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[personal profile] dar
Oh, 2011. You keep promising us nice things. It's like after all the suckage of 2010, you're trying to make up for it with gifts. Or you're lavishly showering us with them so we won't leave you for 2012, the younger model. As years go, you're quite the sugar daddy.
And it's good that you are promising us nice things. Because we go into a new year optimistic and it's always that first international tragedy that takes the sheen off it and reminds us it's going to be another three hundred and sixty-five days of the Same. Old. Crap. So the promise of good things to come may just help us get through it with some interest.

Anyway, decent enough day, mostly. Was kinda bummed out last night, not expecting good things for today. But there was work. And a call from Ronan at work. He's hoping to be home for Da's sixtieth birthday next month. He's sending out CV's at the moment, though. Gave him that e-mail address tip [livejournal.com profile] shoopuf showed me about using an e-mail address with your name instead of a nickname to look more professional. Hasn't helped me much, but hopefully it'll help him.
Oh yeah, Da and I went to see The Next Three Days the other night upon Ronan's recommendation. Good film, takes a while to get going but has a really thrilling second half. Well directed and edited, and I say that as someone who finds it very hard giving a crap about Russell Crowe. I mean, have you tried giving a crap about Russell Crowe? Exactly! It's borderline impossible, which is what makes this film such an achievement in film-making. One thing about it is that usually when you watch a film, your suspension of disbelief only goes so far. You rarely find yourself worried the protagonist won't make it because a part of your brain is going "Of course he'll make it, it's a movie!". But in this movie, as well as rooting for the fugitives to escape, at the same time I was also rooting for the police to catch them. Usually in a movie like this, we'd cement the cops as "bad guys" by making them corrupt or nasty, which makes our heroes breaking the law and thwarting them relatively "okay". But in this, the cops AREN'T dicks. They're doing their job and they're good at it and part of you wants to see them succeed in doing it, while another part of you wants Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks to succeed in escape. You're ambivalent, conflicted and thrilled. And you know what I would call that? ENTERTAINING.
It also has Liam Neeson, but not enough Liam Neeson. Sexy, sexy man. And a pretty damn good soundtrack, too. Nice to hear Moby making good music again, like this.

So then while waiting on work, I looked up Shinra News to see suspicions in the last few days confimed: Final Fantasy XIII-2 is happening.
Now, here's why I'm excited instead of the "Oh great, more corridors." reaction. Now is a surprisingly good time to be a fan of Final Fantasy. Why? Because Final Fantasy XIII was only alright (but flawed!) and Final Fantasy XIV is terrible. And both of these facts weren't just reflected in the sales, Square's stock took a punch in the crotch, too. Square have learned the hard way that the Final Fantasy brand is not invincible and simply slapping the label on any half-cooked game is not going to guarantee its success anymore. They know now that they have to save the brand and the only way to do that is to make it good again. And the only way to do THAT is to finally listen to the fans and give them what they want instead of telling them what they want.
Now, I liked Final Fantasy XIII. It's got flaws up the wazoo, but then so did Final Fantasy VIII and I still have a warm place in my heart for that. I'll never deny XIII's flaws and proclaim it one of the best of the series. But it could have been. Square fucked up. And Square figured it was okay to fuck up because Final Fantasies save themselves. Hopefully they've learned from their mistakes and are going to do much better second time around. I'm a strong believer in second chances.

Now, I'll admit that like many of you, I also got annoyed at the constant "run down this corridor, fight this battle, run down that corridor, fight another battle" thing. At the same time however, I entertained absolutely no illusions that previous games in the series were such big free-roaming sandboxes that we could have called the series Grand Theft Airship. Bollocks, there was only ever one way in or out of Midgar, and don't you dare go confusing Spira with Liberty City. Here's the thing: this series was ALWAYS corridors. Just up until nearly a decade ago, they were two-dimensional pre-rendered corridors. And we had the illusion of freedom in that we were free to piss around talking to NPCs. Also, XII was quite free-roaming and look how much people hated THAT. Now, in the logic of XIII's story, it does make sense that the characters wouldn't be free to piss around the towns and shops, for much the same reasons as why I never see Bin Laden in Tescos. That being said, like many of you I was blown away by Gran Pulse and since the logic of the sequel's story is that Lightning should now be free to wander around it, I'm hoping that's what's going to happen this time.

Also, I like the characters. Some more than others, yes. Some for what they are more than who they are. Snow's a prat, yes. But I like that Snow's a prat because I believe him to be a deconstruction of the archetypical fantasy hero. Tall, blonde, good-looking, charismatic, a little goofy/hot-headed, boastful and with a take-charge attitude. And then the game shows you why someone like that is NOT who you want to be the hero of the story because they get other people killed with their bullshit. Hell, I've seen it argued that Final Fantasy XIII is a deconstruction of Final Fantasy itself. Namely with how much it would actually SUCK to have fate or destiny thrust upon you by a higher power with an agenda of its own.

And Lightning's a great character. I'll be happy to see her again. I'm liking that with her, Square finally figured out how to pass the Bechdel Test. And as anyone who knows me knows, I love Fang, whom in all honesty I believe to be the best female character in all of Final Fantasy. Yes, counting Celes, Lulu, Fran and Saint Aeris and no, not my usual brand of hyperbole. I love that she ticks all the boxes for FF leading men and would argue that much like Basch in XII, she is the lead character of the story, we just witness her tale through another character. ...Now, Vanille I will admit is really "love her or loathe her", but since I consider her Selphie 2.0, it's impossible for me not to go with the former.

It's being directed by Motomu Toriyama, the same guy who also directed X-2, which should have many of you recoiling in terror, but remember what I said about second chances. After all, it's not like Lightning was suddenly wearing hotpants in the trailer. He's also the guy who directed Revenant Wings and XIII itself, so hopefully he'll do better continuing his own work than someone else's.
So, with all of this in mind and the flaws acknowledged, I've taken the liberty of drawing up something of a Final Fantasy XIII-2 wishlist.

  1. More Fang.

  2. More Vanille (it's my wishlist, not yours.)

  3. More Fang and Vanille. (Oh, it's "not canon". Yeah, and I'm Maggie Gyllenhaal's personal masseuse. My gaydar's bad, it's not THAT bad.)

  4. Gran Pulse and lots of it.

  5. No completely changing the heroine's personality/wardrobe. I see you've given Lightning a new outfit, but at least it looks like something a soldier would wear.

  6. If any of the characters are supposed to be pregnant, how about making them look it?

  7. A combat system centered around the gunblade. It's the series trademark weapon, after all. How about finally a game where the mechanics of wielding a gunblade are factored into the battle as something more than just pressing R1 at the right time.

  8. NO Leona Lewis. This is non-ne-fuckin'-gotiable.

  9. I'm serious. No Leona Lewis. You people got Faye Wong, Gackt and Kyosuke Himuro to record new material for you, for crying out loud. I swear, you get someone from X Factor and I'll... I'll... type something threatening on here likely to get me investigated.

  10. No replacing a beloved secondary character with a very similar new character just because you don't know how to write around their personality.

  11. No making the damn thing 60% minigames.

  12. Put Lightning in a giant moogle suit and you and I are done professionally.

  13. Feel free to steal my idea of Squall and Rinoa being Fang's parents.

  14. More sexy Australian accents.

  15. DLC and plenty of it.



And so, with little else left to say, he resorted to photoshop.



WIIIITH THEEEESE! HUN-GRY EYES!
ONE LOOK AT YOU AND I CAN'T DISGUISE I'VE GOT HUN-GREE EYES!
I FEEL THE MAGIC BETWEEN YOU AND I!
I NEED YOU TO SEEEEE!
THIS LOVE WAS MEANT TO BE!
Sax solo!
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December 2011

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