…for me at least. Syp has his latest top ten list active on his blog, this time for the original Playstation. (I love this series of his, btw)
And Final Fantasy VII tops his list, as I’m sure it does many other people.
The love for FF7 has always fascinated me, because for me that’s where the series died. That’s where it stopped being an RPG. That’s where they stopped giving me a story to play with my characters and started giving me a story to watch with their characters. If you asked me to describe FF7 or the ones I played after that, “boring” and “dull” would be the tags I would use. Final Fantasy X was the first one I played, and all I remember was how ridiculous it was, both in story and gameplay.
In fact, it was this trend in RPG design – to stop interacting with the players – that kindled both my fierce loyalty to the Might and Magic series through its later years (as they were seemingly the only ones left doing this in the SRPG category) and dialed in my interest in Everquest and the MMO genre as it started to ramp up.
In fact, I can give you my RPG timeline for that period fairly clearly:
Might and Magic VIII (March, 2000)
DnD 3rd Edition (August, 2000)
Final Fantasy X (July, 2001)
Grand Theft Auto III (October, 2001)
Might and Magic IX (March, 2002)
Everquest Online Adventures (February, 2003)
I threw in DnD 3rd because when those came out I began an active PnP campaign with some friends, and didn’t really have a CRPG I was playing at the time. And one bit is deceptive: I played Final Fantasy for all of a day before I ditched it and started looking for something else (Madden, as it turned out).
So, while I have always looked daggers at FF7 and the downward spiral it started the series into (IMHO), I am ultimately grateful that it brought me into the world of MMO’s. And I wonder if I’m not alone in that. Did the general trend towards JRPG’s linear, enclosed storylines have any impact on the subsequent success of Everquest, World of Warcraft, and others? Did the near simultaneous launch of Ultima Online and Final Fantasy VII in some way split the CRPG crowd into smaller genres of players?
I wouldn’t even know how to begin to collect the data on that, or if its even possible. But at moments like this, I wish I had traded in my psych degree for a sociology one, like my professor recommended…