Final Fantasy VII Letters

Now as has been made very clear numerous times, I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. One of my, and many many others’, favorite games in the series was Final Fantasy VII. Now I’ve written about this before on this very blog, so I won’t go into details on my opinions.

In a recent trek into the dark jungle that is the Internet I ran across “The Final Fantasy VII Letters” by Kirk Hamilton and Leigh Alexander. The basis of this 10 part series is that Kirk had never played Final Fantasy, and Leigh was a devout Final Fantasy VII player. She was interested if her love of the game was because it was a great game, or if she thought it was a great because she loved it.

Because of this, she used Kirk as a guinea pig. He had never played the game and wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. So he started playing, she began playing again and they wrote letters to each other detailing various points of their shared adventure. The entire time they were trying to pinpoint exactly why Final Fantasy VII has been the root of so much adoration, so much venom by the anti-fans. Just why has this single game resonated both for good, and for ill, more than most any other game of it’s type, age and some say any game ever?

I urge everyone to read this, even if you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, or any Final Fantasy game. Even if you think they’re stupid, because no matter what we think, this game has gone down in history, it’s still helping define the JRPG genre.

Check out the Final Fantasy VII Letters.

 

-John

Cosplay Update: Last of Kotaku’s of 2012

Hey everyone,

Just like we stated in last week’s show, I’m going to try to get some updates up every Tuesday at least. If anything comes up in the middle of the week I’ll still post it then instead of waiting.

Now, on to the update!

Kotaku had one more Cosplay update the other day. This has some good ones in there, a very cool Predator just chillin on a bench. Not to mention a big panoramic group Sailor Moon picture. And not to mention a Mass Effect cosplay with a person in a very nice looking set of N7 armor!

Last but not least a very well done Rikku from Final Fantasy X.

 

**As always CLICK the PIC to see the gallery**

Rikku

1up.com: Five things that won’t be in a Final Fantasy VII remake

As stated in an earlier post about the Final Fantasy VII 15th anniversary, 1up.com had a bunch of posts about one of my favorite games in history. I was following the links the other day from our site here to 1up and found an article I missed before.

1up.com article at the bottom of this post.

Five Things We Won’t See in the Final Fantasy VII Remake

So for those not in the know, a remake of Final Fantasy VII is one of the biggest teases in gaming history, it’s right up there with Half-Life 3. And unfortunately Square Enix knows it, when the PS3 launched they had a beautiful demo of the opening video to show off the “FFVII ‘White Engine’” and trust me, every, literally EVERY, time they played the video, the entire crowd went CRAZY. So yes, there is a very large demand for the game. However the talk about making a remake of one of the most loved games of it’s generation will have to wait for a different post.

So the items 1up says that won’t be in a remake (if it ever happens), and my opinions on them:

“Straight-Up Acts of Terrorism by the Protagonists”

Now for those that don’t know or haven’t played FFVII, to be perfectly honest, the main characters are terrorists at the beginning of the game. *SPOILER* The very first mission you have is to blow up a power station/Mako reactor in the main city of Midgar.  Now most people don’t remember this part, they remember the countless monsters the party kills, stoping the evil plans from Sephiroth and the Shinra Corp.

Can anyone honestly see everyone being ok with blatant acts of terrorism 15 minutes into a game of today? Personally I wouldn’t have any issue with it, but I’ve played the game (many times), so I know the context that it’s meant.

“Those Stupid Minigames”

FFVII had a number of minigames, some were good, some not so much. Now some added to the crazy coolness of the game, others were just odd. To be honest if they make a remake I could see Square going either way in this, they might add them in to be nostalgic. However they could take alot of them out and not mess with the plot at all.

“Weird Stuff”

Now back in the good ol’ days of 1997, Square Enix (then Square Soft) had a very … strange… since of humor. FFVII was no different, it has some crazy things in it. Like Barrett, a huge, muscle bound, angry guy with a big gun for a hand dressed up in a sailor suit. A talking red dog (you’d have to play the game) ‘walks’ around on 2 legs and no one says a word. The list goes on and 1up mentions a few more. But in my opinion the weird stuff is part of the game, it’s what makes it fun. If you just take the storyline itself it’s very dark and depressing, it’s still an amazing story line (IMO) however I think it needs the lighter craziness to lighten the mood at times.

“A Nuanced, Interesting Cloud Strife”

Now I won’t go into too much detail for those that haven’t played the game, however the main character Cloud Strife goes through a massive and well planned character arc. The bad thing is, in every game, movie or other media based in the FFVII universe the character has been reduced to a sulking brooding bland character. If they ever do remake Final Fantasy VII they absolutely have to get the character arc right.

“The Honeybee Manor”

1up has a list of all the things that they think won’t fly with a remake of FFVII, so I won’t go into a ton of detail on the lists. However the Honeybee Manor is basically a brothel, that Cloud has to um, “sneak” into by dressing up as a prospect (cross dressing). There are a number of things that I could see Square Enix changing. However I think they need to keep it pretty close to how it was, it goes back to that wacky humor bit we just talked about.

 

The bottom line of all this? If we do get a remake of Final Fantasy VII, it would have to be, in it’s own way, it’s own game. It could not be a direct graphical update of the game we know and love. And in my opinion that is not a bad thing, I would welcome some slight changes in the game, but there are some things that should not be changed as it gives the game it’s nuanced and classic awesomeness.

 

1up.com article

Final Fantasy VII Turns Fifteen

As has been well documented already in the blog and podcast, I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. It was one of my very first video games and as such I have many wonderful memories of sitting in front of my huge 13-inch TV (hey shut up it was big when I was 6) playing the first Final Fantasy for hours and hours.

Now, I’m not writing to day to tell about my history with the series, that will have to wait for another day. No dear readers, today we celebrate the 15th anniversary of one my (and many others) favorite game in the entire Final Fantasy library, and boy are there a bunch of them. Fifteen years ago this month, Final Fantasy VII (7) was born into the world, and even if you don’t like the game, changed the face of gaming forever.

Now I admit I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning, what is Final Fantasy VII? Well, wikipedia.org describes Final Fantasy VII as “a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series.” Now some people may be saying “Big deal it’s another stupid RPG made in Japan, I’ve seen about a billion of those.” When Final Fantasy VII was released, we had never had anything like it before. Before the game launched you couldn’t go anywhere in gaming and not see and hear about the game. 30 second TV spots would tell you how many programmers worked on the game and how much money they spent working on it, your favorite video game store had demos and cardboard standees of the characters, video game magazines had numerous cover stories months after release.

When Final Fantasy VII was first in development, it was originally intended to be released on the Super NES, however it was eventually moved over to the N64 system. But since the N64 lacked the required storage capacity in their cartridges Squaresoft (yes this was before it merged with Enix) released the game on the Sony PlayStation, as it used CD’s instead of cartridges. It was the first game in the series to use fully rendered 3D characters and graphics. Thanks to the previously mentioned advertising blitz the game was quickly a critical and commercial success, selling over 10 million copies by May 2010.

Now all this is well and good, however none of this explains why I or anyone else loved the game. From the onset of the game the story line sucked me in thanks to the iconic cinematic opening. This was something frequently used in the game, to tell the deepest parts of the story line. Now cut-scenes was nothing new thanks to CD media. However some games were better at this than others. In Japan an RPG that relies heavily on a deep theatrical and cinematic storylines was nothing new, however over in North America, our selection of deep storylined RPGs were severely limited. Also Final Fantasy VII was not just a childish cartoon of a video game, the plot was not all sunshine and bunnies, which brings me to my next point.

**SPOILER ALERT** This section WILL have spoilers. You had 15 years to beat the game, if you haven’t yet, you’re not going to. Get over it. Now, the storyline revolves around the main character Cloud, and his band of friends, saving the world from the evil Shinra Corporation. While this may not seem very original in the grand scheme of RPG’s (especially J-RPG’s) it was the plot twists that really drew me in. Now the largest and most shocking of these was when the second most important character in the game was killed. Yes the flower girl Aerith (or Aeris depending on the translation) was stabbed from behind by the one and only Sephiroth. This caused a major uproar in the gaming world. Some players were literally brought to tears at the scene as nothing quite like it had been seen here in the states. The death brought countless rumors, anywhere from a secret mission where you could resurrect your fallen ally, to many stories of locked items and quests on the CD meant that the game developers planned to bring her back originally. However no matter what you tried, who you talked to what item you used, she wasn’t coming back.

Now I could keep going for pages and pages on why I love the Final Fantasy series, and maybe someday I will, but not today.

Even if you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, or any Final Fantasy game, I do ask that you give it but a moment of respect for without it, our RPG world would be much much darker indeed.

For those that want to know more 1up.com has an entire week of great articles in honor of Final Fantasy VII’s 15th anniversary.

1up.com Final Fantasy VII’s Quinceanera