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Monday, November 23, 2015

Cloud Brings the Strife to Super Smash Bros.

On November 12th, Nintendo had their first Nintendo Direct since the passing of former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata back in July of this past year. Many wondered if the Big N would even continue with the directs with Mr. Iwata no longer being with us. Nintendo Directs have become a Nintendo staple and since they were originally the idea of the late Mr. Iwata, I'm pleased that Nintendo has decided to continue on with them. Nintendo came out swing with news including a release date for the delayed Star Fox Zero, the next wave if amiibos, a female version of link for Hyrule Warriors, capping it all off with a bombshell announcement that central protagonist Cloud Strife will be duking it out with the rest of the crew in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Man, I still cannot believe I just typed that.

They said it couldn't happen. They said it was impossible. We'd have a better chance of seeing world peace than a Final Fantasy character joining the Super Smash Bros. family. The final minutes of last week's Nintendo Direct showed the naysayers just how wrong they were when Cloud stormed in and started slicing video game icons up with his Buster Sword. Mario, Pac-Man, Sonic, Mega Man, Ryu and Cloud Strife are going to be in one mindblowingly awesome game. I'm sure it has been said a zillion times since the blonde spikey one's reveal, but it truly is a great, great time to be a video game fan.

Of all the characters that could be chosen to represent the Final Fantasy series, some gamers are no doubt thinking "Cloud? Freaking Cloud?! Really?!"to put it mildly. To that I counter, why not Cloud? I mean, of all the characters from the ever extending franchise of Final Fantasy, Cloud was the obvious choice. Much as I love the cast of Final Fantasy VI, my personal favorite Final Fantasy, the decision to go with Cloud is crystal clear. When  Square Enix was selecting characters for the first ten Final Fantasy games for Dissidia, they went with the central protagonist and antagonist from each respective game, If Strago had been chosen over Terra to represent the hero side from Final Fantasy VI, that definitely would not have felt right. Of course Dissidia had reps from individual games. For Super Smash Bros., a character had to be selected to represent the entire series as a whole. Thanks to Final Fantasy VII's immense popularity, pretty much everyone on the planet is aware of who Cloud Strife is.

Midgar looks to be an amazing battle ground.

I realize Cloud isn't the easiest guy to like. This is due in equal parts to his personality and the game he comes from. Despite Cloud's somewhat bland personality, he's never been a character that I've ever disliked and besides for a game like Smash, persona isn't really an issue. The game Cloud originates from, however, is definitely going to be a sticking point for some.

Final Fantasy VII is an easy game to despise, While it did open the floodgates for RPGs to become mainstream in popularity outside of Japan, it carries an "FFVII is god-tier"status for that very reason, making it an easy hate target. I played FFVII when it came out and I've played through the game several times since then. I think FFVII is a good game, but in no way is it the pinnacle of what the genre has to offer. But Cloud being a character in Smash is something I can rally behind 100%. It doesn't matter that the latest Super Smash Bros. already has an abundance of sword users. This particular blade wielder is coming from one of the biggest game franchises in history so his inclusion is certainly something to get excited about. Cloud being in Smash is a big deal in every since of the word.

Some are speculating that Cloud being in Super Smash Bros. could mean that the Final Fantasy VII remake could also be headed to the Nintendo NX. "But the FFVII remake is a Sony exclusive!" I don't recall Square Enix ever saying that. main Final Fantasy titles have been multiplatform for a while now and the trailer for the FFVII remake said "Play it first on PlayStation 4," the key word being "first" as in, the remake is more the likely going to be on other gaming consoles. Square Enix has given Nintendo side Final Fantasy games and spin-off titles but a Nintendo platform hasn't had a main series Final Fantasy that wasn't a port since Final Fantasy VI on the SNES. If the FFVII remake does wind up on the Nintendo NX, then things would come full circle since FFVII was originally going to be on a Nintendo system but jumped ship for the PS since discs were a better fit for the game over cartridges.

But even if the FFVII remake doesn't come to a Nintendo system, I'm still stoked for Cloud's arrival in Super Smash Bros. The Midgar stages looks killer and I cannot wait to battle it out. How much music will we be getting from FFVII? What about the remixed music? Will we get music from other Square Enix games besides Final Fantasy? The release date for Cloud in Smash cannot get here soon enough.

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