Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Final Fantasy: Gender Mixes

Playing Final Fantasy V today got me thinking... My party now, and for the rest of the game, is Nick, Lena, Krile, Faris. One male, three females. I think this is the first time in this entire marathon where my party has been predominantly female. This is certainly the first game where the playable cast is mostly female. Thinking about it more, I think there are only 2 games in the entire series where that's true: FFV and the generally maligned FFX-2. I thought I'd go through and see if that's actually the case, at least of the games I've played entirely (so skipping XII, XIII, and XIII-2 for now because I don't want to look up spoilers)...

FFI - 6/0 - no real characters, but all 6 jobs are male
FFII - 3/1 or 8/2 - depends if you count the 4th slot subs or not
FFIII - 4/0 - the DS remake brought it to 3/1
FFIV - 9/3
FFV - 2/3
FFVI - 10/3/1 - Gogo's gender is unclear
FFVII - 6/3
FFVIII - 3/3 or 7/4
FFIX - 4/3/1 or 7/4/1 - Quina's gender is unclear
FFX - 4/3
FFX-2 - 0/3

FFL - your choice
FFLII - your choice
FFLIII - 2/2 or 5/4
FFA - 1/0 or 5/3
FFMQ - 1/0 or 3/2

It actually looks like 3 female characters becomes par for the course. Main character's love interest, little girl,  and uncharacteristically tough woman. I guess even FFV could fit that description. Krile is certainly young (Galuf is her grandfather and he's not made out to be too old. In fact, Galuf was friends with Nick's father, so one would think Nick is a generation older than Krile. And he's likely in his 20s himself...) Faris grew up pretending to be male and became captain of the pirates which would make her uncharacteristically tough. I don't think Lena is the main character's love interest but I've only played it through in Japanese so I would have missed that sort of detail the first time. I could see it happening. So maybe FFV isn't different because it has more female characters than male characters... Maybe it's different because it only has 2 male characters while keeping the standard complement of female characters.

I decided to look it up, and according to wikia Nick is 20, Lena is 19, Faris is 20, Galuf is 60, and Krile is 14. So Krile can definitely be the little girl in the party.

I don't have any real conclusions to draw here. I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone that 90's Japanese video game culture was geared more towards males and they included way more male characters in their games than they did female characters. I guess it's just a sad observation. Particularly so now that I see there were always 3 female characters in every game from FFIV through FFX-2!

1 comment:

Humbabella said...

The "love interest" female isn't necessarily the actual love interest, but I can't think of a better way to describe the archetype.

I think this is really interesting because it highlights that the balance of male and female characters isn't really the thing that makes it geared towards males. Stating in VI they give us the same three female archetypes in every game, each of which is designed to appeal to a different segment of gamers. In VII they even let you choose between them on Cloud's behalf.