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If you've been looking throughout the Editorial sections, you'll see that many people have been arguing over the fact that Squaresoft has or hasn't "Sold out" to the RPG Gaming community... well, let's throw some more fuel to the fire!
Now, as you are well aware, FFVII was radically different from the previous FF... but maybe not for the reasons that we all think. [By the way many think that FFVII was the one that sold out to RPG gamers everywhere.]
I would happily argue that FF7's "radical" change was mostly a graphical boost. [And if I said that in front of some of you *guys*, I would probably look far more like a minced cow rather than a girl after about a minute!]
Hey, wait a second, whatda' ya mean by THAT? There was the materia system, limit breaks, that girl in the corner with... things that could probably break someone's back, it's SO easy... The hype, the mass advertising...
Well, let's see... Did FFVII really become so innovative and radical, and to the point that it effectively "sold out" by becoming 'mainstream'? I'm not so inclined to agree with that. Well, for starters, the "Materia System" as we know it, I would say at least, evolved from FF3, FF2 and FF6.
In FF3, you had to pick classes, BUT you could "equip" magic, and when you don't want it anymore, [Or you need to change classes] you'd take them off, back to its item form.
In FF2, Magic grew with use in levels, and it capped at I think level 16 or 15. That's where materia growth came from.
Finally in FF6, Summons could only be executed if you "equipped" the magite, and that as you equipped the magite, you'd learn more powerful versions of the spells...
Put the lot together, and you get the Materia system, which can be bought over the counter with your fries and Coke, it grows in power, allowing you to blow away any slimes with Bolt 3 if you fight enough, and *gasp* you can give it to your fellow adventurers as a Valentine's Day present!
Now, to the rest of the argument... I hope you packed your lunch and your favourite RPG to play, this could be a long ride...
Ok, let's be blunt. Tifa does happen to have the biggest *ahem* attributes I've ever seen... SO? I mean really, does the testosterone in you make you think more with your genitals in mind? It's not that uncommon in anime [Which does influence RPG creation a lot, with many a RPG having quite a few Anime elements... no, wait, some RPGS ARE anime games!] To have girls with a lot of bust and *incredibly* short skirts or what have you and anyway, as I believe, in most of the FF I played, the use of "attraction" is not uncommon. In FF2 we had the main character asked to "come closer" to the princess (or queen? I can't remember) in what would seem to be VERY intimate circumstances. FF4 we had the dancing stripper, FF6 we had Edgar, who.d hit onto every girl in Figaro, and a few more besides.
I'm sure there's many more, if I went to play all of them again and bring with me a notepad, but trust me, this is long enough as it is!
There is a bit I'd like to add later concerning this, but first, we shall continue on.
Now limits... were they really a new invention? I say no. Look at FF6... it had limits, but it worked like the current FF8 style, limits only when you.re about to kick the bucket. Try it, and you might see for yourself...
Now, the big pointer... FFVII supposedly "sold out" to the RPG world by giving lovely rendered FMV, and pretty good 3D effects, instead of the Pre FFVII system of sprites.
Here's the question I would like to ask. If they had the technology to make FMV and 3D polygons on a NES, would you still go buy it? In fact, if they revamped the system now and re-released them, would you go buy it?
I can already hear the cat-callers shout, "You can't do that, it's a CLASSIC!" Actually, I can hear them from far back into the past.
Why not? Really, in seven or eight years time FFVII might BE a classic...
I'd be interested to see what a 3D Neo Exdeath would look like, and seeing Bahamut coming out of the skies and blasting a hole right down the middle of him... [Lovely scene, don't you think?] Or maybe seeing the first FF6 airship, [That name evades me, I know the second one's the Falcon] being torn apart at the aftermath of the end of the first part? How about seeing Kefa laugh as he blasts towns without mercy, or the Nu consume parts of the world in FF5 from the perspectives of the doomed townspeople? How about seeing the funny Opera fight as we see Locke have some bad acting as he jumps to the stage? Of course, they're not going to do that, but that's not the point.
I would not deny that the feeling would be far greater, and give a greater than it did in the sprite format, you'd probably hold your breath as you watch Cecil plunge his sword into Zeronumus' body, waiting for what's going to happen next in a Ending FMV [Which doesn't exist of course] but in sprites, it did a very good job. Maybe, just maybe it would have proven to be even better if the technology was available at the time...
Well, Tifa comes up again. If she in 2D, you wouldn't even NOTICE that she had those things so big unless they showed in official art from Squaresoft or something, but really, I ask again, does it matter? That's a side effect from the third dimension... what were you seriously expecting, flat-chested girls?
Now, I don't know about you, but is using the technology at the time to tell the story a sin? If YOU were making Final Fantasy 1 and you had access to all of this, would you use it, or stick to the very basic 2D world that we all know it uses? I'd doubt it... So why are we asking Squaresoft to do exactly the same thing?
Now difficulty. I hear many a complaint that it was too easy.
Did you go around and do EVERYTHING in the world? Yes?
Not bad.... now here's the question I want to ask. Did you do it WITHOUT help from an outside source? Did you beat the other weapons? Did you find out how to breed a gold chocobo?
I'm inclined to say no. I know as well as you know that you have to get KOTR, Mime, Phoenix and W-Summon and just cast it then mimic it to kingdom come to beat the Underwater Weapon... I'd bet it took the people who WROTE the guides a while to figure this out, and I'd think that they'd say it was pretty hard. Games do have that difficulity... unfortunately any guide would make the game so much easier...
Now the hype... the great debate on hype. Was FFVII hyped so that it would try to gain the suport of the general public at the expense of the RPGamer world? A common argument I've heard a lot is, "We all saw the game advertised on TV, we saw it plugged in games newsletters and the like... but yet we saw nothing on FF6."
Or did we? Well, in Japan it got one pretty good campaign... but we can't all read Japanese, can we? Also, we have to keep in mind that before FFVII, it was not really a well-known company. (You said Keifa, and the non-RPG players would ask Keifa who?) They played one heck of a card, putting everything they had at the time into it to make it a GOOD game, in an attempt to improve its base... and why not tell the world? They were proud of FFVII, and I.d be too. It was doubtless revolutionary, and it showed to the world that the RPG was a good style of game. Unlike what many point out, it DID keep true to the development of the FF series, a plot which drew emotion with its optional quest extras, with the battle system intact, with ideas drawn on from other FF games to make it somewhat rememberable... and to make it still Final Fantasy.
Squaresoft made it to the top with this one... It had every right to. We have a company that made the RPG appear on the Gaming world map That is something worth respecting and shooting it down as the darkest day for the RPG is not really justified, not until we can prove it at least. The developments in technology made the game more appealing to the non RPG player, and can we blame Squaresoft in bring a bigger audience because of it?
Had enough blasting FFVII yet? No? Yes? Give me a week or two?
If you're so inclined to point out a few facts about things I missed, say why I'm just a silly girl, or just plain flame me for what I said, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org first, so I can and answer your questions.
Nightshadow, or Mistress Night if you prefer.
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