rynling: (Mog Toast)
As I play Final Fantasy XII, the outfits of the female characters have been driving me a bit crazy. What I was able to accept in 2007 isn't really flying with me anymore, and I feel a burning desire to fix the stupid designs, or at least try to imagine alternatives.

The worst offender is Fran, who is from a tribe called the Viera. The Viera are basically forest bunny versions of the Gerudo from the Zelda series (link) in that they're an isolated society of warrior women whose "otherness" is marked by brown skin, while they are made less threatening to the ostensibly straight male player through their sexualized clothing. As is the case with the Gerudo, the elements of "male-oriented exoticism" are unfortunate, because the Viera have an interesting culture. Likewise, Fran is a fascinating character, but... I don't really need to watch the black leather of her thong disappear into her bare butt as she runs through the desert, you know?

This is Fran's official design (link), and here is some concept art (link). I would be interested in keeping the character's features the same while designing a battlemage adventure outfit that's a bit more practical. I was thinking about actually commissioning someone in the Final Fantasy fandom, but no one jumps to mind. I'd love to see Kashuan do something like this, but...

A lot of Final Fantasy artists have moved on (typically to the Dragon Age fandom), and the ones that are still around really intimidate me. They didn't talk to me when I was a baby fan on DeviantArt, and they sure as hell aren't going to talk to me now that I'm a slightly less baby fan on Tumblr. So maybe this is something that I should try to do myself?
rynling: (Ganondorf)
Me: What do we want??

Also Me: SEXY OLDER FEMALE CHARACTERS!!!

Me: WHEN DO WE WANT IT?!?!?1??

Square Enix: ffxii_fran_hd_closeup.png

Also Me: MAYBe we can wait until,, the gaming culture matures,,,, I am not sure this is what
rynling: (Mog Toast)
It's been a busy week, but I've been trying to make time for Final Fantasy XII. Last night I got as far as watching Vayne's speech in Rabanastre, and I was impressed. This is partially because the voice audio has been beautifully remastered, and partially because the voice actor (someone named Elijah Alexander?) does a wonderful job, but mainly because it's a good piece of writing.

I don't remember ever having strong feelings about Vayne, mainly because I've never been 100% clear on what his story arc is supposed to be. From what I understand, he firmly believes that there should be peace in Arcadia, and he wants his little brother Larsa to preside over that peace. Vayne fears that the continued existence of Rabanastre as an independent state will only result in escalating tensions between Arcadia and Rozarria; and so, to shield his brother from becoming enmeshed in a prolonged conflict, he has the king of Rabanastre murdered by someone imitating one of the kingdom's war heroes in order to force a quick resolution. Vayne knows full well that what he's doing is evil, but he takes one for Team Larsa.

And then at some point he goes crazy and becomes the final boss monster, which has something to do with Balthier's Hot Dad. To me, a more reasonable narrative progression would result in a final boss battle against Hot Dad and Venat, but... Maybe I should talk about this later. In any case, Vayne deserved better.

Speaking of hot dads, Vaan is such a dick to Migelo. I know Vaan is only seventeen, but come on. Migelo deserves all the love. His voice actor (John DiMaggio, who is apparently also Wakka's voice actor??) does this weird cottonball mouth sort of thing, but I would not be surprised if Migelo was a total badass when he was younger. He is a master of social interaction, and the way he bows his head to Vayne after their conversation, like, hurt me.

As an aside, I would recommend that no one go looking for fan art of Migelo, just take my word on this.
rynling: (Celes Chere)
The God of Pre-Orders was kind to me, and I got my copy of the PS4 release of Final Fantasy XII a day early. It's been five years since I last played the game, but I still remembered exactly how long the prologue is, so I made myself sit down and suffer through it last night.

At the beginning of the game, there is an extended exposition dump about military action and political betrayal that then makes an abrupt transition to the perspective of an orphaned teenager killing rats in the sewer. I understand why it's effective that the story be told primarily from the perspective of a representative of "the common people," but I do think the prologue could have been handled more skillfully. Specifically, I wish the narrative had begun with Vaan's personal concerns and only gradually revealed the larger conflict, including Ashe and Basch's backstories. For the first few hours of the game, it's really enough to say that a small city-state was conquered by the powerful empire to the north, and foreign troops now occupy the city in preparation for the arrival of an imperial governor. Although it makes for a dramatic opening cinematic sequence, Ashe's marriage is largely immaterial to Vaan's story, as is Marquis Ondore's lengthy history lesson.

I don't dislike Vaan with the intense burning hatred I feel toward Tidus, but I'm planning on rushing through the game until the point where its real heroes, Ashe and Basch, join the party.

ALSO, NEVER FORGET: http://xii.venusgospel.net/ff12_basch.html

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