To say that I'm skeptical about the PSP all-FF slugfest that is Final Fantasy: Dissidia is an understatement. From the day that the first screenshots featuring FFIX's Zidane and Kuja duking it out were released to the public, I've been rolling my eyes and expecting the worst for Square's answer to Super Smash Bros. It's no question that Dissidia is indeed another desperate squirt of the Final Fantasy cash cow, what with a cast of characters that will get all the fanatics salivating:
Sephiroth arriving in a column of fire? Garland running amok with his badass armor all a-glint? Mopey Squall ready to cut up some fools with his gunblade? I want to like it, Square, and though I'm resigned to the inevitably terrible gameplay and giggle-inducing script, I'm as much a sucker for my favorite characters as anybody, and Square, there is a way for you to make the reception of this little gem a bit easier.
Toss a few more ladies into the mix, please.
Dissidia's whole juicy premise is that the protagonists and antagonists of the FF series all get together somehow to punch each other a lot and earn some XP. So we've got Zidane paired up with Kuja, a nameless Light Warrior versus Garland, and what I assume will be an Advent Children-trussed Cloud squaring off against Sephiroth for the bajillionth time. Now, the entire cast has not been announced yet, and there's promise of hidden characters and various other unlockables, but with what we've currently got it's painfully easy to see the lack of female characters starring in this series. Thankfully FFVIII's Ultimecia is a guarantee (kan't wait to hear the krazy accent on that one), but with many of the other games' combatants still unannounced, I'm on pins and needles of expectation.
I've already professed my tender and undying love for VI's Terra, and I'm hoping against all hope that she'll show up to face who I can only imagine will be Kefka. The identity of VI's true protagonist has always been on shaky ground, what with an enormous cast of characters and a rather reticular plot. It's just as likely that we'll be seeing Edgar or Locke in her place, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the series's first female protagonist claims her rightful spot with this game.
Similarly, XII's main character is also not quite cut-and-dried. Though the completely useless street urchin Vaan is sort of the de facto protagonist tying all of the characters together, there's been much debate that sky pirate Balthier is truly in the spotlight. However, I've always felt that the revenge-seeking princess Ashe drives much of the story along. This is probably just wishful thinking, but I can see her filling a role in Dissidia without much opposition.
As for the other gaps in the main series roster, it's a surefire thing we'll see IV's Cecil and Zemus as well as V's Bartz and Exdeath. III will probably go the route of I and feature the nameless dude you start off with, along with either the demon Xande or (I amusingly hope) the Cloud of Darkness. If XI makes an appearance, I'll be pleasantly surprised to see a female member of any race (probably hume) take the stage, although I cynically believe that won't happen.
So my hopes for a more lady-friendly cast are sort of dying on the vine here. Female characters in the FF series are so often relegated to support roles or useless love interests, but there may be hope yet in the form of hidden and unlockable characters. Even Yuffie showed up in the ill-fated Ehrgeiz, so perhaps I can one day fulfill my dream of stomping some faces with Aeris or IX's Dagger. And as much as it makes me flinch, it's likely we'll see a dual pistol-wielding Yuna join the fray as well.
With the game so far from release, all I can do is speculate. We'll see what the future holds, however, and maybe, just maybe, Square will surprise me for the first time in so many years.
Readers, what characters would you most like to see in Dissidia?