternative for people who insisted on interpreting "best graphics" very literally, but i don't think you took advantage of that :)

Well yeah, there's no way to change the names of the MMORPGs now. But i thought it was a stupid naming decision when they first made it, and i still think that now =P

"Also, as you should know, I *think* I'm picking it up for the 360, but may still change my mind. :p"

*laughs quietly to himself and does the evil-overlord-rub-your-hands-together thing* ;)
Laura Parkinson: Broodingstormfeather on March 6th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Yeah yeah, I switched. :p
pamela.mosiejczuk.netpamela.mosiejczuk.net on March 5th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
We haven't decided whether we'll be Xbox people or PS3 people (probably xbox), but once we take the plunge, this'll probably be my first game either way.

Unfortunately, I think that the game I want to play is the game 12 was originally supposed to be... from Basch's perspective, very rich and political, and without a fake-seeming romance. I'm also spoiled now by my love of gambits and no longer want to play the older FFs.
pamela.mosiejczuk.netpamela.mosiejczuk.net on March 5th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Well, I should say the game I imagine 12 was originally supposed to be. For all I know, it might have been like another 7 or 8, too militaristic for me.
Laura Parkinson: Vincentstormfeather on March 5th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
I've been waffling horribly... I finally decided to pre-order the game for the 360, but just changed my mind and changed the order to the PS3 version. If it helps, They (you know, they) say that the quality of the cutscenes at least is noticeably better on PS3 (although I don't know how noticeable noticeable is), and that the PS3 version is 1 disc, while the other is 3 discs. There was also vague vague mention of possible problems on the third disc of the 360 version, but I really don't know how substantive those are.
pamela.mosiejczuk.netpamela.mosiejczuk.net on March 6th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info! Video quality will probably be mediocre on our setup either way, but I hadn't considered that one might have multiple discs. PS3 wins!
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