A few days ago marked the 14th anniversary of the release of Final Fantasy X-2 in the US and it got me thinking back to those days. I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Final Fantasy X-2 when it came out and I played it, but I came to realize that before its release it played a big part in how I ended up in my profession (I work with cinematics/cutscenes in the game industry).
Now, games have been a prominent part of my life since the beginning, starting back when I used to watch my brother play (I often wonder how much of my weird personality can be blamed on the little girl who excitedly watched Mortal Kombat finishes play out) to when I was old enough to play them myself.
Most of the games I played however, weren’t big on story and oftentimes would star creatures of various kinds as I was (and still am) a big friend of animals. My first favorite game, that is still one of my favorites today, was Jazz Jackrabbit. That was followed by tons more, like Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, Wacky Wheels, Warcraft (because orcs count right?), Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Sly Cooper, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, Ratchet & Clank…. you get the idea. Most of these didn’t have a very complex story if any, but I loved them.
It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Kingdom Hearts by accident, lured there by the inclusion of Disney characters I had grown up with, that everything changed. I was completely swept away by the depth of the story and the vibrant characters – things I had not seen in a game before then. I learned some of the characters came from a series called Final Fantasy so I turned to the fast blossoming world of the internet to find out what exactly that was.
And what did I find? I found this trailer of Final Fantasy X-2.
I realize now, that seeing it was probably the major turning point in my life. The younger me had never seen anything so visually striking and life-like in digital form. I was impressed to the core. I showed it to everyone who was willing to give me a minute of their time. I also wanted to get to know that world and started playing Final Fantasy X (probably why my memories of this particular game are more fond than @omnilion‘s). After that there was no turning back for me anymore and I played all the earlier Final Fantasies and would play the ones that followed. I explored more and more JRPGs and story-driven games. They utterly and completely became my thing. (The Final Fantasy X-2 trailer also introduced me to Japanese music, but that’s another topic entirely.)
And I didn’t know it then, but I do now that it was without a doubt the deep impression that the Final Fantasy X-2 trailer left in the younger me that set me down on this path of game development, cinema and interactive storytelling. It took me years to realize, but I finally get it. That’s when it all began. It began when Yuna asked me:
“What can I do for you?”