tidus laughing ffx meme

Tetsuya Takahashi is the lead writer and creator of  Xenoblade Chronicles (and all things ‘Xeno’ starting with Xenogears).  The man had some interesting takes on his work on Xenoblade Chronicles on an old “Iwata Asks” (A series of in-depth interviews conducted by the late Satoru Iwata) segment.

One the things that caught my attention during his in-depth interview was his desire to create ‘A hero that isn’t hated’ as Xenoblade’s protagonist (Shulk).

Are JRPG Heroes Easy to Dislike?

Xenoblade Shulk RPG Heroes
Did you hate Shulk?

Takahashi seemed to think so. Takahashi’s resume includes Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Xenogears. That’s quite the all time great trifecta. Thus, I won’t argue much against the man’s logic, but for discussion’s sake, here is part of his statement on this subject matter:

It’s something I’ve felt about my own games, of course, as well as games by other people. Essentially, the heroes and heroines in RPGs often end up being disliked. Naturally, there are well-loved characters too, but I’d say that in general, they end up being hated. I think it comes from the huge emotional investment the player has made in the hero or heroine. -Tetsuya Takahashi

This is an interesting take, to say the least, especially because the man has had a sterling resume for most part (Xenosaga being the weakest of his works) of his career. Amongst works that he has worked in, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VI are the most beloved titles. Both of these games had memorable (though Crono was a mute) and likable casts.

It is interesting that his main point in creating Shulk (as a hero in Xenoblade Chronicles) was to avoid for him to be disliked. Honestly, I wasn’t too keen into Xenoblade’s story, so Shulk was neither here or there for me.

Protagonists That I Disliked…

Final Fantasy VIII Squall cover
I never understood young Squall…

Squall comes to mind, as one of the more famous (Heroes) that I hated. To be honest, I also hated Seifer, and almost everyone in that FFVIII cast, but Squall was a special case. I was right in the middle of my high school days in 1999 (Sophomore year), but I just couldn’t relate to him. His aloofness (for no good reason) was maddening.

True he had a rough childhood, as most did within the Garden (orphans). I can understand his reasons for pushing people away, but I could never quite understand why he went the extra mile to do this, when clearly Quistis, Rinoa and Zell were open towards him.

In some ways, the writers sold him to me as this guy who is a lone wolf, and a bit of a jerk by choice, rather than by circumstance.

On a lesser, but more recent note, I disliked the main character in Legrand Legacy, greatly. But I assume that most haven’t played that game.

Still, for the most part,  I believe that the better games in the genre have had like-able heroes (which consequently helped them to be good games).

Do You Hate Any JRPG Protagonist?

This seems to be an interesting topic. I assume that many will hate on poor Tidus (FFX), though I liked him better than other FF protagonists. Let us know your thoughts on this, and Takahashi’s take on JRPG heroes in general, on Facebook and Twitter.

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By Samuel Rivera

An avid video game player and book reader, Samuel has been playing video games for the last 31 years. He has played nearly every PS1 JRPG known to man, and loves Ocarina of Time more than any other game.