How Final Fantasy VI Conquered Character Recruitment

StewShearerOld

Geekdad News Writer
Jan 5, 2013
5,449
0
0
How Final Fantasy VI Conquered Character Recruitment

When it comes to character collection, Final Fantasy VI serves as a grand example of why less is more.

Read Full Article
 

CaptainMarvelous

New member
May 9, 2012
869
0
0
FF6 really knocked it out of the park with characters, but no-one will ever measure up to Sabin. Sabin, the Hadouken throwing martial arts brother of the King of Figaro who winds up on his own quest because he tried to dump-tackle an octopus. Then he ends up going on a bender of army battling, Magitek Mech stealing and Suplexing the Train that takes you to the goddamn afterlife.
Godspeed you magnificent bastard, if there's a Dissidia 3 you best turn up.
 

Webb Myers

New member
May 17, 2010
76
0
0
OK...so this Final Fantasy game is a "JRPG" (whatever that is) with a "simple 'plucky rebels vs. evil empire' tale". There are other people to recruit, so I'm assuming there's a main character.

Ah... never mind. Even though the column is called "Good Old Reviews", I just noticed the page title is "Good Old Editorial". Can you change the logo next time so I don't spend the whole column wondering what this game is about and why I would want to play it?
 

Metadigital

New member
May 5, 2014
103
0
0
Webb Myers said:
OK...so this Final Fantasy game is a "JRPG" (whatever that is) with a "simple 'plucky rebels vs. evil empire' tale". There are other people to recruit, so I'm assuming there's a main character.
Final Fantasy VI is part of Squaresoft's decades long series of "Japanese roleplaying games (JRPG)" that popularized the RPG genre as far as video games are concerned. It's a fairly basic Star Wars plot of rebels vs. empire at first, but what the author fails to mention is that halfway through that story makes a huge shift (one that hasn't been done in video games before or since).

Whether the game has a "main character" or not is a point on contention amongst fans. Some claim there is one, but there are arguments as to which character that might be (though often Celes is seen as the main character for mechanical reasons later in the game). In general, though, there isn't a main character that you follow from beginning to end in the traditional sense. It's more like Game of Thrones, where you follow a bunch of different characters all involved in the same overarching story.

This wasn't really an article attempting to introduce people to a 20 year old game. It was obviously geared towards people at least somewhat familiar with it, and given that it's one of the most important RPGs ever made, that's not a huge assumption to make.
 

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
8,687
0
0
Webb Myers said:
OK...so this Final Fantasy game is a "JRPG" (whatever that is) with a "simple 'plucky rebels vs. evil empire' tale". There are other people to recruit, so I'm assuming there's a main character.

Ah... never mind. Even though the column is called "Good Old Reviews", I just noticed the page title is "Good Old Editorial". Can you change the logo next time so I don't spend the whole column wondering what this game is about and why I would want to play it?
Actually he does tell you what the game is about (rebels vs evil empire...though to be fair there is indeed much more to the story than that) and why you should want to play it, the answer to that being for it's outstanding character narratives.

While I'll grant you that this isn't written as a standard review, I'd imagine that's because this - and I'd imagine other games that have appeared in this segment (can't say for sure since this is actually the first one I've ever read :p) - are indeed very old games that the majority of people have likely already heard about and/or played. You can say "Well I've never heard of and/or played this!" at which point it comes down to the same debate as "when is it alright to not declare something as a spoiler?"

That is to say, if I were to write an article about Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I'd write it with the assumption that anyone reading it has already seen it, and as such I wouldn't be spoiling anything by mentioning that Darth Vader is actually Luke Skywalker's father.

This is a review of FF6 in the sense that the author is saying 1: that he liked the game and 2: why he liked the game. I'd imagine he proceeded under the assumption that a lot of the forum-goers around here have already played this game or have at least already heard about it considering it's one of the most popular pieces out of one of the most well-known franchises in gaming. I wouldn't call such an assumption all that unreasonable, either, just as I wouldn't call the assumption that everyone knows that Vader is Luke's father unreasonable either.
 

Baresark

New member
Dec 19, 2010
3,908
0
0
Webb Myers said:
OK...so this Final Fantasy game is a "JRPG" (whatever that is) with a "simple 'plucky rebels vs. evil empire' tale". There are other people to recruit, so I'm assuming there's a main character.

Ah... never mind. Even though the column is called "Good Old Reviews", I just noticed the page title is "Good Old Editorial". Can you change the logo next time so I don't spend the whole column wondering what this game is about and why I would want to play it?
The reason the game is worth playing is for the amazing story. It has one of the best, if not the best stories in the whole series (it's my top pick for that), which includes it's absolutely epic character set. All of them fully fleshed out if you decide to pursue them. Even featured optional permadeath for one of the character. And even a couple of secret characters to pick up along the way. It also has some Final Fantasy tracks that are amazing and exclusive to that installment.

Keep in mind that my opinion is just that. Having played every installment, it was the first one that had the kind of scope we are accustomed to and manages to do it what I feel is the best. And the game featured character portraits and boss designs directly from Amano Yoshitaka himself.

I have actually been thinking about picking it up on Android now that it's available there... and I had forgotten about till now.

Edit: And to weigh in on the main character thing... I don't feel it does. At the beginning you start as a single character who is integral to the story initially, but as soon as you have the option, you don't have to use her anymore. Furthermore, when you get to the World of Ruin and have to start finding people again you start as single character who is not the same character as the initial character. But in the end, they are all very important to the story in so far as the events of the world itself. I mean... if there was a single character that holds singular significance to the entirety of the game, it's the villainous Kefka (who ranks top among my favorite villains of all time, much more interested that the beloved Sephiroth(who was cool if not an entirely good villain)).

Also, as one more story point, it was the last FF game before they started to become obscure about story elements on regular. VII was very obscure, as was VIII, but IX was not, X was, XI is an MMO I never played, XII had a strait forward story, and then they went off the deep end with XIII and it's sequels. But there is no weird obscuring labels or hard to keep track of made up words.
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
Yeah, FFVI is pretty much a masterpiece and a masterclass in how to make a JRPG. It really does show that, unlike what happened in most of the FF games that followed it, you need memorable, interesting and likable characters that have their own stories the player wants to follow. You don't need some stupidly complicated overarching plot to push everything along because good characters will do that naturally on their own. In a way, it's funny that Mass Effect gets mentioned in this article because I would almost say that Bioware games do a much better just of doing that now a days than most JRPGs do. Give the characters a life of their own and the story will pretty much write itself.

On top of all that, FFVI was just a totally mechanically solid game too. With the way each character brought something different to the battlefield, with the way the Espers added some customization without totally eliminating the proper RPG staple of defined roles, the way tough enemies could always surprise you, etc. It was just so solid.

Oh, and if for some reason you haven't played FFVI before, PSN has it on sale this weekend for $5. Yes, possibly the best JRPG of all time available for $5. Go get it.
 

Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
4,828
0
0
Metadigital said:
Webb Myers said:
OK...so this Final Fantasy game is a "JRPG" (whatever that is) with a "simple 'plucky rebels vs. evil empire' tale". There are other people to recruit, so I'm assuming there's a main character.
Are you... trolling? I want to believe that you aren't.

Final Fantasy VI is part of Squaresoft's decades long series of "Japanese roleplaying games (JRPG)" that popularized the RPG genre as far as video games are concerned. It's a fairly basic Star Wars plot of rebels vs. empire at first, but what the author fails to mention is that halfway through that story makes a huge shift (one that hasn't been done in video games before or since).

Whether the game has a "main character" or not is a point on contention amongst fans. Some claim there is one, but there are arguments as to which character that might be (though often Celes is seen as the main character for mechanical reasons later in the game). In general, though, there isn't a main character that you follow from beginning to end in the traditional sense. It's more like Game of Thrones, where you follow a bunch of different characters all involved in the same overarching story.

This wasn't really an article attempting to introduce people to a 20 year old game. It was obviously geared towards people at least somewhat familiar with it, and given that it's one of the most important RPGs ever made, that's not a huge assumption to make.
Just a heads up, the "T" word can get you moderated here.

In any case, you're right, I don't see the need for a main character. It's often more interesting to have an ensemble cast dealing with their own problems. Main characters are often dull and stretched thin in order to make them more relateable to everyone. A larger, more varied cast tends to eschew this trend. More importantly, it emphasizes the group dynamic. I'd prefer a desperate ragtag group of friends working together to an overpowered "chosen one" main character any day.

FF7 will always be my favorite title, but I find 6 quite interesting.
 

StewShearerOld

Geekdad News Writer
Jan 5, 2013
5,449
0
0
Hi all!

This was intended as an editorial. Apologies for the confusion. I'll chat with the art department on Monday to see if a more specific header might be possible for the weeks when we run editorials.
 

deathbydeath

New member
Jun 28, 2010
1,363
0
0
StewShearer said:
Other recent titles like Mass Effect 2 also do a fantastic job of coupling character collection with interesting plot.
I don't want to be the new Zeel, but heellll naw (mostly).

OP: Interesting piece on FF6. While the quality vs quantity argument isn't new, you did a good job of picking it apart and analyzing your experiences with the games. Very nice.
 

Dr. Crawver

Doesn't know why he has premium
Nov 20, 2009
1,100
0
0
I got to suplex a train while I wore sunglasses in 6, so all in all it was a pretty good game.
 

Nixou

New member
Jan 20, 2014
196
0
0
In a way, it's funny that Mass Effect gets mentioned in this article because I would almost say that Bioware games do a much better just of doing that now a days than most JRPGs do

That's because Bioware games are JRPG nowadays:
- They're made with the console market in mind (to the point that their PC versions have become the inferior ones)
- They put a large emphasis on storytelling and characters through elaborate cutscenes and have a rigid linear string of main quests structuring the game.
- Their protagonists are increasingly defined by their established backstories over players' customization
 

cathou

Souris la vie est un fromage
Apr 6, 2009
1,163
0
0
i think even to this day, finalfantasy VI is still one of the 5 most strong story driven video games ever made. i was 15 when it was released, and by far back then it was the most dark and emotional game i've ever played before.

by the way, i am the only one who kill cid each time i play because i think it fit more in the story to have him dead ?
 

Auron225

New member
Oct 26, 2009
1,790
0
0
To be honest, I thought even FFVI had too many characters. There were some who's stories I enjoyed but I never bothered to use them much as it got too difficult to keep them all levelled enough. I mostly stuck with Terra, Edgar, Sabin, Cyan, Celes, Locke and Shadow, occasionally letting Setzer, Relm or Strago join in. I got Gau, Mog, Umaro and Gogo but pretty much never used any of them. I just didn't need them.

While I really liked the whole "hunt down your old team mates", I thought it was a bit of a missed opportunity. Relm and Strago had only recently joined before... that thing happened that caused the split up. I would have wanted to get them and anyone else relatively new back sooner so I that I COULD get to know them better. But instead I had to get Sabin, Edgar and Setzer first - three who had already been in it for a long time, so it was them once more re-recruiting Strago and the like.

Now, 100+ characters sounds flat out ridiculous. There's little to chance of me getting that invested in so many characters unless the game was several hundred hours long yet breathtakingly good from start to finish.
 

StewShearerOld

Geekdad News Writer
Jan 5, 2013
5,449
0
0
StriderShinryu said:
Oh, and if for some reason you haven't played FFVI before, PSN has it on sale this weekend for $5. Yes, possibly the best JRPG of all time available for $5. Go get it.
Hmm... how is the PSN edition? Cause I'd read bad things about the PlayStation port. Would it be worth it if I still have the GBA re-release?
 

immortalfrieza

Elite Member
Legacy
May 2, 2020
2,055
85
53
Country
USA
I would disagree that in terms of characters Suikoden 2 or the rest of the series is outdone by Final Fantasy 6, in fact in many ways the Suikoden series does it better. There may be 108 of them but most the characters are pretty well fleshed out, provided the player interacts with them. There's always a headquarters area of some sort and the player can talk to most of the recruits routinely as the game goes on, and this provides characterization beyond their initial recruitment, but this is also optional so if you don't really want to bother to have most of the characters fleshed out and get on with things you don't have to either. The characters that you are stuck with in your party for most story events are done pretty well even without that. As the series goes on it seems like they get better and better at giving these 108 distinct personalities while interacting with them on base.

I think it's more effort than anything else. It's easy to put in dozens of characters and make them hardly ever say anything or just use generic dialog that's slightly altered, like Chrono Cross does, since making those dozens distinct and even memorable is difficult and takes a lot of work, something I think the Suikoden series does very well.
 

StriderShinryu

New member
Dec 8, 2009
4,987
0
0
StewShearer said:
StriderShinryu said:
Oh, and if for some reason you haven't played FFVI before, PSN has it on sale this weekend for $5. Yes, possibly the best JRPG of all time available for $5. Go get it.
Hmm... how is the PSN edition? Cause I'd read bad things about the PlayStation port. Would it be worth it if I still have the GBA re-release?
I haven't experienced any issues with it, though I do believe it's the PS port. I played the heck out of the game on the SNES way back when but didn't touch it much in the intervening years, however, so there may certainly issues I may not be noticing. If anything, I doubt it's going to be notably better than the GBA version so if you're happy with that version I can't say there's any reason to get it for PSN. For that low of a price I had to pick it up for play on my Vita if nothing else.
 

Nixou

New member
Jan 20, 2014
196
0
0
by the way, i am the only one who kill cid each time i play because i think it fit more in the story to have him dead ?

Nope: Guilty as charged as well