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Thread: Why squall has good character development

  1. #1
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    Why squall has good character development

    The reason i think squall has good character development, is because we see change throughout the game.At first he is really shy and is afraid to share his feelings with people.He is later burdened with the responsibility of becoming the leader of his seed group, so he has to overcome his shyness, because he needs to learn to communicate with his group, or it won't work.We really see this during that scene of the musical band on fisherman's island, where rinoa tells him she's there for him, and if there is anything he needs to get out.She also tells him that you can't close yourself off forever.You need to share your feelings and opinions with others for them to gain trust in him and so he could evaluate how his team is doing.I could understand this kind of thing, because a military team wouldn't work if you don't get imput from your leader.
    There is also the burden of becoming the commander of the garden, and that puts weight on his shoulders.I have seen some who have been given responsibility and they handle it very well, others feel the burden immediately, because a lot of weight was put on their shoulders.In squall's case, he has self doubt about if he is ready and able to handle the command post of the balamb garden, and he tosses and turns.

    I also like the relationship quistis has with squall as well.I think personally it makes sense too.A teacher see's a troubled but very talented student, and puts a lot of effort to help the troubled but talented student, so he will be alright.It especially makes sense since squall is rather shy, and quistis is helping him with that shyness problem.

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    I don't know - he may be opening up *a little* in his own inner monologues, but he remains distant and awkward around his team mates throughout the game IMO. Rinoa is the only one he starts to show any real emotion towards at all. His relation with the others is kind of permanently stuck at '... Hey... Well... let's go and do our next mission then.'

    Internally, I think he is opening up a little, but there is very little evidence of that actually in game. He doesn't vocalize it, and there are no real scenes of him connecting with his team mates at all. I mean, does he ever praise or even just talk casually with Zell? There's one moment outside the Ultima Weapon dungeon, where he thinks to himself that he might actually have to start crediting Zell with some brains after all. But that's about the only thing I can think of, and that's covering Zell, Quistis, Selphie and Irvine. He just doesn't really say much of anything to any of them, that isn't 'Right, so this is what we need to do next'.

    I don't think this is actually a problem (I mean Picard was like that in Star Trek, and that didn't make him any less effective a leader or any less beloved by his crew etc). I guess it would have been nice to see them grow together more as a team as time went on, but I attribute that more to the fact that the game pretty much abandons Zell, Quistis, Selphie and Irvine from Disc 3 onwards (Squall even tries to leave them behind, when he carries Rinoa off, and later on jumps off into space without them!)

    The fact is that from Disc 3 onwards, FF8 is 'The Squall and Rinoa Love Story - And Time Compression' story. Pretty much everything and everyone else (including the villains like Seifer, who only has one more appearance and then just vanishes until the end sequence), fades so far into the background that they might as well not even be there. Even Laguna's eventual re-entry into the story is glossed over, and rushed. Because by the end, Squall, Rinoa and the whole Time Compression thing is the *only* thing that the game even remotely cares about.

    Heck, just check out the end sequence - its about 30% Squall, 30% Squall and Rinoa, 35% Time Compression and 5% everything else.

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    But he does talk a little more in the end, and become a little more sociable.


    The story is a joke though, and that isn't what tis is about either, but rather to defend squall as a character, because some idiots don't know the difference between antisocial and being socially shy, which is what introverted means.

    Anti social is generally someone who gets in trouble with the law, like charles manson.He isn't emo either.I felt that even dissidia ruined the character, because he wasn't an asshole at all, he just didn't talk much.

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    But what does he say, and to who? I certainly don't remember him socializing with any of the team. I don't remember a single line of dialogue where he says anything unrelated to the mission to any of them.

    I think you're letting him off a little easy, though. I agree that he's essentially alright, but he's really a bit of a sourpuss at the start, and that's not just because he doesn't feel like talking - he genuinely doesn't care much about others at this point). His inner monologues about Zell, Laguna and even the old guy at the newspaper office etc, show he is frustrated at having to deal with people in general. He doesn't want to talk to them, doesn't care what they're saying, and thinks they're all tiresome fools. He also has no social graces when dealing with Quistis - his rejection of her during the date is hardly 'letting her down easy' is it? To be fair to him though, she did place him in an unfair and awkward position - she practically used her authority over as teacher to 'order' him to go on a date with her! And she didn't even tell him that's what it was until they were there!

    Its the fact that he doesn't vocalize any of these thoughts that saves him from being a true jerk. If he went about telling people exactly what he thought of them to their faces, then he *would* be a jerk. He censors himself because he doesn't want to hurt them - he just wants them to leave him alone. The only times he tells people 'the way it is' is if they are deeply in the wrong, and need telling. And I support him in that. Most of the time though, he's just a sullen and stand-offish so and so, which is hard for people to take sometimes but hey, there's no law that says you have to get along with, or care about others around you.

    Seifer is the only guy he usually talks properly to, because he doesn't feel the need to censor what he says to him - he just tells him what he thinks of him, good and bad (i.e that he recognizes that Seifer is a strong fighter, an excellent leader and motivator, but is also a colossal arrogant jackass to go along with it). And its implied certainly that meeting Rinoa and falling in love with her is lightening him up to those around him - my point is that there is little real evidence of that in the game's dialogue itself. As I said, quote me one line of casual, non main plot related dialogue he engages in, with anyone other than Rinoa and perhaps Ellone during this whole game - I don't think there's even one!

    The last half of this game is very obviously rushed, so dialogue that shows how Squall is opening up and actually starting to show some warmth to the people around him is just one of many, many things that the game skims over, to make time to (belatedly for many) develop the love story, and (very hurriedly) bring the story to a conclusion.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrykolas View Post
    I agree that he's essentially alright, but he's really a bit of a sourpuss at the start, and that's not just because he doesn't feel like talking - he genuinely doesn't care much about others at this point). His inner monologues about Zell, Laguna and even the old guy at the newspaper office etc, show he is frustrated at having to deal with people in general. He doesn't want to talk to them, doesn't care what they're saying, and thinks they're all tiresome fools. Its the fact that he doesn't vocalize any of these thoughts that saves him from being a true jerk. If he went about telling people exactly what he thought of them to their faces, then he *would* be a jerk. He censors himself because he doesn't want to hurt them - he just wants them to leave him alone. The only times he tells people 'the way it is' is if they are deeply in the wrong, and need telling. And I support him in that. Most of the time though, he's just a sullen and stand-offish so and so, which is hard for people to take sometimes but hey, there's no law that says you have to get along with, or care about others around you.
    I agree with you, totally. But I think we also have to think about his upbringing: he was raised as an orphan, had a strong attachment to Ellone and was crushed when she left him, and was bullied by Seifer. The absence of his parents, the departure of his "sister," and his bitter relationship with Seifer turned him into a bit of a misanthrope. I think that's the takeaway from the whole orphanage plot-twist; NOT that they all grew up together, but it gives insight into Squall's subconscious (a theme explored to an even greater degree in FFVII). Even the whole "Matron is the Sorceress" element might have had a subconscious aspect to it; he was put into a position where he had to kill the woman who raised him, even though he didn't recognize her--subconsciously, he might have known. All that's why he always wanted to be by himself: he thought that if he wasn't around others, they can't abandon him. And he's struggling with that through the entire game. Any psychologist will tell you that that's not something you just "get over" during the course of a few weeks, and certainly not when the pressure of saving the world and all existence is thrust upon you. So yes, Vrykolas, they do rush things at the end at the expense of character development, and all you really see is a skeleton of a good character development. But I think its bare bones are there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olde View Post
    I agree with you, totally. But I think we also have to think about his upbringing: he was raised as an orphan, had a strong attachment to Ellone and was crushed when she left him, and was bullied by Seifer. The absence of his parents, the departure of his "sister," and his bitter relationship with Seifer turned him into a bit of a misanthrope. I think that's the takeaway from the whole orphanage plot-twist; NOT that they all grew up together, but it gives insight into Squall's subconscious (a theme explored to an even greater degree in FFVII). Even the whole "Matron is the Sorceress" element might have had a subconscious aspect to it; he was put into a position where he had to kill the woman who raised him, even though he didn't recognize her--subconsciously, he might have known. All that's why he always wanted to be by himself: he thought that if he wasn't around others, they can't abandon him. And he's struggling with that through the entire game. Any psychologist will tell you that that's not something you just "get over" during the course of a few weeks, and certainly not when the pressure of saving the world and all existence is thrust upon you. So yes, Vrykolas, they do rush things at the end at the expense of character development, and all you really see is a skeleton of a good character development. But I think its bare bones are there.
    To me, squall made more sense than cloud to be silent as a character with inner monologue.Squall you see was afraid that if he told people what he felt, they would abandon him.He suffers from rejection or whatever you call it.The reason that i like the idea, is because we also see how his fear of talking to people and shyness leads to complications of running a team.

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    Tally-ho there, Olde!

    Yes, I understand and agree that Squall has been negatively affected by his early experiences. Squall is probably my favorite FF main hero, and I'm just making the point that whatever his reasons, you can understand why some people would be irked by his behavior. Like I said, he is never a jerk about it, and that helps us to empathize with him and hope he does come around. That's one of the reasons why I actually care about this game's love story, whereas most romances in video games fall a little flat. Because here is a guy who really *needs* a bit of love, and who needs to come of his shell because despite his traumas and pessimism, he is a nice guy under it all, which anyone who spends long enough around him, realizes (basically all the students look up to him, and like him despite his loner attitude, for example).

    It just would have been nice if they had had the time to fill in these blanks. Put in a few more sections of him actually opening up. One of the few sections where we get to see something like this is the Assassination attempt in Deling City. When Irvince freezes up, Squall doesn't go off on one, yelling at him for being useless and to get his act together or anything. He speaks to him like a human being, calms him down, and tells him that even if he misses, its no big deal because he'll take care of it.

    That's a great scene, and I just would have liked to see a bit more of Squall (and all the team) growing together, actually talking and acting like a real team. Because (and again this is mostly down to the game being rushed in the later stages), they still don't feel 'together'. You know that the game is implying they are, and they don't feel cold to each other, but neither is there any camaraderie of the kind you see in the 'Home Movie' bit of the end sequence. And this as I say, is largely down to the plot taking precedence - I mean, what do Zell, Selphie, Irvine and Quistis actually do after the Battle of the Gardens? They really don't do much of anything. They're relegated to just being 'the guys you fight with', and their character development completely stops (as does Seifer's for that matter).

    Like FF12 was also, FF8 would be a truly great game - if it was finished. What is there in both games is enough to see how it was going to be, but it still stings when you actually play them and realize just how unfinished they were in terms of characterization and narrative. There's a lot to be said for maybe putting in something like the 'Skits' that the Tales series uses (and FF9 has something like it too), to flesh out the characters, given them some extra banter and really let us feel how they are as a team at any one time. A team always feels more complete if the game can articulate how the various characters feel about each other, rather than just their relationship to the main character or the plot.
    Last edited by Vrykolas; 09-26-2013 at 05:29 PM.

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    As usual, Vrykolas, you articulate your thoughts more cogently and lucidly than I. I completely agree with you on all your points. It would indeed have been nice if they included more character development in the latter half of the game. For instance, for me it was kind of jarring to see Squall smile at Rinoa like a sap in the final cutscene; I get what they were going for but it didn't transition to his final state fluidly enough. And as you say, they didn't follow up on the secondary characters, as they just sink into the background. But honestly, and I hate to say this given that I like FFVIII, but I don't really think there's that much to do with the secondary characters; Selphie is always a peppie, chibi schoolgirl whose only real plot element is having come from Trabia Garden; Zell is an ADHD guy who likes hotdogs, gets a girlfriend (I think?), and thought his foster mother was his real mother; Quistis is a commanding tomboy who gave up on Squall when he blew her off at the "date;" Irvine is just a gun-toting flirt whose qualm about changing history is only a footnote. I just think there's just not that much to work with, especially when they realize that they all grew up together but forget their memories. It's kind of like a weird family that's embarrassed to be around each other. They're just not that deep, and we never explore their psyches nearly as much as we do with Squall, for obvious reasons. I think Rinoa has potential, but there isn't a whole lot done with it.

    Honestly, I kind of like the balance. They sacrificed character depth for action/plot development/side quests and other things to do. I think that all the side stuff (besides the Queen of Cards quest, ugh) makes the game great. Besides, FF8 is melodramatic enough as it is, and being on four discs, it's hard to keep the action-oriented player satisfied when there's so much operatic drama, as much as it is hard to satisfy the person interested in the story. You're right, FF8 could have been an amazing game, but it suffered from a rushed and underdeveloped character arc and weak auxiliary characters.

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    I personally never liked rinoa.To me, she doesn't fit in as a battle companion, because she messes up too much.Its her fault that seifer got possessed by ultimecia, because she told him about her plan of the train heist, and she also is responsible for almost getting herself killed by ultimecia at the assassination attempt.She isn't a soldier or built for it, so she is best to follow orders, because it gets her in trouble.

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    Yes, but the thing which saves her for me is that she knows this. She offers several times to leave the group, because she feels she is just slowing them down. She was naive at first and didn't realize what fighting actually entailed - she had her little gang of 'revolutionaries' and it was all going to be fun and easy. Actually experiencing real combat and danger (and getting captured by Edea) chastens her, and she immediately realizes she's not cut out for this. She doesn't know how to fight properly, and doesn't like doing it either.

    But the team come around to her, because she is the heart of the squall, a bundle of optimistic energy that is pleasing to have around. Sure, at first, Squall, Selphie and Zell all see her as a nuisance who has no idea what life is really like. But her energy and 'Leap before you Look' attitude is infectious, and it keeps them trucking along (literally in the case of Irvine!). When she goes into the coma at the end of the Third Disc, the game goes out of its way to show how quiet it is without her about, causing mischief and mayhem. Zell and Selphie have at least some life experience and sense (they wouldn't pass the SeeD exam without it), and though quite sprightly themselves, they are disciplined when they need to be. Rinoa is not military trained though, and just lets her wild spirit take her where it will.

    So even though she apologizes for this, and realizes it has gotten them into trouble, the team forgive her, because they don't want her to change. Its nice to see someone who isn't beaten down by life and its responsibilities. She needs reining in now and then, because she can be sulky, moody and hot headed, but she's a force of nature and that is an attractive thing (Seifer is similarly magnetic, but he only has yes men, who won't curtail his extremes like Rinoa has with the team).

    As for the 'Its a rushed game' stuff, its the last 2 discs that really suffer. And its the same as these things usually go - the first half builds up nicely, introduces and develops the characters, has strong set pieces, gives a clear direction to the story. But then you hit the crazy rollercoaster where suddenly there's an invisible futuristic city, then into space, and time travel, and alternate dimensions, and Castlevania! And The Whole World Is Ending!

    And the game is tying up loose ends frantically, in unsatisfying ways (that painful scene in Laguna's office, where that whole thread of the story is reduced to a few dialogue options and cut scenes and is then basically completely finished, despite its huge, enigmatic build-up in the Laguna dreams). And the fact that the Lunatic Pandora (and Galabadia Garden) are activated off screen, and nobody is really that surprised to see them. Or the fact that, because the focus is 100% on curing Rinoa later on, that the team are surprisingly 'Oh... cool' about Esthar and the fact its an invisible city with tech that is thousands of years ahead of theirs. And again, when they go into space, they're all like 'yeah... Space. So anyway, about Rinoa...'

    To be the game it could have been, it would have need to be at least 1 more Disc long. And the whole of the second half would have had to be completely gone over and redone, beefing up interaction between the team, resolving plots properly (Edea? Oh, she's on our side now, and she's... oh I don't know, I think we left her in that Orphanage or something...) The game is still chock full of great images and ideas, but they make increasingly little sense as the game goes on, and it just becomes a series of flash cards that the game is holding up, before discarding them for the next one.

    It like if JRR Tolkien had instead of writing out 'Return of the King' properly had just said 'And then they went to Mount Doom, there was a big fight with this army, lead by this guy, who died, because of this character, and they got to the Volcano, met this guy, beat him with this, and then won. The End.'

    What about the characters JRR, what did they think, when they were doing all that? 'Oh... they didn't think anything... Does it matter?'

    Well... kind of, yeah.
    Last edited by Vrykolas; 09-27-2013 at 08:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nostalgia gamer View Post
    To me, squall made more sense than cloud to be silent as a character with inner monologue.Squall you see was afraid that if he told people what he felt, they would abandon him.He suffers from rejection or whatever you call it.The reason that i like the idea, is because we also see how his fear of talking to people and shyness leads to complications of running a team.
    I think the inner monologue was a brilliant idea, but at the same time it actually stunted his development. With Cloud what you saw was what you got. He started off a massive unsociable dick, then gradually morphed into a chatty guy who was almost a bit of a dork (Let's mosey.) Whereas with Squall, all the development was in his head. At the beginning of the game he didn't like them in his head, but didn't openly say it to spare their feelings. By the end he loved and cared about them all...but still did not say it to spare his own blushes. We got to see Squall grow as a person, but sadly the others never did.

    However I personally liked that about Squall, it made him human. Unsociable or not, he reacted to things in a realistic way. He wasn't a superman, or a fearless leader. When he was forced into a position of authority he did his best to shy away from it, not wanting the spotlight or the pressure that went with it. The fact that Squall didn't want to be the leader, yet did it anyway for the greater good shows the kind of character he had and made him quite relatable.

  12. #12
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    The thing olde said is exactly what i think is wrong with the other characters.Zell quistis irvine and selphie and even rinoa seem under developed in comparison to squall.Early on we see squall with quistis, and hear her relating to him.Later on though, we don't actually hear much from her at all.

    The rest of the team seem pretty much 1 trope personality, and that is it.I would have liked more development on zell quistis selphie and irvine.

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