Midgar: A Hypothetical Video Essay Part One (Cultures)

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#1
So I'm taking a leaf out of X-Soldier's book. I have this super ambitious video essay concept in mind where I explore what a fully realized Midgar based game would be like, using New York City and Tokyo as the main inspirations.



So with that said, that is a HUGE undertaking for just me on my own. So I'm borrowing X's strategy and turning to you guys for opinions and insight on the highlight points of my essay, and to point me towards more narrowed down research.



The first, and major thrust I'm interested in is how New York City and Tokyo are both major economic/cultural centers of their respective countries. I can't speak to Tokyo just yet, but NYC has so many people from all over the world. It has more languages than any other country, and has huge chunks of the city devoted to specific world cultures that blend seamlessly one into the other.


So this is where I come to you guys on this subject: How would you extrapolate and/or rethink the cultures of each major city/village of VII? I have a tentative list, but some feel a little harder to pin down than the others. With that regard in mind, what do you think immigrants from those cultures would bring to Midgar?


Kalm: German inspired
Junon: Midgar in everything but name, just more of a military base than a real city. But maybe the previous village itself had its own culture?
Costa Del Sol: Hispanic inspired
Corel: Midwest U.S inspired
Gongaga: South American?
Cosmo Canyon: Native American
Nibelhiem: This one feels...I'm not sure. It has similar feelings to Kalm, but there's also the distinct Midwest type vibe they gave Tifa and Cloud. I'm most interested because there may be a fan-theory to work with here that the ShinRa dynasty began as aristocrats that started in Nibelhiem. Everything keeps coming back to that town.

RocketTown: This one's an oddball since it's an 'artificial' town that was built specifically for the space program. Midgar likely predates this, so it'd be Midgar exporting it's culture over to RocketTown.

Wutai: Japanese. No getting around that.

Knowlspole/Icicle Inn: Inuit?
 

Roger

Novice DM
AKA
Minato
#2
Icicle Inn is more Alaska to me, with not native people coming there for to away from their previous lives, research, whatnot, clearly been established fewer generations ago then the others.

Even though there's another continent in the way, Junon's canon that can pointed in only one direction makes me feel it's an East Coast airforce base meant to guard against the threat across the Pacific subdued in the last war.
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#3
Icicle Inn is more Alaska to me, with not native people coming there for to away from their previous lives, research, whatnot, clearly been established fewer generations ago then the others.

Even though there's another continent in the way, Junon's canon that can pointed in only one direction makes me feel it's an East Coast airforce base meant to guard against the threat across the Pacific subdued in the last war.

I imagine they had it as a contingency should Wutai ever successfully take over the central continent. My personal head canon is that the war was mainly fought over the central continent. Wutai wanted empire dominion, while ShinRa wanted the land for financial reasons. So ShinRa "Fought" for the sake of the Continent, and then bought it up after winning their trust through the war.



I always found it interesting that Barret wears dogtags, even though there's no reference to the Central Continent ever having it's own military.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#4
Heh... this is probably because I grew up there, but I always imagined Midgar as Los Angeles with a plate dropped over it. It's kinda like New York in that there's a lot of different cultures all jammed together, but unlike New York, it's spread out over a much wider area.

Stick the Downtown area (which is super small compared to the size of LA) and entertainment area and nicer suburban areas on top of the plate and all the urban areas underneath it. The freeway and subway systems you can leave as is.

Nebelhim makes me think of a "modernized" mining town.
 

pxp

Pro Adventurer
#5
Don’t forget Mideel! Erm, similar to Gongaga? Speaking of which, how come there was no reactor there given the proximity of the lifestream to the surface? Wonder if that’ll be expanded on in R.

And also Cetra locations: pseudo Aztec-Mayan-Egyptian, though also aquatic ... Atlantis?

Just throwing stuff out there really.
 
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#6
I think I'd start in a different place if I were you.

Taking earth based cultures wholesale is going to run into problems because all those cultures are shaped by different things that might not exist in FF7's Planet.

So, I'd start by going 'what's in each town, how would that shape the culture?'

2,000 years ago a meteor nearly wiped out the planet. What effects would that have, what superstitions, what wars did it cause? Which societies were most affected, which survived intact. which ones were destroyed except for small details.

Cosmo Canyon is home to intelligent long lived canine creatures and until recently was preyed on by the Gi. How would that affect their culture?' It would be defensible, a fortress that has now fallen into disuse, Helm's Deep that is now a tourist attraction.

Junon seems to have once been a fishing town that is now slowly dying because of the pollution. What culture would that town have?

Nibelheim, remote mountain town surrounded by dangerous monsters. Everyone has to be tough to survive.

I always found it interesting that Barret wears dogtags, even though there's no reference to the Central Continent ever having it's own military.
He's a miner. It could be to identify the body if he's caught in a collapse or an explosion.
 
#7
I honestly would really hate to see SE make the world of FFVII any more 'like Earth' than it already is. We already have too many people claiming that Yuffie is Asian and that Barret is African-American despite the fact that they have no Asia, no Africa, and no America, and the only person who ever utters a racist word in the game is Red XIII, who is prejudiced against two-legged things.

I like Clem's suggestion: the culture should evolve from what's under their feet. Junon used to be a little fishing town that got turned into a gigantic military fortress. so it could be a lot like HMNB Clyde/Garelochhead in Scotland, where the Trident nuclear submarines are kept.

Because the USA is so diverse, you can find a counterpart in it for almost every locations in FFVII. Personally, I like to think the world is bigger than the USA. Midgar isn't even New York, not really - it's an artificial de facto capital created by fiat in the middle of nowhere, like Brasilia or Dodoma.
 

Roger

Novice DM
AKA
Minato
#8
I honestly would really hate to see SE make the world of FFVII any more 'like Earth' than it already is. We already have too many people claiming that Yuffie is Asian and that Barret is African-American despite the fact that they have no Asia, no Africa, and no America, and the only person who ever utters a racist word in the game is Red XIII, who is prejudiced against two-legged things.

I like Clem's suggestion: the culture should evolve from what's under their feet. Junon used to be a little fishing town that got turned into a gigantic military fortress. so it could be a lot like HMNB Clyde/Garelochhead in Scotland, where the Trident nuclear submarines are kept.

Because the USA is so diverse, you can find a counterpart in it for almost every locations in FFVII. Personally, I like to think the world is bigger than the USA. Midgar isn't even New York, not really - it's an artificial de facto capital created by fiat in the middle of nowhere, like Brasilia or Dodoma.
The sectors of Midgar was build on eight preexisting individual towns.
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#10
I honestly would really hate to see SE make the world of FFVII any more 'like Earth' than it already is. We already have too many people claiming that Yuffie is Asian and that Barret is African-American despite the fact that they have no Asia, no Africa, and no America, and the only person who ever utters a racist word in the game is Red XIII, who is prejudiced against two-legged things.

I like Clem's suggestion: the culture should evolve from what's under their feet. Junon used to be a little fishing town that got turned into a gigantic military fortress. so it could be a lot like HMNB Clyde/Garelochhead in Scotland, where the Trident nuclear submarines are kept.

Because the USA is so diverse, you can find a counterpart in it for almost every locations in FFVII. Personally, I like to think the world is bigger than the USA. Midgar isn't even New York, not really - it's an artificial de facto capital created by fiat in the middle of nowhere, like Brasilia or Dodoma.
The sectors of Midgar was build on eight preexisting individual towns.

I think the actual quote from Jessie is that each sector used to have a name, but nobody uses them anymore (Though 30 years is an awfully short time to forget).



Taking everything else into account, you guys have a point. While there are some RL inspirations (There's no avoiding comparing Costa Del Sol to Hispanic/South America when it literally uses a Spanish style naming convention), I will of course be trying to extrapolate what's unique to each town as well outside of cultural inspiration.



Also I've been looking into Paris , since Midgars "Pizza" shape bears a striking resemblance to how Paris has been built The view from above is uncanny.


https://i.pinimg.com/originals/53/c0/15/53c015d6cab2a87c2c35bf9fdebcd258.jpg
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#11
Don’t forget Mideel! Erm, similar to Gongaga? Speaking of which, how come there was no reactor there given the proximity of the lifestream to the surface? Wonder if that’ll be expanded on in R.

And also Cetra locations: pseudo Aztec-Mayan-Egyptian, though also aquatic ... Atlantis?

Just throwing stuff out there really.

Reactors are only useful if there's a population to pay for the use of it. It's a tiny island that has one ramshackle town in it that seems to almost be forgotten by the world at large. You could also make a case that because the lifestream is so close to the surface, it's a constant threat, and wouldn't be a stable place to build a reactor.


But mainly, there just isn't a big enough population to pay ShinRa to build there.



Midgar: Those reactors feed both Midgar, Kalm, and any "Non canon" towns that might populate the countryside.



Junon: The military base gets it's energy from both Fort Condor and then the underwater reactor


Corel: While corel is defunct, it's reactor probably feeds power to Costa Del Sol as well as Gold Saucer. Likely at a discount to Dio in exchange for keeping political prisoners


Nibelhiem: This one seems more like a prototype reactor, and is clearly neglected, though it's also likely the primary resource for Rocket Town, though that's been neglected as well.


Everywhere else is either beyond ShinRa's domain or too obscure to be relevant.
 

pxp

Pro Adventurer
#12
Don’t forget Mideel! Erm, similar to Gongaga? Speaking of which, how come there was no reactor there given the proximity of the lifestream to the surface? Wonder if that’ll be expanded on in R.

And also Cetra locations: pseudo Aztec-Mayan-Egyptian, though also aquatic ... Atlantis?

Just throwing stuff out there really.

Reactors are only useful if there's a population to pay for the use of it. It's a tiny island that has one ramshackle town in it that seems to almost be forgotten by the world at large. You could also make a case that because the lifestream is so close to the surface, it's a constant threat, and wouldn't be a stable place to build a reactor.


But mainly, there just isn't a big enough population to pay ShinRa to build there.



Midgar: Those reactors feed both Midgar, Kalm, and any "Non canon" towns that might populate the countryside.



Junon: The military base gets it's energy from both Fort Condor and then the underwater reactor


Corel: While corel is defunct, it's reactor probably feeds power to Costa Del Sol as well as Gold Saucer. Likely at a discount to Dio in exchange for keeping political prisoners


Nibelhiem: This one seems more like a prototype reactor, and is clearly neglected, though it's also likely the primary resource for Rocket Town, though that's been neglected as well.


Everywhere else is either beyond ShinRa's domain or too obscure to be relevant.
Plausible theory, but we don’t have enough info to say for sure. Gonganga isn’t much bigger than Mideel either, for instance. And there may be new locations and so on in 7R, including on the southern continent. Who knows?

Another argument you could make is that it’s proximty to the surface in Mideel would make it cheaper to extract, and possibly transport elsewhere around the globe. I mean, the whole point of neo-Midgar was the search for an abundance of mako energy, obtainable at Shin-ra’s whim. The ‘unstable’ argument seems a bit strange when compared to the North Crater itself. They were willing to set it up wherever a or the promised land happened to be.

All speculation on both our parts, naturally.
 
#13
My understanding of the real Costa del Sol is that it's built largely for English tourists.

Edit: Maybe Rio de Janeiro as a Midgar base? Heavily segmented by district as to rich/poor, Incredibly privileged areas, but extensive slums, (Note: I have never been, so open to correction here.)
 
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pxp

Pro Adventurer
#14
Aye FF7 Costa Del Sol is definitely meant to be more Mediterranean than South American - think pasty British tourists (later lobsters) in Gibraltar, Tenerife, Ibiza and as Clement says the real CDS in Spain.
 
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ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#15
Don’t forget Mideel! Erm, similar to Gongaga? Speaking of which, how come there was no reactor there given the proximity of the lifestream to the surface? Wonder if that’ll be expanded on in R.

And also Cetra locations: pseudo Aztec-Mayan-Egyptian, though also aquatic ... Atlantis?

Just throwing stuff out there really.

Reactors are only useful if there's a population to pay for the use of it. It's a tiny island that has one ramshackle town in it that seems to almost be forgotten by the world at large. You could also make a case that because the lifestream is so close to the surface, it's a constant threat, and wouldn't be a stable place to build a reactor.


But mainly, there just isn't a big enough population to pay ShinRa to build there.



Midgar: Those reactors feed both Midgar, Kalm, and any "Non canon" towns that might populate the countryside.



Junon: The military base gets it's energy from both Fort Condor and then the underwater reactor


Corel: While corel is defunct, it's reactor probably feeds power to Costa Del Sol as well as Gold Saucer. Likely at a discount to Dio in exchange for keeping political prisoners


Nibelhiem: This one seems more like a prototype reactor, and is clearly neglected, though it's also likely the primary resource for Rocket Town, though that's been neglected as well.


Everywhere else is either beyond ShinRa's domain or too obscure to be relevant.
Plausible theory, but we don’t have enough info to say for sure. Gonganga isn’t much bigger than Mideel either, for instance. And there may be new locations and so on in 7R, including on the southern continent. Who knows?

Another argument you could make is that it’s proximty to the surface in Mideel would make it cheaper to extract, and possibly transport elsewhere around the globe. I mean, the whole point of neo-Midgar was the search for an abundance of mako energy, obtainable at Shin-ra’s whim. The ‘unstable’ argument seems a bit strange when compared to the North Crater itself. They were willing to set it up wherever a or the promised land happened to be.

All speculation on both our parts, naturally.

Rufus decided that North Crater was the Promise Land, not ShinRa Sr. That area was no-man's land. NeoMidgar was likely only expedited because of a potential mako shortage. Desperate times called for desperate measures. And again, there's the issue of transporting the mako. The remake makes it seem like they need huuuuge pipes to transfer the raw mako energy to...wherever they convert it to electricity I guess. Putting in an undersea pipeline all the way to the Midgar area might be a bit costly.
 

ChipNoir

Internet Ghost
AKA
Mister Spooks.
#18
@Clement Rage At this point I'm more trying to get a grasp on what the upper plate is going to be like, as well as get an understanding about how city planning actually works. Surprisingly almost nobody I talk to seems that interested in the actual above-plate areas. Everyone's more concerned with slums, even though technically there's no evidence that there's even anything beyond sector 5's slums.
 
#20
@Clement Rage At this point I'm more trying to get a grasp on what the upper plate is going to be like, as well as get an understanding about how city planning actually works. Surprisingly almost nobody I talk to seems that interested in the actual above-plate areas. Everyone's more concerned with slums, even though technically there's no evidence that there's even anything beyond sector 5's slums.
I'm very interested in how the plumbing works in upper Midgar. Also rubbish collection.
 
#23
That wouldn't make any sense. It would cause an epidemic and you couldn't contain that under the plate. There seems to be a lot of travel between the plate and the slums and I'm guessing a lot of the lower paid workers who keep upper Midgar running live in the slums. It would also make the whole of Midgar, upper and lower, stink to high heaven. Everybody benefits from proper sanitation.
 

CrashOuch

Wide and Slow
AKA
Sara
#24
Yeah, I think that's pretty likely. They have enough technology for trains and reactors, they'll have proper toilets and even the slums have electricity etc, so it's not like the people living under the plate have no money at all, so they probably have less than fun jobs in sanitation and so on.
 

jazzflower92

Pro Adventurer
AKA
The Girl With A Strong Opinion
#25
That wouldn't make any sense. It would cause an epidemic and you couldn't contain that under the plate. There seems to be a lot of travel between the plate and the slums and I'm guessing a lot of the lower paid workers who keep upper Midgar running live in the slums. It would also make the whole of Midgar, upper and lower, stink to high heaven. Everybody benefits from proper sanitation.
But we wouldn't get some good cartoon villianry.
 
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