Thank you TheSnowNinja for the inspiration!
Who said this:
The only main protagonist in FF6 is the player. The player makes the tough choices. The player decides if Shadow is saved or not. The player decides Cid’s fate and how much of the party is reunited in the world of ruin.
My point was that you make those choices through the eyes of different people. Any choices you make in many other games are done through a single person.
In FF4 you control the flow of the game as Cecil. In FF7, you make decisions as Cloud. FF8-Squall, FF9-Zidane, FFX-Tidus, FF12-Vaan (a bad development choice in my opinion), and FF13-Lightning.
In FF6 you make choices as several people. You make choices as a group, kind of. A key example is when your party splits up. You separately control Sabin’s group, Locke, and Edgar’s group if I recall. It’s been a while since I played the game, but it’s one of my favorites.
From a literary standpoint, I still think Terra is the main character in the game. But TheSnowNinja gave us something to consider about. I think all characters were to teach us something about Kitase’s ideal meta protagonist.
But first, why did Kefka say all of the characters sounded like a self-help book?
Kefka: And did you all find your “somethings” in this broken world that just won’t die?
Locke: A person worth protecting.
Cyan: A life and child who live on within me.
Shadow: Friends…and family.
Edgar: A peaceful kingdom.
Sabin: A loving brother who always looks out for me! Gah-ha-ha-ha!
Celes: Someone willing to accept me for who I am.
Strago: An adorable little granddaughter.
Relm: An obnoxious grandpa…who I couldn’t live without!
Setzer: Wings from a dear old friend!
Mog: New pals, kupo!
Kefka: Bleh! You people make me sick! You sound like lines from a self-help book!
Maybe Kefka is “supersane” (understanding reality in itself for what it is). Perhaps he somehow knows everything around him is just a video game for the player’s benefit. This would be meaningless for him. Perhaps Kefka who is aware of his deterministic state embraces his fate and destroys for the fun of it. But really, Kitase wrote Final Fantasy VI while several people wrote the characters. And I think what emerges from this is the unintentional genius.
I think there’s a meta protagonist in FFVI. The meta-protagonist is the singular character who emerges from the characters in FFVI. Kitase would have made this more clear if he really could give all of the characters equal weight, but the nature of the game makes Terra (and what she learns) primary. Each character in the game makes up the general essence of this meta protagonist. From the beginning of the game, the meta protagonist is completely naive, anxious, neurotic and confused. In Final Fantasy VI, the meta protagonist learns what it means to be a healthy person.
Are we the meta protagonist? We could be. But I think we’re to learn what the meta protagonist learns from the characters. What is that? Love. With love, you can protect people, friends, and family. A life of your spouse (notice how Cyan did not say wife) and your child (non-gender specific). That children are adorable and the young couldn’t live without the old (those who came before us). That we have gifts from friends past and make new pals.
“People will always have dreams! Because it’s not the end that matters! It’s knowing that you have something to live for right now, at this moment! Something you’ve worked for… something that’s worth protecting! As long as you have that…that’s enough!”
We need to understand there’s someone willing to accept us for who we are. We’re to understand that Love! And! Peace! were all that makes the world worth living.
And in a sense, Kitase wrote a perfect self-help game using each character to make a meta protagonist.