Thanks to leovanheyden for the inspiration!
One common theme in Final Fantasy, besides good and evil, is Man vs Absolute, or rather God. In some sense, our characters have to fight a power much greater than themselves. And this power is evil.
This is done for narrative reasons and a sense of finality. But the pattern still exists as a staple, or rather a cliche, in Final Fantasy. Leovanheyden notices this pattern, and wonder if Final Fantasy could break the cycle…
I don’t know if this has been discussed here before I joined at the beginning of this year, but I wanted to see what you think about the common themes in the stories of last three single-player FFs. Or, I’d rather say the same theme in all of them.
Pretty much every FF has a theme, and for XII, XIII, and XV, I have a feeling that all of them feature the same, prominent one, Man vs Absolute. Whether this would be (most often) gods, fate or malevolent force. And this worries me about the future XVI.
Starting with XII, we had a story about humans breaking out from being pawns in the game of Ocurria, pretty much gods of Ivalice. After X, which was about men and their doing, this was an interesting change of style. I didn’t like XII the first time, but later I noticed and grew fond of the deeper intricacies of the story.
Then came XIII trilogy which was all about breaking out of chains of fal’Cie (lesser gods), chaos or gods themselves. The uniqueness of the game heroes came from gifts from the gods, not themselves per se. We are pretty much recycling the theme in a much more convoluted way than XII.
Even though the theme for XV was supposed to be brotherhood etc., we are again being pulled in the dealings or aftermath of dealings of gods (Astrals) and pretty much demigods (Ardyn). This time it’s not about breaking from gods whim, but still, the absolutes have much prominence in the story. Also, Noctis power again comes from external source.
I’m not saying that the idea is bad, but three games in the row is a bit much. Older games had varied themes and the heroes of the “golden era” didn’t need absolute’s help in vanquishing the evil (just take Squall for an example, who was just a normal kid with no apparent superpowers). I really liked the idea that in the end, the heroes prevailed through willpower, strengths or bonds of friendship (cheesy, but that’s how I liked the games).
Now I’m worried that this is some course that Square took and we can expect to take on a god or other absolute in XVI. I wouldn’t like that, my main attraction to the series was the different themes, the games offered.
What do you think?
In the past, I wrote about the shift of Final Fantasy Villains, and when they became more sympathetic (even if still misguided and evil). And we’ve had several of the main villains join our party. Yet, when’s the last time we’ve had one of our main characters BECOME a villain? None.
Of course, some of our characters were anti-heroes. Others committed questionable acts. But having the main character as a villain would include an amount of depth rarely seen in Final Fantasy. The theme would be of sacrifice.
One concept: World of Ruin. Final Fantasy VI and XV already had a similar concept, yet it applied to the whole world. What if it applied to a character. Think about how Kefka becomes a god and controls the world. One of our characters would be the ultimate villain, due to our choices.
I think this would work well if Final Fantasy XVI were based on Agi’s Philosophy. In the first trailer, we see her as a cult member. She fights for her life and watches her fellow cultists die before her. In the real-time tech demo, we see the absolute anguish in her face. She remembers the terror and pain experienced by the terrorists.
At this point in the game, the terrorists would be the main villains. They somehow acquired enough technology to take over. Their leader holds the crystals hostage for power. However, during the last fight, Agni takes control. Only, she assumes herself as a misguided ruler to rid the world of evil. Unbeknownst to her, she causes more pain and suffering, yet she’s too wrapped up in misguided justice to see this.
We have to defeat her for the sake of the world, but it will be a difficult decision. We have an obvious emotional confliction – we have to defeat our friend. Like Kefka, she grows in magical strength. She powerful, but doesn’t become a god. Her powers would inadvertently bring upon the void, which is why we have to stop her.
The pain and torment on her mind would cause her to lose a grip on reality. She’s unstable. Yet, she was once our friend. And in the final battle, we’d feel just as much pain as she felt…