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More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video)

emodouche.jpg
The protagonist of the inevitable Final Fantasy Versus XIII-2


Kotaku recently interviewed Tetsuya Nomura, director of what may be the most cruel practical joke in the history of RPGs, Final Fantasy Versus XIII. For those not fluent in Japanese, the site Andriasang has kindly given a concise summary of the details revealed in the interview. Rather than paraphrasing its content, I've decided to simply provide a link. It's a good read, and answered a few of my questions about what to expect from the game, so I highly recommend taking a few minutes to at least skim it over.

As gogoedward noted in a previous post, chances are Final Fantasy Versus XIII will probably never be released -- or at the very least, it will see the light of day shortly before giant wasps swoop down from the sky, plumes of fire rise from great chasms in the Earth, and the Triune God himself returns in a flash of blinding light to give the game an 8.5 before reducing the unsaved to a puff of red mist.

Hit the jump to read on!

As always, i'm hoping for the best, but i'm not exactly jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of Versus XIII. FFX was the last of the series that truly moved me, and I began to view the then-newly merged Square-Enix with the greatest of contempt after FFX-2, a game I had to stop playing after hour 10 on the grounds that with each passing minute I was beginning to lose more and more respect for myself. I never finished FFXII, partly due to that damnable marriage of ADD and OCD that compelled me to take sidequest after sidequest until list of achievements could fill a tome several bibles thick, but for the most part it simply didn't hold my interest. It's combat system could aptly be described as "single-player World of Warcraft" and the only character that remotely intrigued me was Balister, mainly on account of his accent. The Brits are nothing if not a seductive lot. I never even picked up FFXIII (I understand that my nerd credentials are in jeopardy after that confession), and I barely knew about the existence of FFXIV until it landed on Gaia's doorstep with the chilling thud, for reasons that need no explanation.

The world of Versus XIII seems notably bleaker than previous installments, hopefully spelling a return to the dark, dystopian feel that first attracted me to the series. Noctis, the protagonist, oozes with angst -- and I mean oozes. I've read that our black-clad friend isn't quite as glum as he seems, but in the meantime we're treated too a poor fellow drenched in enough sadness to make Cloud look like the "after" of a Zoloft commercial. Noctis, this wayward soul solemnly pondering his melancholy; the emo prince slouched upon his throne of grief, saving up the pennies he earns from he weekend gig at Hot Topic for that prized teardrop tattoo -- forever inking into flesh that timeless sorrow for the ex-girlfriend who won't return his facebook messages.

Due to the stubborn insistence of the Japanese on speaking their own language, not much story is visible from the most recent trailer, but the link provides a few details. The aesthetics of the world look absolutely stunning; cutscenes in particular treat the viewer to a nearly photo-realistic set of environments, and the characters are among the most painstakingly detailed i've ever seen. The in-game graphics are serviceable, and the design of both the urban and natural landscapes are just as enchanting as ever. As for combat, Versus XIII seems to be sticking to the Action-RPG style, much to my dismay. Call me an old man, but I like my combat turn-based. The music flows well with the pace of the trailer, but Nobuo Uematsu's signature touch is conspicuously absent, leaving me slightly underwhelmed.

Final Fantasy has been an important franchise for me since the days of the PS1 (I was largely deprived of console gaming before that), so I'm not ready to write it off just yet. Hopefully the series can regain some of the magic that first captured my imagination, and regain its status as the benchmark by which RPGs are judged.

6 Comments

Malathion said:

(excuse the rush, I am typing this at work on my lunch break)
I remember as a small child cherishing the over-sized Final Fantasy cartridge I received for Christmas as if it was the only portkey left in an otherwise magically dead world. I would immerse myself in the game, playing numerous character types in different combinations and imagining how it would feel to be one among the team of the chosen. Days of theatrical reenactments underscored the devotion that I held for this franchise.
A few years passed and (with the advent of the SNES) I uncovered the release of FF2 in a random GamePro magazine. Excited and mostly desperate, I begged my parentals to purchase it for me; they took the easy road out, Blockbuster. This was a decade where my gaming prose was dictated by the presence of a rental box; most of the Friday afternoons were defined by luck: whether or not that small gray rectangle would be mine for the weekend. Ultimately, I fell in love with Squaresoft all over again.
Through my middle school life I had the pleasure of other amazing titles: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2), Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 3 (XI). I was obsessed with the studio that gave me wings to fly away from the constant name-calling/fist fights and find a catharsis hidden within my own dreams. Unfortunately, I had no idea that it would only be temporary.
PS was a system that put me in a pickle; I didn't own one until a year after its release! I was one of the last kids on my block to play FF7. Everyone knew about the storyline and they talked about it like it was some sort of gussied up hooker. Needless to say, the surprises were ruined - when I finally popped the CD into the console, I was disappointed. I found the whole atmosphere (dark as it was) to be melodramatic, over compensatory and flat. Maybe it was the lackluster blinding my eyes after I was forced to experience the game vicariously through others - whatever the reason, it didn't hit home.
I was a pious RPG fan. I defended Square's geometry until I was blue in the face, after all it was more hip that way. As cheap knockoffs saturated the market, it seemed to add merit to my hotheaded defense of the company. Sadly, this was short lived and by the time FFX made its debut, I was floored. Still, I bought each new game and remakes of all of the original gems.
The company got older and didn't age gracefully. FF13. A travesty. A teased-out, buffalo-humped, pigeon toed inbred second cousin of a game that lacked any and all creativity. My childhood's wide eyed, glasses wearing face was smeared in the dross shed from the franchise's previous visit to the gynecologist. It played like a movie - a terribly dubbed, poorly acted out movie. Appalled and in shock, I uttered something... words came out of my mouth, "I will never buy another Square Enix game again." I had blasphemed and I knew it but who could blame me?
Honestly, it would take a lot for a Final Fantasy game to enthrall me after all the damage. I no longer feel as if I am part of the game anymore. Instead it is replaced with a sense of detachment. I am from an old school era - when the text was in bubbles and magic drove my passion. I guess its becoming fairly impossible for me to evolve alongside a corporation that strives to eliminate that all-encompassing factor: the human element. I do hope for a change but I will not be holding my breath anymore.

wat said:

CHRIST it's Squall and Rinoa all over again

Super Swede said:

Malthion:
I'll have to keep somewhat brief and devoid of proofreading, since i have to crank out an article before heading off to work to music-related stuff (high-living, i know), but thank you ever so much for the comment. It was intelligent, beautifully written, intelligent, and bore a wit that gave me a much-needed chuckle after the barrage of practiced smiles, add-on sales, and "no, you cannot use an inkjet cartridge in a laser printer" that characterizes the drudgery of the retail sector.
The PS1-era Final Fantasy games have been a point of contention for my fellow RPG enthusiasts, but i adored them -- obnoxious teenage girls and all. FFVII, as emo-laden and melodramatic as it was, struck a chord with me that i can't quite explain, and it will always have a very special place in my heart as the first RPG i ever played. It's also because of the game that i met my best friend in the world, a girl i saw while waiting in line to see "The Spirits Within (oh christ, the pain...) dressed as Yuffie -- a choice that i chalk to practicality, mainly the presence of breasts that make up less than 65% of her body weight. It was dead on, and despite my loathing for Yuffie -- never mind the fact that it was absolutely spot-on -- it charmed me in a way that compelled me to strike up a conversation. And as the years went by, after losing touch and eventually reconnecting, we'd spend many a night at the coffee shop chatting like true nerds about Final Fantasy.

Like you, i found solace in gaming. Spending six years as the resident "other" in right-wing, Christian high school does that to you. Being the artistic type, and being the only school's non-believer, i found solace in games that let the mind run free and stimulate my senses. It gave a much-needed escape from the daily monotony, and for those pleasant memories i'll always thank the teams responsible for the Final Fantasy series. I'll probably play XIII at some point (and with a genuinely open mind), but i have a sinking feeling that i'm in for a world of hurt.

Aforementioned best friend and i were talking about this a few days ago, and she put it rather concisely -- something along the lines of "Square used to be the stamp of quality... Now, since the merger with Enix, it's just a joke."

Rosa said:

FF12 was my favourite of the entire series, unseating previous high score holder FF4. I'm so tired of BOOHOO, FINAL FANTASY IS PLAYED OUT.

Final Fantasy isn't played out, you're all just blinded by nostalgia. There have been bad games in the series all the way back, and there's still bad games in the series, today. One person's least favourite is another person's very absolute most beloved. That's how FF works. That's how it's always worked.

Frankly, I found this article a little offputting :/ Complaints about "emo" are so overplayed.

Malathion said:

Super Swede,

I want to preface by saying, thank you for the reply and please do not feel obligated to write back. I am enthused that you read my small rant - and for the sake of being terse, I promise I won't whip out my jazz hands. Since you started, I have really enjoyed your articles for their brilliance, truth and humor. Please, keep it up and know it brightens one reader's day at work. I am sorry that the quagmire of customer service troubles your life. It is a curse. I am glad that you don't have to work in a state university. It is a horrid existence.

I am glad you shared a piece of your journey with me. There are SOOOO many parallels that it made me crack up. I, too, stood in line for "Spirits Within" but I had my best friend with me. Three hours playing UNO for a 12 AM showing. We were not amused by the end of the film.

When I was in high school I was ostracized for being a gay male and quiet. There were times I had to fight my way out of confrontation which should never be a last resort. However, the music from the FF games allowed me to escape via a burned CD or when I was lucky I would steal the piano in the band room for lunch period. I remember the first semester of college - I carried around a green cactuar plush and it flagged down two of the most talented artists I know. They later helped me craft my mohawk into three prongs. Square did bring me closer to a group that understood my eccentricities but we all had to move away from the series.

You and your bestie sound like two peas in a pod; reconnecting must have been amazing. Please, experience the collection of FFs and build your own opinion - different strokes and all. Even though I may not have wanted to (golden) shower the designers at Square with praise for their recent releases, it doesn't mean that all is lost for other gaymers.

Treasure the fervor you once felt for the story and the splendor - it's good. I hold no contention for your connection to FF7 or your wish to play FF13 (only, have a bottle of scotch or vodka nearby - you may want to chase the dialogue with a few shots). Thank you again for reading my comment and you are awesome!


P.S. The small icon by your name is perfect LOL.

Super Swede said:

Ha, well the drink isn't my thing, but i'll be sure to keep a carton of cigarettes nearby, and perhaps i'll have to take it upon myself to convince my doctor to supply a week's worth of prozac.
The music enchanted me as well... I recently got the Distant Worlds CD, and i've been enjoying the hell out of it. "Memoro de la Stono" is a particular favorite -- one that i had never heard on account of the fact that i've never played XI -- one that actually sent a chill down my spine. Being a creature of empathy, i can't bring myself to grip too much about the post-Uematsu music (aside from noting that it doesn't entirely click with me), since stepping into his shadow is no doubt a daunting affair. Something about Nobuo's particular style fell so naturally into place with the whole of the game experience, and regardless of the talent of subsequent composers, it's not something that i think can -- or arguably, even should -- be replicated.
I'm glad you enjoy the articles :) Humor is (clearly) a big part of it, and while it's not for everyone, it's nice to let me odd train of thought run wild every now and again. And by all means, let those jazz hands (and let's not forget spirit finger) dance the dance of a hundred whimsical scamps.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Super Swede on More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video): Ha, well the drink isn't my thing, but i'll be sure to keep a carton of cigarettes nearby, and perhaps...

Malathion on More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video): Super Swede, I want to preface by saying, thank you for the reply and please do not feel obligated to...

Rosa on More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video): FF12 was my favourite of the entire series, unseating previous high score holder FF4. I'm so tired of BOOHOO, FINAL...

Super Swede on More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video): Malthion: I'll have to keep somewhat brief and devoid of proofreading, since i have to crank out an article before...

wat on More Light Shed On Final Fantasy Versus XIII (Link And Video): CHRIST it's Squall and Rinoa all over again...

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