As a flagship title for Sony’s Playstation console, Final Fantasy VII was one of the first high-profile games to blend cinematic narrative with deep/immersive gameplay. Thus, the editors of Final Fantasy VII at 25, an upcoming title in McFarland's Studies in Gaming series, are seeking contributions to a collection which will examine the storytelling of the game, the many themes and motifs expressed, and how various mechanics all relate to the player experience.
Some writers may choose to pursue ideologically driven criticism; contributions focusing on the themes of capitalism, environmentalism, representations of Native American culture, and psychoanalytical readings are already in the works. Others may choose to examine the actual delivery of the narrative, from the cinematography of the full motion video, its mise-en-scene, the blending of gaming’s environmental storytelling, and much more.
The editors are also seeking contributions that explore the game’s cultural influence and its transmedia presence. Contributors could write about the development of online communities and communication about the game in the early days of widespread internet access for example, or offer readings on the game’s official film sequel, Advent Children, a motion picture that continues the canonical story of the game with familiar characters, settings, and themes, thus making the world of Final Fantasy VII exist across multiple genres of digital storytelling. There are other avenues for exploration as well, including narratological strategies to the emergence of the new business models in gaming development.
Some examples of planned chapters include a psychoanalytic reading of the game, an examination of the Aeris/Aerith resurrection online fan theory, and an exploration of how the game deploys racial stereotypes in service to its broader ecological themes. Other possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Genetic engineering and warfare
- Environmental terrorism
- Representations of memory
- Gender and power
- Poverty and wealth
- Entertainment in the Anthropocene
- Corporatism and government
- Collective storytelling in online culture
- Toxicity in gaming culture
- Fan projects like the Black Materia hip-hop album
- Environmental storytelling
- Canonicity and transmedia storytelling
- Art design Dedicated readings of spin-off games and media
- Storytelling style of the core game in contrast to the film, story collection, and other games
- Guest appearances of FFVII characters in other games and media
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Relationship to other Final Fantasy titles and Japanese RPGs
The editors intend the volume to total 80,000 words, with 8-10 chapters of 8,000 words each in addition to introductory and concluding materials. Extensive scholarly research, as appropriate to the intended topic, is expected, with citations in MLA (8th edition). Abstracts (500 words) should be sent to FinalFantasyVIIat25@gmail.com by November 1, 2019 with the intent of a full draft for review by March 29, 2020.
References to and consideration of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005), Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (2005), Crisis Core: Fantasy VII (2007) and other canonical texts in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII are welcomed but not required.
Dr. Jason Cash and Dr. Craig Olsen