Welcome to the 2nd installment of The Great Divide of FFXV! I am your host Jules, and today we are going to be discussing multimedia platforms being used as a method of storytelling. Hopefully you guys have read my previous post about this topic which can be found here. If you haven’t, please do. I’m not going to tolerate pettiness here that doesn’t come from my mouth. Please and thank you. Now, back to the main topic at hand. Clearly, there is a lot of disconnect going on between fans who loved the use of different platforms being used to tell the story and those who hated not having it packaged within cutscenes of the game itself.
But is there a right or wrong answer? Should gaming industries avoid using multimedia platforms to tell a story? Short answer: no. Long answer: it’s a little more complicated than that.
Japan has a long history of integrating different styles of story telling for their entertainment franchises. This isn’t to say that the Western industries don’t do the same. How many comic books have been made into cartoons or live-action movies? How many times do they get rebooted? Have video games? Thought so. However, I can think of many series that use different platforms to tell a story.
One of the best known examples I can think of would be Pokémon. What started out as a video game idea has now spawned into a card game, anime, manga, and movies. The video game plots only served as an outline for the anime which they finally fixed with their release of Pokémon: Origins which served as both a promo for the new Mega Evolutions while also following the plot of the original games much closer than the anime (which is still running today and Ash Ketchum hasn’t aged a bit. I’m starting to believe that fan theory about him being dead at this point.)
Sailor Moon might be the worst offender I’ve had experience with. There’s a manga, anime, video games, live action series, musicals, and a short-lived card game in North America back during the Pokémon craze. Yet these series all have one thing in common: each form of media tells a different story. You don’t have to watch the anime to understand the manga. You don’t have to read the manga to understand the anime. They exist within their own worlds which do not overlap but rather mirror each other or act as a spin-off.
Granted, this isn’t the first time that Square Enix has used another platform to tell a story. Let’s not forget Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. After all, sequels have been a thing for awhile now. Even though sequels in Final Fantasy get a bad rep (it is called Final Fantasy), it seems fans are more receptive to them than they are to this sort of tactic. (I’m watching you, FFVII fanboys and Sephiroth Waifus, try me.) While Advent Children is a movie and functions as such, it takes place after the events of Final Fantasy VII- meaning the narrative does not exist within the game itself. They are optional bonuses for fans of the game.
We should also talk about the FFX -Will- Drama CD which still battles to be seen as canon due to not being contained within the game’s sphere of reality. But it is treated as canon by the creators, even though it doesn’t receive the same publicity or support as the game. While we are on this subject, who the hell thought that FFX -Will- was a good idea? Who green-lighted that shit? That’s not okay. I get that the internet blew a lot out of proportion but like… FFX-2 fixed a lot of shit. Why you gotta go messing with perfection? And there are vague rumors that a FFX-3 could happen if given the thumbs up? I’m scared for the future of this game. … But I’ll still buy it, let’s be real.
Anyways, like the example of Advent Children above, it is also a sequel and thus can be ignored without impacting the narrative of FFX or FFX-2.
And this is why the backlash against FFXV having a movie and anime is particularly bad.
Now, the release date of the movie and anime led up to the release of the game. The developers had in mind that these dumps of information were going to actually excite fans rather than enrage them. It was a bold move, and it was one that paid off only in 40% of players’ cases.*I make up my own statistics sometimes. But you get the picture.
The problem occurs due to the fact that in order to understand the story of the game and get the full emotional impact, you should have watched the movie and probably checked out the anime. I know I watched the anime while the game was downloading onto my PS4. It was short. And the movie? Well, it was actually really good. But I can understand the frustration because all I wanted to do was play my damn game.
As a prequel, the anime contains information relevant to the narrative of the story which lacks explanation within the game itself. While events are not directly referenced, it provides character depth, motivation, and reasoning which defines their personality traits later on. Yet this is not as insulting as the movie which exists within the game’s narrative. Should you skip the movie, you will be lost on the significance of many references and plot devices used in the game. Why? Because the game assumes you’ve watched the movie. It doesn’t feel the need to explain to you what you already should know.Having to piece together the narrative makes the plot feel choppy. Information that should be contained to the game world is left out.
The game suffered from lack of coherency at times due to the company spreading its story across different media platforms. Of course to some fans, that is insulting. You play a video game for the plot, for the characters, for the story. These people do not want to sit through 1hr 50minutes of a CGI movie that explains the days leading up to certain events in the story. They don’t give a shit about a poorly animated series telling about the main character’s lives (The anime is so low quality. Seriously. It had some charm, but wow… Where did that budget go, Square? Hopefully KHIII?) They want the meat and flesh of this game to be contained within the series.
But does this mean it sucks? Hell. No. Plenty of people have enjoyed it who have only watched either the anime or movie– or neither. For other fans, like me, it’s actually fun. Maybe I’m a masochist. I don’t know. It feels like we’ve been given extra treats to seek out and theorize about (and I love theories). I have watched Kingsglaive several times with no intention of playing FFXV that day. It’s understandable why some people might be enraged by it. I just choose to not complain so much I guess? JK. I complain all the time.
For those upset, take heed: Square Enix seems to be listening to the fans’ concerns on this matter. While we can’t say they won’t pull this in future installments to the series, it’s clear they are trying to rectify it with the release of the Royal Edition in March which promises a butt-load of new cutscenes. Of course, more cut-scenes are only good if they leave an emotional impact. Fingers crossed.
How did FFXV do with leaving an emotional impact on its audience? Find out next time!
WHAT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES?
What did you think about the decision to tell the story of ffxv over multiple platforms? did you like it/hate it? Do you think they’ll do it again or do you think the backlash was bad? LET ME KNOW! (BUT BE NICE. I’M A SENSITIVE SOUL)!
Want to read more about FFXV and the drama surrounding it? Here’s what this series covers!
- Idiots who pull a Kanye regarding the classic Final Fantasy of their choice when discussing FFXV.
- Multimedia platforms (movie, anime, game) and how they effect perception.
- The storytelling method and how the game both succeeded and failed to meet expectations.
- Characterizations within the game and why cutscenes are important for many fans.
- Game mechanics including the initial release vs. now, open world, dungeons, and glitches.
- Fan theories and why they have been so popular with this Final Fantasy in particular.
- How Square Enix is attempting to fix the problems with the release of the Royal Edition.
ALL GIFS FOUND ON THE GIPHY PLUGIN OR THROUGH GOOGLE.