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Thread: Lightning is Not Cloud - Editorial

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    Lightning is Not Cloud - Editorial

    Lightning Returns is going to have a Cloud Strife costume as pre-order DLC. Is this just fanservice or does Square Enix really want us to think she's on par with Cloud? Does she deserve to wear the uniform?

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    A Mechanized Castle Clix's Avatar
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    A lot of the issues stem from the fact that they declared early on in XIII's development that Lightning was the main character... and then didn't write a game where she is the main character. She might be party leader frequently, but she is not important to the plot of XIII and does not factor into the villains' schemes as an individual (she is just a minor component). According to the Ultimania, the crew realized they hadn't just screwed up the game design--the plot was also not what they had intended. They have admitted that, as written, it's Vanille's story, but they decided to keep shoehorning Lightning because that's what was promised in the 2006 trailer. They have since been trying to convince us that Lightning is important.

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    Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff Fowl Sorcerous's Avatar
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    it's not like Final fantasy has ever had protagonist confusion before. I mean it's just 8, 10, 12 and TA....

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    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    I fully admit that I like Lightning more than most because I identify heavily with her as the older sister who carries the world on her shoulders. Because of that, I feel like I was able to read between the lines of her character development and the decisions she made. I have a lot of the same issues with the way the game portrayed that character development (and especially with how awful the villains were in XIII), though.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    I can totally understand that, Oce. There is so much they could have done to really stress that and make sure she was really seen as the awesome older sister, but didn't. And villains really didn't help her, so what Clix says rings so true. This was not Lightning's story, but it sure has become her saga...
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    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    I feel the same as you Ocelot. I'm hoping Lightning returns fixes some of this with flashbacks...but I doubt it will happen.
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    Staff Healer RPGamer Staff TwinBahamut's Avatar
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    I've got to admit, this seems like a rather dramatic reaction to a little bit of cosplay. Lightning and Cloud are different characters. They have different kinds of stories and exist in different kinds of games. Having one borrow the clothes of the other isn't a big deal. You can say that the Onion Knights of FFIII lacked personality, but they still had fun cosplaying as elves. Bartz is pretty shallow as far as FF main characters go, but his ability to cosplay as more characters from more dramatic games like FFIV's Kain or FFII's Minwu generally draws more fan praise than anything else. Final Fantasy characters get to reference other Final Fantasy characters. In the end, they are all Final Fantasy characters, and Cloud and Lightning are complete equals in that regard.

    Even beyond that, though, I think you give Lightning a bit too much flak. Sure, Final Fantasy XIII is a game that fails to live up to its potential. I think, however, that its characters (and Lightning in particular) take too much of the blame for that, when the fault lies elsewhere. Lightning is still an interesting character, and in various subtle ways she shows a lot of depth and complexity. My personal favorite scenes with her are from the time leading up to Odin's appearance, when she maintains her facade of calm but is clearly boiling with confusion, uncertainty, and misplaced rage beneath her attempts to keep a professional exterior.

    Not every character needs to be Cloud, anyways. All told, he is a pretty unusual Final Fantasy character from an unusual Final Fantasy game, and even his story has some pretty glaring faults (Tifa's memories being a notable one). Lightning is the character who has games coming out in the near future, so it is fine for her to get some promotion right now. Square Enix will just move on to promoting Noctis after her, and the leading character of FFXVI after they are done with Noctis.

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    The Onion Knight and FFV comparisons are interesting, but those games were designed around it. And those were part of the core game, not silly DLC meant to milk fans of their money.

    That said, it's way beyond the cosplay, that's just the most recent event to spark this. For me, it's just Lightning overload, so that's what's really got me down on her more than anything. If she'd just been a one and out character in FFXIII, I wouldn't even worry about it. Now we have a third game on the way, and as cool as it might be (I'm actually pretty interested in it) Lightning has little to do with my interest. I guess I'm burnt out on Lightning being the main focus of a mini-series when there are other more interesting characters that could get some spotlight.

    Seeing her dressed as Cloud didn't anger me as much as spark the comparisons that I noted in here. I like "worst birthday ever" Lightning and would love to have seen more from that era. Not the Odin-riding goddess knight she became in FFXIII-2.
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    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    To be fair, nobody came out of XIII-2 looking very good. Well, Hope and his techie girlfriend were kinda cute, but otherwise...

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  10. #10
    My first reaction to the costume news was 'that's just silly'. Until reading this editorial it never crossed my mind that this was a jumping off point for comparing Cloud and Lightning. I still don't think it is, but it does make for some interesting discussion.

    I think the shortcomings you list are mainly VII vs. XIII moreso than C vs. L. While I would find Cloud more interesting even on an even playing field, Lightning gets zero help from the screenplay or cast. And while I won't get on my soapbox about FF villains of late, heroes are seriously handicapped without one.

    For me FF has always been about ensembles, so the lack of a single strong lead isn't a deal-breaker. In fact, to build on FS's comment, I don't picture a single character as representing ANY FF game.

  11. #11
    Member Scar's Avatar
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    This editorial seems odd.

    I mean it's a costume. Should we feel annoyed or miffed that Asbel dresses like Leon Magnus from ToD?

    I don't think so...

    and personally Cloud is not that iconic. I didn't enjoy his supposed enchanting story in FF7, and furthermore I remember earlier in FF13's development that they went as far to say that they molded Lightning to appear similar to Cloud in the first place....

    so what's the big deal? lol

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    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Hmm, I think I have similar thoughts to most of you who posted. On the one hand, these costumes don't signify a big issue. On the other, however, by advertising these costumes and the Lightning character, the atmosphere surrounding 13-3 is that of fan service and obvious attempts to sell the game based off factors other than the merits of gameplay or story.

    The changes made to characters and unnecessary plot of 13-2 being continued just don't bode well. Strangely enough I've read positive impressions of 13-3, granted most of these same people hated 13, so I'm probably on the opposite side of the field as them. Not a surprise, since the gameplay concepts described in early articles sound like the things that annoy me the most in gaming, such as strict time limits, 1 character party, very open ended gameplay leading to multiple endings, etc. In the end I'll probably end up playing it anyway, but pretend that LR and 13-2 never existed and aren't canon.
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    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    Well Chicken, technically they AREN'T if you think about it. FFXIII ended, and everyone was there. FFXIII-2 explained that something that wasn't supposed to happen, namely Lightning disappearing, happened. Meaning if you think about the original game by itself, they are not canon because the events of XIII-2 were never supposed to happen to begin with.
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    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkRPGMaster View Post
    Well Chicken, technically they AREN'T if you think about it. FFXIII ended, and everyone was there. FFXIII-2 explained that something that wasn't supposed to happen, namely Lightning disappearing, happened. Meaning if you think about the original game by itself, they are not canon because the events of XIII-2 were never supposed to happen to begin with.
    Exactly Dark, which is why I think 13-2's plot was just so silly. At least in X-2, they showed how things went down sometime in the future and what became of the events that transpired in X without retconning the ending and involving crazy time traveling.
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    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenGod View Post
    Exactly Dark, which is why I think 13-2's plot was just so silly. At least in X-2, they showed how things went down sometime in the future and what became of the events that transpired in X without retconning the ending and involving crazy time traveling.
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  16. #16
    CG and Dark, I got a kick out of your comments. Never underestimate the power of rationalization!

    It sounds a bit too chronotriggerish to me...I'm onboard with pretending XIII-2 didn't exist, but I never thought of using 'in-game' reasons.

  17. #17
    It's just fan service to me. Than again, fandom is exactly why this would be upsetting because only major FF fans would be able to rationalize a difference, so it's also anti-fan service.

    Bah. Fanboys be crazy. That's the explanation I'm sticking with.

  18. #18
    My humble opinion:
    I don't care about this costume thing, its just a desperate attempt to give her a little more of attention, but (at least for me)definitely Lightining its a failure as main character. She is just a overpowered tsundere.
    SE should move forward and let her die quietly with the whole FF XIII world. I mean, the original game wasnŽt so great to have a "sequel" in the first place and even less a third one.
    Personally IŽd like to see something like FF VII DoC (a fun game with some charismatic secondary characters like Locke, Faris or someone else).

  19. #19
    I agree with the fan service comments. If you really have to compare who is more interesting as a main then Cloud obviously wins that bout...but in the end it doesn't really matter that much I guess.

    I never cared for FF13 in the first place. Beat the first game with little satisfaction and XIII-2 was boring after about 4 hours.

  20. #20
    Member Angelonight's Avatar
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    ...Wow
    I guess I really am the only one who got it that "THE" biggest change for 13 wasn't the paradigm shift system, but that there was NO MAIN CHARACTER!
    I'll settle down and try to explain.
    Yes, Lightning was/Is the face of 13, however the story of 13 was about the group as a whole. It just wasn't just about Lightning trying to save Sarah. It was also about Snow and his ambition to expose the corrupt government. It was about Hope and his quest for revenge against Snow. Fang trying to save Vanille. Vanille trying to live the last of her life, And Sazh trying to find his son. And despite all of that they some how had to work together to survive.
    Now as for the similarities between Cloud and Lightning, I personally never saw them. I never felt a need to nit pick the game that much, and took it for what it was. Which is probubly why I never caught the "Problems" with 7 either. This Cloud Cosplay DLC I took as SE having a bit of fun with us as fans. I personally laughed and asked my friend sitting next to me at the time "Does that mean that Snow is going to get a Siefer Cosplay?" We laughed some more.
    Now as far as 13 being a trilogy. To me, 13 was always a 3 part game, that is what was promised us. 13, v13, and what ever the cell phone one was called. I wish we would have gotten FF type 0, maybe I would still own my PSP, and, with out starting a fight please, we know the fate of v13. So as much as I didn't like 13-2, I accepted it as entry two.
    As far as 13-3 goes I am looking forward to it because I am interested in Lightnings story. I also want to see how they are going to handle the Paradigm Shift system with one character and keep it smooth and flowing.
    I really am not trying to fly off the handle and become one of "Those Fans", these are just my opinions. And I am looking forward to the changes the next entry will bring.
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