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I wasn't happy with the bait and switch of promising a remake and delivering a sequel
What you need to realize is that it is simultaneously both. Never forget the Japanese penchant for double entendre ever. The idea of 'remake' extends to the story and world as well. Cloud & Co are literally remaking the story as they go because fuck destiny. And in this sequel, the world was remade in a karmic cycle of rebirth. I actually think it's kinda brilliant.

it was the perceived quality of the resulting changes that were my bigger issue. The whole thing was painful to watch and play in those moments, genuinely as awful as the worst of KH's excesses
I know KH gets used as slang for obtuse storytelling with lots of proper nouns and magical macguffins, but nothing in FF7R gets remotely confusing. I also feel like you're forgetting that FF7 is originally, inherently, a story at its core, about a guy who gets amnesia and thinks he's his friend, because he almost died killing his idol, who went insane because he learned he was part monster, and decided to go on a rampage, and he came back from the dead and killed your girlfriend and is trying to destroy the planet with a summon spell, only for the spirit of the planet and your dead girlfriend stop it all in the end, and did your party survive? Who knows? Like, obtuse storytelling was FF7's M.O. well before Nomura was allowed to touch the writing/plotting in games. And all reports indicate from the devs that Nomura's main point of emphasis on the FF7R project was rigorous adherence to the original game and not letting the story get too out-of-hand/deviate from the original - despite the rest of the project's creative leads wanting to change things up even more than what we eventually got, so this weird narrative of Nomura Bad is just funny to keep observing.

Thinking about it practically it makes sense. If you didn't want to make new character to team up with Yuffie, the most logical one would be Cait Sith as a man on the inside for the operation, but animating a cartoonish cat riding a big moogle like creature would have been more effort than just making a new human character tailored to what was needed for the 5-6 sidequest.
Red XIII was in so little of the scenario for FF7R that from a development standpoint it really didn't make sense to flesh out his combat mechanics and have players learn a whole new set of mechanics right before the final boss. Modders long ago tweaked the game to make Red XIII playable, and he has a full combat move-set so the devs are working on getting him up and running, Red XIII just lacks all the special attacks, combos, special animations for Frog, etc that would make him a full character in FF7R's combat system.

The Yuffie DLC makes a lot more sense when you realize it's basically just a beta test to iron out how Yuffie's combat would work in the next game. I get the feeling Cait Sith might not be a playable character in the next game, or maybe even ever because of how goofy/discordant he is with the tone of FF7R. Maybe he'll be like a support character or something. But regardless, Yuffie's OC-do-not-steal friend in her DLC also makes more sense when you look at things from a development standpoint. Remember, Cid is a polearm user, and I'll bet good money that Cid's combat style is going to look a lot like Sonon's. It'll be interesting to compare combat animations whenever the sequel comes out because I figure they'll even lift whole animations from Sonon for Cid.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I wasn’t a fan of the lore stuff in VIIR, but any of my complaints could just be compared to something equally ridiculous in the original. The plot is profoundly weird.

The character work is really, REALLY good, though, and has me very invested. For every “are you kidding me” Nomura moment there are like three awesome character moments.
 
State of Play dropped a new FFXVI trailer. They've already made it very easy to hate what I assume is one of the antagonistic characters in the story. Combat is looking a lot more defined now that they've shown a lot more of it and I'm liking what I see there.
 
It isn't obtuseness or confusion that draws the comparison to KH for me, I didn't find it very confusing (other than asking "why on earth would they write it this way" almost as often as I do when watching the Super Mario Bros movie). It's the terrible quality of storytelling on display - new plot stuff gets pulled out of the writer's butt with no setup, tension and stakes are thrown out of the window in favor of short-sighted set piece moments meant to wow you even if they undermine the overall plot buildup, and overall you just end up drowning in meaningless jargon-heavy fluff dialogue that's clearly written like you're meant to be wowed by it every time they say their special terms (though this was also a big problem with 13's writing, so isn't just a KH issue).

There were good additions to FF7R, in particular more time with Avalanche and the appearance of a SOLDIER who wasn't Cloud, Zach, or Sephiroth. But most of the directional changes in the story really hammered home the major problems with Square's writing in recent decades (outside of 14, apparently).

ANYWAY
The 16 trailer showed us they're focusing hard on the summons in the plot this time. Could be cool, I've enjoyed a summon focus in 6, 9, and X previously.
 
It's the terrible quality of storytelling on display - new plot stuff gets pulled out of the writer's butt with no setup, tension and stakes are thrown out of the window in favor of short-sighted set piece moments meant to wow you even if they undermine the overall plot buildup, and overall you just end up drowning in meaningless jargon-heavy fluff dialogue that's clearly written like you're meant to be wowed by it every time they say their special terms
We must have been playing a completely different game because none of this tracks with what I experienced, and I have played the game like 3 or 4 times at this point to dissect things and analyze every little bit of it.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
FF7R does like to take lengthy tangents. Maintaining the same sense of relentless forward momentum as its source material would be incompatible with its goal of being a full-size RPG in its own right. Instead there's a rhythm of rising and falling action, hubs and spokes, etc. more appropriate for a 50-hour experience than a 5-hour one. In a few cases they're not put at the most opportune time (I am referring here to the Train Graveyard specifically).
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I haven't played a Final Fantasy game since 13, but that new trailer looks kinda sick? It looks like the conceit is that the classic FF summons are just... people who can turn into kaiju and then beat the shit out of armies/each other? And I think the trailer is implying that your MC is Ifrit? I'm down to be Ifrit. Colour me tentatively intrigued.
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
... Did we already have a "summon" thunderdome? Should someone start making a thread? I am too busy playing with Master Tonberry right now.
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
There are definitely 50 summons, as they add up fast when you include literally every Final Fantasy, and how many games (like 12) had nearly entirely new stables or "summon based gameplay" that necessitated large lists, like Final Fantasy 6. If you include some of the spin-off titles (despite the handicap of being born to die, Revenant Wings comes to mind), you get an awful lot of summons to choose from.

EDIT: Looked at a wiki a little bit to confirm, and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy alone has 48 different summons drawn from the franchise as a whole. Some are fiends or other random "mascots", but it gives you an idea of how quickly that list expands.
 
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Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
Motion to rename this thread “The 5th Anniversary Thread of the 5th Anniversary Thread of the 25th Anniversary Thread of Final Fantasy”

Time flies when you’re watching numbers go up, uh?
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
I originally joined Talking Time to complain about Final Fantasy XII. My complaints were not original: "The game plays itself!" "The plot's not finished!" "I can practically smell Vaan through the screen!" I beat it, sold my copy, and wrote it off for all time.

Sixteen years later, however, I inexplicably got a hankering to go back and give it another shot, so I'm trying The Zodiac Age. I'm about eight or so hours in, and am embarking on the first quest with the gang all assembled. I'm having a pretty good time with it! This time around, I'm keeping a mindful eye on how much I automate through Gambits so I don't fall into the same trap of letting the game do everything for me and then whining about it.

A few early observations:

- I somehow forgot that the monarch who gets murdered in the prologue is named King Rammin' Ass. (They spell it Raminas, but I know.)

- I had also conflated Rasler and Reks into one character in my head, and thought it was kind of weird that Ashe married Vaan's brother. She didn't! That was a different doomed twink!

- Besides FIGHTER, is there a less interesting Final Fantasy protagonist than Vaan? He's a thief with dreams of being a thief who has an airship.

PENELO: Vaan! You can't keep up this life of thieving.
VAAN: I don't want to be a thief! I want to be a sky pirate!
PENELO: How does a sky pirate support himself?
VAAN: ...By thieving.

I get that we're basically seeing the story of other characters (principally Ashe) unfold through his eyes, but he feels like a placeholder asset with a voice.

- I went into this playthrough with a thought experiment: what if no one else can see or hear Penelo but Vaan? My recollection from my first time through the game was that she basically has no characterization or plot of her own, and only tags along with the group because it's where Vaan is. What if she doesn't actually exist? Sadly, she interacts too much with Larsa and Ba'Gamnan for this to work.

- The gang sure gets captured a lot, huh?

- If you're curious, I based my characters' License Boards on their roles in Record Keeper because I have no imagination:

Vaan: Shikari
Penelo: White Mage
Balthier: Machinist
Fran: Archer
Basch: Knight
Ashe: Red Battlemage

Ashe should properly be a Black Mage, but I need some healing and I intend to keep Vaan and Penelo benched for as long as the game will let me. The grownups are talking, kids.

More later, maybe.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Vaan isn't even the protagonist, he's just the POV character. Ashe and Basch are the protagonists. Vaan is more like... Myers, in Hellboy. He's in the story but it's not primarily his story.

IIRC he was added into the game some way into development by higher-up edict to have a younger "lead" character? Penelo too I think.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
- Besides FIGHTER, is there a less interesting Final Fantasy protagonist than Vaan?

Vaan is an excellent lead. His contributions and significance to the story have been habitually misconstrued over the years, partly as a scapegoat for the sour gripes people have for the game from whatever perspective, leading to dismissals of the character as the supposed embodiment of its conjectured and sensationalized development woes. For me, he's completely integral to the thematic texture of the narrative, as well as serving as its emotional center in relation to the other important character arcs which intermingle with his (very well told) own. Here's a good article that discusses him in depth.
 

Aleryn

Your best is enough.
Enjoyed Vaan to from the get-go and still feel odd about it compared to most. I think its because he's a nice example of an archtype often done badly. I don't mind the type, just the usual execution.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I don't even dislike Vaan, and I agree his story ties into the themes! But he's along for the quest (particularly past a certain point, where both he and Penelo all but disappear from the narrative scenes), not the central driving force of it. I wrote a FFXII/Star Wars comparison years ago for Gamespite, and in that I had Vaan and Penelo in the part of the droids. Witnesses, involved in momentous events but not the key players in them.
 
I'd like Vaan a lot more if the writers' overt attempts to make him important beginning nearly at the start of the game didn't all culminate in essentially ignoring a core rule of the world's history because they wrote themselves into a corner where it would be very narratively inconvenient if he wasn't a special exception. Using him as emotional connective tissue between characters doesn't resonate with me because imo all of those characters would've been better developed and more interesting throughout more of the story if they weren't systemically required to run so many things by him for the sake of justifying him as the POV (especially as it relates to Ashe's decision). I basically think they just flubbed an attempt to retread IX's party development dynamic. Vaan's general role in the narrative makes me feel very specifically the way I felt when I was playing youth basketball; a lot of the time during practice when the ball got passed to me I'd just shoot form half court because kids that were way better friends with the rest of the team did so why shouldn't I. I related to his selfishness and trying to be the center of attention so much more than I related to any other part of the character that when the game was new I was kinda worried about what that said about me. And honestly that means there's DEFINITELY good writing there. But wow do I not think it belongs where it is.

I would've vastly preferred for Penelo and Vaan to switch roles if only so Larsa would have an excuse to stick around the party longer (I would love if Larsa stuck around the party longer for LOTS of reasons). She's also just WAY more empathetic and makes a lot more sense in the position of the party's emotional core, and Vaan's general arc makes him far more suited to being dragged into EVEN MORE political intrigue he has no business messing with.
 

4-So

Spicy
I didn't mind Vaan too terribly; Balthier is the real MVP. I'm partial to rogue-ish characters.

I had a much better time with Zodiac Age than the original release.
 
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