Meet Team Nora, Supporting Characters In Final Fantasy XIII

By Spencer . March 4, 2009 . 1:32am


Not everyone can have a leading role and when you’re not named after something from nature chances are you’re a second tier character in a Final Fantasy game. Team Nora, led by Snow Villiers, has three other members. Each one roughly one-third as important as a main character since Gadot, Maqui, and Lebrau share a page on the official Final Fantasy XIII site. All of them carry guns and a rebellious youth spirit.











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  • dangalf

    You know what’s odd? The character Maqui, above, is the first major character I can remember offhand in a Japanese RPG who looks 100% Asian. I can think of plenty of 100% Caucasians (take for example, the main characters of nearly every single Final Fantasy game ever, including XIII. There are many that have looked half Asian / half Caucasian, the way Noctis looks in Versus. There have also been some major characters of African decent. But only when I examined the pictures above did I realize that it’s unfamiliar seeing a character who actually looks completely Asian in a Japanese RPG game. This is a welcome inclusion, but suddenly makes me wonder why I can’t remember seeing this before in a Japanese RPG. Can anyone think of an example I’m forgetting?

    I remember Jade Empire had an authentic-looking Chinese cast, but that was a Western developed RPG.

    • Chow

      Wasn’t FF7’s Yuffie meant to be completely asian? Not that there’s such a continent in FF7, but when you consider her origins, such as her hometown, she seems to have been designed as one.

      Also, the CG scenes in FFX mysteriously morphs all the humanish characters into asians.

      • Aoshi00

        I thought Tidus & Riku look totally Asian in FFX’s pre rendered CG as well while looking Caucasian in real time, as so do a couple others in the cast.

        Gadot reminds me of Wakka right away too. I don’t know why, the initial chars like Lightning and Snow failed to grab my interest, whereas I’m more taken w/ these guys. I hope the rest of the cast would be filled w/ more interesting people. I have a feeling I would grow to like the trio up there, the design is pretty unique to me.

        As for comparing games from the past, part of it is perception. I was a teenager when Chrono Trigger was out, whatever your experienced when you’re younger is bound to give you everlasting memories, not to say that they weren’t awesome games, but it doesn’t necessarily mean no good characters have been produced ever since FF6/CT, in my opinion.

        • Darrien

          The question isn’t really fair…seeing as how in the majority of Japanese RPGs, Japan doesn’t even exist. I don’t really think you’d have Japanese people in Spira, or Vana’diel, or Ivalice, etc…

    • Wonder

      That may have less to do with the Japanese developers and more to do with your perception of what constitutes “Asian” and what constitutes “Caucasian.” See:

    • Wonder

      It might not be as odd as you think. You’re assuming that all of those “100% Caucasian” characters are white by design, when it might just be your perception that they are white. See:

      • Aoshi00

        Look, I understand the whole thing about how westerners unnecessarily perceive anime/manga chars as white people, people from diff background perceive things differently because of different culture/society norm. I’m not even getting into that whole thing. I also realize the majority of Jpn manga/games take place in fantasy world and have nothing to do w/ the races of this world, like white, black, or Asian. But you have to admit, Barret is black and Cloud is white, and Tifa looks very Asian, if not by the FF7 polygons, then more apparent in the more photo realistic Advent Children. Call it whatever you want, Asian-like, Caucasian-esque. It’s funny people feel touchy about this issue.

        I’m simply commenting that Tidus looks entirely different in pre-rendered CG and real time cutscenes, he “looks” Asian and “looks” white in different portions of the game. I don’t mind him looking like one or the other based on design choices, but it’s not consistent and stands out like a sore thumb, prompting one to ask naturally, “why does he look Asian one minute and white the next?”

        I remember showing my high school classmates some Slam Dunk manga before, and this black guy commented why do the chars look white and the Captain looks black (several chars are modeled off NBA players in the US). I said they are all supposed to be Japanese, and of course he thinks they don’t look anything Jpn because manga is not like US comics, where people are drawn like people.

        But yeah, that kid Maqui looks to possess some Asian features, who can objectively say he doesn’t. But seriously, there are games from Jpn w/ people looking like real Japanese, say, Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku), and in FFX’s case w/ design influence from Southeast Asia.

      • dangalf

        @Wonder – very interesting article! I never considered that before. While the self-identification of the audience is probably somewhat a factor (I’m not even going to get into the racial/political counter-arguments of the article), I have always thought that the particularly “look” prevalent in JRPG characters (a look I consider to appear part Asian / part Caucasian) had more to do with some ideal of beauty in that culture. Certainly there are Asians who looks very much like some of these characters, but I simply don’t find them visually very representative of most Asian people I know. On the other hand, I rarely find Marvel comic book character physiques to be very representative of the average American (or even human) form. Nor do the heroes of Western developed FPS games (Gears of War comes to mind) always look like realistic people either. But they do convey an ideal of strength and power.

        So perhaps a better observation on my part would be that there seems to be a move away from only “ideal” and “beautiful” characters that don’t really represent average people, and more inclusion of characters that appear like real people I might know. Lighting and Snow are exceptions in that they still seem to be very “idealized” and not quite your average person on the street in terms of appearance, but some of the supporting cast are moving more towards a realistic direction in my opinion.

        Now the question is if this a good thing. Will we find characters admirable and memorable and inspiring based on their words and actions, even if they don’t look all that special? Or will a lack of some extraordinary appearance or beauty cause them to lose impact and interest in the eyes of players? I’m looking forward to finding out….!

  • Akimitsu

    I must say that Gadot reminds me heavily of Wakka, while the other two don’t look all too familiar like past character designs.

  • Miss Money Maker

    i don’t think tetsuya nomura designed any of those temp characters from team nora, expect for snow of course. that’s his design. i read somewhere that those temp characters were designed by a new character designer named, Ikeda Nao.

    true or false?

  • Happy Gamer

    i hate to say this but so far none of these characters really grab my eye as far as interesting design/lovable like the old great rpgs. but id have to play the entire game thru to see about the character development. that is another factor for me to loving a character.

    heck, back in the days when there was no CG i still fell in love with the characters.
    by far games like chrono trigger, FF6 etc. probably grasped me the most.
    oh and edge and his dragon in panzer dragoon rpg is def one of my fav.

    i hope the characters are real dynamic and lovable/hatable :) <—hot even word lol

    • Gil

      stop living in the fucking past! (lol) 1994 and 1995 are long gone now. squaresoft is dead and square-enix is alive and here. move the fuck on! (lol)

      • Happy Gamer

        sorry for offending you so much on a video game topic to make you curse and etc. and sorry for voicing my opinion.

    • Vrakanox

      I agree with this statement. I love modern day RPGs such as the new Tales and Star Ocean games but the characters in this game look pretty “bleh” to me.

  • Heero420

    Well if u look at japanese history the whole reason anime is so popular there is becouse they can have charectors of all races anywhere they wan’t….i dont know if they feel the same about video games but u would think a main charector would be asian desent once inawile

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