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One other FFXIII thing

Posted separately from my reaction shot because it involves a spoiler. From the first hour or so of gameplay, which at the time of this writing is as far as I've gotten. (I welcome comments and discussion! But since I am avoiding spoilers generally, please avoid bringing up anything that we learn later than the timeframe I mention here. You will, in that way, earn my undying gratitude.)

I know I've discussed the "unnamed mothers" problem with justira at least, and probably others as well, but I can't remember if I've ever brought it up here before. In a nutshell, the issue is SE's tendency to bring in mother characters who are key to the plot, without getting names. FFX suffers from this particularly (Tidus, Yuna, and Seymour all have mothers of some significance who appear in the game, via flashback or as spirits, but are never named), but there are others as well.

So now we come to FFXIII, where a mother plays a key role in the development of two characters, Hope and Snow: she steps up to join the battle and protect her son. And what name is she given? "Mother."

Really, Squeenix? Really? You bring legions of writers onto a project, and not one could take five minutes to name a character who gets as much screen time as some of Snow's buddies and plays a far more pivotal role than most?

You're building up a lot of credit for me with Lightning, who at first blush seems to be a pretty kick-ass character; I really wish you hadn't squandered so much of it so soon.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
Isn't her name Nora though? I read that Hope gets upset when he finds out Team NORA has the same name as his mother (of course while be upset over her death naturally). Unless this was fan made up? XD
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
If she had a canon name, I'd think it would have displayed in the subtitles with her dialogue, as the other characters' do. But when she speaks, she's identified as "Mother". That might be a fan thing; I hadn't heard it, but then I haven't been reading reviews or anything generally because I'm avoiding spoilers.
Mar. 11th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
She's definitely named later in-game: her name is in fact Nora.
Mar. 11th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
It occurs to me to not be surprised if any motherly reverence that Square-Enix, and Final Fantasy games in particular, had left with Sakaguchi.

... speaking of, perhaps you should play Lost Odyssey someday. ;>_>
Mar. 11th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
*Is* there motherly reverence in the earlier games? Maybe for certain mother figures (Edea comes to mind, and -- in a twisted kind of way -- Jenova), but I don't know if I recall it as a theme.

It might not be a coincidence that FFX is the first Sakaguchi game.

I'm not familiar with Lost Odyssey at all, except from hearing you and Rina talk about it. How is it?
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
*thinks* As for names, FFI had Jane (who is named, while her husband is not). FFII didn't have any notable mothers, off the top of my head... it had that dragoon mother, though she was unnamed. FFIII had Nina (who is stated as having raised the heroes) and Unne (who wasn't much of a mother that I know of, but was an archetypal crone). FFIV had unnamed mothers; FFIV: DS has Cecelia, but Sakaguchi wasn't involved in the DS re-imagining. Same with the After Years (lots of mothers, due to the whole Second Gen thing, although he wasn't involved). FFV had Stella (although it also had Unnamed Queen of Tycoon and Unnamed Parents of Krile). FFVI had Madonna (and unnamed Queen of Figaro, and mostly unmentioned Mother of Relm, and others I'm probably forgetting). FFVII had Clouds mother (who was unnamed? I do not recall) and the Lifestream (which was allegedly Sakaguchi's direct reaction to losing his mother). FFT lacked mothers. FFVIII had Edea and Raine.... FFIX had Brahne? From what I know, TSW was going to have major Aki-Meg motherly themes, but they got cut out by the American who rewrote the script (although it has the whole Mother Earth thing going on, it is Not Quite the Same; although Aki is named for Sakaguchi's mother).

Honestly, I don't know how well it would all fit together as a theme - but I do know that Sakaguchi was close to his mother and was devastated when she died (around when FFIII was released) and he's been looking for her in his work ever since. Thus I would expect it from him more than I would expect it from any of the other developers... even if, you know, Mothers are important and should at least get names and credit more often than they seem to do.

Lost Odyssey is one of those games that I happily recommend in a Squeeful fashion whenever I get the chance. It's a classical JRPG, down to the turn-based battles, and even detractors tend to admit to the glorious (PowerPoint presentation that is) Thousand Years of Dreams. On the topic of conversation, it also has mother and grandmother playable characters (although to be fair it cheats on that front).
Mar. 12th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
Oh, bummer: it's an XBox game. The one platform I have no access to!

Interesting background about Sakaguchi. It does explain some things about FFVII, I think.
Mar. 11th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
She has a name, it comes up later in gameplay. About ten or so hours in. It replaces "Hope's mother" and "a mother" references in the Datalog segments with her name, it is her official name.

Edited at 2010-03-11 06:11 am (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I understand you're trying to avoid spoilers, but your particular complaint doesn't apply to FF13. Since you brought it up, I'll just mention her name is brought up in canon and has some story significance, and all her data entries are updated with her name when it's revealed. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, nor negate your points (as they do apply to previous games), but you might want to play a little farther in a game before using it as an example of something when it's actually not.
Mar. 11th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
A few people have mentioned this now, and I accept that my analysis might change when I get further into the game. But I think there is a fair chance that my criticism of her *introduction* will still stand. It would be one thing if everyone in that scene had been introduced in generic terms, as though from Snow's POV, and then given a name later, when we learned it in-game (if Hope had been first named "Boy", for example, as the first volunteer was simply called "Man"). Given the common nature of the Unnamed Mother trope, not just in FF games but in media generally, I had no reason to expect this would be any different. If they successfully subvert the trope, no one will be happier than me. ;)
Mar. 11th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
I can agree with you on the problem of the introduction. Though it made sense, story-wise, since Snow didn't get her or her son's name, it still remains an out-of-universe problem that frequently presents itself in all media, as you said. I'm only in Ch. 6, and I'll try to avoid spoiling you, but when you find out exactly what her name was and how it is used by Hope, you may change your mind about it. I have a feeling her and her name will be even more important as the story goes on, but I could be wrong.

Unfortunately, she died all too soon, for the purposes of furthering the story. She was likeable, too. (Moms ARE tough, lol. XD) The problem of women being used as sacrificial lambs for the purpose of story development isn't changing in FF13, unfortunately.
Mar. 12th, 2010 08:05 am (UTC)
I'm now a bit into Chapter 3, and I can definitely agree with that last statement. Keeping it vague for anyone else reading this, but... yeah.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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