Because games are about more than headshots

Narrative convergence, or how Final Fantasy XII blatantly rips off Star Wars

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Although the Final Fantasy series has always drawn a lot of inspiration from George Lucas’s classic series of space operas, the narrative and character elements ripped for Final Fantasy XII borders on the ludicrous. While the Final Fantasy series has never been renowned for it’s innovative plot elements and is fairly predictable in it’s angst ridden tales, never before have I been able to so accurately guess the plot merely by having a Wikipedia plot synopsis of Star Wars open. What follows below will be far less analytical than usual (although I sort of feel my last post was fairly lacking in analysis as well) and more of a glorified list of the plot details that were shamelessly ripped from the title, which should hopefully be a little entertaining.

Firstly, let’s deal with the characters that FFXII has stolen from Star Wars. The most obvious is Balthier, a charismatic, easy speaking, rogue who only cares about money (at least initially). He’s one of Ivalice’s (the world of the game) notorious ‘Sky Pirates’ which basically just gives him an excuse to fly around in Final Fantasy’s equivalent of the Millennium Falcon. It may be powered ‘Magick’, but regardless, it resembles the Millennium Falcon exactly, right down to the angles it takes off at when flying out the desert world, a cutscene which could have just as easily been the relevant shot of Han Solo escaping from Tatooine in Episode IV. Furthermore, by default he’s the only character who uses firearms among a group of sword users, which is roughly analogous to the party of the original trilogy. Lastly the game makes frequent references to the large bounty on his head and the one of the game’s recurring foes is a bounty hunter after who’s hell bent of capturing Balthier, making balancing evading the hunters with his desire to save the world alongside everyone else one of his character’s concerns, much like in Star Wars. However, without a Chewbacca any comparisons to Han Solo really fall a bit short. Thankfully XII eagerly provides, in the form a tall and sexy bunny girl. While this may initially seem discontinuous with your perception of what a Chewbacca should be, allow me to elaborate. While Fran doesn’t speak only in grunts and roars which are only understandable by Balthier, she does speak extremely rarely and only then to Balthier. She’s quite withdrawn, very proficient with a bow (as opposed to Chewbacca’s bowcaster) and has abandoned her people (who live in a city of trees, much like the Episode III) in order to live a wild life with Balthier, flying around the galaxy and getting up to no good.

Princess Ashe is astoundingly equivalent to Princess Leia; firstly she is the princess of a kingdom which no longer exists and thus a princess in name only, she is the leader of the ‘Resistance’ against the ‘Empire’, much like in the films, she has an initially distrustful relationship with the charming pirate Balthier before they instead settle into a romantic tension and she is obtained by the party after they rescue her from the brig of one of the Empire’s largest battleships, which despite being no Death Star, is later destroyed in a very similar explosion and is thus roughly equivalent to the plot of Episode IV. She is rescued by Vaan and Basch in addition to Balthier and Fran, characters who are; you guessed it, roughly equivalent to Obi-Wan and Luke. Vaan is a nobody at the game’s beginning, an lowly street urchin who’s forced to odd jobs in the desert (I can haz Tatooine?) and dreams of learning to fly (analogous to Luke’s dream of leaving his home and going to the academy.) and becomes on the game’s main sword wielders. Although it has no lasers. As for as I know, he also doesn’t have any blood relationship to Ashe. But like Luke, he is an orphan. Basch, like Vaan is not a perfect match for the character’s in the films, but has a very strong grounding in the character of Obi-Wan. He’s a night of an old, dead kingdom ( the old republic in Star Wars) and is on a quest to rescue the Princess and place her at the head of the resistance. He is the game’s other main sword wielder, lending the lightsaber references some creed. He also appears to be the oldest character in the party, although nowhere near as old as Obi-Wan is in the later films, although he’d be a pretty close match for the Obi-Wan in Episode III.

The game’s main foes, the ‘Empire’ largely consist of soldiers dressed in full armor wearing face plates which look almost exactly like the Stormtroooper masks from Star Wars. The leading enforcers of this ‘Empire’ are called the judges, each of whom wears a suit of heavy mail and a cape which bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Darth Vader. The ‘leading’ Vader is even a brother to Basch, which allows the writers to incorporate some of the tensions of the Luke/Vader Father/Son into the story. The Empire is also an autocracy resting on the vestiges of a murdered senate, much like the on in Star Wars.

Next we’ll move onto locations that have been shamelessly taken from the classic works. First up is the initial setting, which aside from being a very close approximation of Tatooine (as I mentioned earlier) but also features a race of ‘Dune Raiders’ who operate in tribes and who you commit a minor genocide of at one point, Episode III style. An even more carbon copy of the movie location however, is the second main area the party travels to, Bhujerba. Now, Bhujerba is a city which floats on some magick rocks kilometers off the earths surface, just above the cloud line, which has endeavored to stay neutral in the war by making itself economically indefensible to either side through it’s unique mining operations. Ring any bells? What if I were to also tell you that the governor of this cloud city was a long time friend of a party member, who despite pleasant initial greetings eventually hands the entire party over to the evil empire in order to maintain his cities independence? Hmm. Then, this man later sees the error of what he’s done and joins the resistance, leading it in fact. Remind you of anyone? A general perhaps? General Lando Calrissian? This governor even helps the game fulfill it’s racial minority quota, although it does so through a heavy accent instead of skin color.

Elements which have been directly lifted from Star Wars; The Empire, Resistance, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Leia, Tatooine, Cloud City, Lando, Stormtroopers, Millennium Falcon

Elements which have been inspired by Star Wars; Sand People, Luke, Obi-Wan, Darth Vader Family Relationship to Antagonist.

Well, that’s all for now, Dunno what the next post’ll be.


Written by Aonshix

September 6, 2009 at 10:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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