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Sephex
06-29-2012, 11:26 PM
Both fans and nonfans alike have said over the years that they hated how several members of the main cast appear to have died, only to turn out to be alive and well. The most common reason being that some of the self sacrificial scenes lost their impact and meaning later on.

However, during my latest run through FFIV, I had thought of something. Try to picture that FFIV is the latest title on store shelves, and that you are familiar with the other three FF games. So yeah, basically pretend you are a very early Japanese '90s kid.

The original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III had more of an emphasis on customizable party members rather than story. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy IV were more about the overall story, especially in IV's case. The point is, up to that point in series history, Final Fantasy IV was only the second game that had characters, rather than four blank slates that were simply heroes.

In FFII, nearly every character that occupied the fourth slot gets killed at various points in the game. For that time, I believe Square was going for a "any one can die" attitude.

When Squaresoft crafted IV to be story/character based, I believe they wanted to defy what was expected of them. The reason I feel that there were so many fake out deaths was because--for a first time FFIV player along with one that is familiar with the other three games--they wanted to look like they were going to pull a FFII and have many characters die. Said "dead" characters that turned out to be alive was supposed to the surprising twist. A subversion, if you will.

It seems kind of lame from a modern standpoint, but after I thought of it that way, I think it really makes sense. I can picture someone on the team saying:

"We killed a bunch of characters the last character based game, so they'll be expecting that. Let's surprise them by making it look like a few of the cast dies instead!"

I also know that another reason why some characters appeared to have an untimely death was because they wanted a five character limit at the time, and either Squaresoft couldn't or didn't want to implement a party swap system. Still, to have so many fake out deaths seems a bit odd, so that's why I thought up of the theory on why they did what they did.

I'm not saying this excuses one of the greater flaws of FFIV, but if my theory is even close to being on the mark, that decision makes a lot more sense.

Thoughts?

Gamblet
06-30-2012, 02:30 PM
I totally agree with you.

sabin101
06-30-2012, 05:15 PM
I remember playing ff 4 and I was surprised on how many people died. When tellah fought golbez and died I was like wow what a shocker. I always felt ff 4 should have been called death ha.

Wolf Kanno
07-01-2012, 07:19 AM
This has always been my assumption after I played both titles, thematically, the games carry over a lot of elements from each other so, I feel Square was trying to emulate the NES/Famicom entries while also striking out into a new path for the series. Honestly, with the exception of Cid's "death" I am not really bothered by any of the others. I mean Edward was actually badly injured from his disaster; Yang lost his memory and then later, was in a coma for the second incident; Tellah actually died; and the Twins were only able to be restored thanks to the power of one of the world's most powerful mage; so yeah. I only felt Cid's sacrifice was a bit over the top and ridiculous but then again, Cid was kind of a comic relief character from the beginning...

Gamblet
07-01-2012, 02:34 PM
This has always been my assumption after I played both titles, thematically, the games carry over a lot of elements from each other so, I feel Square was trying to emulate the NES/Famicom entries while also striking out into a new path for the series. Honestly, with the exception of Cid's "death" I am not really bothered by any of the others. I mean Edward was actually badly injured from his disaster; Yang lost his memory and then later, was in a coma for the second incident; Tellah actually died; and the Twins were only able to be restored thanks to the power of one of the world's most powerful mage; so yeah. I only felt Cid's sacrifice was a bit over the top and ridiculous but then again, Cid was kind of a comic relief character from the beginning...

Yeah, blowing himself up and surviving..... With that kind of logic there should be immortal terrorists.

VeloZer0
07-01-2012, 06:21 PM
I would like to point out the Tellah was also one of the most powerful mages of the world and he said that they couldn't be un-petrified. He didn't just say that he couldn't do it, or that it was more involved than they had time for. I find it hard to believe that the elder could just go and cure them on a whim without Tellah having an inkling that it is even possible.

It might have been more plausible had there been some indications through the game that it could be possible, or that the elder was working on it. I think one of the things that makes the non-deaths seem so cheap is how they are all revealed at once in a "OMG no-one actually died!" moment.

Sylvie
07-01-2012, 06:40 PM
I like my characters to actually die.

Wolf Kanno
07-02-2012, 01:35 AM
I would like to point out the Tellah was also one of the most powerful mages of the world and he said that they couldn't be un-petrified. He didn't just say that he couldn't do it, or that it was more involved than they had time for. I find it hard to believe that the elder could just go and cure them on a whim without Tellah having an inkling that it is even possible.

It might have been more plausible had there been some indications through the game that it could be possible, or that the elder was working on it. I think one of the things that makes the non-deaths seem so cheap is how they are all revealed at once in a "OMG no-one actually died!" moment.

Tellah cast a few spells and gave up and then we never see the twins again until the finale with the Giant of Babil. In my mind, that gives the elder far more time to find a real cure (SUPER SOFT!) than what your party was going to try to spare. So I don't feel it's a problem. Let's not forget that Tellha was a feebly old Alzhiemer's patient up until Mt. Ordeals, and the reason he can't cast Meteor is because he's too old. Chances are, he just didn't have the power, or wanted to waste the time to do this properly.

As for the "OMG no-one actually died!" moment, that's not really true unless you don't bother to check back to some places, I mean you know through the story alone that Edward and Cid were alive. If you talk to the Mysidian Elder, he mentions his thoughts on Palom and Porom's sacrifice, and you can do the whole Sylph sidequest to find out that Yang is alive and well... alive. So really, that moment only feels like that if you don't pay attention and check around.

Clyde
07-02-2012, 07:57 PM
I like my characters to actually die.
Same here.

It was ridiculous how every character came back in the end.

Sylvie
07-02-2012, 11:19 PM
Except for Tellah, who was the most useful one of the whole group of bang shows

ReloadPsi
07-06-2012, 01:23 PM
I never had a problem with it for the most part. Some of them seem a bit farfetched but so is the fact half the cast can use magic. Besides, Cid, Yang and Edward* are all found wounded and varying in their ability to actually move so it's not like they just show up out of nowhere without a scratch on them.

*Edward tripped and fell on his face when a giant water snake hit his boat. We never saw him die; he "died" off screen which in typical storytelling terms means that character is almost certainly alive. That and we see that Cecil survived that incident; it's not unreasonable to expect the others to as well, even if Cecil himself does assume they're all dead. I won't attempt to justify Cid and Yang surviving blowing themselves up, though.

And Palom and Porom were just petrified, which isn't the same thing as being dead. They seem to be able to defy your attempts to heal them, and they probably knew it would be reversible when the time came.


I would like to point out the Tellah was also one of the most powerful mages of the world and he said that they couldn't be un-petrified. He didn't just say that he couldn't do it, or that it was more involved than they had time for. I find it hard to believe that the elder could just go and cure them on a whim without Tellah having an inkling that it is even possible.
Well then maybe that's why Tellah wasn't the Elder :P

Roogle
07-11-2012, 12:36 AM
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years features a battle in which the Elder of Mysidia is a playable character. He is revealed to be a White Mage with access to all White Magic with the exception of Holy. For what it's worth, the sequel implies that the Elder was more adept in White Magic than Tellah and was somehow able to dispel the petrification of the children.

Spooniest
07-11-2012, 07:50 AM
So yeah, basically pretend you are a very early Japanese '90s kid.

I think this is the crux of the matter, and the part about being Japanese doesn't really matter here.

The trope name you're referring to is Disney Death. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DisneyDeath) I don't have to pretend I was a kid, I was a kid when I played this game for the first time.

What's being done here is that the storyteller is trying to play with your emotions, which are easily manipulated, since the storyteller has assumed you are a child whose parents have bought him a SNES/Super Fami in order to shut you up and keep you out of their hair while they do taxes.

But enough cynicism. The non-deaths still achieve an effect on the storyline; that is, the characters who witness them believe that the pertinent characters have died for a certain amount of the storyline taking place; hence, by extension, the child/player believes that those characters have died for a certain amount of time during the story. It's depressing! People start dying left and right.

And then, since you are (in the mind of the scenario writer) a child, and they don't want to depress you too much, they bring most of the characters back, and you (the child/player) get to experience the relief of saying "Oh, it's cool, they're ok! I feel better!" The game's story is calculated to make you feel good, and relaxed, and catharsis etc. etc. etc.

The only time they actually use permanent death as a plot device, it's to teach a lesson. Interestingly, both times occur regarding the character of Tellah. First, they foreshadow his death by showing you the death of his daughter. In a way, you could almost say that Tellah died right then and there, and was just an empty shell of a man bent on revenge at any cost for the rest of the time he's alive during the story. His death is used to teach an object lesson in fighting with honor; if you allow yourself to be consumed with rage and vengeance, you will pay the ultimate price.

This theme is central to the very end of the story; Cecil has been so obsessed with exacting vengeance, has grown so accustomed to hating Golbez, that he finds it difficult to forgive him, right up to the very end.

(Side note: I always found it fascinating that the thing that finally rouses Cecil into manning up and giving his brother a proper farewell was Edge's protesting, of all people. It's the only time in the story Edge really has anything serious to say to or about another character.)