Oh yeah, this is DEFINITELY true (both poring over the Wiki, as well as the ever-detailed breakdowns of Ultimania information)! And I have to thank ya'll for all the work you've put it in adding to the wiki, as well as the translations of the Ultimania...long before I was even familiar with this site, let alone the forum, I was reading the Ultimania translations done by the team here as (I'm sure probably illicitly) posted elsewhere : )
But, even though having the information available in English at all is a godsend (further explanations/clarifications of plot elements that DID make it into the finished game, not to mention all that alternate/unused stuff...the multiple Reds!! Fucking COBALT?? Lol), I still found myself hankering to be able to hold the finished book, with the appropriate images, presentations, screenshots etc, alongside English text. If I wanted to be hardcore, I suppose I could buy the Japanese version, and attempt to 'read along' with the English translations online, but...I dunno if the feeling would be the same, haha.
All that said, for somewhere between 20-30 bucks, even an art heavy book with a small bit of commentary on 7,8, and 9 is still definitely something worth purchasing, for me. As far as I'm concerned, the PSX trilogy is still the FF high-water mark, so. For anyone who has Volume 2...as far as 'text' goes, is it more or less just descriptions? Or is there a bit of developer commentary type stuff thrown in?
Hmmm...now I'm kind of intrigued, I'll have to find a good example screenshot or some such. I'm imagining like a more detailed 'Bestiary Entry' type of thing? I dunno, I'm sure it's hard to articulae exactly how its presented and all.
SUPER long claws, and they're all in a fixed position, rather than doing the idle finger-drumming motion. Additionally, they're all spaced evenly around the front, rather than having the four on top in a finger-like arrangement. Also, their super long feet and toe claws are very prominent. We can tell that their heads are fully contained, without the gaps between the top and eyepiece like the original had.
It's clearly different from the Original and the Mobius Artwork, so it'll be interesting to see if we get any solid details around what these guys are.
The detail differences that I noticed are definitely present, but VERY interestingly, the Elite troopers have the viewport gap that the standard variants are missing. I can't make out in the wording on their arm pieces match the original versions for their variants, but there are some notes for their claw articulation and other things, that I'll have to see if I can get some translations on.
The claws are definitely an an interesting shift, but I'm still not entirely convinced that the people inside are normal humans, even just based on the way that the one we see in the short trailer does a backflip to disengage & attack Cloud. That movement isn't really what you see from the MPs and other troopers, and the Shock Troopers don't have any visual enhancements around their bodies that would improve that movement. The only other character we see capable of something like that is Tifa when she's attacking APS. While a game's PCs are often supernaturally capable, you usually don't see something like that from "normal" human enemies, but only ones who are somehow enhanced (like the SOLDIER).
I'm curious if they've kept the Japanese name the same for these units, since it was originally 戦闘員. What's interesting is that they're more closely in line with the Aero Combatants now in that the claws are complete hand covers, and not really implemented like finger-extensions the way that they had been previously (which makes me wonder how they're going to portray the Armored versions when you break the exoskeletons.
While they definitely seem more in the line of the standard MPs and other Troopers when compared to the Mobius artwork, there's still a REALLY weird vibe from them when compared to the standard human troops, even in the Remake concept art. The MPs and such have what you'd expect for armor, and assuming that Cloud's SOLDIER uniform is mostly what you'd expect, the Shock Troopers still have this very... armored bodysuit look to them, but without any functional armor.
The rivet contact points on the darker areas of the suit are especially interesting, because everything about these troops still make it seem like they're assembled into or otherwise bolted in to these suits – in a way where there isn't a clear way for them to disengage them on their own. The only thing with these ones is that by the elbow area there's a seam that makes it seem like they can rotate their hands/forearms, rather than having them locked into position, but it still doesn't seem like they can disengage the actual hand/arm containers on their own.
The detail on the top image makes it seem like the nodes on the helmet are still ventilation like the original, though I'm seeing if I can get some translations of the annotations for that image to see if there's any more useful context to compare with the notes from the other troopers from the OG.
I always figured the monsters in the pods were failed SOLDIER recruits. I’m sure I read in one of the books that there was a high rate of failure in regards to their mental capacity and that it was covered up with the whole “accident on a training excercise”. Cloud for example was always physically strong enough, but not mentally. I thought they’d have a physical that needed to be passed, then maybe a psychological evaluation (which cloud failed) then the procedure. There must have been a failure rate even if they were deemed fit for the process. Then being brain dead Hojo could effectively do what he wanted to them. Perhaps weaponise them into those combatants.