Hello all. This is my first Destructoid Blog, and it is very long, and I am bitching about the current taste in Square/enix game character designs. If it is too long, it is basically all summarized in the final paragraph.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 came out today.
I was with a friend in an electronics store, saw it, and figured I had to buy it.
(Incidentally, my friend wanted to go there to buy Ghost Squad for the Wii. Which I have to say is a terrible fucking game. In kind of an awesome way. It feels like some 1980s style z-grade action film with horrible voice acting over staticky radio. It is just mindless shooting, and you have to rescue the president twice. One time the two main characters high-fived with the president, but no invites for burgers. Then there is a mission where you have to rescue someone named "McCoy" who is such a bad character model that he looks like a plastic toy of the wolfman. But I digress-)
So I just got home to find the batteries in my DS and drained and plugged it in. I had other stuff to do so I haven't started playing FFTA2 yet. I was a fan of the original Playstation tactics game. I liked the gameboy advance tactics game despite the fact that it seemed kind of shallow and there didn't seem to be much of an over-arching plot to drive me through the battles.
As I am waiting for my DS to charge I start looking at the game manual find the character page. That is when I saw the current manifestation of "Cid". (See attached photo)
Cid is described as the leader of the "Gari Clan" and a big brother figure to the main character, Russo. He is also- FUCK ALL OF THIS, I WILL TELL YOU WHAT HE IS-
Cid is an elfy/rabbit eared body builder, with a romance-novel-cover styled blonde Fabio haircut, and some red tasseled shawl, and Roy Rogers western/Rodeo night style tasseled chaps. He has an insanely pointy nose and a wispy, curling, blonde mustache with matching curly blonde eyebrows.
Please, feel free to refer to the picture again-
I just want to ask, how did it get to this? This character looks like a Tom of Finland acid trip at Cirque Du Soleil dressed up in whatever he could find in Grandma's attic. Who in their right mind designed this shit?
The character design of the tactics series has been consistent since the beginning, and I generally like it. But there was something strange even in the first one. That is to say, even in the first playstation game all of the character design (mainly the pictures in the manual and concept art rather than inside the game itself) had everyone designed in this spooky man/child vibe.
Since FFTA1 was set in Ivalice, it not only had that strange vibe but also involved a lot of those new "races" which are just people with different kind of bunny ears, horns, or lizard eyes, or whatever combination of those attributes.
But seriously, just look at the design for Cid. To me it is fucking embarrassing. Giant bunny man with dreamy blue eyes and blonde mustache. What the fuck?
And I am not coming from the angle of "I want every character to be some photo-realistic tough guy with five o'clock shadow holding a knife or shotgun named Brick Strongo"(The main character of every Xbox game) or "Some girl with a vaguely Japanese-y sounding name with her tits hanging out"(Heavenly sword and all that shit) or "Dreamy-eyed scrappy pre-teen kid with a sword"(The main character of every Japanese RPG) or something like that. Quite the opposite. I really like outlandish character designs, such as the ones you find in Nippon Ichi games like Disgaea, The characters and enemies in the Earthbound/Mother series, Main characters and enemies in the Persona series, Everything about the design in Bioshock, etc. The thing is, outlandish character designs are good, provided they look... Cool... Please, look at this again.
Do you see what I am saying?
Then again, this shouldn't really come as a shock to anyone who has played any Final Fantasy games since Final Fantasy X. For Christ's sake, both of the male leads of X and XII were presumably modeled on Meg Ryan-
Not to mention Kingdom Hearts, which has androgynous doe-eyed youngsters with impeccable hairstyles hanging out with major Disney characters holding weapons. Seriously. Kingdom Hearts makes me cringe.
I don't know if it disturbs you like it disturbs me... But it makes me feeling like I am lost in a triple-x bookstore designed for some disturbing third sex which only gets off on hair gel, idiotically mismatched hairstyles, androgyny, and clothes covered in straps and buckles. Seriously, most of the NPC characters in Final Fantasy X, be they inn keeper or Airship engineer were dressed in day-glo bondage gear and neon rain coats. I am exaggerating a little, but I mean it.
So what I am getting at is I have always really loved and have been influenced by video game art, especially from the Square console RPGs I started on. But I feel like square has taken a turn for the retarded as far as their design goes. Either that or there is some international conspiracy afoot wherein Square is just a minor cog in a master plan to brainwash the world into liking Visual Kei Rock music, so all Final Fantasy Characters now look like they were cooked up in Gackt's testicles. Just look at the characters for Final Fantasy XIII:
From the upper left moving clockwise: Cid, Cloudus, Summona, VagueKabbalahreference, and Johnathan.
FOOLED YOU! THAT IS FROM THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY ON VISUAL KEI!
You believed it for a minute, didn't you? That illustrates my point.
Square is currently lost in a world of idiotic character design. I like Cid as an old man with a big white beard. I like Cid as a cigar smoking badass. I like Cid as a ruler transformed into a frog. But I cannot forgive Cid as a giant fabioesque bunny man wit a blonde mustache.