It’s been four years since Square Enix first announced it was remaking beloved JRPG “Final Fantasy VII,” but in the past month we have gotten a new teaser trailer, a new full trailer, a battle explanation, and a release date (March 3, 2020).
The new trailers appear to suggest Square Enix has, thankfully, ignored social justice warrior complaints and demands from over the years. Back in 2015, I wrote that the developer shouldn’t give in to the SJWs because those making the complaints clearly haven’t examined the game or paid attention to the characters and their environment.
For example, for years SJWs have complained that Barret Wallace is a racist stereotype. As I explained in 2015, he’s not. He is an angry, animated character, but so is Cid Highwind, a white character. Both swear constantly and shake their fists.
Despite sharing similarities in looks with Mr. T, Barret isn’t actually Mr. T. As Tim Rogers pointed out in his series “Found in Translation,” the original Japanese dialogue shows the character is closer to Metal Gear Solid’s Solid Snake than Mr. T. He appears, at least in my view, to be a mixture of the two based on the latest trailers.
The first thing we hear Barret say in the new trailers is, “I’m here for you, to take the load off your shoulders.” He has a new voice actor, John Eric Bentley, who’s gruffer than previous voice actor Beau Billingslea.
Video game website Kotaku was immediately upset by the character, claiming “fans” were “concerned” about his voice in the remake. After the first trailer was released, I had a short discussion with another Twitter user about his voice—but about whether Billingslea was still the actor behind the character.
A Kotaku writer, who admitted to never playing the original game, claimed “Barret is a stereotype of a gruff black man in the English translation of the original game,” and that, in the new version, he has “an exaggerated black dialect” and emphasizes “Americanized ideals about masculinity.”
“This depiction plays into racist assumptions people make about black men: not seeing them as full people, but as hulking masses of muscle that sometimes provide folksy wisdom,” the author wrote. We haven’t seen more than a few clips of the character, yet this author has already determined the entire depth of the character in a game he or she never played.
If this is how SJWs are going to see the character, it shows Square Enix ignored years of complaints about Barret. The same goes for my favorite character, Tifa, who was finally revealed in the newest trailer Monday night.
The complaints about her for years were the tired, predictable complaints that her breasts were too big and she was sexualized for the male gaze. Yet here I am, a woman, preferring her over Aerith, mostly because of her character, which is rich beyond her looks.
As I wrote back in 2015, Tifa’s appearance is never a factor in the game. An old man in Mideel flirts with her when you first enter the town, but it’s done in a way typical of all old men toward all young women. Rude also has a crush on her, but at no point do men drool or gawk at her physique.
It appears Square Enix hasn’t nerfed her appearance for the trolls. She still has large breasts, although she seems to have a better sports bra in this game. And not only does she still have an incredibly short black leather skirt (it now flares out so she can fight easier), but now she’s wearing thigh-high black pantyhose.
That means she’s technically showing less skin, but never in the history of ever have thigh highs been considered modest. Again, the creators have ignored the complaints and gone in the opposite direction.
Seeing these two characters in their new versions gives me hope for the cross-dressing portion of the game. As I wrote four years ago, contrary to the claims of “transphobia,” this part of the game is quite progressive. The people of Wall Market support Cloud’s decision to dress as a woman and help him achieve his new look. And this was back in 1997, when society was not so accepting about such things.
The first episode of the game comes out in nine months and takes place entirely in the opening city of Midgar. We don’t yet know if that means it takes us through the point in the story where the team lives the city, although the newest trailer shows Cloud in the lobby of Shinra headquarters and the “1st Class” edition of the game comes with a figure of Cloud on the Hardy Daytona, so it’s likely that is where the game will end.
Until then, we will just have to wait and see whether Square Enix continues this trend of bucking the SJWs.