As I think more and more about what I thought interesting and what people should definitely look forward, there is something I’d like to get the spotlight on and it is something that we all have a better awareness of it in games : the cinematography.
There are terrific games that gets even better when it manages to convey how masterful the directing is. Naughty Dog games are known for that, they clearly spend a lot of time and I see a lot more studios who are definitely putting a lot more effort to increase the quality of their directing because it’s simply something that we all like to see and that people notice more and more. It’s something I haven’t noticed at all 10 years ago, but FF12 is incredible when it comes to cutscenes and it’s no wonder that they were crafted by the same man who worked on Vagrant Story’s events : Jun Akiyama. He was in charge of everything related to cutscene : camera work, lighting, spacing, body and facial animation as well as voice acting were all directed and handled directly by him and it shows.
Keep in mind, it’s a PS2 game and they were coming out of FF10 that was still struggling with conveying 3D effectively so it’s a huge step up, and one I feel has never been replicated since in later installments, though FF15 was a definite step up in select scenes. He never worked on any FF in that same position even though he definitely should come back.
It’s only a number of select gifs with captions that does not give any context but it can be spoiler-y if you don’t want to know anything
Here’s a small part of what I consider a phenomenal scene : watch how the lighting gives a softer feel to the scene, how the camera is carefully laid out and the way his face conveys the situation even without sound. Nothing is left out, and it conveys so many things about the themes at play without words.
Spoilers for what I think about it : The space gives a glimpse of the grandeur of the Archadian Empire but the soft sundown lighting illuminating it betrays the discord in Gabranth’s heart. The importance of the sunset increases in the scene as Gabranth is tasked with a moral dilemma in order to punish his insubordination. It shows how much Gabranth represents melancholy in the play. The scene manages to convey the public and personal space of the character as it goes on further than the gif, I find it so thoughtful.
Even in scenes that are less important, the framing remains top-notch. The game doesn’t shy away at depicting the whole cast even when they’re not active and doesn’t abuse cuts when a well-framed wide shot does the work. I love how they fill the screen harmoniously and you see them listening, Larsa in the middle progressively takes up more space as he speaks and Balthier’s head directs our gaze to him.
Here’s another with sound this time, I love the way they interact with each other and how good the voice-acting is. The localization makes it as if the game was created for a western audience in mind.
I also changed the first post to include this comparison of the Ozmone plain music. What you are hearing is the original music, which is the one as you heard on PS2, and then the Zodiac Age rearrangement is shown afterwards.
I felt that the sound capabilities of the PS2 soundchip did a poor job at conveying Sakimoto’s compositions, so I think that even himself had a vested interest into making a rearrangement with the help of a live orchestra. I cannot wait to hear the new arrangement of Eruyt Village.
To finish it off, I’d like to make a poll about what are everyone’s intentions considering the game, there’s always a lot of various opinions about the game and it’s interesting to see where people stand :
- I liked the game and I am willing to play it again
- I disliked the game but I am willing to give it another shot
- I disliked the game but I am not convinced my opinion is going to change
- I haven’t played the game and am interested to play it
- I haven’t played the game and am not interested to play it[/poll]