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On Final Fantasy XV and female characters |2.0| This isn't even my final form

pashmilla

Banned
Aug 22, 2014
1,671
0
0
Y'all knew it was coming.

Original thread here, for posterity.

The whole thing is up, in 5 parts.

SUPER DUPER SPOILERY FULL VERSION HERE. Only read if you have played the game and/or don't give a shit about being spoiled! If you haven't finished the game and read it anyway and get spoiled, don't come crying to me. Fair warning.

Part 2: Cindy. Spoiler-free.

Part 3: Aranea and Iris. Spoilery.

Part 4: Character design. Spoilers!

Part 5: Conclusion. Vaguely spoilery, I think?

Some talking points for the spoiler-free/those who haven't finished yet:

Final Fantasy is, above all, a series about change – each iteration has new worlds to explore, new characters to bond with, new stories to tell. Despite this, there are constant threads that appear in almost every game: chocobos, airships, a character named Cid. Oh, and well-written female characters. Those are nice, too. Lots of people are praising the latest mainline series entry, Final Fantasy XV, as an evolution, a step forward for a franchise that, following a divisive trilogy that spanned an entire console generation, was seen as being increasingly stale and irrelevant in today’s gaming climate. Instead of the restrictive corridors of XIII, we have a vast, sprawling open world to explore at our leisure, with countless little secrets to uncover. Instead of a turn-based battle system, which many denounce as dated nowadays, we have a fast-paced action-RPG fusion that has been compared to character action games such as Devil May Cry.

Of course, some series purists have decried these elements, claiming that FFXV, being an action RPG, is no ‘true’ Final Fantasy game – ignoring, of course, the inconvenient truth that for a series with change as a very foundation of its being, there can be no one ‘true’ Final Fantasy. I’m not here to argue that FFXV is a bad game; I enjoyed it immensely, in fact. But despite that, it has a glaring issue that I can’t quite ignore – one that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a progression, or a step forwards, but rather several steps back. As anyone who has seen my posts in the FFXV threads on NeoGAF will surely know (let’s just say I haven’t been quiet about it), I’m referring to the game’s female characters – or, in many cases, lack thereof. One of the aforementioned constants that can be found in almost all FF games is a diverse cast, featuring different ethnicities, different species – and, of course, different genders. In fact, in a landscape of games populated by anime waifus, Final Fantasy has always seemed something of an outlier, with female characters that are as well-written, complex and important as their male counterparts, without subjecting them to the creepy pandering that seems to pervade most other JRPGs. Then Final Fantasy XV happened, and it was bad.

Prior to release, Hajime Tabata – director of Final Fantasy XV – described Luna as a “very strong character” and “the keystone around which the FFXV universe revolves”. Fans were dubious, given that what we’d seen of Luna in the trailers so far hardly inspired confidence; now, with the game in my rear-view mirror, I can only see those statements as a desperate attempt at damage control. Luna – the Luna of the game, because expecting a player to watch a film to be able to understand your game is a failure on the most basic narrative level – is not a character; she is a piece on a board, moved around to suit the needs of the plot; and, more specifically, the needs of the main character of the game, Noctis.

Perhaps the worst thing about Luna is that she had the potential to be something incredible – a Yuna figure, who is willing to take on burdens and sacrifice herself to protect others; someone whose strength of will and determination is akin to a force of nature. Instead, for all Tabata’s talk of her “fierce determination”, what little we see of Luna is a passive figure, whose entire life revolves around helping her man. I feel like this is best exemplified in a flashback in the early game, where we see Noctis and Luna as children, and she tells him that her duty in life is to help him as king. “But wait!” dudes on NeoGAF tell me. “Luna pushed a gun away from her face. That means she’s totally strong and empowered.” Okay, but that three-second moment of badassery doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It doesn’t negate the way she’s presented and treated throughout the entire rest of the game, doesn’t make up for the fact that she spends probably 95% of her screentime looking sad and pining for Noctis, or talking about how she does everything for Noctis, or how much she loves Noctis.
The depth of failure with regards to Luna’s character – not just with her writing as a woman, but on a narrative level as a whole – is kind of mindboggling. It doesn’t do anything to help her case that she’s following on the heels of Ashe and Lightning, two FF heroines who were very much the protagonists of their stories, who refused to lie down and accept their fate, or let their lives be dictated by men. As I mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with a Yuna figure – one who is resigned to her fate, and loved by her people for it; and I do think this is what SE was going for (look at their names, guys) – except they failed, because unlike Yuna, Luna does not grow as a character. She is a static entity, existing solely to service the male characters. What has she learnt, by the end of FFXV? What has she lost? What has she come to love? The answer to all three questions is that we don’t know, because the game never bothers to tell us.

The thing that bums me out the most, as I mentioned before, is that Luna could have been so much more than what she is: for example, a shrewd, politically-minded figure, with no real physical power, but the ability to navigate complex situations using her wits and intuition. We saw glimpses of that in Kingsglaive, where she was allowed to actually have a personality and, you know, say things, but like I said, burying your heroine’s characterisation in a prequel movie is bad writing.


KG!Luna is sad at whatever the fuck they made her into in the game :(

tl;dr: Luna =



git hype for cindy rage lmao
 

Soulflarz

Banned
Oct 16, 2012
25,145
0
605
Chicago
When fighting with
Iris
I was just siting there thinking "wow Luna...kinda has nothing on this in terms of character probably"

Not at the end yet but I know what happens thanks to the 4chan leaks lol
 

pashmilla

Banned
Aug 22, 2014
1,671
0
0
When fighting with Iris I was just siting there thinking "wow Luna...kinda has nothing on this in terms of character probably"

Not at the end yet but I know what happens thanks to the 4chan leaks lol

Aranea
best girl. Whyyy wasn't she a full party member, whyyy Tabata.
 

mjc

Member
Nov 8, 2007
11,868
1
0
I still feel pretty awkward when Cindy comes on screen. You could level most complaints about female sexual objectifying at most JRPGs today. It's pretty sad.
 

Venom Fox

Banned
Feb 28, 2015
4,702
0
0
Manchester, UK
I still feel pretty awkward when Cindy comes on screen. You could level most complaints about female sexual objectifying at most JRPGs today. It's pretty sad.
Usually I'd disagree and say that everyone's just moaning for the sake of moaning. Thus I sadly agree. It's definitely cringe worthy.

Done! Sorry there.
It's cool. I'm actually excited to find out now lmao.
 

TheGrue

Member
Jun 17, 2005
2,621
0
0
I still feel pretty awkward when Cindy comes on screen. You could level most complaints about female sexual objectifying at most JRPGs today. It's pretty sad.

I did as well. I don't think I've ever really felt bad about looking at a video game character before. When the snapshots for the day came up, one of them was of her and I quickly scrolled by.
 

lt519

Member
May 17, 2013
9,318
1
0
Usually I'd disagree and say that everyone's just moaning for the sake of moaning. Thus I sadly agree. It's definitely cringe worthy.

When she leans over to wash your windshield after filling up the gas on your car. Unbelievably cringe worthy. Was really embarrassed to play with my wife in the same room and would have been equally embarrassed playing by myself.

on topic: Haven't finished the game so I can't give an opinion on Luna, but disappointing if she's relegated to the princess in distress role.
 

NoctisVsStar

Member
Sep 13, 2013
18,762
5
0
so really what you're saying here is that the problem with the representation of women in this game is that it's not satisfying your waifu needs?

While under baked the few girls in the game are harmless. Personally i was just good for the bros (ive signed up for this since 06). Those are my two cents. The cindy costume or whatever its tacky but it never bothered me so im the wrong person to ask.. Opinions and all.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
26,221
2
0
America
Cindy being pimped out for pinup DLC and being talked about by the guys doesn't help perceptions at all. Neither does the first pose she shows up in in the game is a huge camera pan of her ass.

Personally speaking, Luna is more problematic of a troubled development cycle, with a new writer and a director who needed to change the entire focus on the game and changing the heroine, while not actually thinking too much about her role because they never considered her an actual breathing part of the world, just someone to fill a space.

Its a shame.
 

Venom Fox

Banned
Feb 28, 2015
4,702
0
0
Manchester, UK
I did as well. I don't think I've ever really felt bad about looking at a video game character before. When the snapshots for the day came up, one of them was of her and I quickly scrolled by.

Yepp
Playing w/ no one around and it's still cringe.
Yep. I usually tell everyone to just get on with it and to stop being social justice warriors etc. Cindy is just something else though. Keep expecting her to appear fully nude at any moment... I don't get why they had to dress her up like a porn star ready to drop her (lack of) shorts at any moment.
 
May 12, 2015
3,229
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Iceland
That just about sums up poor Luna. I was afraid she'd end up as nothing more than a disposable plot device, and... that's exactly what happened. She wasn't that much better in Kingsglaive, but she at least got to do things sometimes.
 

pashmilla

Banned
Aug 22, 2014
1,671
0
0
so really what you're saying here is that the problem with the representation of women in this game is that it's not satisfying your waifu needs?

I'm saying that I as a woman don't feel like this game is satisfying my needs for well fleshed out, diverse and important female characters :/
 

jax

Banned
Jun 2, 2013
7,968
0
0
Well the game was conceived over a decade ago, so it's not surprising it has 2006 ideals. I hope XVI handles this issue, but it doesn't make XV less of a game to me.
 

Venom Fox

Banned
Feb 28, 2015
4,702
0
0
Manchester, UK
When she leans over to wash your windshield after filling up the gas on your car. Unbelievably cringe worthy. Was embarrassed to play with my wife in the same room and would have been equally embarrassed playing by myself.
Oh shit. They get worse as well. You've been warned. Just leave the car as is if your wife is in the same room.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
26,221
2
0
America
I'm saying that I as a woman don't feel like this game is satisfying my needs for well fleshed out, diverse and important female characters :/

Don't listen to these people trying to demean your opinion. Its a perfectly valid complaint to have.

When even the very few female characters who even existed don't even show up the second half of the game in any form, its an issue.
 

GoldandBlue

Member
Dec 22, 2007
5,060
1
0
The cast being all males was already a turn off for me. This makes me even less interested in playing the game.
 

Salty Rice

Member
Feb 1, 2016
5,292
1
255
While Cindys design isnt that great i still think people are overreacting.

Working in the desert can be hot and these are clothes some people actually wear in reality.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
26,221
2
0
America
Well the game was conceived over a decade ago, so it's not surprising it has 2006 ideals. I hope XVI handles this issue, but it doesn't make XV less of a game to me.

They rewrote this story significantly since then, and especially in the last 2 years. Someone on the team even said that not liking Cindy was akin to being a hypocrite on female empowerment just last year or so. You can't really dismiss this as "well 2006 values!"
 

Kuraudo

Banned
Dec 5, 2008
3,732
0
0
The complete lack of awareness is the most disappointing part and is probably the biggest fault in videogames at the moment--the fact that the creatives can't seem to take a step back and actually think about the implications of the stories they're telling. It's especially bad in XV as it feels like a regression for the series, which was far from perfect as it was.

I'd love to see SE go all in with Agni to try to recover from this, but that would require a level of critical self-consciousness on their current work which clearly isn't evident here.
 

Par Score

Member
Dec 6, 2014
3,279
0
0
Well the game was conceived over a decade ago, so it's not surprising it has 2006 ideals. I hope XVI handles this issue, but it doesn't make XV less of a game to me.

FF VII came out in 1997 and had way better female characters. It's not some shining beacon of well done characterisation or anything, but it's the most popular game in the series and it came out 20 years ago.

The idea of female characters didn't just spring into existence in 2010 or something, they've been around, and been done well, for some time.
 

sensui-tomo

Member
Sep 14, 2011
5,864
1
655
They rewrote this story significantly since then, and especially in the last 2 years. Someone on the team even said that not liking Cindy was akin to being a hypocrite on female empowerment just last year or so. You can't really dismiss this as "well 2006 values!"

You're talking about the dude next to tabata on that active report thing that came out after the duscae demo right?
 
Aug 27, 2007
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That just about sums up poor Luna. I was afraid she'd end up as nothing more than a disposable plot device, and... that's exactly what happened. She wasn't that much better in Kingsglaive, but she at least got to do things sometimes.

But every time she tried to do anything in Kingsglaive, Nyx would let out a loud sigh and push her to the side. It's not the woman's place to be heroic! It was incredibly frustrating and I'm sad to see she is being made just as helpless in the game.

We've had at least 5 consecutive Final Fantasy games with competent and confident female lead characters, so it's sad to see FFXV almost completely devoid of that characterization. I dont think every woman in videogames needs to be a Yuna or Ashe but this type or character has become a staple of the series and Luna appeared to be shaped in that mold until the story actually started to unfold.
 

Inuhanyou

Believes Dragon Quest is a franchise managed by Sony
Jul 26, 2014
26,221
2
0
America
You're talking about the dude next to tabata on that active report thing that came out after the duscae demo right?

Yeah that guy. Just palm worthy nonsense. I don't even know why that was not challenged in any way.

I mean i get the game has gone through tons of dev hell....but Luna as a character does not inspire any confidence whatsoever in what tabata was saying about what the character was supposed to represent.
 

jrcbandit

Member
Nov 28, 2010
2,561
0
660
Texas
While Cindys design isnt that great i still think people are overreacting.

Working in the desert can be hot and these are clothes some people actually wear in reality.
So true. Conan made fun of Noctis and his crew wearing full on leather outfits in the desert. Cindy would have been fine if they hadn't done stupid fan service moves like cleaning the windshield.
 

Platy

Member
Nov 26, 2009
37,140
6
880
Brazil
My biggest problem with Cindy is that she is supposed to be the Cid of this game.

The objetification and shallowness becomes much more apparent when you compare her to the lineage of other Cids
 

rhandino

Banned
Sep 3, 2014
11,093
0
0
Luna is a useless character but is anyone surprised after her portrayals in Brotherhood and Kingsglaive?

Well the game was conceived over a decade ago, so it's not surprising it has 2006 ideals. I hope XVI handles this issue, but it doesn't make XV less of a game to me.
No. Luna as a character did not exist after Tabata took reigns on the project.
 

Salty Rice

Member
Feb 1, 2016
5,292
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Would they wear them as a mechanic, though? Or would they wear something like this?

We never see her really working intense in this outfit. She could have another full body suit to not get dirty.

People actually change clothes but this is a video game and people shouldnt take everything so serious.
 

Meowster

Member
Nov 27, 2013
6,377
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27
Missouri
The boys are really well done (some of my favorites in the series so far) but you can tell that all the focus went to them and much less to the npcs. Even more damning when all the female characters are npcs. Most of it has to do with the troubled development, for sure, but some of it has to do with Tabata's awful sexist treatment towards women in most of his games. There's nothing wrong with the main cast but I hope we get something a little better for the next title.

It's such a strange contrast coming from XIII where the women were easily the most thought out and best characters.
 

rhandino

Banned
Sep 3, 2014
11,093
0
0
Working in the desert can be hot and these are clothes some people actually wear in reality.
While I will not deny that Cindy clothes are actually wearable things that you could actually see in a beach or a resort you don't wear less clothes in a dessert unless you are Quiet from MGSV.
 

badcrumble

Member
May 12, 2006
26,792
5
0
Luna's Kingslaive characterization is pretty damn weak too. Like, a great many of her lines are just "yes" or "no."

rip stella
 

NoctisVsStar

Member
Sep 13, 2013
18,762
5
0
My biggest problem with Cindy is that she is supposed to be the Cid of this game.

The objetification and shallowness becomes much more apparent when you compare her to the lineage of other Cids

To keep it real, shes just an NPC that has no pull in the story. When grandpa cid actually appears he gets some shine that should've gone her way.
 
Aug 27, 2007
32,888
0
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So true. Conan made fun of Noctis and his crew wearing full on leather outfits in the desert. Cindy would have been fine if they hadn't done stupid fan service moves like cleaning the windshield.

Ehhh, there's a difference between someone dressing lightly, and suiting your character up in the most impossibly tight booty shorts complete with visible thong and a ridiculous tiny jacket that also serves as an incredibly functional push up bra.

They could have been sensible about it and designed a character who has a valid reason to show some skin and look a bit sexy. What they landed on is pretty absurd.
 

tuxfool

Banned
Oct 21, 2014
16,148
1
0
While Cindys design isnt that great i still think people are overreacting.

Working in the desert can be hot and these are clothes some people actually wear in reality.

You do realize that people that live in the desert typically cover themselves head to toe.
 

pashmilla

Banned
Aug 22, 2014
1,671
0
0
To keep it real, shes just an NPC that has no pull in the story. When grandpa cid actually appears he gets some shine that should've gone her way.

The fact that the first female 'Cid' wasn't even allowed to be the real Cid of the game just makes my blood boil tbh. God forbid a woman be important or anything.
 

rhandino

Banned
Sep 3, 2014
11,093
0
0
My biggest problem with Cindy is that she is supposed to be the Cid of this game.

The objetification and shallowness becomes much more apparent when you compare her to the lineage of other Cids
She is? I though she was the female equivalent of Mid since there is already another Cid in the game.

More or less of what happened in Final Fantasy XII and the 2 "Cid"

The fact that the first female 'Cid' wasn't even allowed to be the real Cid of the game just makes my blood boil tbh. God forbid a woman be important or anything.
Again, this is not the first time they have pulled a bait and switch with Cid in the series.

It is unfortunate that she is very much a wank fantasy but its not really indication that they hate females!