Final Fantasy XIII: More Than A JRPG

Final Fantasy XIII: More Than A JRPG

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Final Fantasy transcends narrow-minded definitions of Japanese RPGs versus Western RPGs, FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase thinks. FFXIII, he says, "straddles genres."

Don't tell Yoshinori Kitase that Final Fantasy XIII's a JRPG. Though the game seems chock-full of JRPG tropes to Western eyes, and the Final Fantasy series as a whole essentially defines the genre for many of us, Kitase doesn't think the game, or the franchise, can be narrowly shoehorned into a category.

"There's a trend these days to strictly categorize games as western RPGs or Japanese RPGs," Kitase told EDGE after they made the suggestion that Final Fantasy is the quintessential JRPG. "But Final Fantasy is something that we don't try to categorize as either/or. For us, the game straddles genre."

One specific way that FFXIII differs itself from most JRPGs is the way it tells its story, Kitase thinks. "In terms of the story we're certainly looking to improve and build upon the characters," he explained. "This is a story that's told from multiple points of view and we have whole chapters of the game that are devoted to a single character and his or her story." Sounds like Rashomon. Or Dragon Quest IV.

How exactly FFXIII "straddles genre" we'll have to wait to see, but I'd say that Kitase does have something of a point. Even though Final Fantasy = JRPG over here, the series has continually shown a willingness to try new things - let's not forget the battle system in FFXII or the fact that FFXI was an MMOG.

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Is there any information on gameplay differences? All the FF games I've played (FF3-FF8) essentially followed the same gameplay model, with small alterations (job system, materia etc.) to allow for a slightly different gameplay experience.

Having a well told story won't make it "straddle genres", but if it really deviates from the previous formula, then maybe it'll be something to mention.

Andy_Panthro:
Is there any information on gameplay differences? All the FF games I've played (FF3-FF8) essentially followed the same gameplay model, with small alterations (job system, materia etc.) to allow for a slightly different gameplay experience.

Having a well told story won't make it "straddle genres", but if it really deviates from the previous formula, then maybe it'll be something to mention.

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/48904.html

Watch that, it details all we know so far on gameplay. It's a mix of old and new frankly and I kinda like their approach so far.

Is this a good thing? I'm not sure...I don't think Square is either and the fact that we've heard more about FFXIII from the Company CEO than we have anyone actually working on the damn thing is... worrying.

Still, I've always wondered about the Final Fantasy = JRPG = Grind Fest equation since I've always found most Final Fantasy games to be essentially grindless...I've never "needed" to level in any of them and it usually just requires a slight strategy revision to beat any given boss.

So we get a separate article for every sentence he says?

I don't think they're going to get away from the JRPG tag until they stop railroading the player so hard.

This is such heavy bullshit.

What I've seen from the game so far has confirmed all my beliefs that it is a generic JRPG.

I think we will decide that Mr. japanese man. The template for FF hasnt change in god knows how many years, i doubt they will start now.

-Seraph-:

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/48904.html

Watch that, it details all we know so far on gameplay. It's a mix of old and new frankly and I kinda like their approach so far.

The video shows a slight departure from the norm, as to be expected, but hardly "straddling genres" unless they mean fighting system is a "beat-em-up" type of deal.

I think we're bumping up against something cultural here. I think Japan's "straddling genres" is the West's "slight departure." It looks to me like Japanese developers are trying to get themselves out of their box, but really have no idea how far they've yet to go.

One of the reasons for the popularity of Chrono Trigger amongst people I know is that it's quite different from other JRPGs. They are able to make different games, but I think the people behind the FF series are unwilling to move away from their comfort zone. There are examples of variation in RPGs produced in Japan, I think it's a FF thing rather than a Japanese thing.

A key difference between western RPGs and JRPGs tends to be in the ending. Western RPGs tend to tell stories like their DnD roots. You're only the hero if you choose to be. Whereas JRPGs tend to attatch a combat system to a convoluted interactive novel.

I do prefer RPGs where you aren't the "saviour of the universe", not sure why the messiah complex is so well founded in RPGs (or indeed all games I suppose!). Don't tend to find those around much.

There was a time when being called the quintessential anything would be considered a compliment. Apparently Kitase-San is very much aware of the stigma JRPG's have to most gamers over on this side of the world.

Andy_Panthro:
One of the reasons for the popularity of Chrono Trigger amongst people I know is that it's quite different from other JRPGs. They are able to make different games, but I think the people behind the FF series are unwilling to move away from their comfort zone. There are examples of variation in RPGs produced in Japan, I think it's a FF thing rather than a Japanese thing.

Yea, and Square managed to lose the entire dev crew of Chrono Trigger when they decided to screw them over on xenogears.

Andy_Panthro:
I do prefer RPGs where you aren't the "saviour of the universe", not sure why the messiah complex is so well founded in RPGs (or indeed all games I suppose!). Don't tend to find those around much.

FFXII didn't have you saving the world. I liked that. And the court drama.

Low Frost:

FFXII didn't have you saving the world. I liked that. And the court drama.

If only there had been more of it. Matsunooooooooooooo!!

You know..I know they are trying to create hype and stuff...but the more hype it creates the bigger the crash if the game fails to live to the hype.

Keane Ng:

Low Frost:

FFXII didn't have you saving the world. I liked that. And the court drama.

If only there had been more of it. Matsunooooooooooooo!!

Don't remind me. It makes me weep inside that Ivalice is gonna get even more butchered by Squeenix, and now there will be no chance in hell of getting Vagrant Story 2.

Well I'm not exactly going to complain. Both types of RPG have their pros and cons. I am actually more consider about if they make some kind of deformed hybrid of the two that is not fun. If they are trying to bring the two closer together, I am not sure how compatable they are.

The day square enix does something "different" will be the day they announce the next Metal Arms

Andy_Panthro:
One of the reasons for the popularity of Chrono Trigger amongst people I know is that it's quite different from other JRPGs. They are able to make different games, but I think the people behind the FF series are unwilling to move away from their comfort zone. There are examples of variation in RPGs produced in Japan, I think it's a FF thing rather than a Japanese thing.

Um. No. No, actually. Chrono Trigger plays exactly like other JRPGs. It's one and only distinction is that it set itself in three different common settings to JRPGs.

The reason I like it, and the reason I think a lot of people like it, is because it was released in 1995, before most people had ever even heard of JRPGs, and so most people assumed its ideas were ~going to be~ unique.

You can point to a few examples of attempts to push out the JRPG concept, yes. But this retread mentality really is a cultural thing, and one Japan has repeated over and over. If you know anything about the history of anime it plays out the same way. Why to anime characters have big eyes and small mouths? Because an early series of manga portraying characters in the American frontier west became popular, and so it became a ridged form, even when portraying characters of other races. The idea of producing "originality" is not a cultural idea in Japan. The mindset is that if it became popular, that is the "right way" to do it, and other ideas are therefore "wrong." Now there's examples you can point to that go against the trend. Japan can be a very strange onion, but, no, this "comfort zone" is not exclusive to Square.

 

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