I. WTF is this shit?
Final Fantasy fans is loves it dramatic villains, so much so that they tend to overshadow dominate all discussion leaving many aspects of the game otherwise forgotten, which is unfortunate. Especially considering that almost universally, Final Fantasy games starts their story pitting a couple of downtrodden, inappropriately dressed young adults against a large overarching authority, which like all authorities spend all their resources oppressing people, committing genocide, and kicking puppies. These said authorities and institutions are dynamic in Final Fantasy, ranging from complex organizations to simple megalomaniac kingdoms.
They embody all the things that are truly wrong with society. Sure, Kefka is a crazed personification of ultimate evil, but how many Kefkas do we see in the world today? It’s the greed, the corruption, and the moral bankruptcy of authority that seems to perpetuate our news. Global destruction for the lulz is one thing, but it is the wars, oppression, environmental destruction, and exploitation that we as a player can connect with.
This wall of text is, as you guessed it, about the authorities and institutions that the player struggles with throughout the game. This is less an essay that it is a stream of consciousness opinions about the make up and themes of these establishment. It’s also fairly limited as it will only encompass games from VI and later, and many of these looks are not as thorough as I would like because it has been years since I played them. The organizations that are presented here are the Gestahl Empire from FFVI, Shinra Electric Company from FFVII, Galbadia from FFVIII, Alexandria AND Terra from FFIX, Yevon from FFX, Archadia from FFXII, and the Sanctum from FFXIII. It would be very easy to slip in discussion about the leaders that control these organizations (Rufus Shinra, Vayne Solidor, etc) and they are important to understand why these organizations do what they do. But I would run the risk into slipping into lengthy debates on just the nature of these figureheads so I will avoid this part of the discussion.
It goes without saying that, yes, there will be spoilers
for FFVI through XIII…( Common themesCollapse )( FFVICollapse )( Final Fantasy VIICollapse )( FFVII history influencesCollapse )( FFVIIICollapse )
End of Part I, Next time (hopefully) includes FFIX, FFX, FFXII, and FFXIII