Gentlemen, I’ve called you to this meeting to discuss our latest project.
Final Fantasy VI is one of the company’s most popular games. It has a dedicated fandom of consumers and outside of non-stop re-releases on every format – we have resisted the urge to exploit this game for over ten years.
I think now is the time to change that. I would like to introduce you to our PSP exclusive title:
Kefka Core®, perhaps Kefka Kore® or KK® for short, (we should organise a focus group to examine risk of accidentally adding an extra K) will follow the the story of minor character and consumer favourite General Leo Cristophe.
To refresh your memories, General Leo was the honourable soldier of the Empire, who died tragically standing up against them. His chivalry and combat ability earned the respect of both the protagonists and the consumers.
Now, based on our current trends and market research, we’ll have to redesign his character to appeal more to the modern JRPG crowd. Nomura, this is your task.
- First of all, the crew-cut won’t do. Change it to something spiky and more anime-styled.
- His face is far too masculine. He needs a pointy chin, perfect skin…I tell you what; just find a picture of a girl from an anime and copy that. As always, we want those proper bishounen consumer dollars, not another Final Fantasy IX!
- In keeping with his newly youthful looks, we should reduce his age. What consumers will possibly accept a thirty year old protagonist? Let’s make him 17. It’ll be part of his backstory: he became a General at such a young age because he’s so…Like…Awesome and pretty or something.
- Cristophe isn’t really a very dynamic name. How about something that mirrors the main character from the original game…Terra…Terra…Aha, Terra…Firma! His name will be Leo Fairma.
- We need to make his costume more modern and less like Amano created the character. That young Tidus-looking fellow in Final Fantasy XIII had a similar colour scheme, just reuse that design.
- Feel free to add some unnecessary belts and zips so people will recognise that this is a Final Fantasy game.
- His sword needs to be recognisable, but make sure it’s not too difficult to make for the action figure merchandise. Ah, just steal something from Zelda.
- He’ll need a necklace or perhaps chains with some kind of symbol for further merchandising. We can even sell lighters with it on. Oh! His name is Leo and he’s brave, let’s go with a Lion design. What? I know we’ve done it before, that’s the point!
Leo who at this point is Colonel Leo™ will be paired with a new character called General Cheruab™. A mentor who uses Leo’s iconic Shock ability. Just take the character design of Leo, but replace his face with something more masculine and with some facial hair. I’m sure there’s a character you could reuse for this. Snow or Veld or someone.
Anyway, Cheruab seems really nice but then shockingly he betrays Leo. He develops a big angel wing like the ones Kefka has in his final boss form in the original game. And you realise that gasp – his name is like Cherub, but with an extra vowel near the end. Depth. That’s depth. Write it down, Nojima.
So, Leo goes off to find his missing mentor and stumbles across another new character. This new character also has a wing and will be based off some kind of androgynous popstar, so we get those precious fangirl consumer dollars. His name? Uh…Oh, just take the first letter of the popstar’s name.
Everyone’s favourite villain Kefka will appear early on and become a major part of the story later. Wait, there’s a plot twist! It turns out that Kefka, the popstar and Cheruab are, like, brothers and all went through the same Magic infusion experiments.
We’ll need a lot of other new characters as well for Leo to interact with and fight.
Characters from the original game? Well, we can probably squeeze in some cameos for Terra, Shadow and anyone else popular.
The game will start off with…Let’s say…Leo piloting Magitek armour in Vector, when a bunch of Empire soldiers attack him from all angles in a training exercise, and he breaks out of the mech and fights them all with his sword in beautiful CG. The Magitek armour will be a small reference to the intro of FFVI, but ramped up to the maxtreme™.
Then the actual game will shift from Vector to a recognisable continent from the original game, but with new locations that didn’t exist in the original. Better to retcon than try and go with a framework, right?
Anyway, Leo ends up tracking the two original characters – Popstar and Cheruab. And he kills them. But wait for it…OR DID HE?!
I’m saying let’s should leave room for a sequel, if the consumers like the new characters, or if only as an excuse for a lack of character development.
Kitase, all of this is your job. Don’t worry about the writing. All we need you to do is pad out everything as much as you can. Watch lots of anime to get the gist. We want a lot of fodder for the YouTube music video consumers. Longing shots of brooding characters, shiny CG fight scenes, the dueling pretty boys, you know how it is.
This is important though: No moral ambiguity. Leo might work for the evil Empire, but since he’s the bishie protagonist, he can’t be shown doing anything other than fighting monsters or killers. No Magitek factory, no Esper stuff, cut the poisoning of Doma and don’t mention Terra being experimented on. Retcon it! Leo doesn’t even know about the experiments! Shut up. It doesn’t matter that he spoke about it in the original game. We have the power of continuity.
Hey, I said don’t worry about the writing. It will all be easily summarised, but padded out to about 20 hours. We can throw in some keywords. Redemption, betrayal, love, whatever. Don’t worry about actually having to touch on the themes. But on the subject of themes…
People love the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack. It had serious market penetration. So, let’s get using it again!
Remember that haunting melody from the Phantom Forest? Throw some techno synth beat in the background! Remixed! Consumers will love it.
Those classic battle themes? Let’s get someone with an electric guitar and slam some serious distortion down. How much more epic will Decisive Battle sound in THRASH METAL?
…Oh, yeah. Um…Well, we can work on all the other stuff first for trailers and magazine articles…
Oh, I know! An “action RPG”! Kingdom Hearts style! Button mashing, but with a level up system. You know what I’m talking about, Nomura! High-five!
A hook? Do we really need a hook? Okay…Brainstorm…A hook…A hooker…Vegas…Gambling…Slot machines! That’s our hook! Setzer style! But Setzer probably shouldn’t appear in the game, not until we’ve done the market research to see if he deserves his own spinoff title.
But wait, the best part is the ending.
So, we must change up the final confrontation in Thamasa. Give the town a little redesign. What epic stuff happens in the little square of a little steampunk town?
Kefka shows up all evil, just like the consumers want him. He takes out the heroes and Leo challenges him.
Then we have a three stage boss fight with Kefka. I mean he’s all magic’d up and Esper fuelled at this point, right? He may as well fling non-descript energy beams. Let’s put some kind of remix of his final boss theme Dancing Mad in there. Don’t orchestrate it, just simplify – remove some layers of sound from it.
Anyway, you beat Kefka and he disappears. Then he does his little Emperor Gestahl act and reveals that the defeated him was a ‘shadow’. And rather than simply pushing Leo over in the ‘cutscene’, he sets the entire Imperial Army on him. Guardians, Magiteks, footsoldiers, airships, everything. One final, inevitable and unwinnable fight.
Then it goes into a cutscene and Leo is only weakened by fighting the entire army with his bare hands – he’s that badass. After that – Kefka stabs him in the back.
But instead of the heroes at his grave, we see Leo still alive and all the heroes come back as Kefka goes off to wreak havoc in Thamasa and fight espers. Terra goes over to the horribly bloodied Leo. And Leo tells her he loves her or something as he hugs her into his bloodied chest.
Then the clouds disappear and the sun comes out, right? And that’s when the J-pop song comes in! What song? Some lady’s, it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, the song comes on as Cheruab pulls a smiling Leo up to Esper heaven or something. Credits roll, consumers cry.
Esper heaven isn’t a thing in FFVI? Shut up. It’s a thing now.
And finally, there’s a part after the credits, that shows a clip of the heroes on the airship and the words “To be continued in Final Fantasy VI” come up. That way we hit the consumers with nostalgia! Plus, any of them who hadn’t bought re-releases or the original will have to now!
Actually, you know what? Maybe we shouldn’t. The consumers would never accept changing all that internal logic and messing with something emotionally raw, classy and understated.