To celebrate the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, Zatu Games takes a look back over a few of the highs and lows of the most inaccurately titled game series in history.
In part two of our Final Fantasy Highs and Lows Series, we look at three of the worst moments from the franchise - in our opinions at least.
The words ‘Chicken-wuss’ – Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII is constantly called ‘divisive’ for both its overhaul of the magic system and its ambiguous story. One thing that’s probably less divisive is the game’s answer to the question: ‘What’s the best way to call someone a coward?’ Apparently it’s to stick two words that mean coward together to compound the effect, or something. And so, ‘chicken-wuss’ is born.
These are the words repeatedly used by Seifer, one of the game’s main antagonists, to insult Zell, one of its protagonists. It would be fine if the characters around him reacted with the appropriate ‘What did you just say?’, but instead they either ignore it or, if they’re Zell, react as though they’ve never been more insulted.
It seems an insignificant thing to pick up on, but these reactions imply that it’s a relatively normal thing to say, at least for Seifer. We’re now playing in a world where people say ‘chicken-wuss’…
It’s difficult to know if it’s meant to be funny, if it’s a poor translation, or if it’s just bad writing. Whatever the story, and whatever your view of Final Fantasy VIII, those two little words are impossible to escape.
The most annoying sound on the planet – Final Fantasy X
This one is pretty infamous, though it’s not without its defenders. X was the first in the Final Fantasy series to replace text dialogue with voice-acting, and this scene is the moment you question both that decision and your own sanity.
Protagonist Tidus tries to cheer up his friend Yuna by forcing laughter. Then she joins in, all while the remaining members of your party stand by like they’re in a coma, staring straight ahead in bemused silence. It’s profoundly strange. The awkwardness is intentional, but that doesn’t save the scene from being a pretty drastic misstep.
Taking a character like Tidus, already sometimes accused of being quite an annoying protagonist, and having him scream rhythmically off a balcony was never going to come out great.
The scene was apparently inspired by something the writer (Nojima again) had been made to do in acting class, but real-life basis or not, it is consistently hailed as the example of bad voice-acting in games. It truly earns its infamy.
Seymour’s hair – Final Fantasy X and X-2
Hair is extremely important in the Final Fantasy series. From Cloud’s blonde frontal starfish in FFVII to Snow’s beanie and central-strand combo in FFXIII, it is both a fashion statement and a defining character trait. There are a variety of slightly insane styles, but most of it fits with the general aesthetic of the series and complements the brooding characters.
However, everything in fiction is subject to suspension of disbelief, even hair, and Seymour’s is objectively a crime against fashion and physics. The man's head looks like the Skyrim logo, which would be fine if he wasn’t one of the game’s biggest antagonists.
He’s characterised as being a calm, collected, even polite villain. There’s no real hint of humour to him. So it seems we’re meant to take him seriously, to view him as a genuine threat, but that’s impossible when you can’t move your eyes below his forehead.
Given that this is a series that includes a character with a hairstyle that literally functions as a bird’s nest, it’s difficult to go too far. Somehow, Seymour manages it.
UPDATE: This product is no longer available to purchase from Zatu Games. All information above including prices were correct at the time of publishing but may not be accurate in present day.