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If Cloud thought he was Zack, why did he act the way he did?

#51
Yeah, but the Zack in CC has had his characterisation developed in a certain direction designed to appeal to romantic fans which was only one of many directions his OG characterisation left him open to. I don't accept that the Zack we see in CC is precisely the Zack the writers of the OG had in mind. I'm not saying CC Zack is a betrayal of their ideas or anything, just that I don't believe they intended him to be quite so dorky or such a loser with women until Aerith came along. I mean, CC Zack flirts, but he gets put down pretty much all the time. Therefore, you cannot backwards extrapolate from the Zack in CC and say that OG Zack was the identical character.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#52
I don't accept that the Zack we see in CC is precisely the Zack the writers of the OG had in mind. I'm not saying CC Zack is a betrayal of their ideas or anything, just that I don't believe they intended him to be quite so dorky or such a loser with women until Aerith came along. I mean, CC Zack flirts, but he gets put down pretty much all the time. Therefore, you cannot backwards extrapolate from the Zack in CC and say that OG Zack was the identical character.
...But the same writers who conceptualized the character of "Zack" for the original FFVII, is the same man who wrote the scenario for Crisis Core, Zack's entire back story. Kazushige Nojima. So how is Zack's intended characterization divergent from the intent of CC? There simply was a void where Zack's full character was in VII, and they decided to fill it in CC. Zack was actually one of the last characters to be fleshed out and added to FFVII, and even then there was literally not much there; Nojima purposefully made him mysterious as a hook for the story. It literally wasn't until CC that they pinned down a solid idea of what Zack was other than "Cloud's best friend," "Aerith's first boyfriend", and "Same as Cloud skeleton, except for hair."

Those were the 3 main points that were defined for Zack's character in VII.

In AC's Reunion Files, they talked about how they imagined Zack to be the "perfect man," an upbeat heroic type who encourages Cloud and would want to scold him for being so depressed earlier in the movie. They always wanted Zack to be an upbeat, kindhearted and heroic foil to Cloud.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#54
How can the Zack in CC not be the one the writer's intended when said writers of CC were the ones who did VII? :monster:

There was literally nothing there to begin with, and CC is the fleshing out of Zack that they intended from the start. He was meant to be the hopeful hero to Cloud's reluctant hero.
 
#56
Have you never done any creative writing for any media that involved creating characters? They evolve and change in the minds of their creators, and what might have been the creator's intention for the character at one point in time is not necessarily his or her intention at a different point in time. Just because it was the intention of the creators of Crisis Core to make Zack the character we see in CC, it doesn't logically follow that they had the same intention for the character back in 1997. It's possible they had no intention regarding Zack at that point beyond the role he plays in Cloud's story; he was whatever he needed to be to explain Cloud.
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#57
I’m all for Cloud considering Zack the perfect man that would always know the right thing to do – unlike him. I think it’s a nice parallel to Tifa and Aeris in a way, because Tifa is also probably convinced that Aeris would handle stuff better than she ever could. In fact, I always kinda thought that FFVII was what happens when the special people are gone and the world is left in the hands of very broken people who have no clue what to do.

But actually making Zack that perfectly good heroic character is somewhat boring, and it does clash a bit with the fact that he’s still a SOLDIER, doing Shinra’s dirty work and not even fully realizing why there’s nothing heroic about his job. To back Lic’s point about the creators having tackled CC (and probably each Compilation entry really) with a different mindset than FFVII, I’d add that honor and heroes had no place in the original game, at least not in the way these themes were expressed in CC. Hard consistency was never what they had in mind while working on the Compilation, so I think it’s no wonder some people find some of those new elements a bit jarring and not really fitting with the original; that includes Zack's characterization that, while not really wrong, can fall a bit flat.
 

MelodicEnigma

Lv. 25 Adventurer
#58
Well, if we're talking about "backward extrapolating" and whatnot, there are plenty of meta and contextual explanations that support the idea that there are many different types of depictions in CC that aren't present within the OG—some especially in what would essentially create a different impression of storytelling (and/or contradictions to some people lol) in the OG from those specific elements. (as if a Remake was being thought of during development, as we found out recently) From my understanding, I believe Mako's point is that there are only so many things that people can compare from CC with the OG, this partly because of the lack of material to pull from the latter, and what is pulled from the game isn't that different from CC to say it wasn't intended for Zack's character. While then Allsorts point is that CC gives the opportunity for Zack's character to go beyond that material and its lack, even if it was used as the foundation for what we see in CC, to a point where there seem to be certain directional changes with his character and associations (i.e. impact on story elements, character relationships, etc.). There is truth in both, really. I wouldn't necessarily say Zack's character in CC isn't part of what they had in mind in the original for all that was utilized there (which mostly amounted to the role he was meant to fulfill), however, there are a myriad of particular things in CC that don't completely coincide with the depictions given by creations prior—some is for the better, some not. It's in that I agree with youffie that a lot of those reasons are at the heart of people's anger towards the Compilation—people love them some consistency pie, but this can also be understood as the after-effect of further development and perspective of written narrative (especially over years and many stories), which can induce change very easily. For Zack's characterization, maybe its difference isn't in the "what", but the "how/why", on certain things expounded on. But honestly, that gets into a different type of conversation of depictions, whether it clashed with something prior or not, in the FFVII series, and I don't think that's at the core of what was said before, at least from me anyway in what I really meant. I think the conversation direction is probably my fault for mentioning CC, then, so my bad.

So, it was that, by the OG alone, some people believe it's justified in believing that Zack had multiple girlfriends? I will clarify and say that my point wasn't that CC's depiction is like, THE explanation for all the questions presented in regards to the OG in full capacity (although it can be if going forward)—that's the reason why I specify "in the OG" or "in CC" a lot, probably to the point it's annoying all of you. lol I understand the initial thought process of a fan thinking about the "multiple girlfriends" of Zack's characterization by the OG standards—both the 10th Anniversary passage (including the questioning of Aerith's possible jealousy; it's in the same passage btw) and Aerith's lines about Zack in the OG in some capacity present the questions for people to ponder, do they not? It's understandable. However, even by the standards of the OG's depiction alone, I believe we essentially get the answers to some of these questions from the revealing of truths regarding Zack's character in the OG through the letter, the flashback of Nibelheim, and the flashback in the International version—truth that doesn't really lend to the idea he had multiple girlfriends or even multiple people he was going to hide out with. The purpose and answer of the inquisitive nature of all Ultimania quotes (specifically multiple girlfriends) aren't as black and white as those pertaining to Aerith's doubts of his whereabouts by the OG alone, but certain things can still be deduced from above regardless. (and one has to consider the context of these questions in that part of Zack's profile)

But uhh, why are we talking about this again? Lol For why Cloud wasn't depicted as flirtatious like Zack was? I would agree with the beginning of the thread that it wasn't exactly a 1:1 transformation going on there, it was hardly that convenient I believe. For me, it's an interesting detail to learn that the two really weren't that similar after all.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#59
Have you never done any creative writing for any media that involved creating characters? They evolve and change in the minds of their creators, and what might have been the creator's intention for the character at one point in time is not necessarily his or her intention at a different point in time. Just because it was the intention of the creators of Crisis Core to make Zack the character we see in CC, it doesn't logically follow that they had the same intention for the character back in 1997. It's possible they had no intention regarding Zack at that point beyond the role he plays in Cloud's story; he was whatever he needed to be to explain Cloud.
Theoretically that may be possible, but considering that's not what Nojima and Kitase have said about Zack, it's not ambiguous or some big mystery. The Zack they intended for CC, was the idea they had for Zack, period. Unless you don't believe their own memory or recollection of where they intended to take Zack, there's no mystery. Zack's character and backstory was cooking on the back burner for 10 years. There wasn't a shift of intent. Zack is Zack, and this is what they wanted. The fact Zack was a mystery allows one to project their own ideas and thoughts in what Zack might have been. Which is why players filled that hole in his history with whatever preconceived ideas they had from the start.

Zack was simply an enigma with ambiguous history and a host of unanswered questions. Who's foundations were "Cloud's best friend," "Aerith's first boyfriend," and... "Same as Cloud skeleton, except for hair."
 
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#60
They literally say that they didn't have a fully fleshed out idea of Zack back when they made the OG:
"At that point, Zack was a rather minor character, but there was an art design in place that was created by Mr Nomura, and Mr Nojima, the scenario writer, had a basic concept of his story in place," explains Kitase. "So you could say that the idea has been cooking for 10 years."

They had an art design and the basic idea of his backstory. It says nothing about his characterisation at all.

If you cook something for ten years, the flavour can change a lot.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#61
Right, they had a concept and ideas which they finally actualized in CC. I mean, you're saying that something could have changed or shifted... I mean, sure theoretically it's possible.

But from what they're saying from their own words and have consistently intimated about his character, barring any unknown circumstance, Zack was a mystery which was only firmly committed to character via CC. They didn't change him over fan preference or some shift in tastes, Nojima simply put his loose elements together with the idea and concepts they sat on since FFVII. They had the notes and idea for him from the start. They only needed to expand upon his original concept for his own game.
 
#62
When I opened that link, I expected to find a quote from Nomura or Nojima saying something like, "Yes, right from the very beginning we conceived of Zack as a dorky, friendly, over-enthusiastic puppy kind of character with big dreams of being a hero and limited critical thinking skills. We initially envisaged him as the kind of guy who is always flirting with pretty girls and has no idea how naively unsophisticated he appears in their eyes. It was a real delight to portray him romancing Aerith since they're both as innocent as each other."

I totally agree that they expanded on his original concept. What I'm saying is that it could have been expanded in more than one direction, and the direction they chose isn't what I would have gone for. I don't think it's controversial to say they chose a direction that they felt would please the fans. They are in the business of selling video games, after all.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#63
Well yeah, it's true they could have gone all sorts of directions. I was just saying the direction they chose, wasn't a route chosen simply due to pandering or trying to be romantic with it or something. They truly had an idea for Zack and fleshed it out from what early material they had from FFVII. It was their natural choice, not one they shifted gears from.
 

hleV

Pro Adventurer
#64
Had it not been for CC, I think a big portion of the fanbase would take Cloud having Zack's personality for granted. I don't like CC all that much, but Cloud having made his own "cool self" is... cool.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#65
I understand the initial thought process of a fan thinking about the "multiple girlfriends" of Zack's characterization by the OG standards—both the 10th Anniversary passage (including the questioning of Aerith's possible jealousy; it's in the same passage btw) and Aerith's lines about Zack in the OG in some capacity present the questions for people to ponder, do they not? It's understandable. However, even by the standards of the OG's depiction alone, I believe we essentially get the answers to some of these questions from the revealing of truths regarding Zack's character in the OG through the letter, the flashback of Nibelheim, and the flashback in the International version—truth that doesn't really lend to the idea he had multiple girlfriends or even multiple people he was going to hide out with.
It's worth remembering, though, that the English translation of the lines from the pickup portion of the flashback sequence is drastically different from what Zack said in Japanese there.

Right, they had a concept and ideas which they finally actualized in CC. I mean, you're saying that something could have changed or shifted... I mean, sure theoretically it's possible.

But from what they're saying from their own words and have consistently intimated about his character, barring any unknown circumstance, Zack was a mystery which was only firmly committed to character via CC. They didn't change him over fan preference or some shift in tastes, Nojima simply put his loose elements together with the idea and concepts they sat on since FFVII.
That isn't what they said, though. For all that they put across in the interview, we may well have gotten everything in 1997 that they had on him in 1997.

We can speculate that there was more, sure, but we don't know it. What we do know is that Zack's thoughts and motivations regarding the return to Midgar absolutely changed in depiction from the original game to CC.
 
#66
Had it not been for CC, I think a big portion of the fanbase would take Cloud having Zack's personality for granted. I don't like CC all that much, but Cloud having made his own "cool self" is... cool.
Eh, I don’t know about that. Even with the few scenes Zack has in the OG, I think he still comes across as more personable than early/first third of the game Cloud. Sephiroth/Jenova’s influence is definitely noticeable with early game Cloud.

It's worth remembering, though, that the English translation of the lines from the pickup portion of the flashback sequence is drastically different from what Zack said in Japanese.
Yeah, the Japanese has him discussing multiple who could help him/give him and Cloud a place to crash. Though I think implication still arguably has him thinking of Aerith as his first choice for a place to stay.

That isn't what they said, though. For all that they put across in the interview, we may well have gotten everything in 1997 that they had on him in 1997.

We can speculate that there was more, sure, but we don't know it. What we do know is that Zack's thoughts and motivations regarding the return to Midgar absolutely changed in depiction from the original game to CC.
This may be more a case of me personally being pedantic about language schematics but I’d describe CC more as expanding Zack’s motivations and thoughts on his return to Midgar than changed wholesale.
 
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#67
This may be more a case of me personally being pedantic about language schematics but I’d describe CC more as expanding Zack’s motivations and thoughts on his return to Midgar than changed wholesale.
I guess that's fair. What I mean is the depiction of Aerith's significance in his decision is different.

They're not necessarily incompatible from an in-universe angle, but they do suggest different considerations from a writing perspective between the time of the original game and CC.
 
#68
I guess that's fair. What I mean is the depiction of Aerith's significance in his decision is different.

They're not necessarily incompatible from an in-universe angle, but they do suggest different considerations from a writing perspective between the time of the original game and CC.
Oh of course. Though I think that’s true for any work of fiction that is a prequel. For example, I am sure C.S. Lewis had different considerations in mind when writing his prequel Narnia books or George Lucas with the Star Wars prequels, etc.
 

MelodicEnigma

Lv. 25 Adventurer
#69
It's worth remembering, though, that the English translation of the lines from the pickup portion of the flashback sequence is drastically different from what Zack said in Japanese there.
That's good to note, thanks for providing that! It then makes more sense for the course of speculation within the Ultimania then.

I would agree in that CC provided a route in storytelling that departed from Zack having the exact same thought process there—if not for the sake that he really didn't have that many people he could've counted on, in the first place, unless one wanted to assume he was talking about his Club Members. lol Of course, we don't get the actual scene itself to completely verify, but in the end, we can only draw a conclusion based on what CC gives us as it being the most up to date depiction of his character and events.
 
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