Can They Remake Final Fantasy VII Without the Sexism?
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(The article contains SPOILERS of Final Fantasy VII, you've been warned!)
There was a time in my life where I would have said Final Fantasy VII was the best game I’d ever played. I’ve finished it more times than I can count, I used to own as much merch as my poor display cabinet could possibly hold, and I’d rarely be able to play a JRPG without thinking “FFVII did it better.” But time and experience changes everything, and on my last playthrough a few weeks ago, everything wrong with the game became painfully evident.
I look at Tifa and realize now how over-sexualized she is; less a character and more a caricature of womanhood made to pander to teenage boys that can’t appreciate a fighting woman unless she’s also a sex toy. [...]
Lastly, and most offensively, is the treatment of women in the game. Cid is an alcoholic (what do you think he meant by “tea” in that notorious scene?) abuser of his assistant, Shera, and there’s a silent endorsement on the part of the other characters when they refuse to acknowledge or confront him about his disgusting actions.
And Aerith? Probably gaming’s most celebrated and best-known refrigerator trope. One of the few female characters in the game who is not sexualized, whose powers are non-violent, who has a respect for culture and growth, and who has actual character development is killed in an extremely brutal way just to serve as a motivation for Cloud, who is a literal blank slate in the game.
Unfortunately, Tifa’s proportions are so unholy that it might make the casual observer miss how every female body type in the game is the same: unnaturally slim with perky breasts and a prominent behind.
The remake can change this—we need more diverse body types in videogames, because, shock and horror, there are women of different sizes, shapes and weight in the world.
How can anyone possibly think that when Cloud and the team, and further, the developers of Final Fantasy, say that, “Oh hey, Cid treats women like garbage, he should definitely accompany you on a journey to save the world,” it is anything less than saying domestic abuse is a non-issue?
This can be solved really easily – just add a few lines of dialogue where Shera stands up for herself, where the rest of the team can step in on her side. Cid can apologise, and you should be able to choose whether or not the apology is accepted, either accepting Cid onto the team or leaving him where he is.
Oh, and while we’re revamping things…
Cloud should die in the place of Aerith.
I know that saying this will upset a lot of people, but it makes sense on so many levels. Cloud is a blank slate whose life is mostly a lie. Aerith is the last surviving Cetra, whose existence has profound meaning—from that alone, it’s easy to see that Cloud’s life has less weight than Aerith’s, and further, the game wouldn’t have to change from that point onwards.
I think they have what it takes to stand up to the challenge. Recently, they’ve been responsible for both the new, bad-arse Lara Croft and Lightning, so I think they definitely have the skill and the imagination to adjust their classic game to be more reflective of a better world. For me, this is what a remake is for—making changes that couldn’t have existed at the time of its original release. Only time will tell.
So, opinions on this matter? What do you people think about it?
Having Cloud killed instead of Aerith would be an awesome twist, imo!