The Final Fantasy series gets a bad wrap about its problem feeling too linear over the past couple of games. Japanese RPGs (J-RPGs) in general get this label attached to them. A big problem is that these games shifted how the player explores the world from a “make your own path“-style of traversing their worlds to a “connect the dots“-style – going from town A to town B and so on until you get to the end of the game.

[Expansive overworld] Final Fantasy 7 - The one where someone dies
[Expansive overworld] Final Fantasy 7 – The one where someone dies
Final Fantasy XIII - The one where your soul dies when associated with ancestors
[Linear overworld – exaggerated has no overworld] Final Fantasy XIII – The one where your soul dies when associated with ancestors
But, I guess what I want to discuss is that Final Fantasy games and JRPGs as a whole have never really been open-ended and non-linear but older JRPGs just did a better job at hiding their linearity from the player. It all depends on the scale of which you explore each area before moving to the next.

Continue reading “Illusion of Non-Linearity in Final Fantasy and other RPGs”