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How did Final Fantasy VIII become so hated ?

Vier

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Jun 7, 2019
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It constantly gets looked as the black sheep of the series and is usually never up there with the rest of the good ones. My question is why? I'm about halfway in and I'm absolutely LOVING it.

Every gameplay system is good and entertaining, including the card game which is very fun. Even the junction system is great once you get the hang of it. The Draw system is also really cool as you can constantly draw different attacks and summons from other enemies. Just got to the orphanage part and starting to get really invested in the story and the characters. So what's the catch? I've platinumed almost every Final Fantasy game and don't understand why this game isn't regarded as one of the best final fantasy games of all time by fans in general.

It always seems to be a love it or hate it kind of game and I don't get it.
 

Captain Toad

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The biggest issue is the horrible enemy scaling. For a game that has random battles to level your characters up, it's not great that any levels you gain hurt your character more than help.

Plus, the story is just so absurd. I won't spoil anything if it's your first time, but a major plot point or realization expects the player just to buy into the most absurd coincidence I've ever heard.
 

Aion002

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I didn't hate many things, but there's also not many things that I enjoyed... I finished once on the ps1 and I never replayed.

I just like the others more... My guess would be the experimental nature of some systems in the game. They're too different and some tends to hate new stuff... But they're a vocal minority, the FFVIII cast is quite beloved by the fans, if I am not mistaken.
 
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Kev Kev

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Oct 25, 2012
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It constantly gets looked as the black sheep of the series and is usually never up there with the rest of the good ones. My question is why? I'm about halfway in and I'm absolutely LOVING it.

Every gameplay system is good and entertaining, including the card game which is very fun. Even the junction system is great once you get the hang of it. The Draw system is also really cool as you can constantly draw different attacks and summons from other enemies. Just got to the orphanage part and starting to get really invested in the story and the characters. So what's the catch? I've platinumed almost every Final Fantasy game and don't understand why this game isn't regarded as one of the best final fantasy games of all time by fans in general.

It always seems to be a love it or hate it kind of game and I don't get it.
i think its pretty beloved for the most part. it got sandwiched in between two f the best FFs (imo, and a lot of others, but not everybody's of opinion of course, and thats fine). i think there are just aspects of it that people didnt care for. the draw system is great but easily abused, making battle laughably easy by like a quarter of the way through the game.

other than that, i love it. triple triad is the best FF mini game ever. the story is fantastic and has a near perfect ending imo. the battle and GFs are great, the exploration and towns are fun, the music is one of the best in the series, and on and on. its one of my favorite FFs. but 6, 7 and 9 are my top 3, so 8 sort of gets back seated, but its still an amazing FF imo.
 

Clear

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Yeah, its a very well liked game. Its only real problem is that coming along after the immense breakout success of FF7 cast a shadow over it.

The historical perspective is warped by critical reception, and given the majority of Western critics were in the thrall of their childhoods playing Nintendo, its radical deviation away from the franchise high-fantasy traditions didn't really win many converts.

I mean over the years the line has hardened that FF8 not FF9 is the "black sheep" of the PS1 trilogy, and yet if you look at more contemporary polls and reactions the response was generally the reverse - especially in Japan.
 

Oberstein

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Yep, it was very criticized, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but after several years of absolutely shitty episodes (and/or stupid spin-offs), the old FF seem to us to be real gems compared to the current production (thanks SE).
 

Yoboman

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Its not that it was bad. In fact it was very good. If they released it today it would be the best game they'd made in years

Its just sandwiched between games that are held in much higher regard. V, VI, VII all better. Then IX, X and XII also better

And Square were also busy making games like Chrono, FF Tactics, vagrant Story, Xenogears etc at the same time. So you can see how VIII doesn't hit the bar Square set themselves at that era
 

SkylineRKR

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VIII succeeded VII. I think the junction system wasn't good and people hated the twist. Other than that VIII had a great score and excellent locations. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm also inclined to think its better than IX. At least I liked it better. There was more and better side content, unless you liked chocobo hot and cold, which I didn't. VIII was a bigger game, with faster battles (esp. if you junctioned speed).
 

TheDreadLord

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It is an OK jrpg, I think. The main issue is the cast of characters (each one represents a stereotype, no depth at all). It is very hard to care for any of them. The leveling-up system is also a mess. But all in all it has the best mini game of the series (at least until all the additional - and dumb - rules are added on top of the base rule).
 
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Clear

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Its not that it was bad. In fact it was very good. If they released it today it would be the best game they'd made in years

Its just sandwiched between games that are held in much higher regard. V, VI, VII all better. Then IX, X and XII also better

And Square were also busy making games like Chrono, FF Tactics, vagrant Story, Xenogears etc at the same time. So you can see how VIII doesn't hit the bar Square set themselves at that era

9 isn't better than 8 if you have no affinity with the earlier (high fantasy) franchise entries in the series. If you came in with 7, 8 felt like a natural progression, and 9 a massive regression into childishness. Its like the Hobbit versus LOTR.

Also, I wish people would stop making excuses for 9 having the worst battle-system of any FF since the SNES era. Its slow, dull, bloated with an inflated number of status ailments (never repeated), and generally not even interesting, let alone good.
 
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I'd say 15 gets this reputation more than 8. Despite both being great.
 

Ezquimacore

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The real answer is because it was too linear and we already had footage of FFVS13 AKA FF15
 

Yoboman

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9 isn't better than 8 if you have no affinity with the earlier (high fantasy) franchise entries in the series. If you came in with 7, 8 felt like a natural progression, and 9 a massive regression into childishness. Its like the Hobbit versus LOTR.

Also, I wish people would stop making excuses for 9 having the worst battle-system of any FF since the SNES era. Its slow, dull, bloated with an inflated number of status ailments (never repeated), and generally not even interesting, let alone good.
I came in with 7 and 8. 9 was magical and just highlighted to me how awesome and varied the series should be
 

Ellery

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The PS1 era FF games (7,8,9) are all amazing masterpieces. Funnily 8 is my actual favourite and I never understood why anyone would dislike any of those 3 games.

For like 20 years Final Fantasy 8 was actual my all time favourite game and I think they crafted a beautiful world with immersive powers that make you want to join balamb garden as a student.

It also has the very best soundtrack of any game ever by a big margin.

I agree though that I have seen multiple people disliking Final Fantasy 8 for reasons that never made sense to me and it seens to be a more polarizing game of the series. Never understood why. It always felt like a few people randomly decided it was time to hate at least one Final Fantasy game of the golden era.
 

UnNamed

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I don't think FF8 is hated, actually is loved by most since this is the first "popular" FF everyone played.
But FF8 had undoubtedly some problem:
-junction system is too much complicated and not so deep, in the end you can master it but automatic junction is good enough;
-Selphie;
-magics are too much depowered for a good part of the game, there is a bad balance between weapons and magic;
-wages instead of take money from enemies was a really stupid idea;
-elastic system for the enemies is a good idea on paper, bad in reality. This was made to avoid powerplay, but in the end every battle is a long pain;
-unique lore for everybody in contrast to multiple stories for every character;
-Selphie;
 
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Daymos

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If you listen to the 'State of the Arc' podcast, the developers were tired of making the same old thing so the producer of the series allowed the team to use their own ideas and make their own thing, it turned out very different from final fantasy 1-7 and people don't like change. Sakaguchi took bad the reins for final fantasy 9.

If you want to know everything there ever was to know about the game, this is a super indepth podcast. It's like 8 parts:
 
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Elios83

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Disc1 was amazing.
Unfortunately the story falls apart in the second half and certain parts (from Esthar city onwards) are just boring.
It's still a great JRPG overall with tons of great features though. I don't hate it at all.
 
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Kev Kev

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Yep, it was very criticized, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but after several years of absolutely shitty episodes (and/or stupid spin-offs), the old FF seem to us to be real gems compared to the current production (thanks SE).
Soooooo true

I think one of the reasons I’m enjoying ff12 so much right now if because how sub par SEs offerings to the FF series has been over the last decade.
 

Karonoth

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Shitty English translation imo. The Spanish translation for example is 1000 times better.
 

Keihart

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Game is good, i personally think it's just old memes being carried through time. If you compare it now to the other classic FF games it stands on it's own, but at the time people didn't know better, praising FF8 if you preferred another entry was like a declaration of war so the memes carried over. People that haven't even played FF8 at the time or now go in with the idea that is broken.
 
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sigmaZ

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Dec 28, 2020
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It constantly gets looked as the black sheep of the series and is usually never up there with the rest of the good ones. My question is why? I'm about halfway in and I'm absolutely LOVING it.

Every gameplay system is good and entertaining, including the card game which is very fun. Even the junction system is great once you get the hang of it. The Draw system is also really cool as you can constantly draw different attacks and summons from other enemies. Just got to the orphanage part and starting to get really invested in the story and the characters. So what's the catch? I've platinumed almost every Final Fantasy game and don't understand why this game isn't regarded as one of the best final fantasy games of all time by fans in general.

It always seems to be a love it or hate it kind of game and I don't get it.
For me it was that coming right off FF7 which did so many things right, instead of keeping those things and improving on them it made them worse in several ways.
1. The opening:
They had a way better opening with the island invasion but they decided to do a slow opening. This almost never works and it didn't work here. They should've started on a high note and then have done some character exploration after they'd returned from the mission. Really disappointing. FF7 had/still has one of the best RPG openings ever.
2. Battles
I don't necessarily hate the draw system as much as most, but what really gets me is how much slower the battles feel after 7. 7 really nailed the battle speed for a 3D ff. 8 and 9 (which is arguably even worse in this regard) just slowed things down with the unnecessary animations. Anytime devs do something like this to sacrifice gameplay for realism it almost always results in bad gameplay. The whole point of the ATB system is to be fast and action oriented. Characters reacting slowly is the antithesis of the battle system itself.
3. Characters
The characters weren't bad persey, but I think the way they went about developing was lackluster in someway. Again in might go back to not being as good as previous titles in this regard. Characters are best when they are introduced situationaly (i.e. there is a reason for them to show up). When they are just... there, it kind of doesn't really build any importance around them. The previous games (IV-VII) all did this extremely well (ok 5 maybe not so much). They also had standout character themes to emphasis things even more.
4. The last disc issue
Having all of the different locations locked off was a real drag when you finally get the ability to roam around before the final dungeon. This was a huge part of the previous games and it just felt hollow here. Surely they could've handled things better somehow.
5. The airship
When I first saw designs of the airship, I was blown away. it was the coolest look airship they'd ever designed. Then, when I actually flew it my disappointment was through the roof. It turned out to be the slowest and most sluggish of any airship in the entire franchise even though it was a full blown spaceship.

I had many more nitpicks, but it's been so long I can't remember. I just remember giving up halfway through and game genieing it to the end just to watch the ending (which was actually quite good, especially the credits).
I was hoping 9 would redeem the series, but found the same issues there PLUS the soundtrack was lackluster. A double whammy.
10 showed a lot of promise, but was a bit too linear for its own good.
12 I liked a lot but I was only borrowing it so I couldn't finish it at the time, but I was addicted.
13 had a lot of things wrong with it, but I enjoyed the combat enough to finish it at least.
15 also showed a lot of potential but felt sluggish and unfinished, though had a really good ending.
I'm expecting 16 to be the redeemer. The battle system looks fast and fluid, the music sounds amazing, and the dark setting is what the series needs instead of all these cutesy anime tropes.
 

Keihart

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Jun 23, 2013
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For me it was that coming right off FF7 which did so many things right, instead of keeping those things and improving on them it made them worse in several ways.
1. The opening:
They had a way better opening with the island invasion but they decided to do a slow opening. This almost never works and it didn't work here. They should've started on a high note and then have done some character exploration after they'd returned from the mission. Really disappointing. FF7 had/still has one of the best RPG openings ever.
2. Battles
I don't necessarily hate the draw system as much as most, but what really gets me is how much slower the battles feel after 7. 7 really nailed the battle speed for a 3D ff. 8 and 9 (which is arguably even worse in this regard) just slowed things down with the unnecessary animations. Anytime devs do something like this to sacrifice gameplay for realism it almost always results in bad gameplay. The whole point of the ATB system is to be fast and action oriented. Characters reacting slowly is the antithesis of the battle system itself.
3. Characters
The characters weren't bad persey, but I think the way they went about developing was lackluster in someway. Again in might go back to not being as good as previous titles in this regard. Characters are best when they are introduced situationaly (i.e. there is a reason for them to show up). When they are just... there, it kind of doesn't really build any importance around them. The previous games (IV-VII) all did this extremely well (ok 5 maybe not so much). They also had standout character themes to emphasis things even more.
4. The last disc issue
Having all of the different locations locked off was a real drag when you finally get the ability to roam around before the final dungeon. This was a huge part of the previous games and it just felt hollow here. Surely they could've handled things better somehow.
5. The airship
When I first saw designs of the airship, I was blown away. it was the coolest look airship they'd ever designed. Then, when I actually flew it my disappointment was through the roof. It turned out to be the slowest and most sluggish of any airship in the entire franchise even though it was a full blown spaceship.

I had many more nitpicks, but it's been so long I can't remember. I just remember giving up halfway through and game genieing it to the end just to watch the ending (which was actually quite good, especially the credits).
I was hoping 9 would redeem the series, but found the same issues there PLUS the soundtrack was lackluster. A double whammy.
10 showed a lot of promise, but was a bit too linear for its own good.
12 I liked a lot but I was only borrowing it so I couldn't finish it at the time, but I was addicted.
13 had a lot of things wrong with it, but I enjoyed the combat enough to finish it at least.
15 also showed a lot of potential but felt sluggish and unfinished, though had a really good ending.
I'm expecting 16 to be the redeemer. The battle system looks fast and fluid, the music sounds amazing, and the dark setting is what the series needs instead of all these cutesy anime tropes.
You see, me and all my hommies prefer 8 over 7.
6 is our goat and 5 the contender.

I say our, because the "consensus" seemed wildly different depending on which circle you asked.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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Nov 1, 2020
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- leveling up makes you weaker

- spells are now like items that give you stat boosts, and you can draw an unlimited # of them from any enemy you encounter (limited only by how long you’re willing to spend mindlessly repeating the same action)

- battle system is largely based around watching long, unskippable summon animations over and over

- Squall is kind of a douche, and really the whole cast of party members was pretty unlikeable

- one of the dumbest plot twists in the history of JRPGs


I actually still like the game a lot, but every single criticism I’ve read of the game is pretty valid. I can understand why some people dislike it.
 

Pallas

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May 9, 2018
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I actually like the story minus the romance elements, but the junction and draw system was just so weird at the time when the game came out, compared to past final fantasies but I realize as I grew older, I came to appreciate and like it more.

But when the game came out, I hated that damn system, but I was also much younger and still in school.

Also, I hated how they did the overworld map near the time you are ready for the final dungeon. My exploration drive was stifle heavily.
 
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Narratively, the game gets really wacko and hard to follow by disc 3; was never really a fan of the junction system as well.

That being said, FF8 is still great with a beautiful art style, world, and a god-tier soundtrack that is, perhaps, Uematsu’s masterpiece.
 
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Clear

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If you listen to the 'State of the Arc' podcast, the developers were tired of making the same old thing so the producer of the series allowed the team to use their own ideas and make their own thing, it turned out very different from final fantasy 1-7 and people don't like change. Sakaguchi took bad the reins for final fantasy 9.

If you want to know everything there ever was to know about the game, this is a super indepth podcast. It's like 8 parts:

Its funny, I started listening to the podcast and for the first 30 mins or so I was pretty impressed, admittedly there's not much "research" in there beyond distilling and extracting elements from old interviews, but its pretty good.

Unfortunately once it gets into the section on "style" it immediately veers off into typical amateur analysis and really started to grate. The labouring of the point over the initial "hook" sequence (the duel sequence intro movie) made me want to tear my hair out.

I'm sorry, but when people start saying "well I've been on such and such writing courses, and they stress this rule" and then using that as the thesis of their argument... its a good time to bail. Here's the thing: rules are tools. When you get taught these things its so you understand fundamental technique.

Its like learning a certain brushstroke; knowing that is one thing and applying it is another. You can learn to play an instrument but that doesn't mean to say you can compose for shit! Because you cannot teach "beauty", or whatever aesthetic you seek to communicate.

Sorry to vent, but its precisely the sort of crude simplistic argumentation that annoys the piss out of me.
 
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Tazzu

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The first disc is also the best by quite a bit. Many of us finished it hoping the magic carries on. Still a great game though, flaws and all. Playing it back in 1999 sure was something though.
 

sigmaZ

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Dec 28, 2020
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You see, me and all my hommies prefer 8 over 7.
6 is our goat and 5 the contender.

I say our, because the "consensus" seemed wildly different depending on which circle you asked.
Yeah, some people prefer
Its funny, I started listening to the podcast and for the first 30 mins or so I was pretty impressed, admittedly there's not much "research" in there beyond distilling and extracting elements from old interviews, but its pretty good.

Unfortunately once it gets into the section on "style" it immediately veers off into typical amateur analysis and really started to grate. The labouring of the point over the initial "hook" sequence (the duel sequence intro movie) made me want to tear my hair out.

I'm sorry, but when people start saying "well I've been on such and such writing courses, and they stress this rule" and then using that as the thesis of their argument... its a good time to bail. Here's the thing: rules are tools. When you get taught these things its so you understand fundamental technique.

Its like learning a certain brushstroke; knowing that is one thing and applying it is another. You can learn to play an instrument but that doesn't mean to say you can compose for shit! Because you cannot teach "beauty", or whatever aesthetic you seek to communicate.

Sorry to vent, but its precisely the sort of crude simplistic argumentation that annoys the piss out of me
Odd how the very thing you argue against is support with the logic of which you argue against it. Humans are fascinating creatures. Regardless, a hook is an essential part of a narrative though admittedly doesn't not NEED to be action oriented, but for an action driven story is the safest play by far to get the ball rolling. Look at FFIV for example. They could have started at the castle and it would've still been a great game, but the hook, the invasion of Mystidia, created tension and a backdrop for the world to grow upon as well as intrigue within the player. In games, it also serves as a way to introduce players to the game mechanics up front (it is a game afterall) and leave them longing for more. Yes the rules aren't a limiting factor necessarily in art, but not having a proper intro to a song is a pretty bold artistic statement.
 

DJTHEGREY

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I loved FFVIII... The characters are some of my favorite and that soundtrack was probably one of the best. I didn't care much for IX... I thought that was the black sheep... Wasn't a big fan of that cast.
 

Susurrus

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People who's first Final Fantasy was 7 didn't realize the games change every iteration and were disappointed when FF8 didn't have the same system as FF7 and the bad taste remained. I think that's where most of the hate came from. Most people I talk to that were on the bandwagon before 7 might have had differing opinions, for better or worse, expecting things to not be identical from game to game allowed us to embrace it for what it was.
 

Brock2621

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If you listen to the 'State of the Arc' podcast, the developers were tired of making the same old thing so the producer of the series allowed the team to use their own ideas and make their own thing, it turned out very different from final fantasy 1-7 and people don't like change. Sakaguchi took bad the reins for final fantasy 9.

If you want to know everything there ever was to know about the game, this is a super indepth podcast. It's like 8 parts:
Was literally about to post this but if anyone has t listened to this, it’s a fantastic podcast that goes really deep into every aspect of the game.
 

Clear

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Odd how the very thing you argue against is support with the logic of which you argue against it. Humans are fascinating creatures. Regardless, a hook is an essential part of a narrative though admittedly doesn't not NEED to be action oriented, but for an action driven story is the safest play by far to get the ball rolling. Look at FFIV for example. They could have started at the castle and it would've still been a great game, but the hook, the invasion of Mystidia, created tension and a backdrop for the world to grow upon as well as intrigue within the player. In games, it also serves as a way to introduce players to the game mechanics up front (it is a game afterall) and leave them longing for more. Yes the rules aren't a limiting factor necessarily in art, but not having a proper intro to a song is a pretty bold artistic statement.

Best way I can describe it is to say, to me, its like carefully examining every single note played but ignoring the "music".

What is the music trying to convey? Is it excitement? Or romance? Or pathos?

You need to look holistically, understand the bigger picture first before trying to evaluate the components that make up its composition. If you take the opposite path, I just think its not enlightening. Because ultimately despite the academic rigour involved in the construction of a piece, those rules are just the supportive bones. Its just a skeleton, not the meat of it.

Great artists are rare individuals who envision things in a very specific, subjective manner and are able to communicate that inner vision in a way that the rest of us are able to understand or at least interpret. They are rule-breakers, not rule-followers.

Its why committees tend to be poor structures to build artistic endeavours around, and why games -which more than any other form are communal, collaborative creations- tend to show true auteurism pretty infrequently.
 

Elysion

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FF8 still has the best character designs of the whole franchise, imo. Mostly normal looking people with cool, but not overly flamboyant outfits, unlike most other JRPGs. The same is true for the world itself, which was „a fantasy based on reality“ long before FFversus13/15 was a thing. I really dislike how they changed Squall’s face into a that of a typical anime-ish ladyboy in the remaster. If you compare it to cg renders of him from the original game, you can see that he had much more realistic looking features (or as realistic as was possible at the time). And his redesign in the Dissidia games is even worse; in addition to his anime face his body now also looks like he has anorexia.

As far as the whole orphanage plot is concerned:
People who say it‘s too much of a coincidence that the six main characters just happened to grow up in the same orphanage have it backwards: The reason they all became SEEDs and did missions together was exactly because they went to the same orphanage. After all, they were raised by Edea, who came up with the idea for the ‚Gardens‘ in the first place (after a time-traveling Squall told her about it). They probably all decided to become SEEDs together when they were kids, but then gradually lost those memories through GF usage. The only thing about this that’s questionable is why they didn‘t stay in contact with each other, especially since the memory-loss thing was apparently a well known fact, or why Cid, who was Edea’s husband, never reminded them.