Yoko Taro should make a Final Fantasy game
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard fans lamenting the idea of a Final Fantasy directed by Yoko Taro. It’s an odd choice, and I think most of his fans even recognize it. While I’m willing to bet Final Fantasy and Nier have a lot of fan overlap, they’re still worlds apart. Taro even publicly thought about the idea himself and wrote his own raid for the Shadowbringers expansion of Final Fantasy 14. When I look at some of the more modern Final Fantasy titles, I think I would be a little more reserved about Requirement. But when I look at the old stuff, the weird stuff? I am on board. I think Square should really pass the baton and let Yoko Taro run his own Final Fantasy mainline.
Nier and Drakengard are weird. Drakengard more, but the newly beloved remastered Automata and Replicant still hits a lot of those same chords. You have a world full of people who aren’t actually human but seem to think they are, androids who honestly have no idea what they’re up to, constant existential crises, a little boy turned into a weapon terrifying who became a wandering head in the desert, I can go on. Denying is hard to explain, and even experiencing it often just doesn’t make sense until you’re at end times and it hits you, but I don’t think it makes Taro a lag. weird for Final Fantasy. Honestly, quite the contrary, I think it fits perfectly for a series that also had a bit more of what’s going on here.
The last main entry, Final Fantasy 15, is tonally quite different from Nier or Drakengard, but also from old Final Fantasy titles. This is where some of my issues with FF15 exist, aside from my aversion to casting. I want Final Fantasy to get a little weird again. I grew up in the ’90s with some of the previous classics, and I miss scenes like all the nonsense through the iconic pieces of Final Fantasy 6 opera. While many of the events surrounding it are serious, you have a giant octopus, Ultros, running through the Opera House and invading the stage. He’s a huge clown, it’s weird as hell, and the older entrances don’t hesitate to stop and dabble in the weird.
And Yoko Taro embraces a lot of things without shame, it’s almost like he’s indulging in some absurd attempt at drama every now and then. Not only does he have a lot to say about trauma, relationships, and some of our more philosophical questions, but Taro demands your attention above all else with his antics. It’s after hanging on that he decides to go ahead and break your heart. That’s what I love about a lot of his work, and I think some of those old Final Fantasy games take a lean version of it. If you told me that Yoko Taro made Final Fantasy 8, a game about child soldiers who can also stop and hunt cow-stealing aliens called Pupus, I would say “yes, that checks” and I wouldn’t question it.
I don’t want Final Fantasy to just go back to some of its older beats, but I want it to embrace those parts of its story. I want more Ultros, more Pupus chases across the countryside, more fantasy before it tears your heart apart with a painful plot, and I think Taro can hold it all. I’ve often heard too many moments of these remakes of old Final Fantasy games that wouldn’t translate very well, like Final Fantasy 7, but man I disagree. Give Taro something like Final Fantasy 6 if you don’t want to give him the next main game, I’d like to see what he comes up with.
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