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Why I Would Play the Hell Out of the New Final Fantasy Dating Sim (If it Really Existed)

Illustration for article titled Why I Would Play the Hell Out of the New emFinal Fantasy/em Dating Sim (If it Really Existed)
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Last week at the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event here in Tokyo, some of the biggest names in Square Enix talked about the franchise. Square Enix showed off the first material related to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was put through its paces. Then Hajime Tabata—director of Crisis Core, The Third Birthday, and Final Fantasy Type-0—took the stage. He gave a twelve-minute presentation, detailing Tokimeki Final Fantasy: Suzaku Magic Institution Peristylium: Oh no! I'm in Love With the Crystal's Divine Guardiana classic style dating sim set in the Type-0 universe.

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He showed off the systems, character design, and even gave some insights into the plot and how it related to Type-0. And then, at the end, he announced it was all a fake and everything he'd said in the last 12 minutes was an elaborate hoax—which is really too bad.

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I would have played the hell out of that game.

I got into dating sims years ago when I was just learning Japanese. A friend, having recently returned from a semester in Japan, brought Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side back with her. She and her friends played it constantly, and over the next few weeks I saw their reading and speaking comprehension speed past my own.

Illustration for article titled Why I Would Play the Hell Out of the New emFinal Fantasy/em Dating Sim (If it Really Existed)

So when I went to Japan myself, one of the first things I did was pick up, Tokimeki Memorial 2. In the following weeks my reading and kanji recognition improved dramatically—as I had intended. But I kept on playing because, shockingly, I found myself truly invested in the story. By the time I put it down, I had beaten it in every possible way and was constantly amazed by how emotionally effective the game had been.

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Dating sims tend to get a bad rap. After all, on the outside it seems a little pathetic to pretend to have a relationship with a fictional character. But just like any game, you are taking on a role—not who you are but someone you are pretending to be.

So really, dating sims are just another kind of escapist fantasy where instead of being a modern war hero, dragon slayer, or a spaceship captain, you're a person caught up in an epic love story. ...Something the Final Fantasy series has long claimed to have—and really hasn't.

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Illustration for article titled Why I Would Play the Hell Out of the New emFinal Fantasy/em Dating Sim (If it Really Existed)

Oh they have attempted the epic love story, many times to varying amounts of success. Remember the "beautiful" story of Cloud and Tifa, where Cloud ignored her and her feelings for the entire game? Or how about Rinoa and Squall: a girl with rebellious daddy issues and a guy whose entire character is summed up by his catchphrase "whatever." The closest thing to an epic love story the series has had was Final Fantasy X with Yuna and Tidus. And even they were an amazingly awkward couple.

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But Final Fantasy has always had the building blocks for a great romance, and in no game is this more true than Type-0. Think of it, all the cliches of a modern Japanese romance are right there in the setting: A magical school, a wildly varying cast of students, and a war-torn world just full of tragic character backstories—the dating sim almost writes itself.

And let me tell you, if any world needed a bit of lighthearted love, it was Type-0. Type-0 was just so unbelievably dark and unfathomably tragic that the world has got to have some downtime or it'll collapse in on itself into a void of despair.

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So really, a game like the proposed Tokimeki Final Fantasy—a mixture of classic dating sim and modern RPG—could have worked by bringing the love story aspect of Final Fantasy to the forefront. Yet instead of spending their time making the title, they decided to pretend to make it for a joke instead.

And I for one am far more saddened than amused.

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DISCUSSION

I dont know if I would play a reverse harem, though I played through every option in x-change some years ago.

But there is a problem with the rep of so called "dating sims". You have to differentiate first. The Tokimeki games are visual novels, Love Plus is a dating game and than there is simple masturbating material like 3D Costum Girl.

There are many great visual novels, like Clannad, Air, Shuffle, Steins;Gate. Many of them get great anime adaptions and are some of my favourites. There are also visual novels without erotic content like Umineko.

Those games want you to connect emotionally with the characters, to immerse yourself in the story of the game. You could describe them as romance novels for guys. I really dont see anything wrong with that until you get to the point where some guys (like some women, I want to add) look for a perfect girlfriend which they obviously wont find. I still think people overreact to this, it isn't as bad as some make it out to be.