A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!
The side quest question stirred up many great conversations. During one “side” bar with Mr. Panda, we started discussing optional characters, and I thought that would be an excellent question. I suppose we should first discuss what the definition of “optional” entails.
FFVI had 12 mandatory characters (at least in the first part) and two optional ones: Gogo the mimic and Umaro the yeti; however, you could argue that even more characters were optional as it wasn’t a requirement to find them all in the World of Ruin in order to finish the game. I could also argue that the fan favorite Shadow is an optional character, though in my opinion he’s more mercurial than anything else. Though if you *spoiler* don’t wait for him on the Floating Island before Kefka moves the statues and destroys the world, you never see him again, which could be an argument for his optional status. *end spoiler* It also must be said that Final Fantasy VI did an amazing job juggling so many characters. Each one was not only had an individual skill, but also an individual characterization and narrative that fit seamlessly with the plot as a whole. DC movies could take a tip from FFVI, as I’ve heard of (and seen) their struggles with maintaining enough story for their many characters (or they could take some points from Marvel. Comic nerds, please don’t kill me!)
There’s also a selfish reason I wanted to propose this question, because I came to it prepared. I don’t even have to think about it.
Behold my favorite optional character…
If it wasn’t for Sephiroth, Vincent Valentine would easily be my favorite Final Fantasy VII character and possibly favorite Final Fantasy character overall (he’d definitely be a contender). If you looked up the definition of sob story, you’d probably find this picture. Do I even need to go into it? The woman he loved was not only married to a monster, but was arguably forced to give birth to one. Vincent himself was turned into a “monster” by Hojo for daring to interfere, and his last name is just a cruel mockery. I have absolutely no idea why my and a good deal of fans have a head canon about him being a vampire, but it exists. It might because you find him in a coffin, but he also has that forlorn, “I hate what I am” vampire vibe that was really popular in the 90s (none of that sparkling bullshit either).
The fact that he’s an optional character also speaks to the silent, secretive nature of VII’s story line. What Vincent saw and experienced is monumentally important to the foundation of the game, yet he’s an optional character. What Lucrecia saw and experienced is the catalyst for the entire game, yet finding her is a side quest and GOD DAMMIT! How the hell did I forget about the Lucrecia side quest???? Ooooommmmmggggggggg D: D: D D: I put the Stellazio quest down as my favorite, but obviously finding Sephiroth’s real mom is it ;_; I wrote an entire fucking story about this! I…I…have no words. The only defense I can give is that I don’t think of finding Lucrecia as a side quest, because it’s so integral to the foundation of the narrative, but ugh…I need to hang my head in shame for a while ;_;
So who is your favorite optional character? I’m willing to accept arguments/justifications if the character is not generally considered optional. Let’s discuss!