Death in Final Fantasy *SPOILERS*

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Ehren

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#1
For many of us, death can be a pretty touchy subject in real life. While generally in video games it's not quite as big a deal, a series like Final Fantasy has a few tearful goodbyes and some relatively sudden departures. How do you, personally, feel about death in Final Fantasy? Do you prefer the character in question isn't very well known, or does it get you a little harder when you've got some backstory? Is it better for sacrifices and accidents to happen to supporting cast, or can a main-cast death be a really powerful motivational tool for you as a player? Discuss your favorite or most mourned deaths, and let us know what you think!

Please know that this thread may contain spoilers, from any game within the Final Fantasy series (numbered or not). Read ahead at your own risk!

Ehren's Thoughts said:
Personally, I'm a little happy we've moved away from support cast being thrown to the wolves several times a game. I really think it lessens the impact when a large number of characters you barely know are killed, even if it is for your party's cause.
 

gaiages

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#3
Hmm, interesting topic. I honestly prefer it when a party member or really important and involved NPC dies, because it gives a better story connection when it happens. It's not just, 'oh hey, that guy died whatever', it means that something more substantial happened, and gives you more of a reason to care/feels emotions/motivate the player to stop the evil.

Final Fantasy usually does this well enough, but so many people died in FFII that everything I got a new fourth member I always thought "I wonder when they're gonna die". That, in my opinion, is not the correct to do death, obviously.
 
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Ehren

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#4
Galuf's death in Final Fantasy V was pretty tough to deal with for me. I got attached to that old koot
Do you feel like his death was more or less hard-hitting with the inclusion of Krile/Cara? Do you think you would have been able to keep playing if he had not been replaced by someone close to him?
Hmm, interesting topic. I honestly prefer it when a party member or really important and involved NPC dies, because it gives a better story connection when it happens. It's not just, 'oh hey, that guy died whatever', it means that something more substantial happened, and gives you more of a reason to care/feels emotions/motivate the player to stop the evil.

Final Fantasy usually does this well enough, but so many people died in FFII that everything I got a new fourth member I always thought "I wonder when they're gonna die". That, in my opinion, is not the correct to do death, obviously.
Thanks, I thought it might get some minds a'churnin'. I can definitely see what you mean in regards to FFII. They had so many dead people, the game had an entire mode to play through as the casualties! A very strange design choice, which (although unique) definitely caused me some trepidation while playing.
 

Zack

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#5
Death in RPGs is extremely difficult because it involves a lot of character development beforehand. It helps when that character was there from the very beginning, but there have been cases where you meet someone along the way and the power behind their actions resonates with you. I think the issue I have is that ever since they introduced voice acting into RPGs, I have had a much more difficult time becoming attached to those characters. A bad line reading can completely ruin the experience, while if it's completely in text, you create those voices and develop that impact personally.

Fixed the thread title, by the way. Bound to be plenty of spoilers.
 
#6
Do you feel like his death was more or less hard-hitting with the inclusion of Krile/Cara? Do you think you would have been able to keep playing if he had not been replaced by someone close to him?

Thanks, I thought it might get some minds a'churnin'. I can definitely see what you mean in regards to FFII. They had so many dead people, the game had an entire mode to play through as the casualties! A very strange design choice, which (although unique) definitely caused me some trepidation while playing.
I thought it was always hard hitting because he was not really alluded to much after that. I mean he was major for the first half of the story.

I would never quit a game over a character death but it would make me think.
 

Ehren

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#7
Death in RPGs is extremely difficult because it involves a lot of character development beforehand. It helps when that character was there from the very beginning, but there have been cases where you meet someone along the way and the power behind their actions resonates with you. I think the issue I have is that ever since they introduced voice acting into RPGs, I have had a much more difficult time becoming attached to those characters. A bad line reading can completely ruin the experience, while if it's completely in text, you create those voices and develop that impact personally.
I could certainly understand that. If voices and the inherent personality flavor that comes with them can make or break a character death, do you think it becomes harder to lose a character whose backstory may be vague or largely left up to the imagination? In much the same way as our own idea of what a character "should" sound like, it's possible that established backstory can throw a wrench in the way we feel about a party member or NPC.
I thought it was always hard hitting because he was not really alluded to much after that. I mean he was major for the first half of the story.

I would never quit a game over a character death but it would make me think.
Well, what I meant was if the loss of Galuf left you permanently with a 3-person party or if his replacement was a tamed beast or otherwise silent member.
 

Zack

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#8
I could certainly understand that. If voices and the inherent personality flavor that comes with them can make or break a character death, do you think it becomes harder to lose a character whose backstory may be vague or largely left up to the imagination? In much the same way as our own idea of what a character "should" sound like, it's possible that established backstory can throw a wrench in the way we feel about a party member or NPC.
I feel that a big problem some RPGs have is that they delve way too deep into the exposition. I enjoy a good air of mystery that doesn't fall back to "this character has amnesia - help unravel his story" cliches. Breath of Fire 2 had a really cool opening in that everyone forgot who this boy was when he returned back to town. Of course, death does play a big part in that game as well.

I'm not saying that voice acting has hurt the chance of me ever caring about a story's characters (Lost Odyssey and Valkyria Chronicles clearly left an emotional toll on me). I just feel it's been way more difficult for me to care.
 

Leon Aether

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#9
Very nice topic... I think I prefer a main-cast death! When I play a FF game I really want to care for the cast! And that's difficult, because they have to win me as I play the game... For instance I was completely shocked when I saw Tidus disappearing in FFX in the end, even though I knew that would happen eventually! But from believing it until you see it there is a distance. And even though Tidus did not die, he somehow did die... It was a loss.
Same thing happened with Serah in XIII-2! The game hinted her death because of her eyes of Etro, but still when I saw her dying in Noel's arms I was shouting like Noel, inside me that SE should not have done this! Of course, it's nice that they actually "killed" her, because it was that moment that I realised I liked Serah and the whole story and SE achieved that.
So yeah! Deaths in FF are something epic in my opinion. It makes the story dark and "twisty" and I adore that!
 

Gregory Yu

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#10
I hate it when video games use death as a way of just to make you feel sad without giving any depth to characters. FFVII achieved that depth perfectly with Zacks death at the end of crisis core. while i played VII i never really concerned myself with him, but after i beat crisis core not only did it just really hit me, how great Zack was (personal favorite character) but it also cemented crisis core as game with an amazing story, and gave Aeriths death a much bigger and sadder role, cause you learn more about her past relationships and you grow more emotionally attached. While it was always shocking to me when Aerith died, i was sad but not overcome. Crisis Core and Advent Children i think really changed that feeling. It made her death something i wasnt really willing to accept, but at the same time i felt both happy for her and Zack.
 

Tsukiyomi

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Sep 26, 2013
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#11
I was glad to finally "kill" Seymour in FFX...then got annoyed when you had to fight him 3 more times, and he was already dead! Geez learn to RIP dude.


I wasnt expecting so many insightful posts...

In general the death of a party member, or anything that renders them unusable for the game sucks. That being said, I dont remember any game past FF4 where a full party member died, minus FF7 because I didn't really care about Aerith.
 
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Ehren

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#12
I was glad to finally "kill" Seymour in FFX...then got annoyed when you had to fight him 3 more times, and he was already dead! Geez learn to RIP dude.


I wasnt expecting so many insightful posts...

In general the death of a party member, or anything that renders them unusable for the game sucks. That being said, I dont remember any game past FF4 where a full party member died, minus FF7 because I didn't really care about Aerith.
Spoilers below.

In Final Fantasy V, a character named Galuf who you get right at the beginning of the game is killed around 3/4ths of the way through the game. He is replaced by his granddaughter, but the scene leading up to his death is pretty crazy.

At the end of Final Fantasy X, both Auron and Tidus fade away. Auron was already dead and simply returns to the Farplane, whereas Tidus is considered to be nothing more than a dream summoned by the Fayth at Zanarkand.
He is somehow returned to life at the good/perfect end of X-2, but still.

In Final Fantasy XIII-2, one of the two characters you play as the entire game dies at the very end. Serah's death is used a major motivation for the third and final game of the sub-series.

That's all I can think of right now.
 

Chaos

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#14
Main cast death always hits harder for me. Not to say that NPC deaths aren't sad, but I tend to get over them quicker or I find I'm not affected by them at all after the first or second play through. Of course there are always exceptions to this.

I was pretty upset when Galuf sacrificed himself, and every time I play the game again I always get choked up a little bit. Zack's death at the end of Crisis Core brought tears to my eyes as well, still does actually. Also while not a real death, I still get upset when Hojo "kills" Vincent in the flashback in FF7/DoC.

All of this though does make me feel more invested in the game, and more attached to the characters.
 
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gaiages

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#15
I'm glad to see people bringing up Crisis Core, since it was, to me, a powerful... er, death as well. Even though most players knew it was going to happen (I'm sure there were a couple people that didn't play FFVII before Crisis Core... like literally a couple), it still hit hard when it did, and it gave me a new appreciation for Zack.
 
#16
I'm glad to see people bringing up Crisis Core, since it was, to me, a powerful... er, death as well. Even though most players knew it was going to happen (I'm sure there were a couple people that didn't play FFVII before Crisis Core... like literally a couple), it still hit hard when it did, and it gave me a new appreciation for Zack.
Most people underestimate how good the PSP had it in the RPG department. Crisis Core was another casualty.

I loved Crisis Core for the simple fact that it took an already solid foundation and actually added some cool things to the lore of the FF 7 world
 
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Ehren

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#19
Glad to see people are enjoying talking about this topic. I have not seen the end of Type-0 although I know that it is sad, as I've been holding out for a localization (which looks to finally be coming).

How do you guys feel about the death of a father or mother (even if only a figure rather than an actual parent) when used to motivate a character in Final Fantasy? A few examples include...

Celes from VI, whose father figure may optionally die after the world is destroyed and whose death leads to some pretty heavy scenes and becomes a strong motivation for her.
Ashe from XII, whose father (King of Dalmasca) is murdered in a plot by her nation's enemies. This comes on the heels of her newly-vowed husband's death in battle against the same foes.
Hope from XIII, whose mother dies violently in the first ten-twenty minutes of the game and eventually leads Hope to aggressively study Paradoxes in XIII-2
 

Leon Aether

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#20
How do you guys feel about the death of a father or mother (even if only a figure rather than an actual parent) when used to motivate a character in Final Fantasy?
Hmm... Well Hope's story really stabbed my heart! I mean seriously... Seeing a little boy watching his mother dying is really something that made me feel a bit upset. And his reactions though completely excusable, I couldn't stand them nor did I want the game to focus on him when first played. It's really something so sad to watch. Well later he wanted vengeance that really didn't work out, and to be honest I never believed it would anyway. Ashe's story even if it's a complete tragedy it's still a bit different. That incident gave her determination to fight! And that's one of the many reasons I loved her in XII. Her maturity exceeds most expectations!
My point is, when a game includes such stories, I can't stand watching the person who lost someone to give up and mourn all the time. I can't really enjoy the story progression that way, it's a bit unpleasant. Of course I can't stand seeing him/her lauphing all the time either after such tragedy. A balance like Ashe's reactions work for me and are welcomed!