We Need to Talk About 'Final Fantasy VII' And Spoilers

#1

It seems like Square Enix is finally ready to start talking about its long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake, a game fans have been, in essence, asking for ever since the original game was released in 1997. The question, then, is what we are allowed to start talking about. Are we allowed to spoil Final Fantasy VII, or has the clock reset?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3k3aa9/we-need-to-talk-about-final-fantasy-vii-and-spoilers
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#2

Wasn’t FFVII originally spoiled before it’s western release? That precedent would mean the remake could be spoiled before it’s release too.

Personally I hope The Spoiler Moment happens but not at the same point in the story. Just have it happen like 2 hours before we expect it and then bam! out of no where. Didn’t see that coming did you?

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#3

I’m like Patrick in that I usually tend to avoid spoilers because I genuinely do enjoy being surprised. I also think I’m particularly susceptible to (unconsciously) having my feelings about a thing shaped before I experience it, if I hear others’ thoughts on it first.

That said, unlike Patrick, I have never played FFVII. And somehow, in my almost 20 years of gaming, I’ve only heard literally one spoiler about the game. With the remake coming, I think I’ll finally play it to see what all the fuss is about, but I don’t expect people who have already experienced this 20 year old game to avoid talking about it. I’ll personally be fine with people providing the usual spoiler warning, and I’ll know to just not read/listen to what follows and be fine.

#4

Have it happen in the first fifteen minutes.

“Here, this is for you!”

“A flower…?”

“glurrrrrrkchghh”

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#5

As someone who played FF7 back when it originally came out, and not sought out any conversation about it in the modern era, I had no idea that people thought the ending was controversial.

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#6

Alternatively have it happen at the end. Out of nowhere, but right when we’re starting to think “Maybe it really won’t happen…”

#7

Never played FFVII, but I know the spoilers through osmosis. I think the greatest argument against this is in WPR when Patrick can’t engage in basic crit of the game (explain why the ending is beautiful) because of spoilers from 20 years ago.

Also, I’m not sure I buy the assertion that the unspoiled experience is in any way more “honest” or “pure”

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#8

While I try my best to avoid spoiling things for people if I know they haven’t been exposed to it yet, I generally feel like at some point a work crosses some ill defined threshold where it essentially becomes a piece of common knowledge. It’s like someone getting upset about being spoiled on Vader being Luke’s father when they re-released the OT in theaters.

In a weird way, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. If you’re a person who hasn’t been spoiled on FFVII you must have not come in contact with the vast majority of games discussion in general before then, so you probably won’t get spoiled on it anyway because why now all of a sudden would you engage with that crowd? If you’re engaged enough with the medium to be subscribed to a game specific podcast, there’s a virtually zero percent chance you’ve avoided the spoiler until now anyway.

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#9

I played FF7 a few years after release and was already spoiled on it going in. From a gameplay perspective it was really helpful as I didn’t have to worry about grinding up a certain party member in what was already a fairly grindy game. And frankly, what I knew about the ending didn’t help me in the slightest to understand what the heck actually happens in the last disc. Basically everyone needs to chill. For those that know, give space to let newcomers not find out what happens prematurely if they don’t want to. For the newcomers, know that stumbling on spoilers for a 22 year old game is not going to ruin your enjoyment.

(That all being said, there should probably also be some content warnings for the game as it has some super shitty sequences that I’m not sure will be excised in the rerelease.)

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#10

I think it’s generally a better idea to just give a spoiler warning (and mention the specific property when you do so) and then go at it, particularly in the critical space. Talking around things can get infuriatingly vague.

That said, the concept of avoiding spoilers in general is starting to make me uneasy since it has transitioned from something done out of politeness to something done out of a sense of enforced social obligation to, as noted in the article, something done for the purposes of cynical marketing. We’ve lost the thread on why these spoiler considerations seemed important or necessary in the first place and now corporate interests are more than happy to reinforce the habit without reflection on our behalf. It’s frankly disturbing.

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#11

Related to this point, I also question why someone who didn’t bother to engage with FF VII over the past 20+ years would be interested enough to justify having spoilers withheld at all costs. I have trouble seeing how someone that was presumably fine with people discussing FF VII without warnings at any prior time to news of the re-make is now invested in protecting an experience they opted not to have. It strikes me as a bit in the same vein as the pitfalls of the games industry & writing regarding the obsession with the new for the sake of the new (and something Waypoint was explicitly established in part to avoid); it seems highly consumerist.

That said, I don’t have an issue with popping a spoiler warning up top of things because it’s easy. But philosophically, I don’t really agree it should be expected. EDIT: or, as similarly put by @SomeFellow:

#12

The biggest twist would be if it didn’t happen at all, but that’d theoretically undermine some themes and, combat system aside, I think this is going to be a fairly conservative remake with respect to the game’s content.

#13

See, I have a much easier time accepting that there are people, particularly younger people, who have no exposure to FFVII as they’re newer players who might see these trailers and be interested in it. As they’ve never been exposed to it in general, they’ve never been exposed to the well known plot details. Those people I can picture no problem.

What I can’t picture is people like that also somehow being a part of a larger video game discussion community that openly talks about FFVII spoilers.

#14

FFVII is one of those weird cases where its biggest spoiler is arguably the most well-known thing about it. Like, if you know one thing about the game it’s probably that moment.

I’d really love if Square found a way to subvert it or reframe it in a way that gives it new context, but I think the odds of that happening are close to zero.

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#15

Oooh, this is interesting to me because one of the things I liked about the the whole thing is that it is not just the plot that is affected, but the gameplay as well. I had no way of knowing what was going to happen so I played the same way I would any other game in terms of distributing experience. Not having skills or abilities that you relied on beforehand makes it really feel like something is missing. For me, I never got a certain lvl4 limit break, it was something I was going to get around to, but then it was too late. It’s a weird sort of regret of thinking you have more time than you actually do, and then running out of time in such a sudden way. A similar thing with the Ultimate Weapon.

This sums up my feelings, it is mostly for the younger crowd and/or people who have just got into gaming. Although I have to admit, I don’t remember the last time I’ve heard people talking about FF7 spoilers. Maybe it was when the game was shown at E3 2015? It’s not something I come across on the regular.

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#16

YouTube person Dan Olson posted a video right after Avengers: Endgame released titled “Let’s Spoil The Endgame,” which did in fact spoil Endgame. Some folks got mad that the video spoiled Endgame despite being warned in the actual title.

As I’ve started writing about games more seriously, I’ve been thinking about the spoiler problem. In general public discussion I’ve always tried to avoid or hide spoilers out of courtesy. I generally don’t care about being spoiled myself (I sometimes read full plot summaries for movies seeing them), but I recognize that a lot of people do. But a criticism is something different from a casual forum post. If you’re examining a work in earnest, it doesn’t make sense to talk around the pivotal aspects that are also the most spoiler-sensitive. Hiding spoilers or shoving them into a dedicated spoiler section doesn’t help you create a coherent through-line.

The only solution that makes sense to me is an up-front warning as early as possible. “These are the works that are going to be discussed. If you don’t want to read about them, stop reading.” Final Fantasy VII doesn’t need to be a special case. Just say you’re going to talk about it, then talk about it.

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#17

I agree with you re: gameplay impact. I think if you had spent time leveling up Aeris and training her limit breaks and buying gear for her just like she was another party member, you’d feel more invested in her as a character and be more affected by her death

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#18

We’re in unprecedented territory

Because other large culturally important games like Ocarina of time haven’t been remade in the past. Things like Star Wars, Titanic, The Hobbit or even Lord of the Rings already came out ages ago then came out again later on no one tries to hide Lord of the Rings spoilers nor should they.

#19

For FF7, Barret’s english characterization as a Mr T stereotype isnt in the original japanese. Kotaku had a series where one of their writers went over the japanese and english side by side and a few of the characters come across quite differently (and the crossdressing scene comes across differently too).

Might be something good to go investigate when talking about the adaptation, because a lot of the changes happened from a lack of space in text boxes, which voice acted lines don’t have that problem.

#20

For critical writing (even in forums) I think a spoiler warning is implicit, because what is the point of talking about the game without talking about it? This morning I read a good piece on Florence that entirely spoils the game without a second thought, because it’s about how the writer relates to the themes of it, which cannot be discussed without giving them away. Waypoint as a site thrives on discussing this aspect of games, going beyond “but is it fun?”

Adding a spoiler warning up front wouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it makes more sense for us readers to expect this from essays rather than entering discussions about something while expecting to not be “spoiled” on it. Reviews and pre-review discussions I see the point in being more careful in since most readers may be engaging with it at the time and that can be a different type of discussion.

For the case of the FF7 remake, or indeed when anyone is new to any old piece of media, I think it makes sense that such spoiler-less discussions can exist. I also think it’s fair that coverage is more careful with headlines until the moment is over again.

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