Bare Bones – FF7 Copy Cat Dream Game

There are a lot of games I would really love to play. Unfortunately, plenty of them don’t exist yet. I’m going to describe a mish-mash of mechanics that I’d love to see, making up a game that I’d love to play. These are going to be very bare bones descriptions – I’m not outlining an entire game start to finish. This time, I’m going to examine the skeleton of my ideal Final Fantasy 7 copy cat.

Once upon a time, I was a young lad in school with wide eyes, hopes for the future, and love for Final Fantasy 7 in my heart. Feel free to judge me as you will, but I’m going to do my best to present the ideas I had back then here as best as I remember them, unmodified by the years of knowledge I’ve gained about games since then. It’s also worth noting that a lot of these ideas were bounced off of and supplemented by ideas from a good friend, Aaron Wiggins. A very cool guy that went well before his time, I still owe him for being one of the biggest inspirations in my desire to create games (the other being my wonderful friend Nate). So, with that out of the way, here’s a bunch of stuff about a game I once wanted so badly to make:

The name of the starting (and best) are of Final Fantasy 7 and a large love of Norse mythology served as a huge inspiration for this game. By coincidence, much like the coming FF8, 9, and 10, my idea was to put the focus on summoning. The main character would be an apprentice summoner, interacting with the ghosts of the Norse Gods. He would discover that his master was consorting with the dangerous fire giants, and find himself framed for the same crime, readied for public execution. A grand cutscene would kick in, showing him taken to a guillotine in front of a large crowd. Glimpses of his friends moving through the crowd would be intercut with him being prepared for execution. As he reaches the guillotine, lightning would strike, and in his place would stand the hero Thor. Thor would wreck the guillotine, send the guards flying, and leap off the platform. As he lands, it would revert to the protagonist, and he’d take off with his allies (a booksmart magus and a half-giant). The gameplay would kick back in with them escaping back to a home base of sorts, allowing for some combat (tutorials) on the way.

After that, it becomes about getting out of the city, making the way to other countries, and journeying the world. One of the major intentions was to have a large and dynamic world, with countries at war with one another and any given faction being variably interested in averting a potential apocalypse. You’d be able to choose your future allies, work on befriending them, and change conditions in the world while preparing for the final showdown with your old master and the fire-giant army. This dynamic setup was intended to allow for a huge variety in gameplay and storytelling, making the bulk of the game a different experience over the course of multiple playthroughs.

I’ll admit, the characters were very much cliches in a lot of ways. The main character was somewhat unique: a summoner rather than a jack of all trades or swordsman. The half-giant would be the standard warrior type, the mage a typical magic caster, and other party members heavily influenced by the RPGs I had played up to that point (a zany foreigner that’s totally not Yuffie, a cool brooding gun user that’s certainly not Vincent, and I’d need to find my notes to keep going). One major concern I had was making sure that different equipment would alter appearance. It didn’t need to change the polygons of the characters, just the coloration/textures. I visual recognition of a different set up. Each character would have a specific weapon and armor type, in the same vein as FF7.

The magic system was intended to be a heavy retooling of Materia. Rather than learning the magic in order, you could choose to dump AP into spells in any order (excluding the most powerful spell, which needed all previous spells unlocked to access). You’d only have access to a spell once it was paid off, meaning struggling without magic for a while and then having some powerful (but expensive) spells, or going in order and having a FF7 style experience. The spell uhh.. stones (not Materia, right?) could be combined for new effects, meaning poison could be made elemental, dual element magic would be available, and you could get a lot of versatility out of your stones as long as you had a lot of different stones to combo them with.

That’s pretty much the bulk of it. I’m pretty embarrassed just typing this up, but it seemed appropriate to share all of my ideas, even the old and bad ones. It gives some insight into how much my thoughts and aspirations have changed over time (hopefully for the better). Don’t worry, there’s one other embarrassing old idea I’ll be writing up for Bare Bones, so look forward to that when I get to it. Otherwise, expect Bare Bones/Dream Game to get back to the usual mash ups and more recent ideas.

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