If I had to say when the time was that Squaresoft (at that time) decided to start putting work into a plotline, Final Fantasy 4 comes to mind. Pre-dating Chrono Trigger by 4 years, FF4 came to the US as the 2nd entry, although we wouldn’t actually see 2 or 3 in the US until the early 2000’s. That was also about the time I discovered FF4, as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles bundle for the Playstation. Maybe not surprisingly enough, it was paired with an updated version of Chrono Trigger; Square’s early narrative work in one bundle.
Recently, I started 4 all over again, so that I could finish it completely this time. I remember getting all the way to the moon in order to take on the “great evil” resting just out of sight, taking the tale to literal new heights, and somewhere within the multiple levels going down the Lunar cave system, I probably deemed it too hard and moved on. Many years later, I’d learned to embrace the grind, and somewhere around lvl. 70, I beat Zeromus.
While there are many humorous/aggravating moments that stuck with me through the game, such as Edward being mostly useless as a Bard, Edge being only a little more useful before also the first to die (see above), and that Cecil never learned anything past Cure 2 (C’MON, MAN), there were some human moments as well.
I genuinely liked Cecil’s storyline on trying to make amends for his past and turning a new leaf, in this case literally changing from a Dark Knight into a Paladin. We all have things we wish we hadn’t done or just feel remorseful about, although I hope whomever reads this hasn’t decimated countless villages for their king (keep it to yourself if so).
While fantastical on how our main character undergoes his change, it made me think about how I might still want to work on myself, while putting my own demons aside to do that. Obviously, none of that ever comes easy, and so those pursuing better work at it slowly, eventually changing their “fated” course. You don’t think about those types of things as a kid, which is where I find that life has to hit a little first before that becomes relevant.
That being the most relatable part of the story, Edward’s about moving on from Tellah’s daughter (Spoony Bard) also goes along that message, pushing him to live his life in order to embrace his role as his kingdom’s next monarch. Edge also gets a taste of that after a sorrowful encounter with his parents near the end. To me, that’s Square’s bigger message with this game, if it had one.
Like I said where I began here, FF4 was probably one of the first storylines it wrote that had some thought put in. At least that was before the actual FF2 was released here, where that particular progression system was the first & last time it was used. Two words that relate to early Square; Growing Pains.
Along with our weekly posts, I also track my logs through backlog hell on Instagram. Follow me on there at j_republik_ipa, and give me occasional direction as I plow slowly through FF Tactics.
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