Final Fantasy VIII/Squall Leonhart

CombatEdit

Garden: Balamb

Weapon: Gunblade

CharacterEdit

In a large game such as Final Fantasy VIII, having the main character be a brooding, cold, serious-to-a-fault loner has had its effect on the populace of gamers in some very different ways. Squall's personality has been the sole reason people hate FFVIII, it has also been quite the opposite. In my experience, I was fascinated with playing a main character so distant, numb and internal as Squall Leonhart; I belong to the crowd who enjoys his antiheroism. I will not spoil but I will say this: Squall is not static. Not in the least. But his shifts are subtle and deeply internalized, a quality that embodies much of how I found myself deriving satisfaction from FFVIII; it's what you invest in these characters that reaps rewards. For example, only but a few times does Squall ever really let you know. Some would argue that this makes FFVIII weak, I would retort that it's better writing, there but never overstated, at least it's not being spoonfed to you like much of the fodder plots and static characters the game industry churns out. As you play, FFVIII makes it clear that it is certainly a character tale and in the Final Fantasy tradition, possessed of a wide ensemble cast.

The game begins among Squall's last year at Balamb Garden, the Gardens (Trabia, Galbadia, and Balamb) being schools that educate kids how to live, survive, and learn in a world that is unnaturally overpopulated with strange, malevolent creatures. They are high school and college rolled into one, they are the only forms of higher education and weapons training in the world of FFVIII.

Squall has a bit of a rivalry going with another student, Seifer. Squall keeps to his introverted self, focuses on his gunblade skills and is quickly becoming one of the top martial artists in the school. Seifer, arrogant and hot-tempered, is in his fifth year, having failed to graduate the year prior.

Squall and Seifer are the only two at the school using a very difficult weapon, the gunblade. They enjoy sparring, sometimes to injury, and it is in this way that their rivalry shows it's nature as a meeting of opposites.

I would like to comment further on this idea: FFVIII is very much a game of characters playing opposites, and the marketing for the game supports this theory. Pairings include:

Squall / Seifer

Squall / Laguna

Squall / Rinoa

These appear to be the three main pairings and work to form the bed of relationships in which Squall's personal story sits.

Finally, more than anything else, it is important to note here that Squall Leonhart does not desire the company of anyone. He believes that people get in the way, that they need saving, and that for this reason, someone always gets hurt. Better to avoid such problems as such a stance has served him well over the years. That is until he meets the free spirited Rinoa Heartilly and falls in love with her and opens up more.