Thanks to FuumaBandicoot for the inspiration!
Besides the story and the music, I think many fans of Final Fantasy want character development. Final Fantasy XV had character development outside of the game. What if we had double the amount of playable characters?
I would like to see a bit more than what we’ve had in the recent games. Something like 8 would be nice with roughly an equal balance of males and females. We haven’t had that number in a long time.
Four permanent female characters happen to be something we’ve never seen in Final Fantasy before. Well, unless you desperately count Quina from Final Fantasy IX. This would be revolutionary in a Final Fantasy game. But the number of permanent characters will ultimately depend on the story. Think back on the other Final Fantasy games. So far, the games with the most characters usually have character-driven narratives. But when events take dominance in the narrative, the games have fewer characters.
In Final Fantasy I, we only have four to a team from six possible characters. But besides their specific skills, it doesn’t matter who you pick. The characters don’t experience any character development. They don’t have a specific arc. Final Fantasy I focuses on events, and the game moves from scene to scene.
Even though characters have names in Final Fantasy II, they still don’t have very large narrative arcs. The game’s plot revolves around taking back Fynn and defeating the Emperor. We only have three main playable characters, with several guests. The guests have shallow arcs, but not enough of a complex narrative that we’d see from later Final Fantasy games. Same with Final Fantasy III. We start with four orphans, but who their identities aren’t important. The guest in their party wasn’t playable and had shallow arcs. The orphans have names in the DS/PSP versions, and shallow character arcs. Still, this is an afterthought. And in both games, we have roughly four main characters.
Final Fantasy XV is about the brotherhood of four friends, but the game’s events don’t always express them. The game moves our characters through events that happen largely outside of Noctis’ perspective, sometimes at a rapid pace. Sure, you could go on hunts, camp, and fish, during of which you’ll hear banter. But the game doesn’t explore their personalities.
Now look back to Final Fantasy VI. That game has twelve playable characters in the first half of the game (i.e. World of Balance). In the second half of the game, we can acquire two more for a total of fourteen. And the World of Ruin consisted of recruiting party members. During this time, we experience their arcs. To a lesser extent, we see the same thing with Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VII.
So how many playable party members are they going to put in the team at a time? Not sure. Games that force you to play with one, two or three playable characters allow for greater amounts of customization. With four and five playable characters, we usually see jobs. Even when you could customize your party in Final Fantasy III, their had traditional jobs. This forces us to see how each character’s skills work with each other.
With real-time battles, does this mean everyone is going to stand around in battle? Will we have to split up random team members?