I’m probably a bit late on this since the game came out weeks ago. However, I felt the need to write this after exchanging e-mails with another ardent Final Fantasy fan and regular Unreality reader @goseebananafish. He told me that people need to be warned about it and he was right. The irony of it is people will actually want to listen to it in order to satisfy their curiosity. It happens to all of us including me! I read reviews that explicitly warned readers to avoid it altogether, but then I thought that it couldn’t be that bad. I ended up being really, really wrong when I did finally get the chance to listen to it.
I finished Final Fantasy X Remaster with feelings of wonder, awe, and appreciation after spending 30+ hours. Unfortunately, all it took was 30 minutes of awful to taint that wonderful experience and my last moment with the FFX franchise left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I must warn you about FFX and FFX-2 spoilers before you read the post. It’s necessary for the discussion so I’m going to bring some plot points up. If you really want to listen to the audio drama after playing these games, go ahead but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Honestly, you’re better off reading about it than wasting your time on it. Less disappointment that way!
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Chuami and Kurgum
Before I nitpick with my virtual chopsticks, let’s have some background information and a brief rundown on what goes down in the audio drama. Final Fantasy X -Will- is a 30 minute audio drama included in the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. It was only included in the International versions of the game during the game’s initial release. It’s basically voice-over narration with concept art and the FFX’s soundtrack playing in the background.
The game is set two years after the events of Final Fantasy X-2. We are introduced to the audio drama’s two central characters: Chuami and Kurgum. They are childhood friends and both members of the Spira Council. They find Yuna in Besaid to deliver a movie sphere showing a shoopuf in the Moonflow that’s believed to have been killed by Sin decades ago. They initially believe that it was merely *beckoned from the Farplane. However, they aren’t sure anymore if that’s the case when they witness a scene wherein the “beckoned” can actually speak and hear the living (something that isn’t believed to be possible). Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Sin is back from the dead too. Eternal Calm what?!
“Similar to how Sephiroth’s role in Final Fantasy VII, Sin plays a very important role in Final Fantasy X and we wanted to keep Sin involved [with the story],” FFX‘s producer Yoshinori Kitase told Silicon Era in an interview as he explained why they wanted to bring Sin back. The interviewer asked because he noted that the whole point of FFX was breaking the cycle of endless calms and it invalidates what the characters and what the player worked hard to achieve. This is a sentiment that I fully agree with. The only way I could see this work decently is IF AND ONLY IF Sin was really just a beckoned illusion and it only proved to be a distraction (and not the main force) from the “real” foe in the story. We’ll never know if Square had the same idea or if the Eternal Calm was just one big joke to them. Even if they confirmed that there won’t be an FFX-3,
I’m not done yet, so it’s too early to breathe a sigh of relief. The characters also have a lot of things on their plate too. Chuami believes that she is Auron’s illegitimate daughter since that’s what her mother told her. Lulu and the others don’t quite believe her, but that doesn’t faze her in any way. While this arc feels like it came from a soap opera that ran out of ideas, I honestly find Chuami’s character to be the most interesting. She isn’t afraid of challenging Yuna’s decisions when everyone else kowtows to the latter.
Older versions of Tidus and Yuna
Oh Tidus and Yuna? Where do I even begin? You would think that after their happy reunion in FFX-2 everything would be dandy. The audio drama implies that the couple have been spending some time apart. Everyone’s hearts start breaking when Yuna tells Tidus that she is in love with someone that he doesn’t know. Many were shocked and heart broken because they didn’t see this coming. The only way you’d be prepared for it is if you read or know about the short novel Final Fantasy X-2.5 (not included in remaster). The events in it occur between FFX-2 and the audio drama. To sum up what happened in that short novel: Tidus and Yuna go to an island. Yuna doesn’t like Tidus’ new happy-go-lucky attitude and they fight. Tidus gets mad and kicks a blitzball that turned out to be a bomb and he dies. After Yuna gets him back from the Farplane, she sort of breaks up with him because she claims she doesn’t know him anymore. I actually have no problem with them having a rough patch since it makes it more realistic, but it was just presented and tied up in such a mess.
Yuna talks as if she isn’t the only who changed. She returned to the mannerisms and dress style of her summoner days. In addition, she spends the entire day praying/meditating in temples. I felt like the “growth” she experienced from the first and second game were completely discarded. It’s like they made Yuna go back into her shell.
While millions of hearts were shattered, I don’t entirely believe that Tidus and Yuna is a lost cause. We keep getting the hint that Yuna doesn’t see the Tidus she fell in love with anymore. She also expresses jealousy and concern regarding him. At the same time, Lulu tells Tidus that he should know better when Tidus asked who Yuna loves. I got the impression that Yuna meant that she was in love with the Tidus that she knew in the past, not who he is now.
Kitase also mentioned that they wanted the story to continue as the exact opposite of Tidus and Yuna’s happy story. To be honest, they should have just stopped with FFX if they wanted that. It was bittersweet and the most fitting ending. It had the perfect mix of tragedy, hope, and closure. FFX-2 as a game isn’t bad despite my grievances about some changes. However, I didn’t think that the reunion ending was necessary. The scene with Tidus in the water at the end of FFX was enough for me.
A lot of people thought that Square made the novel and the audio drama as springboards to FFX-3. However, the company confirmed that they had no plans whatsoever to create a sequel. While I’m happy that there won’t be another opportunity to ruin FFX’s legacy, I’m a bit disappointed that we won’t get to see what they really had in mind with this bizarre storyline. Maybe I was right about Sin and Tidus and Yuna, but we’ll never really know. Someone from Kotaku Australia actually liked the audio drama, and I would have to agree that its downfall would have to be the fact that they cramped the story in 30-minutes. There’s a chance people would be more receptive if they had done things differently.
It’s also kind of irresponsible for them to intentionally leave an open ending if there isn’t going to be another game. Where’s the closure now? I’m really hoping that the novel and audio drama isn’t canon, but Square hasn’t said anything about it except that they are “standalone continuations” of the game’s universe. If that’s a fancy way of saying fan fiction, then I’ll happily assume that it isn’t canon.
There you have it folks. Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever been so passionate about a game’s story since the whole Mass Effect 3 debacle. This is my take on it, but I do want to hear what you guys think about the audio drama regardless if you heard it or not.
*It refers to a person thinking of someone they used to know who has since passed, conjuring an illusion from the Farplane.