Revising the Midgar Zolom

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#1
So, I'm gonna start off this thread by saying that the Midgar Zolom is my favourite. Period.



The more I've been thinking about a remake, the more that I keep coming back to this part of the game and thinking about how many challenges it poses insofar as its presentation in an upgraded RPG that comes down to several things:




Before the arrival of the Weapons, the Midgar Zolom is the only enemy type that appears as an encounterable entity on the World Map itself. You then get this message from Chocobo Bill, "It's a serpent-like creature over 30 feet tall!! It picks up on footsteps that enter the marshes... And then, BAM!! It attacks!!!" So, this huge thing tracks your movement through the Marshes to attack you, and this all gives the player an ominous sense of foreboding that it's something so enormous you can actually SEE its silhouette in the swamp, in addition to giving you a task that is unique at that point of needing to avoid encountering it while crossing over the swamp by use of Chocobos (or really keen timing).




Also, if you're unlucky enough to get attacked by it (or just curious about how scary it is), it's generally much tougher than you, and it has HP-based form changes. If things start going well, it rears its body up out of the swamp to absolutely TOWER over your party, and if that doesn't discourage you from further attacks, it's got the ability to kick people out of battle, and if you keep it up, well, then it just hits you with Beta. The coolest part about this is that if someone's been kicked out of battle, if leaves you at the edge of the Swamp, since it didn't KO your entire party.




After you manage to get past it, you're treated to a one-time environmental scene of the marshes backlight with lightning before entering the Mythril Mines. You see a Midgar Zolom that's been flipped over and impaled onto a massive dead tree, leaving the tree and the surrounding area soaked in blood. This gives an even deeper sense of fear because - however terrifying that thing you managed to avoid just was, it absolutely pales in comparison to how big of a threat that Sephiroth is - and you're going to have to defeat him.





So what changes?

• In a new RPG is that there's a large possibility that you'll be used to seeing enemies out and about for standard encounters. Because of that, the Midgar Zolom will likely have its sense of fear put in place by being one of the enemies that you DON'T see directly. You'll see its massive shadowy silhouette in the marshes and maybe a little ripple of wake moving towards you.

• Since the camera angle is unlikely to be as top-down, you'll have to make sure that the player has a good sense of how huge and fast it is before venturing into the Marsh. I can't help but think that having a little panning scene over the marsh when Chocobo Bill talks about it would be a good idea, or something when you first enter the area that alerts you to the idea that it's not somewhere to just wander into. Alternately, when you walk up to the marsh border, the camera could also automatically pan up a bit to give you that perspective around that section of the map.

• For combat, having it pop its whole body out of the marsh for an attack is a good visual transition into combat, but I'm not sure what all would be best for the "one party member kicked out and left at the marsh border if the other members are KO'd so you don't get a Game Over" scenario -- but I do like the idea that an encounter with the Midgar Zolom can be a scary learning experience without a game over.

• In an open environment, you'd be used to passing by the impaled one any time you venture over to the mines, but there's something to be said for that scene being a one-time thing, since it never loses its sense of terror even after you can knock down the Midgar Zolom with little effort at higher levels, you don't get to re-compare yourself to that scene (plus the lightning backdrop makes it more dramatic). Personally, I think that it'd be cool that after a certain point, it changed to skeletal remains, so that you know it's still there, but it doesn't have the same feel as it did the first time you encountered it.

EDIT: Also, you could make it THE Midgar Zolom to make it even better.




But yeah, I'm curious if there're any things that you all would specifically LIKE to see from this little part of the game.




X :neo:
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#2
Love you X!

I think it would be cool if you have to negotiate the swamp veeeeeeeery carefully. Perhaps something akin to Tremors where you have to make your way over the rocks and there would be certain parts where you risk falling in the swamp. All the while you could get occasional vague glimpses of something huge moving under the water.

Then maybe the first time you traverse the swamp they could have a cutscene at the end with a near miss where they get away just in time. Or the Zolom could try and follow them into the mines but be too big to fit?
 

Starling

Pro Adventurer
#3
I think some kind of audio cue could help, whether it's the music getting slightly more ominous or the sound of movement in the water.

I agree that the scene with the impaled Zolom should be a one-time thing, though if you can see it again later they could have the carcass fall off the tree and eaten by scavengers instead of being stripped to the bone so soon. It's a pretty big creature after all.
 

The Man

Great Old One
AKA
Aaron
#4
I'd like to see it translated correctly :monster:

Other than that I don't really have any disagreements with what you wrote.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#6
I'd like to see it translated correctly :monster:
I, for one, vastly prefer the name "Midgar Zolom" to "Midgardsormr" in this case.

While it is designed after the terrifying world-wrecking snake from Norse mythology, I like the much more Final Fantasy VII-specific name to it rather than the, "we borrowed a generic thing and put it in our game" type feel of the normal translation. If you change it, it doesn't feel as specific to this setting (not to mention this one is vastly more easy to pronounce at a glance). On top of that, since it's intentional wordplay in Japanese, that bit of fun gets lost if you just DLPB away the technical translation error. :awesomonster:




X :neo:
 

The Man

Great Old One
AKA
Aaron
#7
Well you could still have an alternate translation without mangling it as badly as Midgar Zolom is. It's like Knowlespole. It's not exactly North Pole, but it should be closer to Norzpole or something :monster:
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#8
Yeah, I mean in the FFVII world maybe it was "Midgardsormr" at one point in ye olde language and then eventualy became Midgar Zolom. Shit like that happens all the time in language (although I'm fucking tired and can't cite any examples right now)

EDIT: They definitely need to sort out knowlespole, that just sounds fucking stupid.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#9
Well you could still have an alternate translation without mangling it as badly as Midgar Zolom is. It's like Knowlespole. It's not exactly North Pole, but it should be closer to Norzpole or something :monster:
Well, you separate out "Midgar" from the rest, you're left with "ズオルム" which is "Zu-O-Ru-Mu" and pretty much identical to "Zolom" insofar as English pronunciation is concerned. suppose that you could call it the "Midgar Sormr" -- but that looks absolutely shit in English as no one would EVER end something with the unnaturally teeth clenching consonant clusterfuck of "rmr" for a localized rename of something. I'm interested what you'd go with instead.

I think it's just fine as it's a specific change to fit it into the world based on some subtle wordplay in Japanese, and is WAY better than Final Fantasy Tactics' utterly senseless "Midgar Swarm" mistranslation that SHOULD UNQUESTIONABLY be changed to directly to "Midgardsormr" without hesitation.



X :neo:
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#11
I could dig that. I don't see any reason to change it still, but if they changed it to that, I'd still be cool with it. :awesomonster:




X :neo:
 

Starling

Pro Adventurer
#12
Norse words get translated inconsistently all the time. For example, I don't think anyone minds Midgar staying the same instead of being switched to Midgard and from what I found the last time I researched Norse mythology, the original word looks like one among many that are supposed to end with an r but don't because modern English doesn't like that.
 

Wolf_

Pro Adventurer
#13
what I've never got was the fact that the game gives you the impression there is one. But you have to kill/ run past it, just to find Sephiroth has kebab'd it with a tree. I'd rather you had the creepiness of walking through without ever encountering it and eventually finding a bloodbath or keeping it in as a boss and do away with the dead one.
 
#14
"Zolom" is iconic. They can't change it now!!

Edited to add: it does't make sense to want to go back to "Aeris" but then ask for a more accurate transliteration of "Zolom" (or "Knowlespole"). Actually I'm more wedded to "Zolom" than I am to "Aerith". I'd hate for them to change any of those wacky names.
 

55-

Probably Evan Townshend
#15
what I've never got was the fact that the game gives you the impression there is one. But you have to kill/ run past it, just to find Sephiroth has kebab'd it with a tree.
This really took me out of it too. I was like, but I just passed it a second ago?
And then if you go back, it's always there.
Also bums me out that it doesn't go away when you defeat it. It feels like this huge accomplishment but then you leave the battle and you're just there, in the middle of the swamp with a reborn Zolom.
Idk, how they could possibly clean this up other than implying there's two Zoloms or somethin'. You don't want Sephiroth to kill the only one and never give us the chance to prove we can get on his level.
 

Starling

Pro Adventurer
#16
I'm pretty sure Zolom is one of those cases where the word doesn't change between singular and plural. If they're going to make it clearer that there are multiple Zolom around, they'll have to include a sentence that makes it clear they're referred to that way in the plural form.
 
#17
Yeah, I always assumed there were plenty of them in the swamp. It's not some random monster- it's a large and dangerous predator native to the swam and there's a lot of them. Like - if you want to cross the river you should buy a speed boat, these waters are crocodile infested- you get across and someone has killed a giant crocodile - it's impressive because it's a huge, dangerous animal - but it doesn't make it seem impossible that the river is still fairly teeming with crocodiles.

Personally, I'd be fine with calling it the Midgard Serpent since norse words sound a bit silly.
 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#18
You could also make a change to make it THE Midgar Zolom.

Chocobo Bill could state that there were two of them and they were really giant and dangerous, but ever since that silver haired guy came through, one of them's disappeared and the remaining one has become even more aggressive than usual, so the only way to get by it is with a Chocobo. That way there's a sense of terror and a tiny bit of tragedy when you find that it was Sephiroth who killed one of them before you got there.

Then you could take the changes to its state in stages.
• Ambushes the party with the general attack.
• Rears up in the air when it feels threatened.
• Attacks with Beta shortly thereafter.
• When defeated, it just dives back under the water and starts prowling again.

That'd explain why it more or less immediately shows back up in the marsh just after you defeat it, you only ever get attacked by one at a time, and it keeps it into the singular sort of badass entity that the Midgardsormr-type enemy fits best as.


Yeah... I think I like that a lot.




X :neo:
 

Starling

Pro Adventurer
#19
I'd rather let them be a species of really big snakes that may or may not have always been that big. Weren't they only a recent problem for the miners?
 

Lex

Administrator
#20
It wouldn't bother me if they used Midgardsormr. It would have if you asked me three years ago, but XIV got me used to Midgardsormr so I won't die of unhappiness if they decide to go with the real thing. Midgar Zolom never bothered me though.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#21
Chocobo Bill's dialogue in the game uses the/it and singular tenses when talking about the Midgar Zolom rather than the/they like he would if it were intended to be plural.

"Thinking of crossing the marshes?"

"Yeah."

"Hmm, then it'll probably be safer for you to get a Chocobo. That way you can zip through the marshes with the Chocobo. It's the only way to avoid being attacked by the Midgar Zolom."

"Midgar Zolom...?"

"It's a serpent-like creature over 30 feet tall!! It detects the footsteps of anyone in the marshes. And then, BAM!! It attacks!!!"
No idea if there's any indication one way or the other in the Japanese dialogue though.



X :neo:
 

The Man

Great Old One
AKA
Aaron
#22
Japanese doesn't distinguish between plural and singular, if my understanding is correct, so there wouldn't be any indication one way or the other in the original script.
 
#23
You could also make a change to make it THE Midgar Zolom.

Chocobo Bill could state that there were two of them and they were really giant and dangerous, but ever since that silver haired guy came through, one of them's disappeared and the remaining one has become even more aggressive than usual, so the only way to get by it is with a Chocobo. That way there's a sense of terror and a tiny bit of tragedy when you find that it was Sephiroth who killed one of them before you got there.

Then you could take the changes to its state in stages.
• Ambushes the party with the general attack.
• Rears up in the air when it feels threatened.
• Attacks with Beta shortly thereafter.
• When defeated, it just dives back under the water and starts prowling again.

That'd explain why it more or less immediately shows back up in the marsh just after you defeat it, you only ever get attacked by one at a time, and it keeps it into the singular sort of badass entity that the Midgardsormr-type enemy fits best as.


Yeah... I think I like that a lot.




X :neo:
I don't like the idea that there are only two - even if you don't kill it when you fight it because it escapes. I also don't like the idea of "Hey, there's only one left of this creature - let's try to kill it!"

I prefer non endangered monsters.

More than that, I really don't think they should tell us Sephiroth has killed one. Don't hint at it. Let it be a shock! For me what made that moment powerful was you don't see it coming. You're heart is pounding, you've just been running for you life trying to avoid an encounter with this monster and then you see it and think "Oh God, he just killed it..."

It's a shocking image that comes out of nowhere and I think hinting that Sephiroth has killed one cheapens that. It should be like seeing something that should be impossible - how could anyone do that?

If we take the original dialogue and replace it was another species animal - does it still make sense even in the singular?

"Thinking of crossing the river?"

"Yeah."

"Hmm, then it'll probably be safer for you to get a speed boat. That way you can zip through the marshes with the speed boat. It's the only way to avoid being attached by the Salt-Water Crocodile."

"Salt Water Crocodile...?"

"It's a type of crocodile over 15 feet long!!!! It detects the splashing of anyone in the river. And then, BAM!! It attacks!!!"
 
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Starling

Pro Adventurer
#24
Chocobo Bill's dialogue in the game uses the/it and singular tenses when talking about the Midgar Zolom rather than the/they like he would if it were intended to be plural.



No idea if there's any indication one way or the other in the Japanese dialogue though.



X :neo:
It's not that unusual for people to refer to a species as singular because they find it easier to explain that way so the wording can still be considered ambiguous.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#25
Japanese doesn't distinguish between plural and singular, if my understanding is correct, so there wouldn't be any indication one way or the other in the original script.
There still are ways it might be indicated, even though they don't generally distinguish between them.

I don't like the idea that there are only two - even if you don't kill it when you fight it because it escapes. I also don't like the idea of "Hey, there's only one left of this creature - let's try to kill it!"

I prefer non endangered monsters.
Well, I think that the Weapons and other things that make their presence on the world map deserve to be badass enough to be one-of-a-kind.

More than that, I really don't think they should tell us Sephiroth has killed one. Don't hint at it. Let it be a shock! For me what made that moment powerful was you don't see it coming. You're heart is pounding, you've just been running for you life trying to avoid an encounter with this monster and then you see it and think "Oh God, he just killed it..."

It's a shocking image that comes out of nowhere and I think hinting that Sephiroth has killed one cheapens that. It should be like seeing something that should be impossible - how could anyone do that?
That is a good point, and there're other ways that you could potentially handle that dialogue to make it a singular creature, what my suggested alternative scene loses in shock value, it gains in portraying a more sadistic destruction of Sephiroth's by him impaling its mate just outside of its territory to discourage it from following him into the mines.



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