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Thread: A Cast composed of Guest Characters

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    Edge7's Avatar
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    Default A Cast composed of Guest Characters

    I know that Final Fantasy IV is among the first JRPGs to incorporate a character driven story, but even considering that, the cast has a distinct "feel" that I don't think has been replicated in the games that followed. The majority of the characters are technically guest characters, with Cecil being the only constant (and Edge, but he shows up pretty late). The game always feels like Cecil's story; while many RPGs take care to give the other characters the spotlight, they are footnotes in Cecil's struggles against Golbez (significant footnotes, but Cecil is always center stage).

    Do you like FFIV's cast? Hell, let's broaden the question. Do you like this approach to characters? I can think of some other RPGs that do this (typically games with large casts a la Fire Emblem or Suikoden), but they feel more like soldiers in an army rather than characters with their own agency who enter and leave as your story dictates.
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    Yossarian Lives Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Yeah, I do like them. While FFV for example stuck to one small group of characters for the most part, I think FFIV's are more recognisable and have deeper personalities even though the party chops and changes frequently. With that said, sometimes they can be somewhat one-note and over-emphasise their main character trait (eg Edge being a flirt, Palom being a little trout, etc) that's not a phenomenon unique to FFIV and despite it I still find them endearing and likeable enough.

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    Edge7's Avatar
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    Psychotic, why you gotta play me like that?

    *Quick Edge appreciation post, because, c'mon, it's in my name*

    I like Edge mostly because while Cecil, Kain and Rosa are trying to smooth out their issues, Edge is having the time of his life killing monsters, trash talking with Rydia and[SPOILERS] running away from the reality that his parents killed themselves and his Kingdom is in ruins.[/SPOILERS]. I also like him more than other flirty characters because most of the scenes I remember Edge flirting with Rydia are in pantomime, and it's exclusively with Rydia; if we ignore one pass he makes at Rosa when he joins. Zidane can go from charming to obnoxious very easily, to say nothing of Irving and Ringabel, who seem to spend most of their screen time trying to convince us they're ladiesmen than they do actually wooing anyone.

    Last thing I really like about Edge is that he's a nice foil to Cecil. Cecil begins his tale as a disciplined soldier, obedient to a fault, as he is feared by those he's meant to protect. He only truly grows stronger when he puts away his sword on Mount Ordeals. A Paladin's job is to protect and nurture; were Cecil to continue to wield the Dark Blade, he would end himself, just as his doppelganger does (and just as Tellah does). Other the other side, Edge is a cocky, brash warrior who is adverse to his royal duties. Unlike Cecil and Tellah, who would have and did die respectively from their aggression, Edge is able to channel his anger into something stronger; if only for the fight with Rubicante, his grief forces him to mature and he develops two new kinds of Ninjitsu. Where Cecil's growth comes from renouncing a hateful means of fighting, all of Edge's growth comes from ditching his sense of bravado and being in tune with his emotions.

    After the world is saved, he doesn't run away; he helps rebuild his Kingdom and has to abandon his pining for Rydia (who at this point, he's serious about) for the sake of his people (then, as King, he helps rebuild Mist, but less because he wants Rydia to like him and more because he wants to see her happy).

    YES I THINK ABOUT THE CHARACTERS IN THIS GAME A LOT, OKAY.

    Seriously though, I think it's because the characters get so little emphasis in the story that draws me to them. It activates my creative side, and I'm able to make the world seem even bigger by filling in the holes myself. That being said, the reasons I like Edge are all in-game. I won't even mention my headcanons with Rosa, Cid, Rydia and so on.
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    Yossarian Lives Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Hey man I'm not dissing, Edge is my favourite FFIV character for a lot of the reasons you say! I just think they try too hard with his dialogue sometimes.

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    Edge7's Avatar
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    It's not just that, I've liked Edge since I joined this forum, (obviously). This gushfest a long time coming regardless.
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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    You know, despite the transient nature of most of the cast, I never really felt many of them were just guest characters. Probably because so many of them have a bit more substance than others and partly because the game either keeps some of them rotating back into the party or just the sheer volume of time they stay with you. It's not like say VI -VIII's guest characters who only stay in your party for a particular dungeon or a heavily scripted scenario. I would almost say that FuSoYa is the closest to what I feel is a guest character since he's only required for one dungeon before he leaves for good and has the least amount of development of the whole cast.

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    Edge7's Avatar
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    Referring to them as "Guest Characters" seemed more concise than "characters who come and go from the party at any time". But yeah, you're right. They function like normal characters in an RPG, the only problem is that you don't... keep them.
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    Wildökarudo Mercen-X's Avatar
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    Technically, guest characters are with you for however long you choose to grind rather than move the story forward. A guest character would feel more significant if they could react to other stimuli from places you could return to which are not required to progress the story. In this way, we would come to learn more about them as individuals.

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    My pal, Dexter, and I have had a longstanding on-and-off romance. I've proposed to her multiple times but she always says she's still young and wants to explore her sexuality while men are still interested. Well, men and women. She strokes both ways. That's a double entendre.

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    Good morning, Mayor ! maybee's Avatar
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    I feel like Square couldn't originally tell the story that they wanted to tell because of Nintendo's limits and rules on death, violence, sexuality, and religion. Nintendo back then wanted to be family friendly as possible to cater to the American Family and Square wanted FF IV or FF II US to do well. It's shocking that they let what happens to Tellah. It's like they wanted FF IV to be a grim story on war and have Cecil go through a rough and painful journey, but they had to censor a bit. Just get these feelings when it comes to most of the characters and their purpose in the game. So they come off as feeling like random guests.





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    Friendship *is* magic. MJN SEIFER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maybee View Post
    I feel like Square couldn't originally tell the story that they wanted to tell because of Nintendo's limits and rules on death, violence, sexuality, and religion. Nintendo back then wanted to be family friendly as possible to cater to the American Family and Square wanted FF IV or FF II US to do well. It's shocking that they let what happens to Tellah. It's like they wanted FF IV to be a grim story on war and have Cecil go through a rough and painful journey, but they had to censor a bit. Just get these feelings when it comes to most of the characters and their purpose in the game. So they come off as feeling like random guests.
    That is probably the case considering the amount of fake deaths in Final Fantasy IV, there are real deaths in there, but certain characters leave your party by appearing to sacrifice themselves, but they end up surviving. I haven't actually seen it, but I have read about it.

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    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    FFXIV Character

    Loony Bob (Sargatanas)

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    I always get the impression (and I could be wrong) that there is notably less dialogue in the older games than the ones with voice acting. The characters in FFXIII for example seem to have a crapload of dialogue that allows them to have more to their character, while there are characters in FFVI who have very little dialogue and are still very much loved. I wonder if less is more in those aspects, and if FFIV were to be remade with voice acting, would they have to buffer out that dialogue a lot? I wonder if they'll have to do that with FFVII too - add dialogue to make things flow a bit better with voice acting.
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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Well we had the DS version of IV which did have spoken dialogue for the major cutscenes, and outside of having to rewrite some of the dialogue due to just sounding kind of stupid when spoken, they didn't really add anything besides one major flashback concerning Golbez and Cecil's backstory. In truth IV has less dialogue due to technology as opposed to writing ability, though I do feel that often less is more and SE and MGS are probably the poster child of series that would be better received if they edited down some of their story content to keep it more focused.

    As for the amount of fake deaths, I don't really feel it would have to do with Nintendo's censorship policies, especially since those vary from region to region. I mean NoA had the game gutted so as not to offend the moral guardians in the U.S., but the Japan branch had games like Shin Megami Tensei and Tactics Ogre which deal with slaying the Judeo-Christian God and committing mass genocide. So it's very unlikely that Square censored themselves for Nintendo's sake. More likely the game simply borrowed heavily from FFII's formula and the fake outs are a means to differentiate itself from the more grim FFII. Besides, it's not like SE doesn't have it's fair share of fake out deaths later on for the sake of cheap drama.

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    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    FFXIV Character

    Loony Bob (Sargatanas)

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    Oh, yeah, I mean a full remake, like FFXIII-level minimum. Something like we're seeing for FFVII.

    Interesting that they added voice acting and it wasn't too bad though.
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  14. #14

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    I didn't have a problem with it. Most of them are in the party just long enough to realise any kind of arc with them (except for Yang, whose departure from the party felt a bit random - yeah it was gallant as all hell and basically awesome but still felt random because they just kinda needed the slot for someone else I guess) and having more characters to love is never a bad thing. Just as long as the game DOES make you like them. I don't really dislike any of FF4's cast; hell, I consider Edward my favourite character in the series because his growth from a foppish coward to a cunning and resolute leader is one of the most satisfying character arcs I've seen in my life.

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