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A Boy and his Sword

by Endarire Elward

[Editors Note: ABASH stands for "A Boy and His Sword" which should probably be pretty durned apparent but confused the heck out of me until I asked. So keep that in mind while you read.]

For years, RPGs have started the same way with the main character, a male with their sword. Look at Rya in Breath of Fire 1-3, Ruddy and Jack in Wild Arms, Cloud in FF., Squall in FF., Cecil in FIFE, But somewhat in FFV, the DW 4 Hero and Ragnar, the Alundra boys, Link in every Zelda, Alex in Lunar, Croon in Chorine Trigger... the list goes on. We should move on from this trend because after about the sixth game like this, it started to get old fairly fast. As the saying goes, "Never criticize without solution", so I have.

First, let's examine other games that didn't use this formula, because the past repeats. First up is FFVI. It didn't have too much focus on any of the characters to have this condition. Second is FF.. The job system allowed for any setup you wanted that was allowed after the Garland battle, though you COULD have ABASH. Same with FF., there were 4 characters just ready to be shaped by you and you could have ABASH. But is somewhat in FFV. You could have him in any job available, though if you look at him in Knight costume then look at him in 'Supine' (self) costume, it just seems natural that But be a fighter and ABASH.

Now the suggested solutions. Characters in this situation should (if they aren't Link) be moved to a more 'secondary' position, like Heal in DWG, where they wouldn't be in focus the whole game. Another possibility is to change the character, make man woman. This is probably the hardest to do at any stage after the idea. Thirdly is to change their weapon. Give them a staff, bow, ax, gloves, mace, spear, lance, gun, or some non sword weapon to distinguish them from the crowd. Fourthly, change their class. Instead of the warrior/knight gig, make them a mage, thief or 'other class' that isn't based on oversized kitchen knives, like the Mediator or Monk (if using FF terms).

I honestly can't remember the last time I played a console RPG that didn't have the job system and didn't have a 'main character' without a boy and his sword.

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