SPOILERS FFXV has perhaps the worst treatment of female characters I have ever seen in the franchise

Linnaete

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DISCLAIMER

The following series of posts will contain open spoilers. This means I will not mark any spoilers or hide them behind spoiler or hidden tags. If you don't wish to be spoiled, do yourself a favour and leave this thread now, otherwise I will not be held responsible for your experience being made any lessened because you elected to keep on reading.

I would also like to state that I have personally not played this game. I don't forecast any chance to do so anytime soon. This critique will be based entirely on the story and the visible characterisation of the cast of the game. I will not be discussing anything about the gameplay, the combat, the design of the world itself, the design of the quests, the levelling system or any other game mechanic. I am obviously not qualified to make assessments on gameplay, but this is not the topic for that anyway.

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Final Fantasy has been a strange outlier next to its contemporaries. It gave practical equal footing to its female characters, stopping short only of having them be featured as canonical main characters of their games with the exceptions of Terra and Lightning. Many fans will rightly wonder why Ashe and arguably maybe Yuna do not share the same accolade, or even a dual protagonist arrangement, but it rarely offsets the typically true fact that when you purchase a Final Fantasy game, you normally expect it to treat its female characters with a decent degree of respect and care. It's why the series will be remembered not only for stories that regaled us as youths, or its stellar soundtracks, but also for its rich offering of well-handled heroines and supporting female characters.

But one recent addition to the franchise has caused stirs - though namely with me. I don't particularly feel that this topic would inspire much in the way of actual discussion, but at the very least I hope it gets the ball rolling and prompts people to have a good think about the entertainment industry today, the changing prevailing social issues and climate of late, and whether a series of popular JRPGs aiming for a much more mass market than ever should take up some kind of vanguard eminent role. Because as of now, I believe, with absolutely no hyperbole whatsoever, that Final Fantasy XV, that has released in late 2016, has the worst treatment of its female characters in the entire damn series.

And it honestly kills me to see this. Now, perhaps I am jumping the gun. FFXV is hopefully an anomaly and does not reflect a pattern going forward, right? I acknowledge that and I dearly hope that this will indeed be the case for FFXVI going ahead, but I just have little hope in the corporate culture at Square Enix at the moment. Progress in the field of women in Japan will have to come from women at some point, because (admittedly a sweeping generalisation incoming) so long as men dominate the corporate structure at the top and are the creative minds while stuck in that same kind of rut that contains outdated ideas of women and minorities, I don't know if things will change. Lately we have had Final Fantasy games with characters forced into embarrassing outfits totally at odds with their personalities and given a boob job for no reason (Lightning Returns: FFXIII) and peeping Tom sidequests (Type-0 and the quest to catch Emina in her underwear) and other games from familiar creative heads such as Nomura and Toriyama where an existing and beloved heroine is completely butchered and turned into a whimpering and directionless character who has her clothes torn off in battle (hello, The 3rd Birthday).

The status quo is not okay anymore in 2016. The fact that Final Fantasy XV's female characters have turned out so badly is personally upsetting to me and as promised, I will outline in sufficient detail why I feel it has perhaps the worst treatment of female characters in the franchise.

This topic is long enough that I feel it necessary to split into a couple of parts.


  • Part 1 will cover the characters Cindy, Iris and Aranea
  • Part 2 will cover Lunafreya and Gentiana


:linnerva: 🔑
 

Linnaete

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Part 1


Cindy Aurum


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I felt it would be appropriate to begin with this infamous character, namely because it’s how Tabata and his team elected to start the game. It’s bad enough when your game begins with a pointless and spoiler-filled media res opening sequence that looks like it was frantically inserted into the slot as a last-minute attempt to try and build up intrigue from the outset that an abolished playable Insomnia invasion sequence could have adequately achieved. It bodes badly indeed when following this needless “Chapter Zero”, the opening proper goes from a slow car pushing scene along a stretch of lifeless road in a lifeless desert to…a gratuitous sweeping ass shot of Cindy and her bazongas hugging the camera.

If you’re a person who enjoys this kind of titillating fanservice, all power to you. I’m not necessarily going to condemn you for having such carnal urges, especially when the major characters in the game comprise a permanent sausage fest. Nor am I necessarily demanding that Square have completely scrapped the design, though I would not have been opposed to a sudden 180 on it. Her outfit is conspicuously ill fitting for her mechanic work, punctuated by a laughable bright yellow low jacket barely zipped in order to exhibit those pair of norks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a glorified push-up bra and just as functional as one when working near hot oil and motor vehicles in a bloody desert environment. Meticulous care was even given to render tan lines visible when she bends over and shoves her delightful derriere into the camera’s fore.

Cindy is not the first character especially in a Japanese video game to be blighted with an embarrassingly juvenile “sexy” outfit though, I hear you protest. People may even bring up the likes of Tifa, or Rydia, or Fran. Why is Cindy contentious when we give the other characters in preceding Final Fantasy games a free pass? Firstly, this is 2016. I would like to think that with more women playing video games than ever (and women involved in the industry) and with the social environment of the last half-decade, that the industry has made inroads and has been growing up. We’re at a time now when near-naked E3 booth babes are no longer a feature of those events, where it’s fair to call out double standards when a male character (see Mobius Final Fantasy’s main character for reference) sees his revealing outfit changed because of disgust from the male audience. We’re at a time when more people are slowly becoming aware of why it is no longer okay for transparent fanservice without reason, especially in your major blockbuster triple-A video game that is marketed from the get-go to as wide a chunk of the consumer base as possible. At a time when developers are eventually starting to realise for their big games that you can’t alienate a lot of women with a walking sex doll that is simply there to titillate and nothing else, Cindy is not okay.

And Cindy is simply there to only titillate. I could at least appreciate it if Square Enix elected to make this the first female Cid (it would have been something at least, to show that yes, women can also be mechanics and engineers too. Who would have thought?) in spite the eye-rolling design, but no. There’s an actual Cid, which suddenly renders Cindy’s existence unnecessary, save for…you know, fanservice. Had they have gone further than that optimistic Southern belle valley girl portrayal I would have given them credit where credit is due, but there’s no depth in there. We’re told at one point that she’s lived a hard youth as her parents were killed, so her cheery public face is remarkable for someone with her history, but that’s as far as they go. It’s part of the game’s overall storytelling issue where most things are told rather than shown. I would have appreciated Cindy so much more if Square were coy and self-aware enough to lampshade themselves and feature Cindy in one cutscene with her grandfather pull off that public face and complain about having to dress up like that simply to get a one-up on competition and accrue more customers...

True, Tifa, Rydia and Fran have questionable outfits and designs too in this day and age, though I am willing to give them leeway given the state of the industry at the time they were conceived. However, they are fleshed out characters with their own little arcs and background exploration in their respective games. They also have one major advantage: there wasn’t a camera leering at them like a horny 13-year old (besides that one anomalous cutscene in FFVII where they escape the Weapons and Tifa’s melons flail about like water balloons while the camera looms by her thighs). How easy is it to forget that the camera plays a critically important role in portraying characters. Rydia and Fran were never at any point flagrantly objectified by a horny cameraman. Besides that single aforementioned moment, Tifa escaped it for the most part, and is remembered primarily for being a very well written character all in all. But Cindy? It’s bad enough that she is sporting that juvenile car crash of a design, but the camera HAS to explore every angle of her, leading to deliberate shots of her bending over with her knockers against the windscreen when washing the car, or when she’s filling in the Regalia’s tank.

And this is the first female character you encounter in the game. In the first few minutes. What am I, a woman gamer for example, to think when this is the first thing I am subjected to? It’s galling when previous Final Fantasy games have opened up so strongly. Also, no one else dresses like that in Leide (the desert area), so the excuse of it being necessary because it’s hot holds little water either. You want to be a fantasy based on reality? Start by getting the ‘reality’ part of that right, instead of some fantasised caricature of a hot, young Tennessee mechanic wearing a Halloween costume equivalent of a mechanic’s outfit.

Finally, let us not forget this gem from Akio Ofuji, the marketing guy at SE and the guy on the right:

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Iris Amicitia

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I shan’t go on too long about Iris, because I don’t think I’ve seen enough of her to have a full written report on her. I think all things considered, things could have been so much worse than they actually are with this character.

It didn’t take long for me to be turned off by her kawaii smitten schoolgirl look. I saw one of the gameplay footage demonstrations from the FFXV marketing team and all I could see was an anime character made in 3D behaving like an anime character in a world that is supposed to reflect quite a bit of reality. Like…no one gestures in ridiculously over-the-top animations like that! Plus I wasn’t interested at all in how much of her characterisation appears to be how into Noctis she is, as though she is someone five years her junior (she is meant to be 18, right?).

When the World of Ruin rolls in however, the dialogue in the game tells us that Iris has become a fierce Daemon hunter ten years later. It would have been great to see this new Iris, even for the briefest and most scant of moments, but the game has other ideas. Why show us these things when you can just tell us about them in quick, throwaway lines without ever letting you see for yourself how this character has changed in the decade while you have been away? What a shame. This 10-year time switch baloney ends up being this tacked-on waste of an opportunity.

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Aranea Highwind

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Let’s finish off Part 1 on a positive note. Here’s a female character in the game that I genuinely liked, despite the initial problems.

My first reaction to Aranea was pleasant surprise that they carried over the previously unnamed Dragoon from the last pre-FFXV Versus trailer in 2011. Given the game’s dire offerings of female characters so far, perhaps a female villain capable of redeeming the franchise after Jihl Nabaat could be fantastic. Then I noticed the design and groaned, because it’s the second time in Final Fantasy that a female Dragoon is given a design that daft. The first Aranea design had visible thongs and thigh gaps, which was amended in the revised design to look more functional. The massive cleavage window remained however, meaning the design is still a non-functional piece of battle armour that would fare as well as the exposed abdomen of FFXIV’s female Dragoon.

I was also convinced as hell that this would be Jihl Nabaat 2.0. As it turns out, FFXV has many Jihl Nabaat equivalents, but to my pleasant surprise, Aranea is not one of them. She is still criminally underutilised, but man, were it not for her, my rant here would end on a more incendiary note.

Aranea is easily the best of a bad bunch. She has no love for her employers, particularly because they’re a bunch of genocidal, demon-creating, conquering arses and colludes with them simply because they pay her a good sum of gil. Unfortunately, her sudden change of mind is not well executed in the game itself, but I give them credit for facilitating it. Aranea changes her mind and elects to walk away from her employers to pursue a path of her own choosing, which eventually turns out to be the head of a rescue and shelter operation in Tenebrae. This woman is not just some passive player but has actual agency. She makes a decision for herself and she goes with it, in the end making her a much better regarded character than a simplistic anime sexy dark girl antagonist trope.

I think what I love about Aranea is that of all the female characters, she brings actual personality to the cast. She is sharp and sassy, deadly and yet has her heart in the right place, which the game even acknowledges because she randomly jumps down from the sky to aid the player in Duscae! She has realistic flaws such as her unintended tactless response to seeing Ignis’s blindness, reflecting what is perhaps the fact that her mercenary life has never afforded her much in the way of social bonding as all her interactions with people would have been contractual and merely for business.

Would I have liked more from her? Absolutely. But when everyone else is bad, I’ll take what I can get.

Stay tuned for Part 2. It's going to have considerably more rage from me!
 

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Part 2


Lunafreya Nox Fleuret


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Sigh.


You knew this was coming.

Let’s momentarily cast our minds back to Stella Nox Fleuret. The rumour mill going around is that Stella would have also been a damsel of some form, who while integral to the overarching story, would have still needed to be rescued by the male protagonists. Its veracity I cannot say, but I have accepted the possibility that Stella could have turned out to be underwhelming and a little underused even if Nomura had remained at the helm. But they presented Stella in such a way that I had to take notice. Even though the CG concept of her reluctantly confronting Noctis on the streets of Insomnia was no more by 2011, I was excited to see at last a female character who could be considered an opposing “equal” to Noctis in some form, punctuated by how the composition of portraits below was executed in the first FFXV trailer at E3 2013.

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Then later we were given Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, supposedly a much stronger heroine than her aborted earlier counterpart. This is a woman who would be the “the keystone around which the FFXV universe revolves”. This woman is a big deal, so Tabata would bleat, for while she may lack physical prowess like most other highly regarded Final Fantasy heroines, she is a very strong™ character in will and resolve. My instinctive reaction was not to believe him, and the trailers to come seemed determined to naysay Tabata as they were doing a pitifully pathetic job of portraying any of this (Luna was initially shown with the typical anime-like body motion of clutching her hand against her chest before raising her head and staring ahead with a fiery look of determination on her face – ooh, how subtle!). Then as 2015 and 2016 rolled in, the character was being regularly shown to be attacked in the trailers: in the late 2015 Dawn trailer, she is physically attacked by an unnamed and faceless goon as a child (this scene never made it into the final game!), she is shown to be smacked to the ground by an angry Ardyn in two trailers (TGS 2016 and Judgement trailer), and finally the Omen short movie CG trailer where Noctis brutally beats her down and murders her. Excuse me? Why was any of this in the marketing for the game? They could have shown something – anything – of Luna that matched what Tabata claimed she supposedly is, but instead it was trailer after trailer of their single heroine character being brutalised, with the occasional Leviathan scenes interspersed as if they thought it would placate the more easily pleased members of their fan base. I despised it also because it was cheap emotional manipulation; it reeks of what Crystal Dynamics wanted to do with Lara. A heroine’s trials are determined by how often and how severely she is beaten in order to cheaply solicit a primal desire from the (predominantly male) player to rescue and protect her.

But hey, we were promised a strong heroine who would be the fundamental fulcrum for the game’s story. Perhaps the trailers all just so happened to be bad. Perhaps the real surprise will come in the final game? There was a real chance that Tabata, with his history of denigrating portrayals of women in his previous video games, would prove my scepticism wrong and enchant me with a genuinely engrossing and well-written character who could ascend to the heights of her fellow Final Fantasy heroines in a franchise that has all in all been remarkably decent for female characters, relative to competing gaming franchises. Did they achieve it?

No.

It was even worse than I anticipated.

I was at least expecting a character of some sort. I was not expecting Lunafreya to be a decent character. But I was at least expecting a character.

I was not expecting to see a total plot device. A chess piece. A trophy wife. A bloody plot device.

It was bad enough that Kingsglaive decided to feature a portrayal of Luna that was hardly flattering. Lena Headey had to work with the sort of material that ended up turning her character into a drone at times, spouting the same esoteric notions of destiny and her duty, while eliciting little in the way of actual personality or character. Others act in a rather patronising way around her, with Nyx going so far as to forcibly wrench her away from the cockpit seat because there was no way they taught flying classes at princess school! And that’s a rather apt visual metaphor for Luna in this movie. She’s not allowed to assume any real driver’s seat position; she has to be ferried around by the guys, jettisoning much-needed agency needed to make her character blossom into anything decent. Yet she is often or not either a glamorous accessory in the film, or someone who has to be saved in a few occasions, because it’s not like the premise offers any leeway for her to manage on her own without the aid of the guys. I was bitterly disappointed by the Kingsglaive Luna, but acknowledged there were moments of promise – moments that could have carried over into the game and be expanded upon.

Nope.

Let’s break Luna down. Firstly, she’s an Oracle. She communes with the gods of the world, forging covenants that are supposedly killing her slowly, awakens them in order for Noctis to acquire their power later, and she heals the lame like a certain divine miracle-working carpenter. Besides the ONE cutscene that can be easily missed where she is undergoing her duties as a healer to lift the ailments of blighted members of the population, her Oracle duties onscreen can be simply reduced to that of helping Noctis unlock his power. She is the key to a proverbial door and not someone who actually goes through this door. Her function in this regard is convenience.

Secondly, she is Noctis’s betrothed. Until Chapter 9, you nearly always see her adult self pining for her beloved, gleefully unbinding a book from the messenger dog Umbra in order to savour the tiny morsel of correspondence that she receives from Noctis. And apparently these two have been doing it for the good part of a decade! In post-mortem flashbacks towards the back half of the game, one depicts an ailing Luna plead to her brother to fulfil her duty and to deliver the Ring of the Lucii to Noctis in her stead. In another flashback, Ravus sternly warns her that she is throwing her life away, to which Luna defiantly responds, only to bawl her eyes out in front of her brother because she fears never being able to properly see Noctis again, stating her heartfelt desire to play and laugh with him once again like they did when they were children. In a third flashback following her death in the game, Luna is shown conversing with Gentiana, determinedly re-affirming her role: to support Noctis in any way she can. Even in one flashback as kid Luna, she too confirms that her role in life is to support the King.

Do you notice a problem here? I’ll state it clearly in case the answer is no. This woman’s whole existence revolves around Noctis. Her motivations, her goals, and the core of her as a person – they all revolve around Noctis. She is passive in every sense of the word, lacking in the way of agency of her own. It is true that in Chapter 9, she faces up to Leviathan, but let’s not kid ourselves – she is doing this for Noctis, in anticipation for her man to come, best the creature, fulfil the covenant she has risked drawing up for his sake, and go home all hunky dory. Yes, she makes a speech in Altissia in front of a crowd. But that speech simply has no impact. The lines and delivery are wooden and all I could think about is just how much stronger Yuna’s speech in Luca is at the end of FFX, after having witnessed her journey and her character develop. Luna has no such luxury. It’s not like the speech demonstrates any kind of political shrewdness or uncanny intelligence from her. It’s a mere motivational speech (a rather gloomy one, but still). In nearly every other time, she is the beautiful, virginal and pure former princess who pines for her man, determinedly resolves to do everything she can for him, and just generally looks really sad that she won’t get to spend much time with him.

And then Ardyn abruptly kills her, with barely ten minutes of screentime. This “strong” heroine Tabata had promised, is fridged so quickly that I couldn’t even believe it. They even tried to provoke as many Aerith symbolisms as they could, such as an ethereal Lifestream-like gorgeous CG sequence where Luna fades away into the water. Man, Aerith would be insulted by this. At least she was an actual party member, who had many positive and surprising moments such as her threatening to cut off Don Corneo’s junk, and she stuck around for long enough for people to connect with her and deeply miss her after she died. Luna? Who the fuck is she? Her character is never developed. She has barely been on screen. She receives the heroine equivalent of a Jihl Nabaat, and the immediate effect of her death on Noctis is so predictable that TV Tropes long had this covered as a good example of a female love interest being fridged in order to rouse the male hero into action, or some kind of emotional arc. I’m sorry, is this 2016 or is this still 1966?

What is Luna’s character? Can any of you tell me? Use the Plinkett test here. Without divulging details of a character’s appearance, profession, abilities and history, describe to me the character of Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. Tell me all about her personality, her wishes, her motivations, her beliefs.

It’s hard, isn’t it? Now let’s try the Plinkett test on Luna’s near-name sake instead. Let’s see how we can describe Yuna without mentioning her appearance, profession, abilities and history. Yuna begins as a meek and orderly young woman, driven by a selfless sense of duty out of choice to save the world of Spira, as opposed to having this duty forced upon her by way of her lineage. This resolve stands heads above shoulders over everything else, never waning even when nearly everything she has believed in is ultimately challenged by the lies unravelled by Yevon. She naively assumes good in the most irredeemable of people, is willing to put herself forward in any way to bring hope and happiness to the people of Spira, even if it is to be betrothed to a murderous lunatic. Towards the end, she is able to find a voice, channel her resolve into fiery orations that can move a band of Ronsos and ultimately emerge as a defiant, tested genuine heroine of the people. Luna wishes she had a fraction of that. Do we ever know why she is so determined to carry through her duty? Has she ever made a choice? Or is she just doing it for Noctis and because she just so happens to be chosen as an Oracle through no choice of her own. I’ll let you decide.

You know the saddest part about Luna? There was potential in her to be a decent heroine. Even if the game by design had to make everyone but Noctis, his bros and Ardyn underutilised, you could have still done something far more with Luna. And they never did. They instead come out with a walking and talking passive plot device that dedicates her duty almost entirely to her beloved, and one that is fridged the moment the plot calls for it. Because with her death could the Plague of the Stars finally descend upon the world in earnest. The chess player has to eventually take down an opponent’s chess piece in order to win. And Tabata and his crew had the gall to try and assert damage control by bait-and-switching, giving us a character that is not even a character, let alone one that is remotely in any way a “strong” one.


And Luna’s final scene with Noctis in the game is a Titanic-inspired what-if scenario, where the ruins of the setting are transformed into a gorgeous backdrop and the same pristine condition it was in prior to tragedy befalling, where the two reunited lovers are back together. The viewers saw the romance between Jack and Rose play out from start to end. That ending to Titanic was earned. This ending, though effective to close Noctis’s story, was not earned, because we have never seen the Noctis-Luna relationship genuinely play out. We have only ever seen Noctis grow and play out as a character. We have seen jack shit of Luna. Noctis and Luna as adults never share a single line of dialogue to each other. So tell me why I should care about this tragic romance again?

Lunafreya Nox Fleuret is sadly the worst heroine in the Final Fantasy series. It’s because of her that I was even prompted to write this entire essay.

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Gentiana


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Siiiiiiiigh. Once again, this is not a character. She’s barely even a plot device. Gentiana’s crowning moment in the game is when she reveals herself to be Shiva, before swiftly silencing Ardyn by freezing him on the spot. On a technical level, that scene is amazing and really helps to inspire awe in this character.


Then she turns into Shiva and it’s a very conspicuous half-naked Shiva, with the camera staring right at that beautifully rendered curvy body. She lends her power to Noctis and flutters away from the scene, revealing herself to be naught but a glorified McGuffin item (as well as a glorified quest giver earlier in the game when she practically tells Noctis to go unlock Ramuh). Suddenly that gravitas is swept away as quickly as the frost that dissipates on her departure. And worse? When Shiva is summoned, there is a whole harem of Shivas for some reason, huddling around a shivering Noctis, while the camera keenly keeps track of the Shivas’ physical contours, completely forgetting to depict the Diamond Dust attack itself. Meanwhile the other Summons simply have grand scenes of their signature attacks being used…

 

Linnaete

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Disjointed addendum

Okay, it occurred to me between yesterday and today that Prompto at one point strikes up a conversation with the guys, essentially loudly wondering which girl he would rather bang: Cindy or Aranea. Look, I get it. Guy talk. These guys are a few years removed from their teenage years and of course they're still going to bring up this kind of conversation point. Given that the road trip is a long sausage fest, it's going to be natural for at least one of these young men in the midst of a car journey to play the "which woman would you shag?" game. But some of us aren't interested in this surface depiction of guy talk. What sounds like harmless guy talk to a section of people is just demeaning nonsense to others that they're not interested in hearing. Cindy I already can't take seriously, as her useful expertise and work as a mechanic clearly play second fiddle to her primary purpose of helping to get someone's rocks off. Aranea though? Well, we can't have a semi-decent female character in this game without also being roped into this conversation about who would make a hotter waifu either.

I also find it laughable that this need of a boys-only dynamic is so sacred to the vision of this game that any woman with a prolonged presence in this group would offset it in any real tangible way. Like hell it would. It's not like the dynamic is depicted in any sophisticated way that truly challenges the outstanding cultural norms of what it means to be "masculine". FFXV does not approach the topic in any meaningful way; it's a game that stars men almost exclusively, but does not discuss what it means to be a man. That would have been something useful to glean from having a boys-only dynamic, but no. Were people honestly expecting Tabata and his team to cleverly weave in a message that it's okay for a man to enjoy cooking more than he enjoys shooting or smashing enemies while bearing a hulking open chest and massive biceps without being emasculated? Final Fantasy would not have been the series I would expect to tackle such a delicate theme with sufficient maturity and understanding anyway.

Besides, it's not like the banter between the group is that dramatically different when Iris hops along briefly for a quick ride. Meanwhile, the game's overarching theme with these guys is simply about companionship, loyalty and journey. They are close friends who would never abandon each other. None of these would change if you have a woman tagging along who stays for longer than fifteen minutes. How honest the main characters are to each other and how the emotions of the whole journey will affect them isn't contingent on gender. It's okay for a woman to join in on this platonic relationship as well! What, are guys unable to be at the company of a woman without romance or sexual lust in the air? Do we need a game where a pervasive boys-will-be-boys attitude has to be at the forefront which reduces otherwise perfectly capable women like Cindy (outfit notwithstanding) and Aranea into mere topics of eye-candy, while eliminating the women who are not? I don't want that.

To close this off, I will give FFXV credit where credit is due.

The First Secretary of Altissia is a woman. Sure - if you squint, there is a slight resemblance to Hillary Clinton, namely with the blonde hair, but hey, a modern female politician in a position of power in a game that is otherwise horrendous when it comes to its portrayal of women. Granted, Altissia's sovereignty has been highly neutered by Niflheim, but she is still the leader of a nation in a world otherwise in the hands of men. While she will turn many people off for coming across as cold and impersonal (the same things were said about Hillary Clinton!), I see a politically shrewd woman who is deeply loyal to her people, but is pragmatic, authoritative and importantly, still a key ally who isn't going to turn round and double cross you for reasons. She extends the succour afforded to Luna by also permitting Leviathan's awakening despite the catastrophic risks it would bring. She also works to ensure that Noctis, his crew and the car could be safely transported across the seas to the western continent. I think she'll be a rather underrated and unsung heroine!
 

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....you haven't even played the game and you write a long series of posts on how terrible the characterisation is? I'm not sure you can really judge this aspect without playing the game.
 

Linnaete

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....you haven't even played the game and you write a long series of posts on how terrible the characterisation is? I'm not sure you can really judge this aspect without playing the game.

I have practically followed the game from start to finish on Twitch with a streamer who has been meticulous in his playthrough. I was doing the same thing prior to the game's release date when early streamers risked their accounts with early grey market copies. I acknowledge that my short section on Iris may not be as refined as the others because it's possible I may have missed something about her, but I highly doubt it.

And I naturally disagree with the idea that I can't judge this aspect of the game without playing it. I can't judge things like the fluidity of combat, the quality of the setpiece fights themselves and the general design element of the game. Those are things I obviously would have to be an active participant to come to an informed opinion about.

The plot, storytelling and characterisation are aspects that I definitely can glean as a passive participant. If perchance I have got something very wrong because of the fact that I haven't played the game, feel free to point these out.
 

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....you haven't even played the game and you write a long series of posts on how terrible the characterisation is? I'm not sure you can really judge this aspect without playing the game.

I disagree completely. If anything having not played the game allows Lauren to stay even more impartial than someone who likes the games mechanics and therefore carries bias.
 

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I really enjoyed this. Now I don't have to explain what's wrong with Luna and the NoctLuna relationship, saved me loads of time. :lew: And I initially liked the NoctLuna ending until I saw the rest of the game and found out that NoctLuna is severely one-sided and unexplored. I'm seeing so many people compare it to Cloud and Aerith, but other than the death thing I don't see it. It's a shallow relationship and lacks every bit of chemistry that clerith has. Anyway, well done, man. Prepare for the hordes of raging fanboys, though. :wacky:
 

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So I read all your posts and I found myself agreeing - at least in part - with plenty if not the majority of what you've said, I just disagree with what appears to be the underlying premise of your argument.

The status quo is not okay anymore in 2016.

Why isn't the supposed status quo okay in any year? What exactly makes it outdated? Just because the politics of the day has changed (at least in terms of popularity) doesn't make it's adherents right minded, or that somehow we're required to do away with unpopular ideas and beliefs.

I don't mean to come at you when I say these things, particularly because I do agree with the impact these portrayals may have on some women, but that doesn't mean its your job (or anyone else's) to curate public opinion on women, and how they should or shouldn't be portrayed or even perceived. Its far more fruitful to tell people that they're their own person and should look for validation and self esteem within themselves rather than putting pressure on everyone else to create a sociopolitical environment where validation (in one's estimation) is conferred on them in accordance to their demographic by the media, government, Hollywood and any other influential industry.

I understand the point you were making was simply the treatment of female characters by the creators of FFXV, but so much of your argument seems to be punctuated by your personal expectations of how you feel women should be portrayed. Even if I were to agree with your assessment of how they're portrayed it doesn't mean it's inherently bad or wrong and the mention of the current year appears to imply anyone in disagreement is primitive which isn't necessarily the case.

Developers don't have to change anything about how women are depicted in their creations and in my opinion we shouldn't put pressure on them to respect our political dogmas, perhaps those offended can find a way to deal with it. Also one person's idea of respect and dignity is different to another's, they're entirely subjective concepts so what you think is disrespectful isn't an indisputable truth. Otherwise yes I'd agree with your analysis of the characters like Cindy for example whose purpose is clearly sex appeal, but that is not horrendous in my opinion.
 

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Why isn't the supposed status quo okay in any year? What exactly makes it outdated? Just because the politics of the day has changed (at least in terms of popularity) doesn't make it's adherents right minded, or that somehow we're required to do away with unpopular ideas and beliefs.

I am actually okay with an industry where ideas that I personally find palatable can co-exist with what I deem to be outdated. I'm not unreasonable enough to believe that everything not to my taste can be swept aside wholesale and hey, if someone really adores their plump, bouncing melons that do more to define a character than any other aspect of her appearance of personality, I'm not exactly going to come down like a tonne of bricks on them.

It's outdated if the industry is still so tethered to the usual slate of generic male main protagonists when half the population is for one, female, with more women than ever playing video games. It's outdated if so much of the industry is not challenging the notion that gratuitous creative processes designed to immediate arouse a male player is necessary for sales (admittedly this is going to be more so a Japanese problem, though I realistically don't envisage that changing anytime too soon given that the otaku are such a prevalent part of the general entertainment consumer base) for the same reason. If people want video games to mature as a medium, perhaps the first bit of introspection necessary is to wonder why it still so willingly elects to cater at most to one half of its base while the other half has to make do with the fact that they were a secondary concern when it comes to most video games' design board room meetings.

Ultimately I just lament the idea that a white, heterosexual male is the default for a protagonist (this is not necessarily FFXV-related, because who even knows whether Noctis is meant to be Asian or not). Now of course, plenty of people who don't fit in that category are perfectly fine with this, particularly when they generally consider gaming to be a leisurely pastime and don't seek to transpose social politics into the products they own. That's perfectly fine. But I'm left wanting more. There's only so much I can take before I grow dissatisfied enough to ask why there isn't enough diversity. When it's the default setting and we raise concerns, the response is to the likes of "go make your own game". Then when a game does arrive that diverges from the default seeing, all of a sudden the tune changes and it is decried a PC outrage product.

I'll reiterate the Mobius Final Fantasy example, because it's a great instance of infuriating double standards at work. The main character originally wore a revealing outfit that attracted the ire of forum goers. Square Enix was immediately quick to apologise in the face of this uproar and elected to change it into a more conservative design. They did no such thing to Cindy and continued to try and handwave it away (like what Ofuji said in the series of images in my second post). I was neither expecting nor particularly desiring a change in Cindy's design, but it was absolutely clear here who Square Enix favoured. And I personally find that bullshit.

I understand the point you were making was simply the treatment of female characters by the creators of FFXV, but so much of your argument seems to be punctuated by your personal expectations of how you feel women should be portrayed. Even if I were to agree with your assessment of how they're portrayed it doesn't mean it's inherently bad or wrong and the mention of the current year appears to imply anyone in disagreement is primitive which isn't necessarily the case.

I dunno, man. We have a rich catalogue of precedents of excellently handled female characters in fiction, many of whom can be, and are, effective role models for girls to look up to, alongside real life individuals. FFXV comes in and elects to create its female characters either from the bosoms down first, and/or as personality-free trophy wives whose entire purpose and worth to the plot is solely revolved around the leading man. In relative terms, that is indeed alarmingly primitive a portrayal.

If an individual feels this is the only standard they expect and want of their female characters in fiction, then sadly I do genuinely believe they have an unfortunate primitive set of standards especially in today's eclectic world.

Developers don't have to change anything about how women are depicted in their creations and in my opinion we shouldn't put pressure on them to respect our political dogmas, perhaps those offended can find a way to deal with it. Also one person's idea of respect and dignity is different to another's, they're entirely subjective concepts so what you think is disrespectful isn't an indisputable truth. Otherwise yes I'd agree with your analysis of the characters like Cindy for example whose purpose is clearly sex appeal, but that is not horrendous in my opinion.

The bolded part I actually agree with. You're right that they don't. If it is part of a creator's artistic integrity, that is their prerogative. The rest I have a few small issues with. Art imitates life and it's more than fair that it receives its share of criticism. Even if the creator does not feel the pressure on them to change their ways, the point of critique is also to facilitate the exchange of ideas. I can't speak for others, but I personally have no interest in joining or heading any kind of boisterous crusade that seeks to engender and impose an immediate change of ways through some kind of oppressive atmosphere. I am not in the business of proclaiming that my personal beliefs are absolute objective gospel. Criticisms of the sort that I have written up are so that we can slowly open other people up to our perspectives and provide them with thinking points.

No, the "offended" should not just find some way to deal with it no more than any other minority or underrepresented group in history have had to stay quiet and privately deal with it. The reasonable members among us aren't out to illiberally impose nefarious agendas through sheer force of will. We kickstart a talking point and the conversation organically begins from there. I know Anita Sarkeesian isn't popular among many circles, especially with the mountains of straw men and willful misrepresentations piled on her, but I can admire her work in generating a conversation that I feel was so sorely needed. I naturally laugh at the silly conspiratory notion that tangible attempts in recent years to approach female characters in the gaming industry with some much-needed respect have simply because the creators were bullied into the dogma. As far as I see it, if an artist is swayed by an idea from the conversation, it is absolutely within their artistic integrity that they wish to renew their approach to women and minorities in the ways they have.
 

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It's outdated if the industry is still so tethered to the usual slate of generic male main protagonists when half the population is for one, female, with more women than ever playing video games. It's outdated if so much of the industry is not challenging the notion that gratuitous creative processes designed to immediate arouse a male player is necessary for sales (admittedly this is going to be more so a Japanese problem, though I realistically don't envisage that changing anytime too soon given that the otaku are such a prevalent part of the general entertainment consumer base) for the same reason. If people want video games to mature as a medium, perhaps the first bit of introspection necessary is to wonder why it still so willingly elects to cater at most to one half of its base while the other half has to make do with the fact that they were a secondary concern when it comes to most video games' design board room meetings.

Again I have to protest the use of language here; you seem to be conflating popular opinion with obsolescence. A horse and carriage is outdated. It's in full working order and great for ceremony, but cars have made them obsolete. A cast of supposedly generic main protagonists isn't outdated or obsolete because it doesn't reflect the predominant political persuasions of the times, it's simply a cast like any other. Just because casts have been that way throughout the past and enough people want to see a different present or future doesn't mean its outdated, it simply makes it unpopular (if that). It seems to frame those who disagree as not being as advanced in their thinking, which I would argue isn't the case at all.

With regards to the issue of women playing more games than ever I don't think anyone can speak for the entirety of their demographic when it comes to their expectations, and although I realise that isn't necessarily what you've done I think it's something that's worth clarifying. One of the things I find most obnoxious about the likes of Anita Sarkeesian is they tend to vilify the women who have the temerity to not take offence to the things they do, or that its their job to imbue their fellow women with the same outlook as them under the pretense of educating them. To whom there is no such thing as legitimate disagreement, you either don't yet understand the point they're making or you're a misogynist, holding back the progress of womenkind.

Its alright to take offence, I'm not suggesting you shouldn't, but there are plenty of females who don't. They may have reached the segment with Cindy and thought "oh she's clearly there for the boys, moving on" and good for them!

Ultimately I just lament the idea that a white, heterosexual male is the default for a protagonist (this is not necessarily FFXV-related, because who even knows whether Noctis is meant to be Asian or not). Now of course, plenty of people who don't fit in that category are perfectly fine with this, particularly when they generally consider gaming to be a leisurely pastime and don't seek to transpose social politics into the products they own. That's perfectly fine. But I'm left wanting more. There's only so much I can take before I grow dissatisfied enough to ask why there isn't enough diversity. When it's the default setting and we raise concerns, the response is to the likes of "go make your own game". Then when a game does arrive that diverges from the default seeing, all of a sudden the tune changes and it is decried a PC outrage product.

I understand that there is a distinction between wanting change for personal preference and wanting change to influence society and I respect that a lot of your argument does focus on your personal preferences, but there are points where it seems to deviate from what you would like to see implemented for your own enjoyment and more towards what you would like to see implemented in order to promote certain values.

Take for example the Hays Code of 1930 (I had to look up the year), a code with a conservative bend was implemented in Hollywood which recognised the profound influence Hollywood could have on shaping public opinion and so looked to uphold the following values among others (taken from http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/592022/)

- No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
- Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
- Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

You don't have to read more to see just how reliant this code is on one's interpretation of the various subjective terms and concepts outlined. Fast forward to 2016 and you can probably see why people view the pressure to insert supposed role models as obnoxious politicking, even if it is coming from a good place. This is particularly true of people who don't agree with the premise in the first place.

I'll reiterate the Mobius Final Fantasy example, because it's a great instance of infuriating double standards at work. The main character originally wore a revealing outfit that attracted the ire of forum goers. Square Enix was immediately quick to apologise in the face of this uproar and elected to change it into a more conservative design. They did no such thing to Cindy and continued to try and handwave it away (like what Ofuji said in the series of images in my second post). I was neither expecting nor particularly desiring a change in Cindy's design, but it was absolutely clear here who Square Enix favoured. And I personally find that bullshit.

My take on that is that its only really a double standard if you assume men and women react the same to nudity. It probably sounds like a cop out to you because it clearly did annoy you, but females tend to have a blase attitude to female nudity in media (perhaps because of prolonged exposure through the years) whereas males tend to receive male nudity with disgust. SE probably don't want to risk putting off their male audience, whereas their female audience will most likely gloss over Cindy. Its an obvious generalisation of course so if you want to pick the bones out of this one I won't defend my position on it, I'm just throwing it out there, not as an excuse of course so take it how you will.

I dunno, man. We have a rich catalogue of precedents of excellently handled female characters in fiction, many of whom can be, and are, effective role models for girls to look up to, alongside real life individuals. FFXV comes in and elects to create its female characters either from the bosoms down first, and/or as personality-free trophy wives whose entire purpose and worth to the plot is solely revolved around the leading man. In relative terms, that is indeed alarmingly primitive a portrayal.

If an individual feels this is the only standard they expect and want of their female characters in fiction, then sadly I do genuinely believe they have an unfortunate primitive set of standards especially in today's eclectic world.

Yeah I agree, although when I was objecting to the use of the date I was more referring to what you were saying about the status quo rather than basic portrayals of women.

I can't speak for others, but I personally have no interest in joining or heading any kind of boisterous crusade that seeks to engender and impose an immediate change of ways through some kind of oppressive atmosphere. I am not in the business of proclaiming that my personal beliefs are absolute objective gospel. Criticisms of the sort that I have written up are so that we can slowly open other people up to our perspectives and provide them with thinking points.

No, the "offended" should not just find some way to deal with it no more than any other minority or underrepresented group in history have had to stay quiet and privately deal with it. The reasonable members among us aren't out to illiberally impose nefarious agendas through sheer force of will. We kickstart a talking point and the conversation organically begins from there. I know Anita Sarkeesian isn't popular among many circles, especially with the mountains of straw men and willful misrepresentations piled on her, but I can admire her work in generating a conversation that I feel was so sorely needed. I naturally laugh at the silly conspiratory notion that tangible attempts in recent years to approach female characters in the gaming industry with some much-needed respect have simply because the creators were bullied into the dogma. As far as I see it, if an artist is swayed by an idea from the conversation, it is absolutely within their artistic integrity that they wish to renew their approach to women and minorities in the ways they have.

There's no harm talking about it, and when I said they should deal with it I didn't mean they should shut up about it but rather find a way of handling it without imposing themselves on other people. Feminists (or any other sociopolitical group) aren't these prophets descending from the mountain, commandments in hand with the authority to tell us how we should and shouldn't be behaving. If they don't like my take on women or they think I'm perceiving them incorrectly they're just going to have to deal with that.

As for the notion of creators being pressured into presenting characters a certain way as being conspiratorial I have to disagree. It requires an even greater stretch of the imagination to suggest those in power wouldn't be trying to embed their politics and propaganda into highly influential mediums. For example there's currently pressure on Hollywood to not only create more transgender roles but cast transgender actors in those roles, the games industry is not immune to these external pressures. Making a deliberate attempt to influence society's moral code via media is propaganda, which isn't to say is a bad thing but lets shine a light on it so we all know what it is.
 

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Okay... So I completed the game and finally allowed myself to read this thread.

I agree with many of the points raised, but I won’t make this post a list of the things I agree with as I'd just be repeating what has already been said. Instead, I'm going to mention a few things that I think could have saved these women, or could still save these women in the way that we think about them.

It is unfortunate that there aren't any decently developed female characters in FFXV, but that is the nature of the story that they have decided to tell. It was supposed to be a stag-do road trip gone wrong. The Noctis T-Birds / bros are on a road trip anticipating a marriage to Lady Lunafreya. That's how the game starts, and it is the premise of the first half of the game. They're able to sneak Gladio's sister Iris into the party temporarily, and Aranea also helps the party for a bit. This means that two out of the three guest party members are female. Women aren't excluded from the game, but they are not the focus of the game. Noctis and his bros are the focus of the game. That in itself does not need to be a bad thing due to the very particular nature of the story that Square Enix were trying to tell.

Trying.

I think that the real reason that FFXV’s women sometimes come off as bad representations of females is because of the general poor execution of the plot. The ideas of FFXV are fantastic, but there are serious issues with their delivery. Many events happen off screen. Some events may slip by the player completely if they don't speak to a particular NPC at a particular time, or don't turn on the radio. The development of all characters are affected by this problem, not just the women.

With this in mind, I’m going to try to save Luna by putting her in context.

The main problem with Luna is that we never really get to know her. She has more screentime in Kingsglaive, but there was no time to get to know her as a person while Insomnia was going to Hell. Beyond the events of Kingsglaive her journey happens off screen. During the game itself we only see glimpses of her childhood friendship with Noctis, and we see her communicating with a few of the Astrals and healing the sick, etc.

Lunafreya could be like Yuna on a pilgrimage, communicating with gods, performing sacred rites, treading a dangerous path knowing it will almost inevitably result in her own death yet she bravely continues. We may have been expected to imagine that this is Lunafreya’s story, but they just never showed it to us in any convincing way.

The game also didn’t communicate her motivations to us effectively. I don’t believe that Lunafreya is merely a plot device, but I can see that the state in which we receive the character (as is the case with most characters in the game) can give that impression. She’s no more a plot device than Noctis – in a sense every character in FFXV is a plot device as the whole narrative hinges on a prophecy and fulfilling various duties in order to save the world. What's different about Luna is that they didn't flesh out her character during the game - they never showed Luna to us. We never met her.

I think that most things mentioned in this thread about Lunafreya are true. Every action that Lunafreya makes seems to be to support Noctis. The game doesn’t communicate it very well, but there is much more to it than that. All of the important characters are motivated to help Noctis, not just Luna. All of their lives are dedicated to Noctis’ well-being, male and female characters alike. Why? It isn’t even about who Noctis is as a person (he’s actually quite a lazy prince, and he’s surprisingly down-to-earth and relatable rather than heroic). Instead it is absolutely about what Noctis represents, and it has everything to do with bloodline and inherited duties. Noctis is the chosen one because he has the blood of the Lucians, and being (I presume) the last of the Lucian royal family alive it rests entirely on him to fulfil the prophecy and restore light to Eos.

Lady Lunafreya has an important bloodline of her own. Lunafreya and Ravus have the blood of the Oracles, and they have their own set of duties (including seeing that the Lucian ‘chosen one’ manages to complete the mission). Ravus didn’t think that Noctis was worthy enough to be the Chosen One, so he decided that he might be able to wield the Ring of the Lucii and become the Chosen One himself (the ring rejected him, he failed, and his arm got burnt off). Lunafreya was going to help the Chosen One by becoming an Oracle, and going along with the arranged marriage would be a tidy way of ensuring that she’d be close enough to the Chosen One to guide him.

The point I’m trying to make is that it isn’t really about Noctis at all. I’m trying to avoid using his name as it isn’t Noctis-the-man who is important. The Lucian King is everything, because only the Lucian King / Chosen One can rid the world of the darkness of the Starscourge. Noctis never chose to be the chosen one. Noctis would rather just oversleep and play King’s Knight all day while Ignis cooks him his meals and does the dishes.

And yet Noctis has his duty thrust upon him. In the end he has to sacrifice his own life to save the world. So it isn’t at all about him, but about his bloodline. Similarly, all of Noctis’ brotherhood, Nyx of the Kingsglaive, King Regis, and Lunafreya sacrifice themselves so that the chosen one of the Lucian line can complete the necessary task. This needs to happen, or there will only be eternal darkness and death in the world.

Though beautiful, Eos is an awful world to live in. Eos is a world where the cause (of restoring light and balance) is bigger than any single person. Personal ambitions and desires become irrelevant. Being able to do what you want in life is a luxury in Eos which most of the main characters (male and female) cannot enjoy. Everybody close to the Lucian royal family is a pawn to Duty.

Aranea is an interesting exception. This particular dragoon must have leapt into the sky on the day that duties were dished out. Aranea is lucky to be free enough to make her own decisions about what to do with her life. She is a mercenary-for-hire who works for the Niflheim Empire, but she starts to witness the horrors of the empire and decides to quit. She goes her own way and does her own thing. She’s able to do this because she isn’t tied up with a royal or important family. She doesn’t appear to be tied to anyone. I’m not sure if we ever find out much about Aranea (it’s possible that I didn’t speak to the right NPC to learn more about her story…) but she’s at a safe enough distance from the Lucian Chosen One to be able to avoid having to sacrifice herself for duty, and she instead helps the party either for the money (the first time) or because she actually wants to and chooses to.

In this context, I don’t think that Lunafreya’s lack of agency is due to her being a woman. I don’t think that’s the message that Square Enix tried to put across. Instead, Lunafreya had an unfortunate lot in life, and she was born into it. Luna was just playing her part in fixing the doomed world of Eos because the Oracle has to, and she had no choice (or, rather, the only other choice would be to choose to let the world slip into darkness).

Let's put ourselves in Lunafreya’s shoes and consider her life. She’s a Tenebraean princess raised with the knowledge that she has the bloodline of the Oracle within her. Right, that's that then! In childhood she spends a lot of time with Noctis who just happens to also be the next Lucian king, and likely the very person she would be supposed to support if she became the Oracle. It will become her duty to protect him, but as it happens she shares sweet childhood memories and a lifetime of correspondence with the Crown Prince of Lucis (and let us not forget it will have been a lifetime of endless repetitions of the prophecy and lectures on how to be a good Oracle, etc). It makes the chore of her lot in life easier (or harder? I’m not quite sure) because she actually does care about the person she is destined to aid. True, they hadn’t seen each other physically for over a decade, but I think we were supposed to get the impression that they had both kept some idea of the person close to their hearts over the years. They wanted to love each other and be happy and the idea made a lot of practical and political sense, but it was a rather strange prospect to marry given that they hadn’t met as adults – that’s what Noctis and his friends chat about a few times. This is something which royal families in real life have to deal with.

Basically there weren’t many options open for Lunafreya. Becoming an Oracle and fulfilling the destiny of the Oracle was perhaps the best option open to her anyway. A young orphaned Luna choosing any other path may not have done well under the Empire’s rule, and her homeland of Tenebrae may not have been afforded the respect that it partially retained if she’d refused. Her brother Ravus survived by becoming an Empire man and rising in the ranks. Given that Lunafreya becoming an Oracle would mean that she has to fulfil the Oracle’s duties (including aiding the Chosen One – who just happened to be her childhood friend / sweetheart), there may have been more feeling behind her ‘choice’ than we are allowed to see in the game itself. Her hands were tied and her life was set on rails, but the beating of her heart was still her own, perhaps.

In short, it really, really, sucks that there are serious flaws with the execution of the story in FFXV. It does affect the representation of women, but these women are not in themselves bad characters at their core. They have the potential to be strong women in their roles (and some of them are), but they are not delivered in a convincing way. In fact, most of their stories are simply never told and happen off-screen. If we saw these scenes then we’d be able to appreciate the characters more.

So I can work my mind around the female characters of FFXV. I shouldn’t have to do that (more of their stories should be told during the game), but to increase my enjoyment of the game I can ponder their lives and slot them into context with my imagination.


-

But there is another gender issue which does bother me in FFXV. Lestallum: the town where women do all the work.

I can see what Square Enix were doing here. They had criticism that the main characters were all males, and they weren’t convinced that people would be content with two female guest party members. Their solution? Let’s just give the players a town where the women do all of the work, and the men stand about in the streets discussing how bored they are, and how worried they are that their penises will shrivel up and drop off whenever their wives get promotions.

The problem with this is that they’ve created a society of Amazons which is completely out of place, and also sexist. Instead of having true diversity and equality, Lestallum becomes a place of Others; a reversal of so-called norms. It’s a representation that would not be out of place in the writings of Herodotus or other Greek historians who depicted various barbarian others as polar opposites of the Greeks in their practices and customs. ‘Normal societies do this, but this strange place does it like this instead!’ It gives off the impression that women who work are an oddity. It makes it seem weird that women are doing the work, because Lestallum stands out in that way.

It has the very opposite effect to the one that I think Square Enix desired.

It also isn't helped by the fact that you never see any of these women do any of the work which they are supposedly all doing! Holly (the Sigourney Weaver lookalike) stands there like any other NPC sending you off to do her job for her because excuses. She saw a daemon and her back fell out of place... A dog ate her homework... Etc etc.
 

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I completed the game, and without tl;drs from myself due to not everything can be well explained because let's be honest a lot of it's opinion based.

Cindy:

1) I agree in regards to her looks, and honestly I was wondering if that was a PR move by SE. Though I think they were going with the white trash look to be honest, so they pulled most of it off. Though Japanese need to look into the white trash culture much much more to hit the nail on the head. (I mean where are the missing teeth!)
2) She never made love to anyone or portrayed she was slutty. She dressed the part but didn't act the part. (as in slept with anyone or even dated Prompto even he did like her)
3) She played her part to a T, while that might not be as convincing as one might think I'll add more. She was a mechanic, she had no other part in the story and she more or less did not stray from this. She was a minor roll who made repairs/upgrades to the Regalia both Cosmetic and Internal.
4) I reiterate she played the part and she grew on the player. I dismissed her at first as a well.. floozy, but she actually helped Noctis with very little reciprocation.


Lunafreya

1) Her character (personality) was completely flat.
2) She was non existent
3) She was a plot device to basically make Noctis motivated.
4) The most interesting part was her death? I mean come on.

Iris

1) Under developed character.
2) I could of sworn was going to be a love interest of Noctis later but it was more or less a pal.
3) With point 1, she just didn't have much other than her child hood with Noctis (similar to Lunafreya)
4) Could of told more about Gladiolus and her in terms of their Brother/Sisterhood

Aranae

1) Lack of back story.
2) Awesome Dragoon, but Mercenary that you could only play shortly.
3) She was hardly in it.

Gentiana

1) I thought she was going to be so much more.
2) Umbra was more of a plot device than her.
3) She was superfluous honestly. I mean she was a goddess and she only guided, but at the same time she did nothing to stop events prior to them happening. And what's with her getting involved when it was too late?
 

The Welsh Paddy

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I'm writing solely about Lunafreya right now. I didn't really follow the media campaign running up to this game's release because, in all honesty, I find a lot of it to be nonsense or stuff that spoils the joy of experiencing the game for yourself. In any case, regardless of how they protrayed Luna, I think the problem with her character was the lack of commitment to that character. For me, the story didn't invoke any kind of emotional connection to her character. As someone who was supposed to be integral to the plot, she was barely in the game. So by the time this future wife's life was ended by the knife, I didn't feel any sense of loss or sadness that Noct was shown to be feeling, so I couldn't even empathise with what he was going through really.

So, any attempts at comparing her to Aeris or Yuna are going to fall flat because those two characters were involved enough with the game to allow the player to essentially build a relationship with them.

Would more 'bonding' time with this character fix her though? Not completely. I think her lack of presence in the game only accounts for about half of what's wrong with this character. The other half has been covered in Linnaette's post.
 

Cardinal Copia

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Livi, I completely agree with each and everything you said. As much as I absolutely love this game, the biggest letdown for me was Lunafreya. I expected her to be much more integral to the plot, I expected to be attached to her, and I expected to actually give a shit about her. I don't wanna say that I didn't like her. I just didn't feel any type of connection. And she was needlessly killed. Fucking stupid.
She was a complete and utter letdown.
 

Rey

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Cofu;1116995[B said:
As much as I absolutely love this game, the biggest letdown for me was Lunafreya. I expected her to be much more integral to the plot, I expected to be attached to her, and I expected to actually give a shit about her. I don't wanna say that I didn't like her. I just didn't feel any type of connection. And she was needlessly killed. Fucking stupid.
She was a complete and utter letdown.
[/B]

Lol, I was so bitter about this since I was looking forward to her character too. But they might redeem her with DLC since I heard they want to do one from Luna's perspective if there is time after the multiplayer expansion. But hey it isn't like Luna was the only bad female role in the game. All of them are equally terrible including Aranea story wise. Don't even get me started on how useless Cindy is. Yup, huge letdown for females in FFXV and next time I see a dev hype up a female character, I won't fall for it.
 

nico

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yeh i pretty much agree with everything you said. im soooooo so unbelievably sick of the same old crap in every game/book/tv show/film i watch.

while i loved the four boys and the comaraderie, they should have had awesome female characters as well. lunafreya should have played a big role. aranea was an awesome fighter and should have got so much more screen time. if they're gona dress cindy like that then put one of the boys in skimpy clothes too, or better yet dont even do it at all...

not ff15, but i just finished ff7 remake and while i love the strength of TIfa, the other two girls kinda fawn over cloud, keep calling him "my hero" in that sickly sweet manner, oh and pretty much every game, even if theyve had strong women or not, they literally all been 100% heterosexual. like ff7 remake was almost sickening to me how much pandering and hetflirting there was. it really made me feel like i do not exist in the world of FF. like im trying to think right now and i dont think ive been represented my a lead character or a main party member or a leading NPC or basically anyone in any FF....like...ever.....:(

i hope SE wakes up and doesnt do weird things with the women characters anymore and also, god forbid, maybe FF SIXTEEN, could be a gay lead either man or woman.

sorry if i went off track, but yeh i agree with you about the women of FF15. i definitely noticed it too!
 

Ilyena

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My first thought when I saw Cindy was "she is terribly dressed for working on cars." I agree that Lunafreya was a huge letdown. I understand that she was dedicated to her duty but there wasn't enough personality displayed to make us feel anything about that. Why is she so dedicated to her duty? Do any of her actions not revolve around Noctis? Her death would have had much more impact had we been able to get a glimpse of her as an individual rather than a plot device.

:linnerva:
 

Dionysos

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Linnaete

I thought I should post this here.

It is a rundown of some of the plotlines concerning female characters which were ultimately never realised in the final game, or because the DLC project was cancelled. This is a serious pity as some of these concepts look like they could have been awesome. :sad2:

Ec_zoGWXoAEMCuJ
Ec_zoG1WsAodTjj


Ec_ztG7X0AY3GNp
Ec_ztIuX0AoENME
Ec_ztKiXoAEgUDa



Ec_0QIOXkAA-b-r
Ec_0QIPWoAUnwkD


Ec_0lMoWAAA3SSh
Ec_0lMsWkAY-hiF


Ec_0y66WAAAscKE
Ec_0y66XgAQrmZn



I wonder how much made it into the FFXV novel?
 
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