Survey: About Writing


Questions About Writing

1. Are you currently writing a novel?

I am, it’s called Fairy Tale.

2. If yes, what genre of the novel are you writing? 

As the name implies, it’s a fantasy novel.


3. Have you ever lost your inspiration? 

I don’t know that I’ve ever necessarily lost my inspiration so much as had to put the story away for a while and let it brew before I come back to it.


4. If yes, how did you gain it back? 


My characters go with me everywhere. When there’s any moment of quiet, they and their story are running through my head. In the shower especially, I’m never without them. So, an important thing to me was to learn that just because I have settled on one outline for the story doesn’t mean it’s the right one. You have to be willing to let go. You may really, really want your characters to travel to a parallel world, but sometimes the story itself decides that it doesn’t need a parallel world, and you just have to respect that and try something new.


5. what is your greatest challenge as an author? 


For me, it’s the actual writing of the story. I write the story aloud every day when I’m alone, I speak the characters dialogue and envision their journey, I think about them when I’m listening to music or when I’m reading other books. But to actually sit down and really get out what’s being said by these characters, and to accurately describe how they look and sound and where they are, it’s very tough for me. It’s like an exorcism, and for me it last sometimes up to two hours before I run out of juice and need to recharge for the night.


6. Why do you write?


A lot of authors say that they write because “they have to.” I don’t know if this is true or not. I say that I write simply because I want to. Is it possible that, like Raine Maria Rilke, I look within myself in the deepest hour of the night and ask myself if I must write, and come up with a positive answer? Possible. But I don’t really think that matters. I think that you should write if you want to write. It does no harm. Even bad writing is still something someone created, and no one who has ever written from their heart has never experienced the feeling of being proud of what you created. Not everything written is worth being published, but everything that needs to be said is worth being said.


7. If you are writing a novel, do you have the goal of getting it published? 


No. I believe art is created for art’s own sake. If and when I finish my book, I plan to publish it myself, and to make it freely available for anyone who wants it, as well as offer it at a price point on, say, Amazon or some other bookseller. I would offer a priced version so that people who want to support my art and support me as an artist are given the option to help, but I do not believe art has monetary value or SHOULD have monetary value. There are musicians who claim that giving away music for free devalues music. Those people are greedy businessmen and women who have no place in the art world. Art does not NEED to be priced, but there are so many people who have made so much money from art, that it’s become a business. There’s a music industry, a film industry, a literature industry. But these things are really free. There is no such thing as “intellectual property.” Ideas are ideas, and they’re free for anyone to have. So no, I don’t write with specifically the goal of getting published, I write with the goal of writing. I hope to try and publish my work, but I refuse to ever make it so that my work is offered ONLY at a price, without a free version available. I think it’s wrong, and that putting a price on art devalues it. Art is not a business.


8. When did you first show interest in writing? 


As a child, I used to write stories about Sonic the Hedgehog or other video game of movie characters that I liked. Then as a young teenager I began writing fanfiction, specifically about the Final Fantasy series, and was greatly inspired by a writer who goes by the name Lark, who created a Final Fantasy fanfiction series known as the Rambles. I tried to write my first original story when I was twelve, it was about a boy who loses his brother to a demon who is also the leviathan that brought about the Biblical “great flood,” and goes on a quest for vengeance, as well as an attempt to save the world. Literally, it didn’t get very far, but in my head the story went on for a long time. Though that story is pretty much gone now, at least one character invented for that story has made his way into Fairy Tale, and who knows, maybe the characters from that original story will make a cameo appearance in another work of mine.


9. Are you happy with the progress you’ve made up to this point? 


Yes and no. I’ve written over 50,000 words, which is very good progress indeed. However, when I attempted to start at the beginning of the story and write all the way through to the end, it ended up causing issues for me. For one thing, I don’t think about things in a linear way. My head is always off in the future of my book, thinking about what is yet to come, and oftentimes, I want to write about important moments that won’t happen for another ten or twenty chapters. Consequently, I lost interest in writing about the events I needed to write about to move the story along, so at Chapter 21 of the story, I stopped, put everything I’d written together as a kind of initial and unfinished draft, and published it here on my blog. It’s a conceptual beginning to the story: some of those elements may stay, some may change. Some characters came to me during that draft, some characters actually left the story during it. The most important thing to me is to keep writing. I’m currently most proud of the most recent scene I’ve written, called Madeena, as it was exactly what was in my mind and my heart at the time, and that makes me proud.


10. What is your biggest goal as an author? 


The first is to express myself. By doing this, I hope to create something people can identify with. I want a young gay twelve-year-old boy to find a fantasy book in which he is represented, which I never had. But I also want there to be a kind of commonality that anyone can feel with certain characters. I want to express the loneliness of the spirit, the yearning for love and for comfort, the pain of loss, and the courage of hoping when there is no hope. And in the process, maybe I’ll get a little better myself.


11. When do like writing? (morning, night, after lunch, etc.) 


I usually write whenever it hits me. Often times, it hits me, and I immediately have to drop everything I’m doing to go and write because I simply know that it’s time. It’s a bit like intellectually giving birth, and it’s an emotional experience. As it happens, I tend to get more writing done at night, and when it’s quiet.

12. Where do you like writing? (a place you feel most inspired while writing) 

Usually it’s a place I feel comfortable, like the sofa or even in my bed where it’s actually not all that comfortable to write. I’ve written on a couch on a porch in the middle of the day with animals around me and not been distracted. Basically it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s quiet, or at the very least, I get to choose the ambiance.

13. Do you write within a specific genre? (do you mostly write romance? mystery? fantasy?) 

I love fantasy, however I’m not such a fan of “classic fantasy,” i.e. Tolkien or Robert Jordan (although in Jordan’s defense, I’m speaking only of a generalized concept I have of his Wheel of Time series, and I haven’t actually read them myself to know for a fact what they’re like), my concept of fantasy was shaped by video games, most notably the Final Fantasy series, Golden Sun, Breath of Fire, and others. My stories always have an aspect of romance to them, but I think it would be devaluing to call them “romance” stories, they just happen to have characters with real emotions and needs.

14. Do you like sharing your work with other people or do you keep your writing world a secret? 


I always share my work immediately after writing, usually without even proofreading it. That’s part of what this blog is about. I want people to read what’s there. I’ll worry about how and when to put it all together properly in the end.


15. What future do you see in your writing? 


The future I hope for is one in which I write as genuinely as I can. When I was in high school, one of my teachers, upon being asked how long our short stories, poetry, or other writing assignments needed to be, she did not answer, “Two stanzas,” or “Three pages,” she said, “It needs to be as long as it needs to be.” As long as I have something to express through writing, I’ll keep writing. If I have nothing to say, I won’t say it. I wish musicians would do that more often, by the way. A lot of great musicians make incredibly good, thought-provoking albums, but there’s this rush to have the next album ready within two years. Why? Do you ALWAYS have something profound to say every two years? Writers should avoid this too, in my opinion. Write what you need to write when you need to write it.


16. How has writing affected your life? 


It’s gratifying to see a world begin to take form, and characters begin to take on life, that came from your mind. My characters spend all their time hanging out in my head, and they deserve to have their own lives, and the best way for that to happen is for them to be expressed in some way. Writing is one way of doing it. It’s affected my life by allowing me to see what my mind looks like from the outside in, and I enjoy that.


17. What is your biggest fear as an author? 


That I will not be true to myself.


18. How will you improve yourself as an author? 


By reading, by studying, by expanding my knowledge and vocabulary, by trying again and again to achieve a perfect representation of who the places and characters of my stories are and what I’m trying to say, until I am certain that it needs no alteration or expansion.


19. What is your biggest pet peeve an author? 


When people use too many other words in the place of “said,” such as “Blah blah blah,” announced Character. ‘Blah blah blah!” replied Character. “Blah blah blah?” inquired Character. “Blah blah blah blah,” intoned Character. “Blah blah BLAH!” exclaimed Character. “Blah blah… blah.” sighed Character.


20. Do you think you’ll ever get tired of writing? 


I can’t say for sure, I kind of doubt it, but as long as I have something to say, I’ll find a way to say it.

Questions About Fairy Tale

1. Which character, who is not the main character, is your favourite and why?

I have an answer but I’m afraid to say, only because my favorite character hasn’t actually yet appeared in the story, but his name is Dexter. He’s a handsome, charming guy who is funny, witty, incredibly flirtatious, and snarky. He isn’t serious very often, but he has very strong principles. He was raised by an aristocratic family and broke away from them because he hated being surrounded by lies and control. He’s free-thinking and light-hearted, but incredibly loyal, and also a very good fighter. He’s the character I mentioned earlier who appeared in the first work I ever created, though he was added into the story years later and only really in my head.

2. When you envision your characters, do they look like invented people or known people? (ie. When I envision one of my characters, I see actress Leighton Meester.)

They’re actually a little blurry. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what they look like. My character Eric, however, was specifically based on a photo of a guy that I saw on a dating website, and Dexter’s hair color came from that of a Dexter I knew in high school. Most of them just look like themselves though, and not any actors or actresses that might portray them.

3. Are there any on-and-off relationships? Who are they? Are there any love triangles? Who is involved?

There are a lot of all of those things. Lucas is in love with Hephaestian, who is straight. Eric is in love with Lucas, who is gay, but who is too busy pining over Hephaestian to notice. Dexter and Bronwen have a complicated past and grew up together, and both have feelings for one another, but Bronwen isn’t the best at expressing feelings and Dexter doesn’t like being tied down. Eric and Lucas end up cuddling and being romantic on several occasions, but Lucas’s heart isn’t really in it, whereas Lucas and Hephaestian actually have sex, but Hephaestian’s heart isn’t in it. A character named Lisa will, later on in the story, be having sex with a character named Isaac in order to siphon away his magical ability, though she’s actually falling in love with him, and when he finds out she’s betrayed him, he comes to hate and despise her. Hephaestian isn’t interested in anyone but I get a feeling he’s a complete horndog. As for my beloved little witch, Imogen, I have a feeling she might be asexual, though she may be developing feelings for Hephaestian. Oh yes, I forgot about Alexander, who is going to become very interested in Eric later on.

4. Which city is your novel in? Or, what is the name of the city/world?

The world itself is called Eden, and it consits of two continents and several islands, and all along the edges of this world are steep cliffs that fall off into a fog-laden nothingness from whence no one can return. There is a reason for al of this, which will be revealed in time. The names of the cities are mostly modeled after real places, such as Alexandria, Madeena, Augustine, Canaan, Damascus, and Carthage, though I’ve come up with some of my own names, like Dulhan and Ivinda. I might changed Dulhan though. Time will tell.


5. Do you go into much detail about character appearances [at any time in your novel]? (Faces, figures AND clothes.)

I sometimes worry I do it too much. Does the reader need to know the hair color, eye color, and body type of every character? Well, they’re getting it whether they like it or not.


6. Do you like specifying the foods that your character eats/ate? (ie. “He ate lunch”, as opposed to “He ate three slices of pizza”.)

I haven’t given this one much thought, but I’ve written one scene in which a banquet was laid out, and I had difficulty deciding what was there, because I could not at that moment summon enough didn’t kinds of food from my mind, and ended up making it a feast of whatever I could think of right then.


7. Does your main character’s love interest ever change since the very beginning of your novel? (Your FIRST novel, if you’re writing a series.)

Yes. This is a bit of a spoiler, but my intent with Lucas is that he will begin by being in love with Hephaestian, slowly fall in love with Eric, and then in the end, learn to love himself. I plan on ending the story with Lucas being single, and comfortable with that.


8. Which of your characters is:


a) the smartest?

Probably Imogen, or Bronwen. Imogen lived a sheltered life, but she was bombarded with information about the history of her people, and has to be quick on her feet to decipher a language of fairies that is, for all intents and purposes, completely illegible. Bronwen is very experienced in a variety of situations, always has a plan, and is always ready for anything at a moment’s notice. Lucas is intelligent, but naive.

b) the most eccentric/quirky?

That would probably be Dexter. He’s hilarious in my mind.

c) the most dangerous?

There are a few characters who are the most dangerous: one is Inevra, who has pretty much lost all grip on sanity, another is Isaac, who isn’t necessarily a villain but who has a very short fuse and a lot of fire power. The third is Lisa, who isn’t nearly as innocent as she seems. Drosselmeyer is the villain and is in possession of terrible power, but whether or not he’s dangerous is difficult to say. He tends to be generally merciful, though incredibly intimidating, to people who aren’t directly involved in any of his plans. Varner is similar in this way, he’s actually very polite and reasonable, however people who get in his way, however briefly, almost always die.


9. What would your main character’s college major be?

Probably literature or history, because he is fascinated with books and is always eager to learn.


10. To what extent do you use slang in your writing style?


I try my best to have my characters speak in an elevated form of English similar to something like Victorian English, with a little bit of a modern vernacular twist. In general, the very well-educated characters are more well spoken, where the more earthy and worldly characters are more likely to speak in slang, curse words, and use colloquialisms. 

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Survey: Favorites

Does anyone remember MySpace? Well, back in the days of MySpace, most people had a profile that was something along the lines of “This is me, this is who I am, these are my best friends, this is my favorite music,” and then there would be a survey that they took about their personality or things that they liked. I really loved doing those things, and now with the advent of Facebook, we really don’t get a chance to do all those interesting little surveys anymore, but I love answering questions about myself, because I always have a lot to say.

As such, I’ve avoided posting surveys here on my blog for a long time but you know what? Fuck it! It’s my blog and I can do what I want. I always put pressure on myself to write every entry like it’s an article in the frickin’ New York Times, but honestly, one of my daily goals for my life is to write something every day. I’ve been stuck on a chapter in my story for weeks now, simply because it’s a chapter that introduces such important characters that I’m a little intimidated and don’t know where to start or what to say. I thought that tonight I might work up the nerve to write it, and believe me I went the whole nine yards: I lit a candle, meditated in the dark, had some quiet time, made some tea, but I just wasn’t ready to write. So instead, I’m going to do a survey. Maybe I’ll start doing more, too!

SURVEY #1

Name your favorite…

1. Place

This is a little difficult to answer. I feel like I have a genuine answer to this and I just can’t think of what it is. Anyway, one of my favorite places is this old abandoned railroad bridge running over the river, and it was next to a house I lived in when I was a young teenager. I used to walk the train tracks in the woods by myself while I was playing outside or brainstorming or living fantasy adventures, and I would walk on this rickety old bridge that was way too dangerous for anyone to walk on, but I would just stand there high up in the air and stare out over the river, all by myself. I actually have a fear of heights normally, but for some reason I wasn’t scared, and if there is a place to be scared, it was this bridge. There were huge gaps between the beams, some of them were broken, it was really not a safe place to be, but I loved it. I would even stand on the edge of the bridge holding on to the beams and staring out over the river. I don’t know why, but it was so peaceful. I would also love to be deep in a rainy forest.

2. Person

There a lot of people in the world who I admire, but in my personal life, my favorite person is probably my friend Jenn. She is one of the most kind and understanding and funny people I’ve ever known, she always gives perfect advice, she is pretty much always right about everything, and she has never ever had anything bad to say to me or about me. I feel like there has only been one time when things got slightly uncomfortable to the point of almost an argument, but I can’t remember when or what it was about. I genuinely and very much love her. I met her when I was in the midst of a very abusive relationship, as well as dealing with some of the most intense and debilitating anxiety and panic attack issues I’ve ever faced, and she was so supportive of me. Don’t tell her this but I’m thinking of dedicating my book to her. Shhh.

3. Color

Blue. It’s always been blue. Particularly royal blue, or any kind of deep shade of blue. I love wearing blue clothing, I love blue ties, blue is just a beautiful color. My second favorite is green, particularly a deep forest green, something naturey, but not lime green. I find pastel green to be icky. I also enjoy a nice deep red. I suppose I just like primary colors. And yes I know that RGB are not technically the primary colors, but you know what? I can create any window color in Final Fantasy VII with those colors, so suck it.

4. Food

I enjoy a lot of food, but only sometimes do I ever find food I really love to eat. My favorites include sushi, particularly Philadelphia roll or any of the really expensive ones that I can never afford like dragon roll or cherry blossom, etc. I also love pizza, and I don’t so much enjoy really thin New York style pizza that you find in most pizza restaurants, I actually love the greasy drive-through Little Caesar’s pizza, with marinara sauce to dip it in and Coke to drink. Yummy. Also a fan of gyros and other Greek food, just about anything with a layer of melted cheese on top, and I love enchiladas with extra cilantro in/on top of it.

5. Thing To Do When Bored

My favorite thing tends to be playing a video game while listening to a television show or podcast, particularly something funny or comedic, or interviews. I also love to watch ASMR videos on Youtube, and then of course masturbation is always fun. There are two folders in my bookmarks bar of porn links, yet strangely I don’t really use them that much.

6. Movie

I have a few. My favorite movie is probably The Fountain by Darren Aronovsky, with gorgeous music by Clint Mansell. I can’t even really describe how deep the movie is, it’s so beautiful, so full of sadness, grief, and hope. I have some pretty upsetting memories attached to it but I still love it and I can’t watch it without crying. I don’t let myself watch it often, I think I’ve only seen it twice before, but both times were incredibly impacting. I love Aliens, Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley is my favorite action hero of all time, up there with Samus Aran and Lightning Farron. I also enjoy a random smattering of other movies: Van Helsing, Amadeus, Sucker Punch, but in general I tend to watch mostly comedies. I love watching those silly independent gay films that are so plentiful on Netflix like Longhorns or Eating Out. They’re so sexy and funny, and you usually get to see a cock or three somewhere in there.

7. Texture

Something soft, like silk, or whatever the hell it is this really comfortable throw blanket from Kohl’s that I got for Christmas is made out of. Then of course there is another texture, which is that of another person. Being held in someone’s arms, feeling the warmth of their skin, especially just after a bath, and the feel of a boys lips kissing mine, or his cheek against mine, or his hair when I bury my nose in it, those textures mean a lot to me.

8. Drink

I assume we’re talking alcoholic, in which case anything creamy. I love Bailey’s, I love White Russians, I love Chocolate Wine and Mud Slides, and I also really enjoy Bloody Mary’s too.

9. Precious Stones

Sapphires because they’re blue and because they played an important role in a lot of my old fantasy stories that I used to act out on my own in my front yard by myself, hence why my username for most of my old accounts was Sapphire Jesse, and then there are Emeralds, which are my birthstone. I feel a real connection to being a Gemini and to the color green. There are probably some more stones and minerals that I have a connection with that might keep me grounded or help me to have around, but I just haven’t found them yet.

10. Video Game

This is a loaded question because there are just so many of them, but a few of my favorites are Final Fantasy Tactics, Breath of Fire III, and Final Fantasy IX. I think those three have probably had the most impact on me as a writer, along with, of course, my childhood favorite Final Fantasy VII. Other games like Metroid and Fire Emblem have provided me with ideas and inspiration as well, though.

11. Animal

Pigs are my favorite animal. I think they’re so incredibly cute, and I’d love to meet one in person, the last time I saw a pig up close was as a child. The same goes for cows, I find them to be really beautiful animals that sort of symbolize maternity for me in a spiritual way. One of my life goals for a while has been to drink milk directly from the udder of a cow.

12. Eye Color

For a very long time I had a thing for boys with blue eyes, but I admit my tastes have changed to a deep chestnut brown now. The most beautiful eyes I have ever seen were like pools of caramel chocolate. Two boys I’ve met have had those kind of eyes, and they’re unforgettable. I hope I’m lucky enough to end up with someone who has beautiful brown eyes one day.

13. Book

There are a few. It’s a toss up between The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. All of these books had a big impact on me.

14. Musician

This is a pretty loaded question because there are literally more than a hundred musicians that I really enjoy, but the ones that are closest to my heart are Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, Florence + the Machine, Kate Bush, Regina Spektor, Amanda Palmer, Stephen Sondheim, and Annie Lennox. Then there are the musicians that I kind of refer to as my “teenage favorites”: My Chemical Romance, Evanescence, Paramore, and Fall Out Boy. There are quite a lot of them though.

15. Sound

That cute kind of puppy-dog noise that a boy makes if you’re cuddling and he’s really content and happy and he just kind of whines gently while you touch his back or he cuddles you close. I admit, usually that’s been me, but I hope one day I can find a boy who is that affectionate to me and who loves me enough to make those silly noises.

That’s all for today! I got some writing done and expressed myself a bit. How about that?

You Can’t Steal My Soul!

Dissidia 012 Q&A

I have now invested almost 60 hours into Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy, otherwise known as the sequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy, Square Enix’s RPG-style fighting game involving the entire cast of main heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy series. I found a blog where someone did a thirty-day Dissidia 012 survey they created themselves, and while I really don’t think I have the patience to give complete answers to all thirty questions, nor you the patience to read them all, I will answer some of my favorite questions.

Characters

Question 1: Preferred Faction?

So, in Dissidia, you have two sides to the war: warriors of light, fighting for the Goddess Cosmos, and warriors of discord, fighting for the god Chaos. In the original Dissidia, there was a split down the middle between good and bad guys, with the two secret characters Shantoto and Gabranth being on the side of Cosmos and Chaos respectively, though both decided to flee from the battle and live in the void rather than fighting an endless war. It’s debatable to me whether Gabranth is really a villain anyway, even in Final Fantasy XII I never much considered him a bad guy, even if he DID kill the king, impersonate his brother and have him wrongfully imprisoned, directly bring about the downfall of Dalmasca due to his actions, murder his best friend Judge Drace, join the nation that destroyed his homeland and become the king’s lapdog, fight the good guys twice and stab Reks through the heart… well still, it seemed like his heart was in the right place.

At any rate, in Dissidia 012 there’s a sort of mini-faction within the warriors of Cosmos: the new characters, led by Lightning, who are seeking to find a way to destroy the manikins. And in the new game some of the roles are reversed, since this takes place before the thirteenth cycle of conflict seen in the original: Jecht is fighting for Cosmos, and Tidus, Cloud and Terra are all warriors of Chaos, though they all clearly don’t have their heart in it.

One thing that Dissidia 012 does do a great job of, though, is making the villains LIKABLE, which the first game did not. They were all pretty clear-cut evildoers who wanted to destroy the world, and while some of them still remain so (lookin’ at you Exdeath, ya bastard), most of the villains were given proper backstories and many are shown to want to end the war as much as the warriors of Cosmos. Kuja chooses to abstain from fighting and befriends Cloud, and even helps Zidane before being caught in the act by the warriors of Chaos. Golbez, even more so than in the first game, is constantly sneaking behind Chaos’ back and helping the good guys, even going so far as to come to Cosmos upon her awakening and inform her about the outcome of the previous cycle, complimenting her resolve. Golbez more than any of the other warriors of Chaos really shows that he isn’t a villain, just an emmisary of darkness who can’t quite reconcile himself to living in the light. Some characters like Jecht never really seemed evil at all and are even less so in this game, Jecht himself stating that he doesn’t care about the war, he just wants to end it so that the warriors of Cosmos (including his son) can go back to their homeworlds. Even Cloud of Darkness, a literal embodiment of dark energy that doesn’t even really have a personality or consciousness, helps the warriors of Cosmos by telling Laguna how to stop the manikins.

So as it goes, it’s difficult to choose a faction, since Cosmos herself doesn’t really seem to care too much about ruining the lives of her warriors, and does little but sit around looking sad most of the time, and Chaos is just an asshole. As it were, if I could count the outliers who choose to run away from the war as a faction (Gabranth and Shantotto), I would, but I suppose I’ll side with Cosmos… for now.

This is totally not the shot from Final Fantasy XIII where Lightning holds a floating dandelion spark thing on Pulse. Really, it's not.

This is totally not the shot from Final Fantasy XIII where Lightning holds a floating dandelion spark thing on Pulse. Really, it’s not.

Question 2: Favorite Characters/Least Favorite Characters?

There are quite a few likable characters and some personal favorites from the Final Fantasy series that show up in this game. For Dissidia 012, I’m so glad they chose Tifa Lockhart to add to the fray from the cast of Final Fantasy VII, as she’s perfect for a fighting game and has appeared in one already. As such, she is my first pick. Tifa’s personality is great, she’s as cheerful and determined as she was in her original game, and is one of the very few good guys to fight up close or to not use a sword. I really, REALLY wish her DLC outfit, “Enforcer,” was available in the US, but unfortunately you had to pre-order the game to get it, and that I know of there’s no other way of getting it. It’s based on her Amano artwork and looks totally awesome.

Then of course there’s Lightning. Final Fantasy XIII is still an interesting and divisive experience for most Final Fantasy players, but of all the characters in the game, Lightning really shines as a genuine hero. She was supposedly designed to be like a “female Cloud,” but she’s really nothing like him, and I’m pretty thankful for that. Apparently Cloud’s personality outside of his original game has been a sniffling emo kid who just whines about how useless he is, and Lightning is exactly the opposite of that. She’s extremely determined and never waits to take action. Whenever she doesn’t have an answer, she kicks some ass until she finds one. She is the perfect leading character and I’m not surprised to see her take on a similar role in this game to the one she held in her original Final Fantasy title: defying her fate and seeking to stop an endless cycle of misery, to save herself and her friends.

Onion Knight

Next, there’s my little pal, the Onion Knight. The first time I played Dissidia, I thought he was okay but didn’t pay him much thought after I’d completed his story. After playing the sequel however, I’ve discovered just how powerful he is. A lot of his attacks are either long range magic shots or a close-up barrage of small, weak swordswipes, but as he grows, every single one of his attacks gains extra abilities, and they can all be turned into easy damage dealers that are extremely difficult to dodge and make him one of the quickest characters in the game to plow through tough enemies and get out of nasty situations with. As a character, he’s a charming little kid who is a little bit full of himself, but is extremely intelligent and brave. In the twelfth cycle he is treated like a little brother by Vaan, which he doesn’t entirely like but I suspect gives him some amount of comfort, and in the thirteenth cycle he makes himself Terra’s noble defender, promising to stay by her always, and continuing to journey with her after she turns on him under the control of Chaos’ forces.

There are some characters who I really like that I hardly ever play as, like Kuja, who is my favorite Final Fantasy villain. He’s just as arrogant, self-absorbed, and fabulous as he was in his original game, though as I’ve mentioned he displays a desire to end the war and to help the good guys every now and then, but though I like his character, he’s very difficult to play as. When the computer is controlling him, he kicks my ass with an endless barrage of magic attacks that sling an opponent around the stage, but when I play as Kuja I have a hard time getting a hit in edgewise and have difficulty trying to control his magic attacks. Another character I love is Shantotto, who I’d never seen before this game because I’ve never played Final Fantasy XI, but who is hilarious and speaks mostly in rhyme, laughing and taunting all of the other fighters from both sides about how inferior she is to them, but I find her difficult to play as, as the line between her bravery attacks and HP attacks seems to be very blurred. Gabranth was one of my favorite characters in the first game just because he represented Final Fantasy XII in some way, but in both games he’s annoying to play as, capable of delivering HP attacks only when he’s in Ex Mode, which means you will have to end every single battle with his Ex Burst, and it gets a little old to not have any real options of how to fight. He’s also extremely slow in his normal form and his bravery attacks in that form are pretty underwhelimg and uninteresting. I still love him though, hound of hell that he is.

In an interesting twist, I have always kind of disliked Warrior of Light for some reason, I don’t know if it was his outfit, the fact that he never really existed before this game, or his goody-two-shoes attitude of “Light will prevail!” but I just recently discovered that I kind of like him. I think his new alternate outfit that dresses him up in the classic warrior attire from the first Final Fantasy, complete with short red hair, made me warm up to him a little because he looked like less of a blameless hero. It turns out he’s actually extremely balanced and easy to play as, so he just may make it into my final party for Scenario 000.

Warrior of Light vs. Garland

As for my least favorite characters, there are a few. I dislike most of the classic Final Fantasy villains, as they’re pretty one-dimensional and boring. Garland is just an angry Chaos pawn who runs around wrecking people’s shit, the Emperor is a scheming bastard bent on ruling all of existance who is constantly stabbing his fellow back-stabbers in their already stabbed backs, Ultimecia is similar to the Emperor in that she’s mainly interested in usurping Chaos, and toying with the warriors while trying to kill them. Then there’s Exdeath, the single most one-dimensional villain ever. I don’t know if he has a single line that doesn’t include the words, “The Void.” Kefka is a maniac who you can tell the designers really wanted to be funny but who just comes across as mostly crude and silly, but not exactly hilarious. There are some heroes I’m not crazy about either: Firion is a character I didn’t know of before Dissidia, and he left basically no lasting impression on me other than his love of wild roses, which I expect would make much more sense to me if I’d beaten Final Fantasy II, but beaten it I have not.

I also really, really dislike Kain. I have no idea why. He actually seems pretty cool: he’s a dragoon and it’s apparently mandatory for Final Fantasy fans to like dragoons so alright I really don’t have a problem with that, he has some cool attacks, he whips his helmet off to reveal his beautiful flowing Pantene Pro-V hair and painted Amano lips in his Ex Mode, and he’s even voiced by the guy who later voiced Cauius Ballad in Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which lead to some very strange moments for me watching him interact with lightning). However I really disliked him. He is going around betraying the warriors of light, knocking them out and carrying them away to some secret hiding place, and though his reasons are explained later on, he just remains kind of unlikable to me. I’m glad they made him an assist character during the final chapter of Main Scenario 012, because I really didn’t want to play with him very much in the first place.

So as it goes, I love me some Final Fantasy heroes, especially obnoxious little guys like Onion Knight and Shantotto, and free-spirited characters like Zidane and Bartz, but all in all if I really have to choose a favorite from amongst the entire cast, I think I’m going to go with Golbez. As I mentioned before, he’s constantly playing both sides to try and help his brother and the rest of the warriors escape from the cycle of war, and though he serves Chaos, he really doesn’t align himself with either side for most of the game. He never genuinely turns to Cosmos’ side, but without his help, the warriors of Cosmos might never have stood a chance in the first place. As for least favorite character, I almost handed the title over to the Emperor. I find him annoying. He looks pretty and all, and may be representing the shall we say not-so-heterosexual side of Final Fantasy villainy, but I just don’t like him. But then I remembered that Exdeath exists and had to hand the title over to him, because not only is he so one-dimensional he makes President Shinra look like a complicated and complex villain, but he’s annoying to fight, even more annoying to play as, and he literally walks so slow that good luck if you ever try to control him on the world map.

Pandemonium: Top Floor

Question 3: Favorite Stage/Least Favorite Stage?

There are a few new stages in this game, and while some of them do get old rather quickly (I’m so tired of playing in Order’s Sanctuary, it seems to be the default location for every friggin’ battle in this game), many of the old stages still retain their charm and the new stages add some variety and fun. The Lunar Subterrane stage from the first Dissidia is still one of my favorite’s because it’s so huge and has so much room to roam around in, not to mention all the fun breakable rocks. I like The Rift for similar reasons, with lots of space to roam around in and crazy jumps from platform to platform. Planet’s Core isn’t much to speak of on it’s own, but it’s Omega version is much more fun, with shit flying around everywhere. As for the new stages, I am happy to finally see Final Fantasy XII represented, with the Sky Fortress Bahamut stage, that I at first thought was the bridge of the Palamecia from Final Fantasy XIII. They even included a stage that is so literally closed in that it’s just one small train car that you can’t burst out of (as far I can tell anyway…). All in all though, I think my favorite stage is probably Final Fantasy XI’s Empyreal Paradox, and it’s just a simple, open area with a giant crystal in the center, and that’s pretty much it. It’s fun to throw people around in and doesn’t really have any gimmicks (lookin’ at you Ultimecia’s castle, with your frickin’ broken floors and your clock tower gears). Another favorite is Orphan’s Cradle, as it’s just so much fun to be in an enviroment from a super HD game on a handheld console with the graphical power of a PS2, it’s like Final Fantasy XIII got a reverse graphical makeover that I really enjoy, and looks like it belongs with the rest of the games instead of out in it’s own freaky Paradigm-shifting universe.

And speaking of that, my least favorite stages, there are a few. I’ve already mentioned Order’s Sanctuary, which is so vanilla that it isn’t great but isn’t terrible either, and Ultimecia’s Castle, where every move you make knocks you into a gear, a wall, or a banish trap (they’re on the ceiling for God sakes), so I won’t bring those up anymore, but there are some others. Pandemonium is pretty, but very difficult to fight in, and the spikes on the floor in the Omega version make it even more difficult. Dream’s End is a cool place to be just because of it’s significance in Final Fantasy X, but unfortunately I get stuck under the main platform a lot and have a hard time finding my way back out of the FIERY PIT OF DEATH below. Speaking of getting stuck under the stage, this happens quite a bit in stages with high or floating platforms, but I tend to have the most trouble in Kefka’s Tower. Now, I do appreciate the variation in these stages and I’m glad they’re not all flat planes, so I wouldn’t want them to be gone from the game, but they can tend to be a bit difficult to play in.

Tifa's Enforcer Costume

Question 4: Favorite Alternate Costume?

The one you see above, Tifa’s Enforcer outfit, which I cannot have and which makes me very angry because I cannot have it. It looks so much better than any of her other outfits, and I didn’t even have a PSP or a job when this game came out so how was I supposed to pre-order it? I’ve considering importing the European special edition which comes with a download code for this outfit, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t work in the US and also I do not have the money to be doing that. But still, I’d like to find some way to get this costume someday that doesn’t involve illegally downloading the file from the internet, which I totally have not thought about doing. Totally.

Dissidia 012 does introduce some pretty sweet new digs for the characters, including DLC costumes for a buck each for all of the heroes and some of the villains. Lightning’s second alternate outift, the conceptual Guardian Corps uniform, looks great on her and though it lacks her trademark flowing scarf, I prefer to play with her in this outfit the most. Onion Knight’s blue recolor of his initial outfit is fun because… well, because it’s blue, what more do I need to say about that? Longtime fans of Final Fantasy VIII are no doubt thrilled to finally be able to wear his SeeD uniform in battle, and I am one of them. Cloud’s Advent Children outfit looks great on him, and comes with his sword from the movie and a different Ex Mode as well. Laguna looks much better dressed up in his Galbadian soldier uniform in my opinion, and Gabranth even has an outfit in which we can clearly see his face! For the whole battle, too!

You also get to dress a couple characters up in their original outfits, rather than their Amano-inspired Dissida ones. Warrior of Light’s Classic Red costume, which I mentioned earlier, is very fun to play with, and Bartz actually gets to look like himself in this game with his new Freelancer outfit. I have both of those characters’ DLC costumes, the former is Warrior of Light with his helmet off as seen in the opening sequence of Dissidia 012, and the latter is Bartz in his dancer attire. Even though Kefka dresses like… well, a sociopathic clown murderer (meaning: murderer who is a clown, not one who murders clowns), I even like his new costume. Cloud, Squall and Sephiroth all have their Kingdom Hearts gear, but unfortunately only Sephiroth’s is available for download in the US. Seriously it’s been three years now, Square Enix, can we please have the rest of the DLC?

Apart from Tifa’s enforcer costume that I probably love so much because I covet it and yet cannot have it, I really love Ultimecia’s new outfit, called Edea’s Corpse. It’s not a reskin but a completely new character model that uses Ultimecia’s attacks, and it’s basically like having Edea as a character, which frankly I’ve already thought would be kind of a better idea than Ultimecia, even though I know Edea is not the real villain of Final Fantasy VIII.

*sighs dreamily*

*sighs dreamily*

I’m probably forgetting a few, because unlike in the last game where the designer mostly just recolored the characters’ main outfits, they actually put some thought into these new ones, and it makes playing as these characters a lot more fun. The only thing negative that I have to say about them is that they can’t be worn in story mode anymore, which I guess I understand for continuity reasons but still, I would like to have  the option. Screw continuity, this is a game about all the Final Fantasy heroes fighting the villains together! It’s basically a fanfiction wet dream with a world map and button mashing. Note that these are all good things, and are NOT critcisms, because dammit I do love fanservice, and not the bare-breasted kind. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I think I ought to mention Tidus’ warrior of Chaos outfit. It’s Tidus, in his torn up pants, with no shirt. I really cannot explain it any simpler, and as I’ve always thought Tidus was a sexy beast, I quite enjoy it. It is at least forty percent of the reason why I ever play as Tidus now.

Red Mage

Question 5: Characters You Wish Would Have Made It Into Dissida/Characters You Would Like To See In A Future Dissidia?

RAMZA. Motherfucking. BEOULVE. Seriously, Final Fantasy Tactics got no representation in either Dissidia game, and even though I get that they’re drafting characters from the main series, he really should have been included as a hidden character. He’s literally the most competent Final Fantasy hero in the entire series, he’s the only hero who doesn’t suffer some deep existential crisis, he gets shit done, saves all of Ivalice, and still manages to have personality depth and remain completely likable. And on that note, one of my friends suggested that Delita would have made an excellent warrior of Chaos, and with this I completely agree. Since all of the Final Fantasy characters’ storylines tend to revolve around the same themes that permeated their stories in their games of origin, I could completely see Delita working for both sides of the conflict in an effort to make himself king, or kidnapping Yuna or some such lovely nonsense. Agrias Oaks would have also been an excellent choice, as there are quite a few swordplayers but none that use holy sword abilities, even our sparkly heroic Warrior of Light.

As for characters from the main series, I was actually quite surprised that there were no nods to the Red Mage in any way. I figured Warrior of Light would have had a Red Mage costume or something, but nothing. Because he’s such a versatile character, he could equip various weapons the way Vaan does and use all sorts of spells. All of them, in fact, since he’s a Red Mage. I’m also pretty surprised that the reboot Final Fantasy III characters got no representation, other than being the names of a couple of Onion Knight’s alternate costumes. I get that he was already an established character, but there’s no reason that it couldn’t have been revealed in Duodecim that his name was really Luneth, or even Ingus.

Dissidia seems to have a problem with characters either being up-close sword weilders or long range magic users. Now to their credit, those are the already established characters that they have to work with, and they managed to make each character’s fighting style unique from the others’, but there could have been some more out-of-the-box characters included. Nanaki would have made an interesting addition, since he could be an up-close attacker and a fire magic user, although I imagine his grinding animation would be pretty hilarious. Similarly, Kihmari would have worked well since he has such a wide variety of Blue Magic abilities, or by the same token, Quina, even though I admit Quina would be ludicrously weird, but any of the token non-human characters would have sufficed.

"I feel pretty, and witty, and..."

“I feel pretty, and witty, and…”

A villain that I’m really surprised wasn’t included is Seymour, since he was really the villain of Final Fantasy X, and he would have been a perfect character. I could see himself allying with Kuja to try and manipulate the other warriors for his own ends, and having a cool Ex Mode that involves the Mortichorus or whatever the hell that thing that sucks his life out of him in Final Fantasy X is. I have a feeling I know why they didn’t include him and chose Jecht instead though, because as I mentioned they already had quite a few magic slingers and Jecht, though technically sword-wielding, is more of an up close beat-em-up character. Also from Final Fantasy X, Auron would have made a good addition because well, he’s just badass, and his Bushido abilities would be fun to play with.

Some more long range characters like Yuffie or Wakka with their throwing weapons would have been a cool addition, as Laguna and Ultimecia are really the only genuine long-ranged fighters, and speak of long ranged fighters, Sazh Kazroy would be a fanastic addition the crew and I would love for Balthier to make an appearance in a future Dissidia game if ever such a thing will come to be. Another character I’d love to see is Balthier’s ambiguous “partner” (make of that what you will, fellow gamers), Fran, who I just adore and who I would love to see included in more Final Fantasy media. And finally, from Final Fantasy XIII, the addition of a heavy magic user like Hope or Vanille (“I have to see this through!” *INSTANT DEATH*) would have been great, or if we could have just completely swapped Kain Highwind out for the much superior Oerba Yun Fang, that would be completely fine with me, thanks.

And there is one another character that I really, REALLY think should have been included from the beginning: the random battle monster. I know that this is a fighting game, but since you spend so much time wandering around the world map or fighting your way to GET TO the villains, it would have been nice to have some enemy-only monsters with simple movesets that were easy to beat, or some superbosses like Final Fantasy XIII’s incarnation of Adamantoise, or even the almighty Omega Weapon. It seems kind of silly to pepper story mode with crystalized copies of the enemy fighters, because this concept gets pretty old and boring pretty quickly, and throwing in fewer manikins and more classic Final Fantasy monsters as enemy-only fighters would have been a great addition to the game from the very beginning. Even just using five to ten of these simple monster designs and recoloring the stronger ones like they do in every other Final Fantasy game would be a huge step up from just fighting crystalized versions of your opponents, and since a Dissidia sequel would have to be something taking place outside the conflict of Cosmos of Chaos as we have come to know it, I think it’s a simple idea that could drastically improve a future Dissidia game.

Warrior of Light

And so, those are some of my thoughts about Dissidia 012. It’s a triumph of a game, with so much content and so much to explore. I’ve invested 60 hours and I haven’t even completed half of the total storyline, and there are still a ton of unlockables for me to achieve, not to mention every single character has a level that can reach 100, and every day you get a new message from the Mognet moogles and prizes in their letters. Add this to the museum of unlockable cutscenes, the exclusive weapons and (sometimes) armor available for each character, the giant list of Battlegen items and Accomplishments, and Dissidia 012 really makes for an extremely solid RPG fighting game, perhaps truly the first of it’s kind, with an interesting story that weaves together the Final Fantasy universes and gives longtime fans a chance to experience their favorite characters in a new way. Getting this game was certainly one of my decisions as a gamer, and I genuinely recommend it to any fan of the Final Fantasy series, and I think that newcomers to the series would enjoy it too.

A Final Fantasy Survey

(originally posted via Tumblr, 10/26/2012)

Lightning

    1. Introduce yourself.

Jesse. There you go.

    2. What makes you love the franchise?

In addition to the unparalleled storytelling, outstanding music, fantastic visuals and cinematic aspects, as well as the fact that the games give you an experience of another world rather than just making you feel like you’re playing a game, they’re fun. I have not found many other games that can rival the Final Fantasy franchise in terms of genuine fun gameplay.

Mako Reactor 1

    3. Tell us about your first Final Fantasy gaming experience. 

I came home from school when I was 7 years old, my cousin was playing a game on his new Playstation (for which he had traded his Nintendo 64, and I naturally was not happy and having lost the ability to play Super Mario 64), and I came in just as the opening cinematic of Final Fantasy VII began. I sat down to watch because the main character looked familiar (I assume I must have tied him to Super Saiyan Goku without having known who that was at the time), and the rest is history. I think it was the music that kept me hooked, and enchanted me like nothing has ever enchanted me since.

Zidane

    4. Tell us about your favorite game.

It’s hard to choose a favorite, because my centimental favorite will always be Final Fantasy VII, both for it’s outstanding score (it’s some of the most moving music I’ve ever heard and it’s in MIDI, for christ sake) and immersive world. However, I would really have to choose Final Fantasy IX as my overall favorite, both for it’s originality and the fact that I find it’s battle system to be one of the best the series has offered. I don’t particularly love VII’s materia system because there’s so much customization that characters are all carbon copies of each other. In Final Fantasy IX each character has their own strengths, and by choosing new party members you can have a unique gameplay experience every time you play.

Fran
    5. Who’s your absolute favourite character? 

This too is a hard one, because for a very long time I probably would have said Zell Dincht. I always liked him, I always kept him in my party to see what his reaction to things would be. Rikku is another longtime favorite, she stole the show in Final Fantasy X, I like peppy upbeat characters (with the notable exception of Selphie Tilmitt, who I have grown to feel neutral toward as oppose to outright hating). But the thing is, Final Fantasy is so beloved because of it’s incredible characters. Tifa Lockheart, Fran, Balthier, Lightning Farron, these characters are all emotionally involving and as a player and a person immersed in the Final Fantasy experience I really want the best for them. I want these characters to succeed, and to be happy, and that, I think, is what makes Final Fantasy so special.

Chummy bastard

Chummy bastard

    6. What character do you want to cast Ultima on repeatedly? 

Snow Villiers. I cannot stand him. Every word that comes out of his mouth makes me cringe. Every time Lightning punches him I feel a little flutter in my chest. Not only is his relationship with Serah vomit-worthy and unrealistic (seriously, there’s no development for them whatsoever, we’re just led to believe they’re in love and take it at that. They act like SUCH a couple in XIII-2, let me tell you. That, incidentally, was sarcasm), but his character design is pretty lazy. He looks EXACTLY like Seifer Almasy. He’s a combination of Seifer’s original design from Final Fantasy VIII and Seifer’s Kingdom Hearts incarnation, from the tan trench coat and beanie to the blonde hair and combat boots. I think it’s possible that Snow’s entire purpose is to provide a disparity between an idealistic hero whose all talk and emotions but no action (himself), and a genuine hero who fights all odds to save themselves and the people they love (Lightning).

Beatrix

    7. Favorite class.

Most people say Dragoon. I can see where they’re coming from, Dragoons have some of the highest strength, HP, and all-around stats in the series. Honestly though, I really like White Magic, and as such, I’m going to say Holy Knight, a la Beatrix. There’s something very comforting about the ability to whoop ass with a sword but still heal yourself, and besides the white knight concept just has a lot going for it aesthetically and practically.

 Carbuncle

    8. Favorite summon? 

I had to think about this one. It’s kind of a tie between a few of them, I always love when Leviathan shows up, because water is an element that just doesn’t get enough attention. Phoenix is another favorite, both because of it’s usefulness in battle and how visually appealing it is. Alexander is always great because Holy is a rare and fun element to play with. If I have to pick one though, I think I’m going to go with Carbuncle. He’s adorable, he’s helpful, and I always smile when I see him. He’s like a little Summon buddy.
  Final Fantasy Tactics

  9. What game has the best battle system? 

As I mentioned before, I think Final Fantasy IX has a fantastic setup. Granted, if the series had kept one battle system and never changed, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, and I’m glad that they always innovate. Still, I love classes, and Final Fantasy IX does a great job of keeping characters within their classes. If you want to have White Magic, you need to use one of the White Mages (incidentally, I prefer to use Eiko), and if you want Black Magic you’ll need to use Vivi in your team. This does unfortunately mean that characters like Freya, Steiner, and Amarant have to be picked from because three of the party slots will be filled with Zidane, as well as a black and white mage. Still, the system of learning abilities from your weapons and armor, both battle abilities and passive abilities, is a lot of fun and gives you a reason to experiment with different equipment. Also, the ability to learn Beatrix’s abilities with Steiner is pretty exciting.

Final Fantasy IX is not the only game to have a superior battle system, though. Final Fantasy X does a great job of keeping characters within a certain class but still allowing you the freedom to customizes the characters in any way you like. The Sphere Grid was a fantastic battle system that effectively got rid of a level cap, since filling the entire grid would probably be impossible. But, if we’re going to talk about which game has the BEST system, I’m probably going to have to side with Final Fantasy Tactics. Every single aspect of battling is important, from the direction you’re facing to which spells and abilities you use, to how your zodiac sign aligns with other characters, and since you can use the abilities of an additional class, you can cross any two classes together.

By the way, it should be noted that my LEAST favorite battle system is Final Fantasy XIII’s, which was ambitious but ultimately fell flat. Top to bottom, from the unsatisfyingly narrow battle roles to the inability to do any damage without Staggering, to the constant need to put up buffs and debuff enemies, not to mention the useless potions, ridiculous status ailments that all basically do the same thing, and the linear Crystarium that was basically a base imitation of the sphere grid and offered no customization for characters, the setup was promising but ultimately didn’t accomplish anything it set out to do.
 Dissidia 012

   10. What game has the best plot, and what game has the best cast of characters?

I am somewhat partial to the Ivalice games for their depth, with political intrigue, betrayal, magical warfare, racial diversity, and mythology. Final Fantasy IX, however, had a great storyline as well as some extremely likable, quirky characters. Steiner was hilarious, Eiko and Vivi were lovable, Garnet was compelling, and Zidane was probably the best Final Fantasy hero. Final Fantasy X takes the cake for emotional intensity, the lake scene between Tidus and Yuna is downright romantic, the Al Bhed singing the hymn of the Fayth as they blow up their home is moving, and the excitement of crashing Seymour’s wedding to save Yuna, and her daring fall from the building tops to be saved by her Aeon are incredible. I think that the Fabula Nova Chrysallis series has the potential to become a pretty incredible storyline, and I have this idea that the events of Fabula Nova Chrysalis may become the origins of the Final Fantasy universe as we’ve known it up until now, what with the theme being “cocoons” and “transformation,” and the seen and unseen realms converging on one another to (theoretically), create the spirituality we’ve seen in Final Fantasy games before in which all life cycles through the planets of the universe, but we’ll see what they do with Lightning Returns.

 Cosmo Canyon

   11. If you could go into any FF world, which one would you choose? 

The choice is clear: Gaia from Final Fantasy VII. I’ve dreamed of seeing that world in person my entire life. Although Final Fantasy IX would be a very fun, adventurous world to live in.

   Serah

12. Which game do you like least?

Of the games I’ve played, I’m going to say Final Fantasy XIII-2. While not a terrible game, it started promisingly and ultimately felt very shallow to me, with the exception of the moments involving Lightning, which were few.

   Zell & Seifer

13. What’s your Final Fantasy OTP (One True Pairing)?

Zell and Seifer. I know it sounds crazy, but I totally see it, and I think it makes perfect sense. There’s so much sexual tension between the two of them, I think there are a lot of feelings lurking beneath that rivalry, and both of them could easily be gay. I don’t think this is an unlikely pairing, I think that given both of their characters, it could be entirely possible.
  Fireworks

  14. Tell us an unpopular opinion. 

Well, I’ve already praised both Zell and Rikku, both of whom get a lot of hate from fans as being too loud and annoying, but both of whom I greatly enjoy and always have a spot for in my party. I can think of a lot of things that might be controversial: Ultimecia is a horrible villain, Snow and Serah’s relationship is shallow, teenage, and stupid, Serah is ditzy and vapid, and Noel is underdeveloped and uninteresting. However, I think that a lot of people already feel similarly about these things, so I don’t know that they’re unpopular.

As such, I will just go with this one: Cloud is NOT an emo kid. The Compilation may have made him appear to be one, but rest assured, if you play Final Fantasy VII, you will find Cloud is a cocky (but lovable!) jackass. Even though he adopts Zack’s personality for the majority of the game, he’s still his normal “Let’s mosey!” self after he remembers who he is in the Lifestream. Similarly, Vincent was verbose, poetic, and somewhat dark in Final Fantasy VII, but also not as self-loathing and emo as he was made to be in Dirge of Cerberus.

Tifa's Piano

    15. Favorite soundtrack? Favorite vocal song? (Feel free to grace us with a demonstration if you so choose?) 

Final Fantasy VII without a doubt. I hope that one day (perhaps if Final Fantasy VII ever does get that hotly requested remake fans have been begging for since the arrival of the Playstation 2) there will be a fully orchestral version of the entire soundtrack, and that the songs will continue to see new arrangements and remixes from Square Enix. As for vocal songs, Kiss Me Goodbye by Angela Aki was beautiful.

 Moogles

   16. Which creature (e.g. chocobo) and/or monster (e.g. malboro) do you most want to be real? 

Kupo? I believe I’m going to go with Moogles, for sure. Both the cute fluffy kind (i.e. Mog), and the more sophisticated, wordly kind (i.e. Montblanc). I don’t think Viera count as creatures because they’re people, but if another race can be used as criteria, I am fascinated by the Viera and would love for them to be real.

Beatrix & Steiner

17. Overall favorite scene from any game?

I think that Final Fantasy’s most involving moments are during gameplay, for instance, the entire experience of busting Steiner and Marucs out of their cage, flying to Alexandria to prevent Garnet’s execution, rescuing her and battling Beatrix, fleeing down the spiral staircase with Garnet in your arms, playing as Beatrix betraying her queen for the good of the Princess and her country, and fleeing on the gargant is an extremely thrilling gaming experience. Those are Final Fantasy’s best moments, not the pre-rendered cutscenes. Following Noel across the mountains of A Dying World under the red sky, fighting the Galbadian soldier and stealing his jetpack to save Rinoa, and subsequently running through the crowds of battling Garden students to get her to safety, or climbing the tower in Sector 7 to help Barret fight to keep Shinra from dropping the plate on the citizens of Midgar, are all great example of this kind of gameplay. The best moments happen in the middle of the action, not always in battle.

Still, there have been some great scenes, like Yuna clenching her fist during her wedding kiss with Seymour, Tidus realizing that Yuna has been intent on sacrificing herself the whole time and Valefor cradling him in her wings, and Fran asking her sister to speak to the Wood on her behalf. There have been too many wonderful moments to count, and I hope that Final Fantasy will continue to deliver more in the future.