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R P G A M E R . C O M   -   E D I T O R I A L S

Final Fantasy X and Unnecessary Sequels
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Trent Seely
EDITOR



*Includes Spoilers for Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2*

Let's cut to the chase by making a bold statement — Final Fantasy X's ending is the only reason why the Final Fantasy franchise has suddenly been spawning numerous, nonsensical direct sequels. The profits attached to milking fan service is certainly a motivating factor as well, but it all started with Final Fantasy X-2 and couldn't have if Final Fantasy X ended on a happy note. An emotional tale had come to a very final close, as your protagonist essentially faded into nothingness. Was Spira ultimately a better place? Yes. Was Yuna a happy girl? No. That's the jumping-off point.

Final Fantasy X-2 was built on shaky ground. The motivating force of this direct sequel is Yuna's inability to let go of Tidus (and the some fan's inability to stomach a bittersweet ending). In spite of overcoming great odds and ending a timeless plight on the Spiran populous, which really was the logical conclusion to this narrative, Square simply couldn't leave well enough alone. Instead, they chose to release a sequel which sought to reuse art assets from Final Fantasy X, reintroduce old characters with little fanfare, introduce new characters which were extremely lacking in dimension, and clumsily resurrect Tidus. That last one is an extreme betrayal of the Final Fantasy X's narrative, as Tidus wasn't a real boy. He was a dream of the fayth.

A thousand years in the past, when Zanarkand was about to lose the Machina War to Bevelle, its leader, Yu Yevon, called the surviving people of the city together and transformed them into what we know in Final Fantasy X as the fayth. These fayth would act as conduits for a massive summoning which, in turn, had created a spectral version of Zanarkand for the dreams of its former inhabitants to exist. Yu Yevon then used his own body to create the very first Sin and gave it two primal objectives: (1) to protect the newly formed dream Zanarkand that now housed the spirits of the original city, and (2) to destroy any city that grew too large or relied too heavily on technology in order to ensure this dream Zanarkand was not discovered. Tidus was a citizen of that dream Zanarkand, as was Jecht. Guess what? If you kill Sin and destroy what is left of Yu Yevon, the fayth, summons, dream Zanarkand, and Tidus all cease to be. Tidus can never return or be resurrected as the fayth are now long gone. This is what makes the ending to this game powerful.

How then, does Tidus come back in Final Fantasy X-2? Well X-2's antagonist, Shuyin, is an unsent who looks just like Tidus and somehow has the power to possess the fayth (though it is never explained how). Apparently, the fayth who sacrificed themselves to help Yuna defeat Yu Yevon have since been enslaved by him (though it is never explained why). After Yuna and friends stopped Shuyin from using an all-powerful weapon on Spira, the fayth, whom had previously let go of the mortal coil in order to retreat to the farplane, somehow use their power to bring Tidus back. The game's story plays fast and loose with the details, and nothing is ever well articulated. That's what happens when you try to write yourself out of a corner. It was a nonsensical and unsatisfying ending to a story that actively teabags the events of Final Fantasy X.

While it was received extremely well at the time, most people today will tell you that Final Fantasy X-2 isn't nearly as great a game as its predecessor. It had an excellent battle system with an intriguing job mechanic, but the core narrative was lacking and the game's athletic choices — namely the repeated used of J-Pop and Charlie's Angels motifs — felt fairly forced and at times uncomfortable. Unlike Final Fantasy X, it hasn't stood the test of time. In fact, I only mention this shameful sequel as it may actually become the disappointing centerpiece of a three-part trilogy.

The HD Remaster of Final Fantasy X|X-2 was recently released in Japan. Alongside this release was a book known as Final Fantasy X-2 .5: The Eternal Calm. This book is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X-2, following the "perfect" ending in which Tidus is allowed to remain within the realm of Spira. Word on the street is that the plot features both Tidus and Yuna. They are trapped on an island, where Tidus (no joke) dies again. A sage that lives on that island manages to bring him back to life, but Yuna feels that he is no longer the same and ends the relationship (something which syncs with the recently leaked 30 minute audio drama). In resurrecting Tidus, however, she also resurrected Sin. Does that sound like an opening to Final Fantasy X-3 to you?

The writer of Final Fantasy X, Kazushige Nojima, was the one to pen this book and has already said in an interview that he would like to make a Final Fantasy X-3 if there was enough demand for it. To that point, it's clear that Final Fantasy X-3 is entirely within the realm of possibility. I just don't think we need it.

As many people have astutely pointed out about the "Lightning Saga," when you successively release direct sequels to games which were never intended to have sequels, the overall experience is made worse as a result. In adding on to a narrative whose ends have already been tied, all you really do is untie the parts that make sense and use nonsensical reasoning to continue the story past its prime. That's what happened to Final Fantasy X-2, and I can guarantee that X-3 will disappoint for the sole reason that a colossal amount of balderdash has to be swallowed for its existence to make any amount of sense. Final Fantasy X was a great game. Everything else has been and will be unnecessary.




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