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Wolf Kanno
11-05-2014, 08:33 AM
While their were FFs that really experimented with gameplay and story before VI, I always felt like VI was the really experimental game that actually held up. Despite it's flaws it has a better reputation than say FFII, VIII, XII, and XIII in terms or trying to shake up the formula or experiment with new ways of doing things and actually found some success. So would you so VI is the most successful experimental FF?

VeloZer0
11-05-2014, 09:03 AM
If you actualy trace to degradation of FF from a strong brand to a label to slap on games to move more units I think it all starts off at FF6. Which makes me sad, because I love FF6. (And FF7, which I consider quite similar)

Skyblade
11-05-2014, 02:37 PM
Sorry Wolf, but the one which switched things up most successfully was FFIII and the job system. FFVI largely succeeded based on the depth it presented and fleshed out, rather than because of it's experiments (most of which were largely abandoned moving forward).

Fynn
11-05-2014, 04:35 PM
Sorry Wolf, but the one which switched things up most successfully was FFIII and the job system. FFVI largely succeeded based on the depth it presented and fleshed out, rather than because of it's experiments (most of which were largely abandoned moving forward).

Hmm... Not so sure about that. It did start the "blank slate with learnable abilities" thing that caught on pretty well in later installments.

Vyk
11-05-2014, 04:36 PM
It didn't shake things up too much via its game mechanics/battle system, etc. But as far as story goes, I think it blew most others out of the water. Though who knows what FFII could have been, with better graphics, memory, and music. The only other game I can think of that had similar caliber of scope was maybe Phantasy Star IV, and even then, by comparison, it seemed more like a skillful attempt by amateurs, while VI was obviously more the Mona Lisa of masters at their craft

theundeadhero
11-05-2014, 06:38 PM
I think it changed up the battle system quite a bit. It introduced a cast that could be changed out to make the party you want and limit breaks.

Wolf Kanno
11-05-2014, 09:10 PM
If you actualy trace to degradation of FF from a strong brand to a label to slap on games to move more units I think it all starts off at FF6. Which makes me sad, because I love FF6. (And FF7, which I consider quite similar)

I completely agree with this.


Sorry Wolf, but the one which switched things up most successfully was FFIII and the job system. FFVI largely succeeded based on the depth it presented and fleshed out, rather than because of it's experiments (most of which were largely abandoned moving forward).

I disagree, because FFIII's job system is a rip off of DQ's Job system which itself isn't far from the D&D roots. While III introduced iconic job roles, it didn't actually introduce any gameplay mechanic that was drastically new to the genre. Even FFV's sub-job mechanic is simply a refinement of the "happy accident" of DQIII's class blending. Not that VI did either in terms of the Esper/Relic system but VI did begin to incorporate more interactive elements that were not as prevalent before it and which games like FFVII, Breath of Fire, Xenogears, and others would continue to use.


It didn't shake things up too much via its game mechanics/battle system, etc. But as far as story goes, I think it blew most others out of the water. Though who knows what FFII could have been, with better graphics, memory, and music. The only other game I can think of that had similar caliber of scope was maybe Phantasy Star IV, and even then, by comparison, it seemed more like a skillful attempt by amateurs, while VI was obviously more the Mona Lisa of masters at their craft

I don't know about the remark it's combat didn't shake up the system, the Materia system can easily be viewed as a refinement of the Esper/Relic system and Breath Of Fire's Master System, Digital Devil Saga's Mantra System, and Wild Arms 3's Skill system all appear to have their design roots from the Esper system.

The other thing I would point out is that VI pushed the envelope in terms of making the sprites more animated and utilizing movie style design to enhance story sequences which the series had played with but not really get the hang of until this game and later perfected with Chrono Trigger and the PS1 entries. Even more amusing is how Ito purposely adding interactive/gameplay elements into more drawn out scenes like the Opera or the negotiations with Gestahl to liven them up created a more interactive story telling element that was lacking in game before it liek Phantasy Star and Lunar that used animated cutscenes for their more dramatic moments and other games simply left to the text to fill up the holes.

Bolivar
11-06-2014, 12:53 AM
I'm not sure what we're defining as "success" but FFVII was the one that put the series on the map, so it's kind of hard to argue with that. The complete abandonment of the rigid four-way directional movement far and away eclipses any previous attempts to "shake things up." And if you want to talk about experimenting with interactivity, FFVII had entire games incorporated into its story sequences. The way cutscenes seamlessly lead into gameplay is a technique the rest of the industry only began incorporating some ten years later once they had the power of High Definition consoles to leverage; even today, it's something of a White Whale only the Naughty Dogs and Kojima Productions of the world have success in pulling off.

I know we're discussing where to attribute innovations among the RPG pantheon but VII overshadows all of them for pioneering features the rest of the industry had to keep up with.

VeloZer0
11-06-2014, 02:20 AM
Eh, I would argue that the Esper system was conceptually quite different from the Materia system. How many people actually equip espers to characters because they want to use the actual esper vs how many people equip espers solely as a means of character building (learning spells/boosting stats)? Heck, I bet half the people who played the game didn't even know you could summon espers in battle.

Conversely the materia system had you equipping your materia based on who you wanted to use it. Materia was about how you want to use your characters, espers were about how you wanted to build them.

Vyk
11-06-2014, 05:02 AM
I think I misunderstood your opening argument. I wasn't trying to say VI's system was boring, or ignoring their other advancements. But those were evolutionary. When you say experimental, I was trying to think of its more revolutionary aspects. And the story may have been an evolution, but it was so far beyond what anyone else was doing at the time, I think it's fair to call it revolutionary in both story and character portrayal and development

But yes, they definitely refined the styles they used to a new degree as well. Art, animation, battle mechanics, and above probably anything else, music. I just didn't see them as an experiment

Wolf Kanno
11-07-2014, 09:37 AM
I'm not sure what we're defining as "success" but FFVII was the one that put the series on the map, so it's kind of hard to argue with that. The complete abandonment of the rigid four-way directional movement far and away eclipses any previous attempts to "shake things up." And if you want to talk about experimenting with interactivity, FFVII had entire games incorporated into its story sequences. The way cutscenes seamlessly lead into gameplay is a technique the rest of the industry only began incorporating some ten years later once they had the power of High Definition consoles to leverage; even today, it's something of a White Whale only the Naughty Dogs and Kojima Productions of the world have success in pulling off.

I know we're discussing where to attribute innovations among the RPG pantheon but VII overshadows all of them for pioneering features the rest of the industry had to keep up with.

This isn't about sales Mr B. this is about impacting future FFs and while VII is a success as well the issue here is that everything you just attributed to VII can be traced back to VI and other 16-bit titles. The fact VI pioneered more interactive design that later games like Live A Live, CT, and the PS1 era FFs continued to build upon shows that evolutionary speaking VII owes some of it's successful design to VI. VI utilizing universal sprites for combat and story scenes (something VII doesn't even do) already showed that Square were moving towards making seamless transitions and frankly Secret of Mana and CT both beat VII to the punch on a technical level though VII's contribution is certainly the more impressive version but CT already had beaten VII to the seamless game-story-minigame transition before VII pulled it off. So yeah... VII owes VI.


Eh, I would argue that the Esper system was conceptually quite different from the Materia system. How many people actually equip espers to characters because they want to use the actual esper vs how many people equip espers solely as a means of character building (learning spells/boosting stats)? Heck, I bet half the people who played the game didn't even know you could summon espers in battle.

Conversely the materia system had you equipping your materia based on who you wanted to use it. Materia was about how you want to use your characters, espers were about how you wanted to build them.

You forget that I said the Esper/Relic system with Relic's providing changes in characters skills as long as the item was equipped combined with having your magic leveled up by equipping various espers that taught different skills as you gained AP. On paper the system have some similarities in execution, it's just that VII basically combined both concepts with materia being items that must be equipped to gain their ability but multiple abilities can be learned by leveling them up with AP. They are not the same system but I feel one can see a link in how they both grew from FFV's Job System (which is frankly vastly superior to both). VI's system was simply trying to reinvent the wheel and Square/Squenix has being pursuing that ever since.


I think I misunderstood your opening argument. I wasn't trying to say VI's system was boring, or ignoring their other advancements. But those were evolutionary. When you say experimental, I was trying to think of its more revolutionary aspects. And the story may have been an evolution, but it was so far beyond what anyone else was doing at the time, I think it's fair to call it revolutionary in both story and character portrayal and development

But yes, they definitely refined the styles they used to a new degree as well. Art, animation, battle mechanics, and above probably anything else, music. I just didn't see them as an experiment

I do feel the story is revolutionary for its time but so were many of its gameplay elements, I mean incorporating slot machine mechanics, SF move sets, and enhancing story sections with game mechanics were not very common in the early 90s and Square pursued the trend well into the PS2 era. I guess it would depend on what you felt the story did that was truly novel as all I can think of is the ensemble cast which is rare for the genre, even today.

blackmage_nuke
11-09-2014, 05:54 AM
Starting the trend of having the battle and field graphics match was pretty nice.

Psychotic
11-09-2014, 11:38 AM
The open world World of Ruin is an experiment they never returned to, which depresses me.

Rez09
11-10-2014, 06:38 AM
Yeah, it is rather sad as the World of Ruin is one of my favorite elements in FFVI.

Sephex
11-10-2014, 06:47 AM
This game was fun to play.

Spooniest
11-11-2014, 12:00 AM
Starting the trend of having the battle and field graphics match was pretty nice.

They don't seem to have ever quite recovered from hitting the polygon ceiling in this regard.

The characters animations, starting with VII on up, went from cute and funny to garish and overdramatic.

This game was the last game that accepted that it was a Final Fantasy game, and not a goddamn franchise whore, manipulating your emotions like a domineering mother. Hell, FFVII even has a scene with your domineering mother. Sephiroth's whole backstory is about a domineering mother figure.

Seriously, this is the last time they roped me with the story. I came away from Final Fantasy VII thinking "Okay...", Final Fantasy VIII thinking "well, that's nice, I guess" and Final Fantasy IX thinking "smurf you, Square."

I only grudgingly played X, and wasn't at all invested in the characters or plot.

This was the last time they managed to tell anything resembling a coherent story, that didn't utterly derail into nonsense by the end.