Saturday, 31 May 2014

Let's Rework: Final Fantasy VIII Part One

I think part of being a fan of something is that you have the desire to make it better.

 At least, according to you.

 My friend Kelly does this sometimes, and so does William Shatner.

 This is the primary purpose of head!canons, although sometimes the urge goes beyond filling in a hole or winning a No Prize.

 Sometimes you want to take the thing you're a fan of and totally rework it so that it becomes everything you want it to be.

 Which is what this series of posts is going to be about.

 After playing Final Fantasy VIII for two or more hours a day over nine non-consecutive days, I've come up with a number of things I would do to the game to rework it into something I'd be proud to sell on the mass market.

Thing the First:

 Change the main character

Sorry, Squall/Leon fangirls, but he's got to go.

 If you've been reading my Let's Play Log at all, you'll know that I don't like him. He's bad at his job, he has no friends, no one really cares about him, and it's impossible to tell romantic progression from just regular old character development.

 I've been with this guy for roughly twenty two and a half hours and I still prefer nearly every other character over him.

 Especially Seifer who is more interesting and, despite being a bully, is actually nicer than Squall.

 Seifer has friends!

 And don't give me the old 'oh, no, Squall's like Mr Darcy. Squall Darcy is what they call him, that's why he's so unlikeable. He's just shy and proud. He'll improve!' routine.

 Fitzwilliam Darcy has friends.

 Squall Leonhart doesn't.

 So, if you're not plotting my murder, you're wondering who would be the main character.

 Good question, but a little flawed.

 Because I'm going to give you two.

 If you didn't see this coming, well, I'm surprised.

 Considering that Seifer is a character who is just as flawed as Squall, if not more so, and is more likeable in universe, it would make sense for him to be the protagonist.

 He has wants and needs and a place in the world outside of his teacher wanting to jump his bones for no fully explored reason.

 Again, I'm twenty two and a half hours into the game and I have no idea what Squall wants. He had the desire to become a SeeD, but now what? Everything he does is just following orders, and all his internal monologuing fails to have him place any sense of importance or identity on doing that.

 Seifer's dream is weird, but it's there and I can identify with that.

 Also, speaking of wants and needs, Rinoa has those too. She has them in spades.

 She wants the independence of Timber and possibly to get back at her dad. Although I'm not sure at the latter part of that, she clearly doesn't like him and that's a feeling I can empathise with.

 Some of us have shitty parents.

 Considering that her goals set the game in motion, wouldn't it make sense to cut out the middle man and just have her be the protagonist?

 Besides, she's clever. She's the one who worked out that Zell knew his way around the prison, after all. Being the protagonist would allow her to be even cleverer because there would be no reason to misogynistic-ally dumb her down to stop her overshadowing a male character.

 Since they both have good reasons to be the protagonist, it makes sense to use them both.

 Besides, these two have history together, so a reunion later in the game would have more weight. Especially since their history basically denoted them as an 'it's complicated' by the time Seifer is believed to be dead.

 So, how would it work?

 I propose a game of two halves.

 One half as Rinoa, one half as Seifer.

 Keeping his story line of going with the Sorceress would lead to an interesting scenario where the player plays as two opposing forces and both halves of a romance.

 Sure, we've see things like this before, but I think it would work really well here.

 But what of Squall?

 Well, he can still be in the game, but I'd want him to go through his character development far faster and leave the party once Balamb Garden is under attack.

 The character arc would end with him being a good leader who returns to his home Garden to help protect the students. Romance is totally unnecessary for this arc.

 So, there it is, part one of my manifesto.

 I'll definitely continue this series of posts as I already have a decent number of ideas to rework this game.

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