While we're on the subject of Final Fantasy...

Let's talk about FF13. Now, I didn't even give this game the time of day for a long time since,

1. I never really played any of the FF games.
2. I heard this one at the time was the worst.

Very recently though, I gave it another look (and a thorough one at that) when Monik- I mean Marik asked me my opinion of it. I looked at a couple more reviews and read a lot of the plot synopsis. At first, I was prepared to be bored and to have my original conclusion confirmed, but despite that, some of the characters and a couple elements of the plot really intrigued me. Now a lot of the plot is indeed kinda boring and some the other characters *cough*Hope*cough* need to be slapped hard in the face, but even after such, I feel like there's some serious potential here for, in my opinion, one of the best Final Fantasy stories.

The thing is though, it needs a large rewrite. For example, if one fails their "Focus", they get turned into these tormented monsters forever. What the actual fuck... ? Why? I mean, maybe if it was like a temporary punishment or something, that might of made sense, but nope, unless someone else finishes their Focus for them, they're totally doomed and that's that. Maybe if the fal'Cie (the ones who are responsible for doing this crap) were portrayed as demons, THAT might of made sense too. But they're... Not? Also, why do fal'Cie's put all those who complete their focus into this weird crystal stasis? Why not reward them and a little later, send them off again for another task? Or do something with them? I don't know.

Even putting all that fal'Cie nonsense aside, the story itself seems overly convoluted. For starters, there's so many damn factions and characters with so many varied goals that it's frustrating to keep track of. Or at least at first. Now, don't get me wrong. Complicated stories can be really great, but they need to be introduced to the player gradually. If you just dump a ton of exposition onto them, they're going to get bored and find something else to do. As Yahtzee said, this really isn't good story-telling.

But again, even after all this, I still find myself intrigued by the game. And also again, I am intrigued because there's some very interesting ideas and characters here. If I could just sit down and rewrite this mess, I'm sure I could get something pretty cool out of it. Or at least something more serviceable than the current story it has now. But the game's been out for a while now, so oh well.

Now, if only I can convince Square Enix to make an FF game of the Erin Dies Alone spoof Grey and Cory did...

Yeah, the problem is that it never made it past the potential. Vanille's hyper-kookiness is just an act so people don't suspect her true origins. Again, good potential. The graphics are nice though. In Chapter 11 is revealed that the monsters eventually become stone with their mind still tormented inside, and other l'Cie can fulfill their focus so the former can become crystal and finally be at peace (a really convoluted way to add side-quests to the open-world chapter).

CaitSeith:
Yeah, the problem is that it never made it past the potential. Vanille's hyper-kookiness is just an act so people don't suspect her true origins. Again, good potential. The graphics are nice though. In Chapter 11 is revealed that the monsters eventually become stone with their mind still tormented inside, and other l'Cie can fulfill their focus so the former can become crystal and finally be at peace (a really convoluted way to add side-quests to the open-world chapter).

Yeah, the graphics are pretty on-point. Actually almost too much perhaps. It may have had an overall negative impact on the game's production to get those visuals. Who knows. But anyway. Even with that kinda sorta second chance thing with the monsters turning to stone, it's still pretty horrific.

#BurnThefal'Cie

Arnoxthe1:

CaitSeith:
Yeah, the problem is that it never made it past the potential. Vanille's hyper-kookiness is just an act so people don't suspect her true origins. Again, good potential. The graphics are nice though. In Chapter 11 is revealed that the monsters eventually become stone with their mind still tormented inside, and other l'Cie can fulfill their focus so the former can become crystal and finally be at peace (a really convoluted way to add side-quests to the open-world chapter).

Yeah, the graphics are pretty on-point. Actually almost too much perhaps. It may have had an overall negative impact on the game's production to get those visuals. Who knows. But anyway. Even with that kinda sorta second chance thing with the monsters turning to stone, it's still pretty horrific.

#BurnThefal'Cie

It's really convoluted, but yes. Cocoon fal'Cie seem benign (providing clean air, food, light and energy to humanity), but it's revealed that they are not. They were raising humanity to sacrifice it all at once. Fal'Cie have their own gods. They believe a sacrifice big enough would summon their creator.

CaitSeith:

Arnoxthe1:

CaitSeith:
Yeah, the problem is that it never made it past the potential. Vanille's hyper-kookiness is just an act so people don't suspect her true origins. Again, good potential. The graphics are nice though. In Chapter 11 is revealed that the monsters eventually become stone with their mind still tormented inside, and other l'Cie can fulfill their focus so the former can become crystal and finally be at peace (a really convoluted way to add side-quests to the open-world chapter).

Yeah, the graphics are pretty on-point. Actually almost too much perhaps. It may have had an overall negative impact on the game's production to get those visuals. Who knows. But anyway. Even with that kinda sorta second chance thing with the monsters turning to stone, it's still pretty horrific.

#BurnThefal'Cie

It's really convoluted, but yes. Cocoon fal'Cie seem benign (providing clean air, food, light and energy to humanity), but it's revealed that they are not. They were raising humanity to sacrifice it all at once. Fal'Cie have their own gods. They believe a sacrifice big enough would summon their creator.

I was under the impression that most of the fal'cie are neither benevolent nor cruel, simply powerful machines created to help mankind with basic programming for self defense. Barthy (and whatever that owl was) was the only fal'cie we saw in the game with sentience (and as such the only one who seems to be capable of somewhat defying his programming), and that was because he was created for an administrative role. I mean, if all fal'cie wanted to destroy humanity, it would have been a lot easier for Phoenix to stop being a sun, or Carbunkle to stop producing food instead of going through this really convuluted means.

Even the proto-falcie in 13-2 was just defending itself, albeit through horrible means. Even the few other fal'cie we see fighting for barty, we dont know if they willingly join his side or if they are simply programmed to do his bidding.

Ryotknife:

CaitSeith:

It's really convoluted, but yes. Cocoon fal'Cie seem benign (providing clean air, food, light and energy to humanity), but it's revealed that they are not. They were raising humanity to sacrifice it all at once. Fal'Cie have their own gods. They believe a sacrifice big enough would summon their creator.

I was under the impression that most of the fal'cie are neither benevolent nor cruel, simply powerful machines created to help mankind with basic programming for self defense. Barthy (and whatever that owl was) was the only fal'cie we saw in the game with sentience (and as such the only one who seems to be capable of somewhat defying his programming), and that was because he was created for an administrative role. I mean, if all fal'cie wanted to destroy humanity, it would have been a lot easier for Phoenix to stop being a sun, or Carbunkle to stop producing food instead of going through this really convuluted means.

Even the proto-falcie in 13-2 was just defending itself, albeit through horrible means. Even the few other fal'cie we see fighting for barty, we dont know if they willingly join his side or if they are simply programmed to do his bidding.

Barthy didn't give to the main characters the focus of killing Eden; the Pulse fal'Cie at the beginning did. They weren't destroying humanity for extermination sake; it was a mass sacrifice to summon their god. There was even a theory in the datalog that the Pulse fal'Cie were searching the earth, the skies, the waters, and even the deep places for a gateway to the divine. Same goal, different means; but at the end, humans were nothing but tools for them.

The only falcie we know are willing participants to this plot are barth and anima (did forget about that one) and possibly the owl (i have no idea what its deal is). It stands to reason there would be a pulse counterpart to barthy with the same capabilities. Anima + barthy are defying its directive. All of the other pulse falcie that we see, however, dont seem to give a rip about humans one way or another.

Even after looking at the wikia, it appears that falcie for the most part are just machines created by two gods, pulse and lindzei. Barthy is the only fal'cie that we see with any personality, although according to the wiki the proto-falcie was sentient.

So sentient falcie might be evil, but not all fal'cie are sentient. Although you can understand why sentient fal'cie might be a bit miffed that these all powerful beings were created to serve the whims and needs of mankind, a massively inferior species.

Ryotknife:

I was under the impression that most of the fal'cie are neither benevolent nor cruel, simply powerful machines created to help mankind with basic programming for self defense. Barthy (and whatever that owl was) was the only fal'cie we saw in the game with sentience (and as such the only one who seems to be capable of somewhat defying his programming), and that was because he was created for an administrative role.

What gave you the impression Barthandelus is the only Fal'Cie with sentience? There's no implication that I can recall that they don't have sentience, and several others-- Orphan and Anima, to be specific-- show pretty clear signs of it.

Ryotknife:

I mean, if all fal'cie wanted to destroy humanity, it would have been a lot easier for Phoenix to stop being a sun, or Carbunkle to stop producing food instead of going through this really convuluted means.

Fal'Cie cannot go directly against the purpose for which they were created, which in Phoenix and Carbuncle's case is the protection and upkeep of Coccoon. That's mentioned in-game, IIRC.

This is why Barthandelus must manipulate events so that an agent of Pulse brings about the downfall. They are not so restricted.

NB: The manner in which this information is presented to the player is obtuse as all hell, though in some ways, that's traditional for the series.

Ryotknife:
The only falcie we know are willing participants to this plot are barth and anima (did forget about that one) and possibly the owl (i have no idea what its deal is). It stands to reason there would be a pulse counterpart to barthy with the same capabilities. Anima + barthy are defying its directive. All of the other pulse falcie that we see, however, dont seem to give a rip about humans one way or another.

1) We're not given any indication that Anima is party to Barthandelus' plot. We're told Anima responded with fury to Barthandelus' aggression, in stealing Pulse's material to repair Coccoon, and that that is why he responds with violence.

2) Anima, and the Pulse Fal'Cie, are not subject to the directive to protect Coccoon. This is why Anima's l'Cie are able to attack it. This is because the Pulse Fal'Cie were created by Pulse, not Lindzei, who created Coccoon.

3) Orphan is party to the plot, at the very least. He pretty much states as much at the end of the game. The Owl is referred to as a Rukh, rather than a Fal'Cie.

Ah yes. The Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasies really is as convoluted as it sounds.

Their divine pantheon in particular is absolutely ridiculous. The Fal'chie are supposed to the ''gods'' of Cocoon but they serve an even higher goddess, in the sequel we get another goddess which is a different one than the Fal'chie worship and the third game introduces yet another god.
And I'm still not sure how that weird city from Lightning returns is supposed to tie in with Pulse and Cocoon. Where did that town come from and where did Pulse go to?

The game's story is plagued by technobabble. In a story that's already convoluted it would have helped if they didn't use the most complex words imaginable that also sounds pretty similar like L'cie and Fal'cie. It also doesn't help that all these terms are never properly introduced but used as if everyone's already familiar with them.

Silvanus:

What gave you the impression Barthandelus is the only Fal'Cie with sentience? There's no implication that I can recall that they don't have sentience, and several others-- Orphan and Anima, to be specific-- show pretty clear signs of it.

the majority of falcie we see act more like animals than sentient beings. This combined with no personality traits or awareness of morality and the fact they are machines that for the most part are unable to defy their programming make me question if they are sentient (with a few exceptions). Also, there is no need for falcie like phoenix to have sentience.

Fal'Cie cannot go directly against the purpose for which they were created, which in Phoenix and Carbuncle's case is the protection and upkeep of Coccoon. That's mentioned in-game, IIRC.

so, no free will. Can a being be sentient and have no free will?

This is why Barthandelus must manipulate events so that an agent of Pulse brings about the downfall. They are not so restricted.

NB: The manner in which this information is presented to the player is obtuse as all hell, though in some ways, that's traditional for the series.

1) We're not given any indication that Anima is party to Barthandelus' plot. We're told Anima responded with fury to Barthandelus' aggression, in stealing Pulse's material to repair Coccoon, and that that is why he responds with violence.

2) Anima, and the Pulse Fal'Cie, are not subject to the directive to protect Coccoon. This is why Anima's l'Cie are able to attack it. This is because the Pulse Fal'Cie were created by Pulse, not Lindzei, who created Coccoon.

3) Orphan is party to the plot, at the very least. He pretty much states as much at the end of the game. The Owl is referred to as a Rukh, rather than a Fal'Cie.

Ill be honest, dont really understand anima part. But its hard to accept that fal'cie are sentient beings when they cant defy programming, are machines, and show no personality or signs of intelligent life (most of them at least)

So did you mean to put this in GID? Seems like a better fit for GD. Probably would get more replies.

Ryotknife:

the majority of falcie we see act more like animals than sentient beings. This combined with no personality traits or awareness of morality and the fact they are machines that for the most part are unable to defy their programming make me question if they are sentient (with a few exceptions). Also, there is no need for falcie like phoenix to have sentience.

There being no "reason" for them to have sentience isn't really relevant. The same could be said of countless species we encounter in Final Fantasy. We're also given no indication that they have "no personality traits or awareness of morality"; you seem to have assumed that much on the basis of extremely limited interactions we have with them.

We only directly interact with a few-- Atomos, Barthandelus, Anima, Orphan, Titan and Dahaka. Of those, several make specific value judgements (Barthandelus, Anima, Orphan, and Titan), and all exhibit decision-making capabilities (except Atomos). Many also speak, with no indication given that others can't.

There's no direct evidence that they're non-sentient, and quite a bit of evidence that they are.

Ryotknife:

so, no free will. Can a being be sentient and have no free will?

What? Having one specific restriction on their abilities placed upon them by their creator doesn't mean they have no free will.

A very similar plot point is used in Kevin Smith's Dogma, and again, the creatures in question very much do have free will.

Ryotknife:

Ill be honest, dont really understand anima part. But its hard to accept that fal'cie are sentient beings when they cant defy programming, are machines, and show no personality or signs of intelligent life (most of them at least)

They show repeated signs of intelligent life; several of them speak, and make value judgements. They're machines, yes, and machines with intelligence and free will are depicted in fiction frequently.

The point I was making about Anima was that as a Pulse Fal'Cie, he can take destructive action against Coccoon. He even does so, in directing Fang and Vanille to destroy it.

Only Coccoon Fal'Cie are unable to act against Coccoon, because they were created by Lindzei for the express purpose of its upkeep and protection. Pulse Fal'Cie were not. Ergo, no restriction.

Silvanus:

There being no "reason" for them to have sentience isn't really relevant. The same could be said of countless species we encounter in Final Fantasy. We're also given no indication that they have "no personality traits or awareness of morality"; you seem to have assumed that much on the basis of extremely limited interactions we have with them.

We only directly interact with a few-- Atomos, Barthandelus, Anima, Orphan, Titan and Dahaka. Of those, several make specific value judgements (Barthandelus, Anima, Orphan, and Titan), and all exhibit decision-making capabilities (except Atomos). Many also speak, with no indication given that others can't.

There's no direct evidence that they're non-sentient, and quite a bit of evidence that they are.

we only interact with Orphan after it combines with barty, so i feel like that is a bit of a copout. Titan just pits animals into deathmatches, which is what it is programmed to do, to fill arks with weapons. Speaking is also not a sign of sentience, especially when it comes to machines.

What? Having one specific restriction on their abilities placed upon them by their creator doesn't mean they have no free will.

except their entire existence revolves around that restriction. This is not like they cant wear black but otherwise go about their day as they see fit. The entirety of their existence revolves around what they are programmed to do. What does Phoenix do? its a sun. Okay what else? that is it. why? because that is what it is programmed to do.

A very similar plot point is used in Kevin Smith's Dogma, and again, the creatures in question very much do have free will.

(the next part contains spoilers to the game the Last Remnant)

and an equally similiar plot point to what im describing is used in another SE game (the Last Remnant) which has powerful machines that humanity depends on that sorta appeared out of nowhere. One of these machines "a remnant" achieves sentience (okay, technically two of them) and then tries to take remnant control away from humanity.

the Falcie and Remnants are similar. Both are immensely powerful constructs that humanity depends on that were created via some unknown force (at least as far as the denizens are concerned), and the overall plot lines have similar undertones.

Or in other words, they are the exception to the rule.

Ryotknife:
we only interact with Orphan after it combines with barty, so i feel like that is a bit of a copout. Titan just pits animals into deathmatches, which is what it is programmed to do, to fill arks with weapons. Speaking is also not a sign of sentience, especially when it comes to machines.

Titan expresses value judgements when speaking to you. So does Barthandelus (if we must exclude Orphan).

You're really just giving highly circumstantial reasons that exclude them from definitely having sentience-- but there's no positive evidence that's the case at all.

except their entire existence revolves around that restriction. This is not like they cant wear black but otherwise go about their day as they see fit. The entirety of their existence revolves around what they are programmed to do. What does Phoenix do? its a sun. Okay what else? that is it. why? because that is what it is programmed to do.

...except, again, you're excluding instances where that isn't the case. Anima is a patron of Oerba, and seems to have had some kind of ruling position there. Barthandelus and Anima both take extensive actions outside of their core job.

We see them doing what they do for Coccoon, yes- they're god machines.

Hell, at times, even Pulse and Lindzei are referred to as Fal'Cie, and they're definitely sentient.

(the next part contains spoilers to the game the Last Remnant)

and an equally similiar plot point to what im describing is used in another SE game (the Last Remnant) which has powerful machines that humanity depends on that sorta appeared out of nowhere. One of these machines "a remnant" achieves sentience (okay, technically two of them) and then tries to take remnant control away from humanity.

the Falcie and Remnants are similar. Both are immensely powerful constructs that humanity depends on that were created via some unknown force (at least as far as the denizens are concerned), and the overall plot lines have similar undertones.

Or in other words, they are the exception to the rule.

But there's no reason given in-game to believe Barthandelus has achieved some greater sense of self-awareness. None of the characters remark on that, Barthandelus doesn't remark on it, and other Fal'Cie also take action outside of their core job (Anima) and make value judgements (Titan). It is never given as a distinguishing element.

Silvanus:

Titan expresses value judgements when speaking to you. So does Barthandelus (if we must exclude Orphan).

You're really just giving highly circumstantial reasons that exclude them from definitely having sentience-- but there's no positive evidence that's the case at all.

Im guessing titan talking to you is deep into the side quests on chapter 11 because i never saw that. I putzed around for a good 30-40 hours into that chapter, but i never got into the superboss territory. All i saw of titan was grabbing the amantoise in the chapter 11 beginning cutscene and occasional lol-smash-duststorm. Ill take your word for it though that titan is sentient as it seems that i missed a key moment. Barthy is completely sentient has he holds multiple conversations with the protagonists, and he plots and schemes and is capable of emotionally manipulating people.

The reason im leery on orphan is that after combining with barty, orphan has the mentality of a child. If falcie are all sentient, this would mean that orphan would have had sentience for thousands of years and had this child mentality for that long. It is possible, but it seems more likely that the act of combining with a sentient being caused this.

...except, again, you're excluding instances where that isn't the case. Anima is a patron of Oerba, and seems to have had some kind of ruling position there. Barthandelus and Anima both take extensive actions outside of their core job.

We see them doing what they do for Coccoon, yes- they're god machines.

Hell, at times, even Pulse and Lindzei are referred to as Fal'Cie, and they're definitely sentient.

They could also be exceptions to the rule. for beings in an administrative role, which is what barty and anima were, sentience could be a key requirement to fulfilling their purpose. Those two are also the only falcie which are directly involved in the plot.

On the other hand, what purpose does sentience serve in an artificial sun? These machines were created for an incredibly specific purpose. it could be possible that the processes Phoenix and Carbunkle undergo are so complex that sentience (or artificial intelligence) is required, but we see no evidence of that complexity, and it is more likely that it is just an artificial sun.

But there's no reason given in-game to believe Barthandelus has achieved some greater sense of self-awareness. None of the characters remark on that, Barthandelus doesn't remark on it, and other Fal'Cie also take action outside of their core job (Anima) and make value judgements (Titan). It is never given as a distinguishing element.

I think the confusion here is that you believe that i think that barty achieved sentience, ie it is something he obtained himself. I do not believe that. Barty was created with sentience which, considering his role, makes perfect sense. Orphan may or may not have achieved (ie was not created with but gained later on) sentience.

The problem is, you are basing all falcie on anima, barty, and i guess titan nad orphan. Granted, they are the most important ones in the game. However, we also have phoenix, carbunkle, atomos, kajuta, and dakaha. None of whom show sentience. Atomos especially acts more like a domesticated horse than a sentient being. Carbunkle had a good chunk of a chapter inside of him and not a peep out of him. Dakaha had a boss fight with no display of sentience.

to make it clear, im not saying that falcie are never sentient, only that some of them are. By default, they do not appear sentient. If barty, anima, titan, and i guess orphan were the only falcie that we interacted/saw with in the game, i would 100% agree that falcie are sentient. But the existence of seemingly non-sentient falcie spread throughout the game challenges that assumption.

It is even more bizarre when you go back and think about how almost all of the human characters in cutscenee or on the map show sentience, but a good chunk of falcie do not.

EDIT: btw, if there are some secret optional cutscenes in the game which characterize other falcie, there is a good chance i did not see them.

Ryotknife:

Im guessing titan talking to you is deep into the side quests on chapter 11 because i never saw that. I putzed around for a good 30-40 hours into that chapter, but i never got into the superboss territory. All i saw of titan was grabbing the amantoise in the chapter 11 beginning cutscene and occasional lol-smash-duststorm. Ill take your word for it though that titan is sentient as it seems that i missed a key moment. Barthy is completely sentient has he holds multiple conversations with the protagonists, and he plots and schemes and is capable of emotionally manipulating people.

The reason im leery on orphan is that after combining with barty, orphan has the mentality of a child. If falcie are all sentient, this would mean that orphan would have had sentience for thousands of years and had this child mentality for that long. It is possible, but it seems more likely that the act of combining with a sentient being caused this.

The mentality of a child? How so? Orphan waxes lyrical on the fate of Coccoon, and humanity, and redemption. He gets quite philosophical.

I suppose you could argue that this is only because he and Barthandelus have merged, that's possible. FFXIII is fairly obtuse in its storytelling... I could see either one of us being correct.

Ryotknife:

They could also be exceptions to the rule. for beings in an administrative role, which is what barty and anima were, sentience could be a key requirement to fulfilling their purpose. Those two are also the only falcie which are directly involved in the plot.

On the other hand, what purpose does sentience serve in an artificial sun? These machines were created for an incredibly specific purpose. it could be possible that the processes Phoenix and Carbunkle undergo are so complex that sentience (or artificial intelligence) is required, but we see no evidence of that complexity, and it is more likely that it is just an artificial sun.

No sentience is required, I suppose. But if it's just an artificial sun (or in Carbuncle's case, a vending machine), then why does the game refer to them as "who", and not "what"? Give them names? Refer to them as "Fal'Cie", which we know is a designation otherwise given to living beings?

Ryotknife:

I think the confusion here is that you believe that i think that barty achieved sentience, ie it is something he obtained himself. I do not believe that. Barty was created with sentience which, considering his role, makes perfect sense. Orphan may or may not have achieved (ie was not created with but gained later on) sentience.

The problem is, you are basing all falcie on anima, barty, and i guess titan nad orphan. Granted, they are the most important ones in the game. However, we also have phoenix, carbunkle, atomos, kajuta, and dakaha. None of whom show sentience. Atomos especially acts more like a domesticated horse than a sentient being. Carbunkle had a good chunk of a chapter inside of him and not a peep out of him. Dakaha had a boss fight with no display of sentience.

to make it clear, im not saying that falcie are never sentient, only that some of them are. By default, they do not appear sentient. If barty, anima, titan, and i guess orphan were the only falcie that we interacted/saw with in the game, i would 100% agree that falcie are sentient. But the existence of seemingly non-sentient falcie spread throughout the game challenges that assumption.

It is even more bizarre when you go back and think about how almost all of the human characters in cutscenee or on the map show sentience, but a good chunk of falcie do not.

EDIT: btw, if there are some secret optional cutscenes in the game which characterize other falcie, there is a good chance i did not see them.

I believe optional cutscenes only characterise Titan. I don't think Dahaka or Atomos are ever given greater depth.

The sticking point is that you're considering non-sentience to be the "default". This is not the same standard we apply to any other species in the games; we do not assume that individual humans, or Moogles, or Seeq, or Lunarians are non-sentient until they show some sign of sentience. If they are the same species as other sentient beings, we assume sentience.

 

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