Game Narrative Review: Final Fantasy X [09.05.13]
- Christopher Krawczyk
[Guildhall at SMU alumnus Christopher Krawczyk examines the characters and narrative that drive Square Enix's classic PlayStation 2 RPG Final Fantasy X.]
Game Title: Final Fantasy X
Platform: Playstation 2
Release Date: Dec 17, 2001
Developer: Square Soft
Publisher: Square EA
Game Writer/Creative Director/Narrative Designer: Uncertain
Author of this review: Christopher Krawczyk
Final Fantasy X was one of the first to bring real-time, interactive storytelling to a 3D platform and succeed. One could only achieve such success with an excellent narrative, full use of symbolism, and decision based game play. Furthermore, Final Fantasy's narrative was designed to establish an emotional connection between the player, story, and main characters. The writers used subtle symbols, interesting character quirks, and relatable scenarios to draw the player in. Even the environment itself sets the mood of the story, through the use of colors, music, and even the weather (elements).
Final Fantasy's narrative is an epic one in which the main character Tidus is torn from the world he knows, a world where he lives a comfortable life as a Blitzball (underwater soccer) superstar. When chaos strikes his home town of Zanarkand, Tidus is confronted by an ethereal being, Sin, which offers to save him. With Zanarkand crumbling around him, Tidus reluctantly allows himself to be consumed by Sin and the offer of truth and salvation. Sometime later, Tidus awakens from a coma like state to a strange world around him. Struck with amnesia, Tidus only recalls his name and pieces of his past life as a famous Blitzball player. Eventually, Tidus is rescued by a group of locals who take him in. He later joins his new found friends, on a pilgrimage to Zanarkand, with the hopes of returning home. However, what Tidus doesn't know is the world he's in, Spira, Zanarkand has been destroyed for hundreds of years and is no more than an ancient relic. Along the pilgrimage relationships are formed, most notably that of Tidus and Yuna, the girl whom the group is aiding to Zanarkand. Tidus later discovers that Yuna's pilgrimage is a self sacrificing one to stop Sin from destroying Spira. Ultimately, at the culminating point of the story Tidus must choose to sacrifice himself and kill his father, who has become Sin, in order to save the world and the girl he loves. This gripping, emotional, game uses a variety of symbols, elements, and quandaries to create an authentic, interactive storytelling experience.
- Tidus - The main character. The story revolves around Tidus, a famous Blitzball player from Zanarkand. His hometown is attacked by Sin and he is transported to the world of Spiria. In Spiria Tidus meets his travel companions and the Summoner, Yuna, who he falls in love with. He joins Yuna on her Pilgrimage to put an end to Sin and the cycle of death for Spiria. Tidus is a youthful young man with an almost zealous demeanor. However, he is very carefree, upbeat, and helpful. Tidus also has a sensitive side that surfaces from time to time. As a child Tidus' father Jecht was hard on him, causing him to think lowly of Jecht, which in turn gave Tidus the motive to do better.
- Yuna - Beautiful determined young Summoner. She is the daughter of the well known High Summoner Braska who died fighting Sin. She sets out on a Pilgrimage to defeat Sin with her Guardians and a new found friend, Tidus. Throughout the story Yuna and Tidus grow closer and eventually fall in love. Yuna is a kind hearted and compassionate young woman with a nearly unbreakable devotion to her task. She has a unique trait that her left eye is blue and her right is green. She has chosen to follow in her father's footsteps and become the next great Summoner.
- Auron - Becomes like a father figure to Tidus. He was a friend of Tidus' father Jecht and former Guardian of Yuna's father Braska. He promises to show Tidus the way and help him find his father. Auron wields a large and powerful sword and tends to be the muscle of the group. He sets out on the Pilgrimage with Tidus, Yuna, and the Guardians to defeat Sin. A quirk of Auron's is that he always wears his arm in a sling, except when he is fighting. Auron is the strict, strong, and silent type. When Auron does speak, he often says something important. Auron is often unconcerned with his own well being and seeks to protect his friends.
- Wakka - He is a good friend and mentor to Yuna and his fellow Guardians. He is an islander with a happy go lucky attitude, always willing to help. Wakka always tries to cheer up the group. He too sets out on the Pilgrimage with Yuna and her Guardians to defeat Sin. Wakka shares common interest with Tidus and becomes like a brother to him.
- Lulu - Becomes like a mother figure to the group and an older sister to Yuna. She is the wisest and most mature of all the Guardians. Lulu can seem insensitive at times, but is gentle underneath. Lulu also partakes in the Pilgrimage to defeat Sin, where she plays a vital role helping Tidus adjust to Spiria.
- Rikku - Is a kind hearted, upbeat girl who is quick to befriend Tidus. She becomes a valued friend to all of the Guardians and later turns out to be Yuna's cousin. Rikku also takes part in Yuna's Pilgrimage where she attempts to stop her multiple times; knowing that Yuna would eventually die summoning the Final Aeon. Rikku has a quirk where she's afraid of lightning. She eventually looks up to Tidus as a brother.
- Kimahri - Is a Ronso, part man part beast. He is shunned by many of his people because he is smaller than average and has a broken horn. He is one of Yuna's first Guardians. He becomes a valued protector of the group. Kimahri rarely talks, but when he does it is usually of importance.
- Seymour - Is one of the games primary antagonists. He is a Guado human half-breed and a Maester in the church of Yevon. He has a large influence over the people of Spiria. He spends much of the game using his power to attempt to destroy Spiria, believing its destruction will free the people. He has such an interest in Yuna that he attempts force her into marriage. Seymour always has a dark, ominous, and stern presence.