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Forsaken Lover
11-05-2012, 03:15 AM
So while Hojo seems to be the truest and evilest root of all the problems in FFVII, Venat is most definitely the real bad guy of FFXII. Vayne, Cid and all of Archadia are just its pawns. Venat is scarcely better than the Occuria as both of them use humans as puppets.

One interpretation a friend offered is that Venat never intended Vayne to be a Dynast-King at all. He was just a tool who would eventually be stopped and thus Ivalice would actually be free.

What say you? Doesn't Venat count as the real Big Bad who was just manipulating Vayne?

Formalhaut
11-05-2012, 03:58 AM
If you ask me, for some overarching villain type, he doesn't really get much screen time.

Goldenboko
11-05-2012, 04:27 PM
I think a big point of this game was it had no obvious "Villain" per say. Even Vayne doesn't commit any horrible atrocities in comparison to the other FF's. This game was about war and politics.

Bolivar
11-06-2012, 01:55 AM
In these Matsuno games, it's all about a collection of characters and problems that have to be overcome before the heroes are truly "victorious." The real villain is moral ambiguity and the mistake of applying quantitative rationality to human lives. Vayne's war, Cid's disaster at Nabudis, Bergen's atrocities at the Kiltias camp, all of these take place for some ideal, greater good. It's this way of thinking, that killing some people will be better for all the rest, that keeps these tragedies self-perpetuating, whether it be in Ivalice, Valeria, or all the way back in ol' Xenobia.

So if I had to pick a Hojo-like character who set all of this in motion, whose one act or omission caused this whole mess, I would choose Emperor Gramis. Vayne killed two of his other brothers, presumably along the way of his quest for power and liberation. It's only suggested by some of the Judges that it was ill-done, but it is alluded to that Gramis could have done something about it then. I'm assuming he must have rationalized to himself somehow that it was better to do nothing. However, if he had, it may not have been possible for Cid and Venat to go as far as they did.

Heath
12-13-2012, 10:18 PM
I think Venat is the main villain, but I think he thrives off the villainous qualities and desires of others. The impression is slightly the case that there's no smoke without fire, in the sense that there's no Venat manipulating without something for it to seize upon.

Skyblade
12-15-2012, 08:00 PM
I think a big point of this game was it had no obvious "Villain" per say. Even Vayne doesn't commit any horrible atrocities in comparison to the other FF's. This game was about war and politics.


Actually, Vayne's duplicitous nature in his political dealings surfaces long before the speech in Rabanastre. Have you guys forgotten his performance for Reks? He made an extremely well crafted act that would allow him to kill a monarch and claim total sovereignty over a kingdom, with a minimum amount of the blame falling on himself. He was, after all, merely bringing a regicide to justice and stepping in to bring order to a country that had lost its ruler. He then has Marquis Ondore announce the death of Princess Ashelia in another excellent ploy to both solidify his own position and undercut his opponents. Ashe is cut off from her birthright, being unable to reclaim her crown without proof, Marquis Ondore can be blackmailed into silence, and Vayne can gain control of Dalmasca with a minimum of friction, since there are supposedly no surviving members of its royal family. He then moves in to become consul of Rabanastre, a move which he admits he had to wait for much longer than he had wanted. This allows him to give a lovely speech to win over the people of Rabanastre (and during that entire speech, I was thinking "wow, this guy knows how to play up to a crowd") and lure the Resistance into a trap. His next political moves are towards the Gran Kiltias, who becomes a threat, since he had the power to confirm Ashe's identity, pass information on to the Rozzarians and to Larsa, and shelter a good many of his enemies. So he has his forces move on Mount Bur-Omisace and kill the Gran Kiltias and reclaim Larsa. His entire career from the beginning has been filled with acts of treachery and cunning. He uses political maneuverings to divide his foes and weaken their support systems, while strengthing his own power base. His actions at home are much the same. First he kills his older brothers, then his father. He places the blame for his father's death on the Senators, the only real opponents to his power left in Archadia, thus removing them from the playing field and securing power for himself. While I have not yet finished the game (I'm heading to the Draklor Laboratories after the death of the Gran Kiltias), even at this point I have yet to see any action by Vayne that is not an attempt to increase his own power base. He didn't suddenly become a villain, he has quite clearly been one from the very beginning.

Actually, he performs atrocities from the get go. In fact, that's pretty much all he does all game. I guess "mass murder" isn't an atrocity anymore, because he indulges in it three times during the game.

Goldenboko
12-18-2012, 08:42 PM
He murdered to further political gain, I agree that made him the villain of the game, but it's not something completely unheard of in real life. It's not like he was Sephiroth and needlessly butchered a town, or Kefka and poisoned an entire city. He killed all of those who were in his way for power, not much unlike Roman Emperors. Sure he's a villain, but a political villain, which was a different direction than the series has ever taken.

Wolf Kanno
12-19-2012, 12:42 AM
The Ultimania actually reveals that Vayne killed his older brothers on his father's orders, not for his own self interest. The other thing to think about Vayne's actions is that while he certainly does some dubious acts, if you think about it, Larsa benefits more from his brothers actions than Vayne himself does. If Vayne really wanted to take power if Archades and become the ruler of Ivalice then wouldn't he have also plotted to kill Larsa himself. Gramis himself mentioned that his biggest fear was that the Senators would kill him and Vayne because Larsa would be easier to control. So its not like they were innocent bystanders (I wouldn't be surprised if Vayne didn't even have to plant evidence of an assassination plot by the Senate) and Vayne's own actions help to propel Larsa into active duty and to make him come to his own conclusions about justice and what a good ruler should be. With Vayne gone, Larsa becomes the just Emperor that Archades needs and Vayne has already cleared away both the Senate and Occuria who would try to manipulate him.

I honestly do feel that Vayne was originally intended to be a tragic hero who took the mantle of villain and did all the horrible things that needed to be done just so he can save Ivalice and Archades. I feel we see the transition from an ambiguous calculative figure to the generic power hungry villain only when you reach Sky Fortress Bahamut. Before then he seems genuinely concerned for his brother Larsa and his kingdom while looking at the bigger picture of Ivalice that Venat made him more aware of. Even his official artwork for the game usually depicts him by Larsa's side (who happens to be sitting on a throne) which makes him appear less menacing and evil. If some of these "translated Ultimania" sources are actually true then they imply that Matsuno only left a rough draft of the plot for his staff before leaving, which may benefit my theory that Vayne was meant to be more of a complex figure.

Skyblade
12-19-2012, 05:26 AM
The Ultimania actually reveals that Vayne killed his older brothers on his father's orders, not for his own self interest. The other thing to think about Vayne's actions is that while he certainly does some dubious acts, if you think about it, Larsa benefits more from his brothers actions than Vayne himself does. If Vayne really wanted to take power if Archades and become the ruler of Ivalice then wouldn't he have also plotted to kill Larsa himself. Gramis himself mentioned that his biggest fear was that the Senators would kill him and Vayne because Larsa would be easier to control. So its not like they were innocent bystanders (I wouldn't be surprised if Vayne didn't even have to plant evidence of an assassination plot by the Senate) and Vayne's own actions help to propel Larsa into active duty and to make him come to his own conclusions about justice and what a good ruler should be. With Vayne gone, Larsa becomes the just Emperor that Archades needs and Vayne has already cleared away both the Senate and Occuria who would try to manipulate him.

I honestly do feel that Vayne was originally intended to be a tragic hero who took the mantle of villain and did all the horrible things that needed to be done just so he can save Ivalice and Archades. I feel we see the transition from an ambiguous calculative figure to the generic power hungry villain only when you reach Sky Fortress Bahamut. Before then he seems genuinely concerned for his brother Larsa and his kingdom while looking at the bigger picture of Ivalice that Venat made him more aware of. Even his official artwork for the game usually depicts him by Larsa's side (who happens to be sitting on a throne) which makes him appear less menacing and evil. If some of these "translated Ultimania" sources are actually true then they imply that Matsuno only left a rough draft of the plot for his staff before leaving, which may benefit my theory that Vayne was meant to be more of a complex figure.

So, Gramis fears that the Senate will murder him and his kids and use Larsa as a puppet. Are these fears justified? Not as far as we know. Vayne's acting at the behest of a paranoid madman. The entire reason a Senate exists is to put a check on the power of the Emperor. If the Emperor's word is absolute, the Senate would be completely pointless. So when the Emperor becomes an insane lunatic ordering you to commit mass murder, you're free to say "no".

Also, it's worth pointing out that Vayne had no reason to kill Larsa, because Larsa wouldn't inherit the throne until Vayne is out of the way, most likely dead. Succession passes from oldest to youngest, remember? Funny how only his older brothers wound up dead.

Wolf Kanno
12-19-2012, 10:40 AM
So, Gramis fears that the Senate will murder him and his kids and use Larsa as a puppet. Are these fears justified? Not as far as we know. Vayne's acting at the behest of a paranoid madman. The entire reason a Senate exists is to put a check on the power of the Emperor. If the Emperor's word is absolute, the Senate would be completely pointless. So when the Emperor becomes an insane lunatic ordering you to commit mass murder, you're free to say "no".

The argument works the other way around as well, we don't really know if the Senate is really good either. Though the game and Ultimania's point out that the Senate once ruled Archades until the military forced a imperial rule system, and that the Senate has largely been powerless since, with said current Senate hoping to use Larsa as a means of restoring their own political might. So I wouldn't say they are entirely innocent, as I said before, I wouldn't be surprised if Vayne actually had to plant evidence that they were thinking of taking out Gramis, and they certainly wanted Vayne dead and tried to have him executed over baseless charges. So I would argue the Senate was going to do to Vayne what Vayne did to them.

Gramis himself is an interesting figure who is not a lunatic, power hungry certainly but there is a reason behind his actions even if they were not always good. When we the players meet him though, he's in the twilight of his lifetime and starting to regret his actions. He wants Larsa to rule in his stead cause he recognizes that his actions that caused the wars in Nabradia and Dalmasca were going to ruin the empire. I don't feel he's a lunatic, just a man trying to protect his legacy and his country. This doesn't necessarily make his past sins forgiven but his actions do have some justification to them. Whether you agree largely hinges on where you stand morally.


Also, it's worth pointing out that Vayne had no reason to kill Larsa, because Larsa wouldn't inherit the throne until Vayne is out of the way, most likely dead. Succession passes from oldest to youngest, remember? Funny how only his older brothers wound up dead.

What's to stop Larsa from doing to Vayne what Vayne did to his older brothers? Also, Gramis himself gets to choose the heir, its not the standard "eldest male heir" system. If Vayne really wanted to secure his rule, he would have killed any potential heir. Otherwise you run into conflicts like the other Ivalice title, FFTactics. You wipe out all heirs if you really want to be safe from legitimate threat of usurpation. Larsa is a political threat, yet Vayne pretty much coddles him throughout the game, not really deciding to try and kill him and even after Larsa turns on him he simply knocks him out and orders Gabranth to protect Larsa.

Before all of that, Vayne mentions to his father Gramis that he would protect his innocent brother (which he does until the final battle) and in the discussion over who should be the next ruler, Vayne argues that Archades in its current state could not support Larsa as a ruler and ruthlessness would be needed to make Larsa's rule sustainable for the Empire. As I mentioned before, in terms of Archades and Larsa, Vayne seems to have left both in a better position than they were before the game started. Vayne largely makes good on his talk with his father Gramis.

I think the big thing to understand here is that the initial story is Matsuno, which means nothing is black and white and considering the track record of his other games, I feel its safe to say the Senate is most likely corrupt and the antagonist are not evil monsters (well except the Lucavi) but people who simply live by "the end justifies the means".