Let’s not look forward to it

People are worried about Square Enix changing the tone of Final Fantasy VII in the remake, and that’s understandable. I don’t want that either. This Engadget interview with producer Tetsuya Nomura has me feeling positive, though.

The trailer looks pretty dark. If they wanted to play up the gritty side of the story, there’s plenty there to work with. There’s a ethically void multinational corporation putting profit and greed before the very survival of the planet; the dangers of eugenics and runaway science; abuses of power and position at every turn.

But let’s not forget there’s also a salaryman-turncoat who remote controls a robot cat who rides on a stuffed moogle soft toy. There’s chocobos and the bright lights of the Golden Saucer, and that ridiculous parade scene that always ends up (at least when I play it) like a cross between Monty Python and a Benny Hill sketch.

And Nomura seems happy to keep the sillier side of the game intact. What worries me is his comment — and the fandom reaction to it — in this interview with Eurogamer, where the Wall Market scene comes up:

Can’t wait to see the delicious sight of Cloud in a dress in glorious HD? “Please look forward to it,” said Nomura

I’m not looking forward to it. Wall Market should not be a “crazier element” to lighten the mood. Let’s be blunt: the whole goal of that section is to have Cloud cross-dress in order to gain entrance to a brothel to save Tifa from being raped by the lecherous Don Corneo. And it’s played entirely for laughs; from the image of the burly SOLDIER wearing a dress and perfume, to the old man leering over which girl to choose for the night. That’s incredibly problematic, all of it.

It doesn’t matter that the heroes save the day, just in the nick of time. It doesn’t matter that Tifa is a capable fighter on her own and probably doesn’t need helping. If any of the story needs a rewrite and a shift in tone, it’s this section. Honestly, you could excise the whole lot and move the tiny bits of dialogue that actually build relationship between Cloud, Aeris and Tifa to, say, the sewers or train graveyard that follow. At the very least; the section needs treating with some new respect. Lose the cheap laughs, the nudge-nudge wink-wink, the schoolboy sniggering over sex — there’s plenty of comic relief elsewhere.

Hopefully we’ve all grown up a bit since 1997, and we can treat what should be a serious subject with the care it needs.

  1 comment for “Let’s not look forward to it

  1. Aura
    June 18, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    To be honest, it’s more of a cultural gap thing. Japan’s always taken more of a lighthearted, humorous approach to sexual subjects. We know the hero is going to save the day and that there isn’t any real danger, it’s Played for Laughs in the same way the violence towards Wily Coyote or Tom or other Butt Monkeys in Western media (and Japanese media too) is.

    Thankfully, we don’t have people shouting from the rooftops wanting this to be Played for Drama instead (though there have been some spoofs that do). Because we’re used to this kind of thing, we enjoy it, it’s just humorous fun, and there’s no danger in it.

    We don’t take the topic as seriously. It’s really hard to get used to that difference though, because we DO take it seriously. Either way Japan wishes to take it though, I wouldn’t want it to be censored in the Western release.

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