Speculation about FFVIII before it was released

Dionysos

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Gamesmaster Said tweeted at us yesterday with some very interesting scans from the magazine Gamesmaster (Issue 71, August 1998).


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I think it is an interesting piece of history reading what people were thinking about the game before its release. With their limited exposure to FFVIII at the time, they were only aware of a handful of details. In their interpretation they were expecting Laguna to be on another world (quite possibly a misunderstanding of cryptic comments from the developers about the Laguna sequences being in the past, hence separated from Squall).

They don't have a clue what GFs are yet, and they speculate on whether there will be summons.

Rinoa is also called Lenora here, which I find fascinating. Maybe this is like Reina becoming Lenna (FFV) or Bullet becoming Barret (FFVII), or maybe this was an error various magazines made in their translations.

And it is also constantly compared with FFVII. That's not surprising as that would have been the game most readers would be familiar with, however their reliance on it is worth noting.

It's a fascinating read!

Thoughts? Do you find reading what people thought about FF games before they were released interesting?
 

Starships

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Lenora sounds like a better name and fit instead of Rinoa, because Lenora has that Edgar Allen Poe "witchy" feeling ( Lenore), Rinoa ? I don't know? Rhinos? 8(
 

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What! I disagree, I think Rinoa is a much better name than Lenora. Admittedly though... when I was younger I didn't read very well and thought her name was Rinona. Either way, I dislike Lenora for her character specifically. :)


Have you guys played the Demo for this game at all? I think we got ours with Brave Fencer Musashi back in the day. Anyway, I'm not sure if it was for the purpose of it being a demo, but things really changed from then till game release. More notably, they have Rinoa/Lenora in the SeeD field exam :giggle: And everyone is in their regular clothes vs. their SeeD outfits. Again, it's probably for demo purposes, but the dialog has changed a bit too:

Dialog Sample said:
Demo:
Before.jpg

Game:
After.jpg


Demo:
Before 2.jpg

Game:
After 2.jpg


Anyway, it's really interesting seeing an old piece like the magazine & even the demo! With the internet advancing like it has over the years we don't really have to sit around and speculate as much, which is nice but a bit sad at the same time! I do wonder how much stuff is lost in translation though!

Good read! Really interesting to see something like this from over 20 years ago! I'm starting to feel old now!
 

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I'm pretty sure I played the demo. Also, Brave Fencer Musashi is such a blast from the past. I forgot all about that game. I actually preordered VIII and picked it up the day it came out. Sadly, I was disappointed because I really didn't like it.

I think I had that magazine too because I used to subscribe to a few different gaming magazines. I remember thinking that Squall looked like he was trying way too hard to look cool.
 

Dionysos

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Lenora sounds like a better name and fit instead of Rinoa, because Lenora has that Edgar Allen Poe "witchy" feeling ( Lenore), Rinoa ? I don't know? Rhinos? 8(

Lol, rhinos. :argor: I used to imagine the exact same thing when I was younger.

I’ve always wondered about the name Rinoa.
That it was meant to be Lenore makes a lot more sense, particularly with the Edgar Allen Poe reference if that was intentional. That's a good spot!

I still quite like the name Rinoa as it is the name we've come to associate with the character. You wouldn't rename a hamster after you've loved it for twenty years (I know nothing about hamsters so that might be too old), so any name other than Rinoa would seem odd to me now.

Have you guys played the Demo for this game at all? I think we got ours with Brave Fencer Musashi back in the day. Anyway, I'm not sure if it was for the purpose of it being a demo, but things really changed from then till game release. More notably, they have Rinoa/Lenora in the SeeD field exam :giggle: And everyone is in their regular clothes vs. their SeeD outfits. Again, it's probably for demo purposes, but the dialog has changed a bit too:

I've heard a lot about the demo, but I never experienced it myself.

There was a track called 'Raid on Dollet' which was replaced in the final game with the iconic 'The Landing' allegedly because it was accused of being too close to theme of the film The Rock. So they changed it to the epic score we have now. Although as PhilsPhindings points out (here) there are lots of songs which have used a similar tune so that shouldn't have been grounds for its removal.



But another fascinating thing about this demo is that it actually has some trace remains in the final game.
They used Rinoa instead of Selphie during the cutscene when the mechanical spider (Black Widow) chases them onto the boat.
latest


But they made a goof! when they switched her for Selphie in the final game, they forgot to switch the character models during the Black Widow's scanning sequence. If you look at that scene again when we see the beach from the Black Widow's POV, when you pause it you will see Rinoa (not Selphie) in the boat.

Rinoa instead of Selphie.png
 

Dionysos

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A few days ago Gamesmaster Said tweeted another scan at us.


These pages are those relevant to Final Fantasy and Square:
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What I find fascinating in this one is how FFVIII was clearly the most recent game (with FFIX on its way) and yet they immediately associated the film which was rumoured to be in the works with FFVII. FFVII was the landmark game which blew people away and became the new standard by which to compare things. It's not surprising (considering it was the first 3D Final Fantasy, the first of the PSX era and an excellent game) but it is fascinating to see it in a magazine. This is like a time capsule. :D

Steve Buscemi as Cloud is an interesting thing to consider. We now know that they got that rumour because Steve Buscemi played a character in Spirits Within which would have been the actual movie which Square had been working on at the time. Not an FFVII movie yet.

I also had never heard about the 'Dolphin' console. Apparently that eventually evolved into the Game Cube.

But something also stands out to me... That remark about Squall asking Lara Croft to go on his 'sword'! Yikes. The magazine is filled with truly insensitive remarks. I saw another page discussing Heart of Darkness and the magazine mocks the protagonist for being ginger. Not just mild teasing too...
I quote: "Andy's a ginge. Hey gingeboid bet your mates take the mickey out of you. It's no wonder you spend all your time playing with your dog."

Yeah... You definitely wouldn’t get away with that these days without a boycott.
 

Dionysos

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Gamesmaster Said shared these with us a while ago on Twitter but I forgot to post them here.

Their pre-release review of the original Final Fantasy VII definitely shows its age but is a fairly interesting read:

It’s interesting the way it claims that while people were familiar with Final Fantasy before, FFVII ends the uncertainty people experienced with the franchise. It certainly brought a good chunk of us fans on board.
But perhaps more interesting is that we have in this review Aerith rather than Aeris. Midgard instead of Midgar (before it lost its second d). Mr T. is brought up every time Barret is mentioned, which is unfortunate. I’m really glad he’s more of his own in the Remake.

“Climb on board and enjoy the ride of your life”
It is fascinating reading this in the age of the Remake since people are evoking the exact same imagery now.


Speculation about the Final Fantasy movie (before people knew it was Spirits Within):
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Toy Story crossed with FFVII… Lol. They were a bit off the mark with that.



Final Fantasy IX pre-release review:
This review is very sympathetic towards Vivi, as we all are. :sad2: His story really gets to the heart of what life means.
They seemed to love Lindblum as much as FFF does.

It is interesting how they refer to Amarant as 'The Red Amerand’. I've always wondered why they didn't call him Salamander in the English version (since Salamander is his name in the Japanese version, if I recall rightly). This creeps slightly closer to that.
 

Dionysos

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Gamesmaster Said strikes again and shared this with us.

inal Fantasy X pre-release review:

There’s an interesting use of water-based imagery to frame that review. And they were right to.

I think a lot of people shared their frustrations with the lack of freedom in the gameplay. This was the first entry without an open world map. I think now people have come to terms with that and appreciate the story and its characters a great deal (Yuna’s ‘spirit dance’ holds up today as one of the best scenes in the franchise). Even back then people were still in love with the game but criticised the lack of freedom as one of its only serious flaws. The franchise has never really gone back to the way it was since the PSX era, for better and worse, so I think people have adjusted their expectations from here on.

I don't get "Will it be all mouth and no full-length trousers?" though... Is that something people used to say in the early 2000s?

Interesting how it says Jecto rather than Jecht, Keelica instead of Kilika, and Beside Inlet instead of Besaid Aurochs (despite the words Besaid Aurochs being legible behind Wakka in one screenshot).
 

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Fun article, I've collected a few Official PlayStation Magazines in the past as it is interesting to see the reviews of FF games and what the public opinion of them was at the time of release. It's also interesting to see the target audiences within the writing - mostly aimed for young boys with really cheesy phrases :P

I have OPMs with the reviews of VIII (Which didn't even make the front cover - Quake II did that month!), IX, X & XII. Ive wanted to get one with the review of VII but I'm exactly sure which one it is. There has also been one magazine I have been hunting online for a good 6 months now, A dedicated PlayStation Magazine to Final Fantasy VIII:
FF8MAG.JPG

(If anyone knows where I can get one, feel free to PM me :) )

Found some sites which have scanned the magazines in-case anyone's interested:
OMP 67 - FF9 Review
OPM PS2 20 - FFX Review
 
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Dionysos

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Fun article, I've collected a few Official PlayStation Magazines in the past as it is interesting to see the reviews of FF games and what the public opinion of them was at the time of release. It's also interesting to see the target audiences within the writing - mostly aimed for young boys with really cheesy phrases :P

I have OPMs with the reviews of VIII (Which didn't even make the front cover - Quake II did that month!), IX, X & XII. Ive wanted to get one with the review of VII but I'm exactly sure which one it is. There has also been one magazine I have been hunting online for a good 6 months now, A dedicated PlayStation Magazine to Final Fantasy VIII:
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(If anyone knows where I can get one, feel free to PM me :) )

Found some sites which have scanned the magazines in-case anyone's interested:
OMP 67 - FF9 Review
OPM PS2 20 - FFX Review

Without doing any research I don't know where to get my hands on that (so I'll be no help if you've been looking for it for 6 months), but I do hope you manage it!

Reading the cover, it seems they had plans for Ehrgeiz 2! Seems too early to be Dissidia, so if they really were planning an Ehrgeiz 2 back then for the PS2 then that would have been something. The original wasn't a great game by any means, but it was extremely awesome to play as Final Fantasy characters and I quite liked the variety of mini-games too.

I think I might still own the FFIX feature issue with Vivi on the cover, though it may be in poor condition as it will have been through a real life fire if it has survived!


But yeah, it is really interesting going back and reading old magazine issues. With Gamesmaster I've found a lot of the language today is really dated. If a magazine said some of the things Gamesmaster said back then it would be an actual scandal and people would be tweeting #Gamesmasterisoverparty. :D
 

Dionysos

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Gamesmaster Said shared another old article about FFVIII by Gamesmaster with us today.


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This one appears to know even less about the story than the one in the first post. They clearly didn’t know much about the plot yet aside from the basic existence of Gardens and SeeDs.
They seem to think that Moomba ('Moonba' in this article) is a character rather than a species. ‘Moonba’ is described as a bloodsucking desert animal, which sounds a lot creepier than I remember the moombas ever being. I guess they could lick blood to learn information, but that's quite a different image. And the implication that ‘Moonba’ is part of the main cast (or deserves being one of the few new characters mentioned) is intriguing. I wonder where that idea came from.

My guess would be that the small part that they saw must have been the D-District Prison and the Moombas found there. Perhaps they only saw one and assumed it was a single character like the new Red XIII or something.

I find the pre-release translations a lot of fun too. ‘Irvian’ instead of Irvine. ‘Kistic Tulip’ instead of Quistis Trepe… We can add that to the 'Lenore' instead of Rinoa in the other article.

I'm not sure why they are confused about Quistis' gender though. That really seemed to have thrown them so, again, I'd love to know what they actually saw before writing this. Not much, it seems.


Finally, one other thing is to point out how they are writing about it as if it was a sequel to FFVII. A bit like the other article, it really is in FFVII's shadow rather than considering the legacy of the franchise as a whole. I find that interesting. A lot of people growing up with the PSX generation assumed it would be connected to FFVII back when people weren’t familiar with the wider franchise, and things like this may have contributed to that. I had a friend on the playground who tried to argue that Squall was Cloud’s codename and that it was a direct sequel. When I played the game myself I could see immediately that he was wrong.
 
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