It’s actually for the best that FF8 doesn’t let you play as a little freak

A random observation: Final Fantasy VIII breaks a streak of Final Fantasy games from 1994–2002 letting you play as freaky dudes. Observe:

  • 1: No freaky dudes
  • 2: No freaky dudes
  • 3: No freaky dudes
  • 4: No freaky dudes
  • 5: No freaky dudes
  • 6: Gau, Mog, Umaro
  • 7: Red XIII
  • 8: No freaky dudes
  • 9: Quina
  • 10: Kimahri
  • 11: Tarutaru (class), Galka (class)
  • 12: No freaky dudes
  • 13: No freaky dudes
  • 14: Lalafell (class)
  • 15: No freaky dudes
  • 16: No freaky dudes

I’m willing to defend this, because one of the strengths of FF8 compared to other games in the series is that it has a tight cast. Every character in your party is somebody who has been assigned to your team, even Irvine, and it never strays from that core cast. You’re not finding random hangers-on who have a grudge against the bad guys. The sprawling cast of FF6 is especially guilty of this problem; in high school, I used to call it the “Hey I think I’ll join you!” problem.

If there’s like 100 characters, that’s one thing, because it’s a sprawling ensemble on purpose. Once you’re approaching 8 or 9 characters in your primary roster, you start losing sight of actually telling stories about those characters. I’ve mentioned before that I wasn’t a fan of FF6 when I played it years ago and I’m willing to change that opinion, but the cast has always been too large for me to enjoy. I can’t justify Relm and Gau, let alone fucking Umaro or whatever.

Final Fantasy VIII doesn’t have playable freaky dudes because it doesn’t NEED playable freaky dudes. It has a strong tight-knit cast and arguably spends most of its character development on the game’s love story. It doesn’t have room for side characters.

On the other hand, do I want to play as a Moomba? Yes.