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Spooniest
12-10-2014, 03:04 PM
Have you ever noticed that this is the only game in the entire series where the main character is a knight?

I mean, you can make people knights in FFV, XI, and XIV, but that's not exactly the same thing as the game ostensibly telling you up-front that you are a knight (Dark or otherwise). Many characters function as de facto knights, but have no story-related allusions to knighthood.

Squall is described (fancifully) as a knight (in one or two lines of dialogue), but I don't think that's really the same thing, either.

I only bring it up because I like the concept of knighthood and the storytelling possibilities it entails. I wonder why they chose this one game to focus on that concept, and then abandoned it entirely for the rest of the series?

Thoughts?

VeloZer0
12-10-2014, 08:19 PM
Well, first of all this is Japanese company we are talking about, so the European style knight isn't a direct historical connection.

Secondly I would assume that it is because a knight, in general, is defined by service to some lord. In FF games you are usually the role of the outsider/rebel/adventurer in which it doesn't make sense to be a knight. If you wanted to have a knight main character you basically have to re-do the opening little bit of FF4 to have them abandon their lord and follow their own quest.

Leigh
12-10-2014, 08:22 PM
I suppose when they decided to develop IV, they started to experiment with expanding the narrative and make it a little more structured. Since it is a game sort of set stylistlcally in the early middle-ages, it made sense to build the story about something characteristic of that period of time in real history. I don't think any other game depicts that particular time in history (from IV onwards) to the same extent as IV. Many people call IX 'medieval', but I'd more contribute to either a very late period, more preferably renaissance. By that time, in our own history, Knights were become more of a rarity...especially the big tin men style.

Maybe? :) I dunno!

chionos
12-10-2014, 10:50 PM
Well, clearly, it didn't happen again because the narratives moved away from knights and princesses and all that. I miss that setting. I like that aesthetic and I miss it being part of FF. As far as the knight being the MAIN character, it's hard to make that work because of the character restrictions inherent in being a knight. It's akin to the lawful/good issues you get with Paladins in D&D. There are things that a knight/paladin just can't do/won't do. It restricts the narrative. I like the way FFIX dealt with that problem, with Steiner vs. Zidane with Dagger in between.

Spooniest
12-10-2014, 11:09 PM
As far as the knight being the MAIN character, it's hard to make that work because of the character restrictions inherent in being a knight. It's akin to the lawful/good issues you get with Paladins in D&D. There are things that a knight/paladin just can't do/won't do. It restricts the narrative.

It may be hard, but not impossible. Art thrives on restrictions.

If you give someone $200 million and tell them to make a film, it'll probably sell tickets just because of the advertising budget, but that's no guarantee it's going to be a good, entertaining film.

If you give someone $30 million and tell them to make the same film, it might not be as glitzy or well-publicized, but you can bet that every cent spent on that film is going to go somewhere it absolutely has to go.

chionos
12-11-2014, 12:03 AM
As far as the knight being the MAIN character, it's hard to make that work because of the character restrictions inherent in being a knight. It's akin to the lawful/good issues you get with Paladins in D&D. There are things that a knight/paladin just can't do/won't do. It restricts the narrative.

It may be hard, but not impossible. Art thrives on restrictions.

If you give someone $200 million and tell them to make a film, it'll probably sell tickets just because of the advertising budget, but that's no guarantee it's going to be a good, entertaining film.

If you give someone $30 million and tell them to make the same film, it might not be as glitzy or well-publicized, but you can bet that every cent spent on that film is going to go somewhere it absolutely has to go.

Better narrative efficiency has nothing whatsoever to do with narrative quality, or at least not necessarily so.

It is true that narrative restrictions can create tension which can really propel a story, but that will only take a story so far. I'm not saying it's impossible to make a story with these strictures, but when you're talking about a series that tries to be different with each iteration, you need characters that better allow for broad, intricate, or undulating plots, at least as your "main" character, which all the rest of the story and other characters can be manipulated to build up or play off of.

Spooniest
12-11-2014, 12:25 AM
Perhaps the implication here is that the design philosophy behind these games (at least at the moment) is "Keep doing new things."

I shudder to think of how politically agro-cragged the video game business is, especially when dealing with such a monstrous hit series as FF. Doing a new FF with a theme that is similar in any way to the theme of a previous game holds the potential to draw enormous criticism.

But eventually, you run out of themes! There are, as they say, only seven stories (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Basic_Plots). If they keep trying to reinvent the wheel as far as the thematic content of the series goes, it's just going to get more and more watered-down and incomprehensible in the end.

I don't see a reason why a main character being a knight of the realm would hurt the series. It doesn't have to be set in a medieval setting...


60932
...We do have knights in the modern age, after all.

chionos
12-11-2014, 12:34 AM
Well, as others have mentioned, you can call a character a knight, but that doesn't make them a knight, not with any real meaning. Outside of a medieval type setting, knight doesn't work, except for maybe a futuristic alt-reality kind of setting where stoic knights in big heavy armor and stony personalities are back in style.

Spooniest
12-11-2014, 12:42 AM
Outside of a medieval type setting, knight doesn't work

Unless Star Wars.

chionos
12-11-2014, 12:50 AM
Outside of a medieval type setting, knight doesn't work

Unless Star Wars.

Except there are no knights in starwars.

Spooniest
12-11-2014, 12:55 AM
Except there are no knights in starwars.

They explicitly use the term "Jedi Knight" over and over and over.

What are you talking about?

I mean, seriously. The Wikipedia entry on it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi) uses the term at the start of the second paragraph.


As sanctioned guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, [The Jedi Order]'s members, known as Jedi Knights, mediated negotiations among planets and rival factions and, if necessary, used their formidable martial arts skills, agility and wisdom to quickly end unrest or neutralize dangerous individuals or threats.

chionos
12-11-2014, 01:17 AM
Except there are no knights in starwars.

They explicitly use the term "Jedi Knight" over and over and over.

What are you talking about?

I mean, seriously. The Wikipedia entry on it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi) uses the term at the start of the second paragraph.


As sanctioned guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, [The Jedi Order]'s members, known as Jedi Knights, mediated negotiations among planets and rival factions and, if necessary, used their formidable martial arts skills, agility and wisdom to quickly end unrest or neutralize dangerous individuals or threats.


Well, as others have mentioned, you can call a character a knight, but that doesn't make them a knight, not with any real meaning.

You can call Squall a knight, but he isn't one. I mean, if you want to stretch the definition of "knight," you can make it whatever you want. But then the term itself becomes meaningless.

Spooniest
12-11-2014, 02:29 AM
But Squall's not ever stated to be serving a royal family of any kind, he's part of a mercenary school. The story only refers to him as a knight, metaphorically. The Jedi are explicitly stated to be Knights who are/were members of an Order. Presumably they have served royal families all over the galaxy, right? Such as the royal family of Alderan perhaps?

...I just don't see where you're coming from on this.

chionos
12-11-2014, 03:12 AM
Quite simply, whether one's attempting to be "metaphorical" or trying to be literal, simply calling someone a "knight" doesn't make them one. i.e. you can call them jedi "knights" all you want, but that doesn't make them knights. Oh sure, technically you can call any member of an order a knight if you want, but as a literary archetype, you need more than that to actually make one. And that's what we're talking about, literary archetypes.

Jedi knights are not visually knights, and if you want to get super technical they're not knights of any kind, because they're appointed by council not by a monarch or single head of state.

But I think I'm getting off track. My point is that just calling a character a knight doesn't fill this role that some of us are looking for in these games. When I think of "knight" I have certain things in mind that I want to see. It's not a name that I want, but an idea. My point is that the star wars version of the "knight" doesn't fulfill what I want to see, and neither would a similar style of character in Final Fantasy. A few of the things that I've been vaguely referring to:

Armor, a shield, a crest, chivalry (or rather some strict structure of conduct), no mind powers, nobility, a mount (choco obviously), a sword (lightsabers don't count).

Mind you, I'm just talking about what I, me, just me, want to see. I'm not talking about anyone else, or what FF needs to do for fans or anything, just what I personally want to see in a Final Fantasy.

Spooniest
12-11-2014, 03:51 AM
Obviously just porting the source material over is bad writing, and nobody could call you out for calling bs on that.

And you're very spot-on, Knights have shields, armor and swords. They ride chocobos. They have a crest, are noble and chivalrous. The whole mind powers/white magic thing is a fuzzy grey area (as in, you tell me which one a real life knight probably wouldn't have had :ffviwag:), and if you want to get super technical, in Final Fantasy they typically wear capes, too.

You can do all of that in a futuristic, modern Final Fantasy setting. Just update the various implements and themes to suggest their modern counterparts.

You know, of all the things I am unhappy with about FFXIII, the design of Lightning's weapon is not one of them. That's a cool weapon. There are even better things you could do with the idea of a futuristic, mechanized sword, made of metal, with a cutting edge of some sort. And we still use armor to this day; it's simply a different kind of armor. There are even new kinds of armor being developed. I imagine something on the midpoint of the scale between the style of armor worn by the character sprite for Cecil, and riot gear.

Also, warriors still serve large ruling bodies, and likely will continue to do so for as long as is necessary. You can do a futuristic (constitutional?) monarchy. That's not an invalid concept, and in fact has been done, just not in Final Fantasy. That's all I'm saying, is that it could be done. Not that it should, or will, or won't, or hasn't been.

And I think it could work, with the right kind of philosophy behind it.

As for magic, well, what's FFVII's thing? FFVIII's excuse? FFX? FFXIII? All of those are somewhat futuristic, yet all seem to have magic apparently well known and widely used.

I don't think it's a bad idea. Just different.

Mirage
12-11-2014, 03:52 AM
I don't miss knights at all, really.

Ayen
12-14-2014, 11:15 AM
VeloZer0 hit the nail on the head, I believe. I've seen one Japanese anime use the term "Free Knight" before, but I don't think that's the same thing as the usual rebel they always have, and even then the knight in that anime still had a king he was loyal to. I'm not too bothered that Cecil is the only knight main character in Final Fantasy. Makes him stick out more.