Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Let's Rework: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Four

 I know I said I'd redesign Seifer and Rinoa, but another prospective protagonist has popped up since then.

 How many people have we asked this question about by this point?

 We asked why Seifer isn't the main character, why Rinoa isn't the main character and why Selphie isn't the main character.

 This decreasingly exclusive club has, as of Part Forty Three of the LP log, gained a new member.

I need to work on mouths.
  Why isn't Fuujin the main character?

 As noted in the LP Log, she's almost everything Squall is supposed to be.

 She's tough, she's cool, she's a woman of few words and she's interesting.

 I know barely anything about this girl and I'm already really interested in her back story.

 Is there a reason she only talks in single word, all-caps, sentences?

 Has she had a hard time getting on in life if she can't help speaking like that?

 How did she become friends with Seifer, and when did she start banging Raijin?

 How was the Disciplinary Committee chosen?

 Is she an orphan or is there a couple where one of them only shouts and the other one only speaks in single word sentences out there somewhere?

 Who is Fuujin? What happened to her eye? What did she see?

 Honestly, I do find a lot of Squall's back story quite dull. It's based on a handful of tropes that were overdone forty years ago.

 He's an orphan, he's got a long lost father he never knew, he has a childhood rival who turned evil, his long lost father is in a position of wealth and power, he has a parent that turned to the dark side, he has a destined path and he has, of all the tropes to use in a fantasy setting, amnesia.

 It's practically a miracle at this point that he wasn't a swineherd or something.

 There's little to no subversion here.

 The only tropes here that could be seen as subversive are the fact that his father is a president and not a king and that his parent who turned to the dark side was an adoptive mother and not his biological father.

 And the time travel thing does not count as 'subverting the trope of destiny', the entire concept of destiny is that the future has a set path. It doesn't matter whether the prophecy comes from soothsaying, oracles or popping into a magical blue box, if someone has seen the future and it cannot be changed, then that is still destiny.

 Are we all clear on this?

 Good, although we'll probably go over it again when it comes up in the Let's Play.

 The thing about Fuujin is that because we know so little, we can formulate a past for her that doesn't go down a check list that was published in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Hacks Monthly (The leading periodical for authors with no imagination. This month's lead article: Mary Sues, and how to get away with them by giving them testicles).

 We can give her two living parents!

 Although, considering that there's been a war on, one or less would be more accurate.

 We could have a character who struggles with the amnesia instead of it just being hand waved away when it's no longer considered interesting enough to hold onto the player's attention, or something cooler comes along to distract the writer's.


 'Why isn't Fuujin the main character?' is something of a different approach to the one I've been taking so far in these posts. Usually I talk about changing the plot, but in this case I don't think substantial changes would be necessary.

 You could keep a lot of the same basic plot, just move Fuujin into the party instead of one of the other characters. I'd have to say either Quistis or Irvine.

 I've said this before in the let's rework, but I'm still not seeing much need for Quistis to be in the party past the point where Balamb is saved. She should be in charge of the Garden, since she's a child prodigy with more experience with being a SeeD and having authority over teens and children.

 As for Irvine, he's evil and I hate him.

 Ditch him after the prison and have done with it, that's what I say.

 I'd still push for a large plot change, but I wouldn't argue that it's really necessary for having Fuujin as the protagonist, it's just the culmination of my disgust towards one character.

 Cid. Cid is evil and I hate him.

 He is the worst character I've ever seen.

 Right now, I hate him more than I hate Reed Richards.

 His behaviour towards Squall is reprehensible.

 Part of the reason I think Fuujin as protagonist would work really well is that since she's had such a tightknit and loyal friendship with Seifer and her boyfriend, she'd be less likely just to stand to one side and watch while Cid emotionally abuses Squall like everyone else does.

 Since Cid is so horrid, it would be nice to see him turn out and out evil and get his ass handed to him by the teenage boy whose life he's totally ruined. It would be extra nice to see him turn out to be completely and totally wrong about who the 'destined SeeD' really is.

 Also, speaking of friendship, the 'Seifer's been executed!!!1!' plot point would actually have weight since Fuujin would have good reason to be upset. Unlike Squall, who has very little reason to be upset and the fact that he gets so upset makes him look absolutely ridiculous, Fuujin could be genuinely distraught.

Not like this, I don't even know what this is supposed to be.
 It would also be much more interesting for the main character to be someone that Seifer genuinely cares about, rather than someone he dislikes at best. This would provide conflict for both Seifer and Fuujin, as they're torn between their friendship and their current loyalties.

 Also, arguing before/during a fight would be the perfect opportunity for Fuujin to have extended dialogue and speak in proper sentences. Because arguments in violent situations are the perfect opportunity for a teenage girl with a voice like thunder to yell at someone.

 (By the way, one of Squall's most criticised character traits is that what feels like over half of his dialogue is run inside of his own head. If Fuujin was the protagonist, then it would make sense for her to be running an internal monologue since she seems to have genuine difficulty expressing herself in a normal and healthy manner.)

 The conflicting loyalties angle would work really well, as if Raijin had gone off to find Seifer while Fuujin was stuck with Squall it would provide a tension between the two of them.

 Woo! Romantic tension!

 (I will die with that ship. If Nomura came out and said 'Raijin is gay' without immediately following it with something like 'and Fuujin is actually a transman who likes to dress in very subtle drag and is cool with feminine pronouns' I would just stab him.)

 So, how would we pull off making Fuujin the main character in a plot that resembles the canon one?

 Simple, just have her pass the SeeD exam and be sent off on the Timber mission with Squall. Personally, this wouldn't present a problem to me, as it would be a great excuse to have a four person battle party instead of a three person one, but if it does become a genuine issue, it may be necessary to replace Zell or Selphie in that part of the story, instead having them come in at a later point.

 Of course, it could also work to have Fuujin go along with them as back up, someone who can't be used in the battle party until after the part in the train where Squall, Selphie and Zell all randomly pass out. In which case she could easily bully her way into becoming one of the playable characters because she has no interest in being left by the wayside by a bunch of narcoleptics.

 It would be best of she was never dragged into the past with Squall and Co., which would make sense, as Ellone wouldn't have ever met Fuujin by this point, and would likely be incapable of dragging her into the past at all.

 Phew, that's a lot of things to be considering.

 Before I wrap this up, I'd like to show you a design I came up with for protagonist!Fuujin.

 Her regular design isn't really that bad, it's just that it could do with being more visually interesting if she was to be the main character.

 Since she does resemble a pirate, I decided to base her outfit on the outfit of an Admiral during the Golden Age of Piracy (aka, the period The Pirates of the Caribbean is set during).

 During my root around for reference/inspiration, I found this portrait:

Dat wig.
 This guy is Sir Cloudesley Shovell, and he was the Admiral of the Fleet and a Member of Parliament for Rochester. He was born in 1650, joined the Royal Navy at the age of fourteen, fought in several major naval battles, became a favourite of Queen and was a great benefactor for both the church of St. Paulinus and the city of Rochester before his death in the Isles of Scilly (pronounced 'Silly' and called Enesek Syllan in Cornish) at the age of fifty six in a tragedy that also claimed the lives of both of his step-sons.

 I really liked his jacket, so I used it as inspiration for Fuujin's mild redesign.

 Also, I think that his entry into the military at a young age and his tragic death at sea works well for Fuujin's nautical design.

 And he has a vaguely weathery sounding name. It fits, you can't really have thunder without clouds.

 So, there you go, my manifesto for why Fuujin would make a better main character than Squall.

 Or at least a damn good party member.

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