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PostPosted: Mon Apr 4, '11, 3:57 am 
Ironically, I came here because I was replaying the DS remake of FF4 and thinking about how I'd improve the game balance of PS4 if it were to get a similar treatment.

It's clear that of the early JRPGs, the first two Phantasy Stars (1987 and 1989 respectively) were by far the most cinematic and character driven. Yes, the narrative was sparse, not as heavy-handedly linear, and left more to the imagination than in later RPGs, but we don't care about that in the 1980s. Regardless, as a work of art and of literature, PS1 had far more to offer than either DQ1 or FF1. The plot had actual themes and characters. (For what it's worth, PS2 had awesomely deviously dungeons that were unfortunately denigrated by some interface issues, slow movement speed, and punishing amount of grinding. Keep the enemies at the same difficulty, double the meseta and experience, fix the interface, and keep everything as is and you have it made.)

FF2j (1988) and FF3j (1990) came out after Phantasy Star (whereas the first FF and PS games both followed DQ1 and were developed in roughly the same period), and in terms of adding sophistication and originality to the plot, the character, and the world, it's clear that they were influenced by Phantasy Star 1, though from what I've played of them, I can't say that they were at that level. They could not yet have been influenced by PS2, however, because FF2j's development would have preceded that of PS2's whereas FF3j's developed probably overlapped with it somewhat.

Between PS2 and PS4, I can think of two relatively mainstream JRPGs that turned the cinema, the melodrama, and the character-centric narrative up a notch relative even to the early Phantasy Star games. Those two games were FF4 on the SFC/SNES (1991) and Lunar: The Silver Star on the Sega CD (1992). Nobody can deny that FF4 and Lunar had a tremendous influence on the way characters interacted and the way the narrative was presented in subsequent JRPGs. Given as how PSIV appeared between late 1993 (Japan) and early 1996 (New Zealand) depending on where you live, it's clear that both FF4 and Lunar tremendously influenced the way the characters interacted with one another and the way in which the narrative unfolded. Stuff like musical motifs for specific characters also were a big part of those two games, but given that those things had existed in other media for centuries, I'm not sure that's such a big deal.

If you're somewhat of a Square fanboy, like I am, you'll also be able to appreciate the fact that in FF4, Square created the battle system and the style of narration and plot development would become the very core of the next five Final Fantasy games. Given that it became the template for the main series of the most successful JRPG developer in the world as well as the next major step in JRPG presentation and narration after Phantasy Star 1, I'd even go as far as to call FF4 the 3rd most important JRPG of all time, behind DQ1 and PS1. To say that FF1 (as the first in its series) and FF7 (for its commercial success, though that particular game is quite dear to my heart) were more important than FF4 is to ignore both how little FF1 did that was in neither DQ1 and PS1 or how bloody conservative a game FF7 (based on a 6 year-old core) actually was.

So what's my point in this rant? To illustrate that denying the influence of FF4 (and Lunar) on games like PS4 makes about as much sense as denying the influence of PS1 and of PS2 on JRPGs made by other developers.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 2, '11, 2:31 pm 
tilinelson2 wrote:I can't give you the sources now, because as far as I know, there is an interview in a Swedish magazine, but I've been told from a friend of ours who is working on translating the interview that Rieko Kodama admitted being strongly influenced by FFIV on making PSIV.

For me that was obvious, but what fellow PSIV fans think about that? Do you really think PSIV has far more similarities with FF series than the previous games? Do you think the influence was positive?


It wasn't obvious to me apart from the party of five.

I think FFIV was the most futuristic of the Final Fantasies because of the giant robot and the spaceship that could take them to the Moon in only a few seconds. Of course, FF1 had the sky castle which was in outer space and robots, but was until VI mostly medieval based. FFVII takes place in more of a present surrounding.


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