Seeing the [M] rating for a Final Fantasy game was kind of surreal. We all were looking forward to Final Fantasy Versus XIII to be the first mature game in the series. Seeing 2006 Noctis stab a guy in the chest was brutal. Having him repeatedly slam a cop on a police car was hardcore. Of course, we never got Final Fantasy Versus XIII. We did get Final Fantasy Type-0, the first [M] rated video game in the series. In fact, at one point, they were both apart of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. This spinoff was looking to be a very dark series.
Why did we want a mature Final Fantasy? Maybe because we wanted weight and consequences to death in Final Fantasy. Of course, the violence doesn’t make a game mature, just dark. Most mature themes are elusive to younger audiences; they don’t have the life wisdom to understand the concepts. Children might experience themes of loss, identity, and death. Presenting them in a way adults can reflect upon in a thoughtful way takes skill.
But video games depictions of violence and gore is what earns [M] ratings. Here, Final Fantasy Type-0 starts with both in its first few scenes. A man screams out in pain over not wanting to die. He weeps. Even the lovable Chocobo dies. We’re seeing the terrible effects of war. Even Final Fantasy Tactics didn’t touch on these subjects.
Yet, what Final Fantasy Type-0 has is a lot of weird plot devices. In a lot of anime, the protagonist is fearful of people “forgetting” them. That’s a very high school-esque fear, a step above the fear of not being popular. A lot of the themes in the game revolve around this. Even worst, a lot of the characters have the same idiotic tropes you’d see in an anime. The contrast is jarring, like seeing the Clannad characters on the battlefield.
In a weird way, a lot of the themes are lost in the same high school tropes nearly every anime contains. But, a lot of classmates die. The tonal shift is crazy. Can you believe that Type-0 is apart of the Fabula Nova Crystallis saga? Final Fantasy XIII dumped a lot of information on the player. Type-0, by comparison, is much easier to digest. But it’s still not more mature than Final Fantasy XIII. Sometimes even more so, because it’s adult writing for teenage protagonists.