Thanks to Scott Baird of ScreentRants.com for the inspiration!
2. THE EMPHASIS ON STEALING
As the main character of Final Fantasy IX is meant to be the thief of the group, the stealing mechanic was made more important than in previous games. This means that there are a lot of amazing items that can be acquired earlier than normal by stealing them from enemies.
The problem with this focus on stealing is the low-chance that Zidane has of stealing good items throughout most of the game. The player is often forced to play totally defensively and wait, while Zidane keeps fruitlessly trying to steal an item.
If this mechanic is kept, then they need to bump up Zidane’s chances of actually finding an item.
They could also possibly add in some interactive element to the part of the player in order to make it more interesting.
The steal rate is pretty frustrating, especially since Zidane’s main job is a thief. But this is intentional. His low steal rate makes you wonder “why isn’t he better at this?”
This could be a throwback to the original Final Fantasy game, in which the thief could not steal. The thief main skill is evasion, which helps the party escape from tough battles. Zidane’s skill “flee” lets your party instantly escape at the expense of gil. The loss of gil from escaping battle itself is a homage from Final Fantasy IV, by the way.
Final Fantasy IX makes stealing optional. So even if Zidane’s in your party, he may never have to steal from an enemy. I recommend you do, as you can get high-level weapons earlier on. This makes the Final Fantasy IX enjoyable if you don’t want to progress faster.
But if you do decide you want Zidane to steal, he does have a low chance of acquiring items. Zidane can steal successfully with the ‘Bandit’ ability. The developers could bump up his success rate, but I think they decided not to for a specific reason. Why is that?
Zidane isn’t really a thief; Garland created him to be an “Angel of Death”. Zidane learned to steal through his time on Gaia, probably through Trope Tantalus. And part of creating the life you’d want to live involves trying.
Scott has an interesting suggestion to add interactive elements to make it more interesting. Tapping buttons, jiggling the control stick or inputting a code on screen would make for a much more interactive experience.