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These re-imaginings have received solid receptions from both critics and players and introduced these titles to a new generation of potential fans. But despite all the changes introduced in the intervening decades, both remakes unfortunately still include some of the same issues present in their original inspirations. Specifically, these games still do a poor job portraying people of color, via Barret in Final Fantasy and Kevin in Trials of Mana. Or in the middle of battle, Barret will often yell his dialogue. A noticeable example is during chapter 7 as Barrett, Tifa, and Cloud head to Mako reactor 5.

Along the mission, Barrett provides colorful commentary as a means to relieve stress.

Cloud strife

But his commentary eventually descends into mostly failed attempts at humor. He also sings and even jokingly asks his comrades if they want to dance along the way. This jovial, clownish Barret becomes the default throughout the rest of the game, a highly problematic situation for what had been a complex character.

It is as if he was plucked from the Blaxploitation era and dropped into That kind of Black character was commonplace in the s, when Black actors often had to make jokes of themselves to even have a chance to be seen on screen.

T stand-in.

Typecasting and token roles are so ingrained into our art, many assume that this is proper portrayal for a Black character. The remake, however, does try to do better for people of color. The world of Midgar is occupied by other Black and brown people living their everyday lives.

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This is quite the feat because we live in a world with so many landmark non-stereotypical works by Black creators. These works have been lauded for showcasing Black people as people and not caricatures.

Other entertainment media continue to leave gaming far behind in their work for marginalized groups. They serve as a blueprint that largely goes unnoticed in gaming. According to the IGDABlack people for just two percent of the workers in the game industry.

Kevin of the beastmen

As long as game development remains largely homogenous, racial biases both conscious and unconscious will likely remain prevalent in our games. But despite widespread calls for a more diverse set of creators in the space, getting better representation on development teams is a constant uphill battle. In Trials of ManaKevin, prince of Beastmen, is the only hero of color. This in and of itself is not a problem. What is problematic, though, is the portrayal of his kingdom of Ferolia, one of the major antagonistic forces within the world.

In Trials of Manathe people with the darkest skin tones are literally the most scary and beast-like.

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This continues a well-established tradition where darker skin is associated with evil within fiction. The prince soon finds himself at odds with his people and, more specifically, his father, the king.

A remake is an opportunity to revisit all aspects of the game and update them accordingly. Nor do we see other peaceful or heroic brown skin people simply existing.

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As I played the original title, these depictions of race were awkward. To see it left unchanged in the remake is disconcerting. But to use that as an excuse would be an unfair and gross generalization.

Japanese people are generally very aware of the harm done by these kinds of portrayals and work to correct them. We can look at the Pokemon games for two examples.

The first would be with the Pokemon Jynx, whose skin color was changed from Black to purple across all media to address its proximity to blackface. Gamefreak also redeed gym leader Lenora to avoid the mammy stereotype. Other Japanese-developed games have also shown an ability to highlight non-stereotypical characters of color.

These prominent and positive portrayals may seem small, but they highlight how the industry can do better. Despite these examples, players of color still face too few options when it comes to playing games with well-considered characters that happen to look like them. This makes being a minority and games fan is something of a double-edged sword. When time and disposable income are limited, we often must set aside or ignore some of these feelings about problematic characters to play games at all. By no means does this mean we should tolerate poor attempts or just be grateful. It is not a matter of diversity and inclusion; it is simply being a real reflection of the real world we live in.

Entertainment industries need more underrepresented creators not just because representation matters. These creators ensure that characters that look like themselves would be treated with the humanity and grace we see in ourselves, the same humanity and grace that society at large often fails to acknowledge. Then you hear him speak in the remake Channel Ars Technica.

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Like a kid with a bad attitude or a lackluster HBO show, from what we've seen so far, Final Fantasy 7 Remake triples down on the swearing.


I personally will try to roleplay these characters because I want to get better at writing fics and drawing these boys!


Final Fantasy 7 is a title that has captivated fans for decades.