Barret Wallace

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Barret Wallace
Final Fantasy character
Ff7-barret.png
Barret Wallace artwork by Tetsuya Nomura for Final Fantasy VII
First appearance Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by
Information
RaceHuman
WeaponGun arm
HomeCorel

Barret Wallace(バレット・ウォーレス,Baretto Wōresu) is a player character in Square Enix's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII . Created by character designer Tetsuya Nomura, he has since appeared in the CGI film sequel, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children as well as other games and media in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. As of Advent Children, Barret is voiced by Masahiro Kobayashi in Japanese and Beau Billingslea in English localizations.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

Square Enix Japanese video game company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Contents

Barret is first introduced in Final Fantasy VII as an eco-terrorist, leading the group AVALANCHE to bomb Mako reactors in the fictional city of Midgar, so as to avenge the losses dealt him by the megacorporation Shinra, the Planet's de facto world government, who operate under the pretense of saving the Planet. As the story progresses, Barret re-examines his efforts and focuses on pursuing the villain Sephiroth in an effort to protect the Planet and the future of his adopted daughter, Marlene. Elements of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII would later expand upon his character, detailing the character's history before and after the events of the original game.

Eco-terrorism is an act of violence committed in support of ecological or environmental causes, against people or property.

Megacorporation a corporation (normally fictional) that is a massive conglomerate (usually private), holding monopolistic or near-monopolistic control over multiple markets (thus exhibiting both a horizontal and a vertical monopoly).

Megacorporation, mega-corporation, or megacorp, a term popularized by William Gibson, derives from the combination of the prefix mega- with the word corporation. It has become widespread in cyberpunk literature. It refers to a corporation that is a massive conglomerate, holding monopolistic or near-monopolistic control over multiple markets. Megacorps are so powerful that they can ignore the law, possess their own heavily armed private armies, be the operator of a privatized police force, hold "sovereign" territory, and even act as outright governments. They often exercise a large degree of control over their employees, taking the idea of "corporate culture" to an extreme. Such organizations as a staple of science fiction long predate cyberpunk, appearing in the works of writers such as Philip K. Dick, Thea von Harbou, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert Asprin, and Andre Norton. The explicit use of the term in the Traveller science fiction roleplaying game from 1977 predates Gibson's use of it.

World government or global government or cosmocracy is the notion of a common political authority for all of humanity, giving way to a global government and a single state that exercises authority over the entire world. Such a government could come into existence either through violent and compulsory world domination or through peaceful and voluntary supranational union.

The first dark-skinned playable character in the Final Fantasy series, Barret's appearance and sometimes profane speech has been heavily compared to that of actor Mr. T, earning much praise, but also criticism and accusations of racism by some.

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

Mr. T American actor and professional wrestler

Mr. T is an American actor, bodyguard, television personality, and retired professional wrestler, known for his roles as B. A. Baracus in the 1980s television series The A-Team and as boxer Clubber Lang in the 1982 film Rocky III.

Conception and design

Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, Barret was present in Final Fantasy VII from its early development. Initially, the game was to have only three playable characters, with Barret one of those three, [4] along with the protagonist Cloud Strife and the heroine Aerith Gainsborough. [5] During a phone call to project director Yoshinori Kitase, it was suggested that at some point in the game, one of the main characters should die, and after much discussion as to whether it should be Barret or Aerith, the producers chose Aerith, as they felt Barret's death would be "too obvious." [4]

Protagonist The main character of a creative work

A protagonist is a main character of a story.

Cloud Strife protagonist in Final Fantasy VII

Cloud Strife is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Square's 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary claiming to be formerly of SOLDIER, a group of elite supersoldiers employed by the Shinra Electric Power Company, a megacorporation responsible for draining the life from the planet. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group AVALANCHE, and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth, Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud reappears as the protagonist in the 2005 computer-animated sequel film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in which he fights a new threat to the world while dealing with a sickness that infected his body. He acts in a supporting role in other Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles and is featured in several other games outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity. Additionally, he has been featured in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, and the Kingdom Hearts series by Square Enix.

Hero Person or character who combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, courage, or strength

A hero is a concept that may be found in classical literature. It is the main or revered character in heroic epic poetry celebrated through ancient legends of a people, often striving for military conquest and living by a continually flawed personal honor code. The definition of a hero has changed throughout time. Merriam Webster dictionary defines a hero as "a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities." Examples of heroes range from mythological figures, such as Gilgamesh, Achilles and Iphigenia, to historical figures, such as Joan of Arc, Giuseppe Garibaldi or Sophie Scholl, modern heroes like Alvin York, Audie Murphy and Chuck Yeager, and fictional superheroes, including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Barret's name is based on the Japanese transliteration of the English word "bullet", [6] and he was developed with the "Gunner" character class in mind. [7] Standing 6 feet 5 inches (197 cm) tall, [8] [9] he is the first black playable character in the series, [10] and has a high and tight haircut and full beard, and an earring in his left ear. His attire consists of a jacket with torn sleeves, dark green pants, boots, a fingerless glove on his left hand, and metal bands surrounding his abdomen and left wrist. [9] His left upper arm is covered by a bowgun; [11] this was later changed by replacing his right hand with a prosthetic gatling gun (called a "Gimmick Arm") which he refers to as his "partner" in-game. [12] He was originally planned to have a medallion around his neck, described as a gift from his deceased wife, [11] but this was later changed to a set of dog tags. [9]

Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters in predictable ways.

In role-playing games (RPG), a character class is a job or profession commonly used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; although some games allow characters to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates.

High and tight hairstyle

The high and tight is a military variant of the crew cut. It is a very short hairstyle most commonly worn by men in the armed forces of the United States. It is also popular with law enforcement officers and other public safety personnel. Although "high and tight" is a term commonly used within the military and law enforcement communities, the same haircut is sometimes referred to by civilians as a "Walker", meaning that the back and sides are shaved to the skin and the top is blended or faded into slightly longer hair.

When developing Advent Children, Nomura stated that because of the comparisons between Barret's original design and Mr. T, they decided to take it in a different direction for the film, implementing co-director Takeshi Nozue's suggestion to give him cornrows for his hair, while Nomura designed his face. Artist Yusuke Naora influenced the design as well, developing his attire, which originally consisted of white overalls, before instead having him wear him a down vest. [13] Barret's arm tattoo was changed as well, although it retained the "skull and fire" motif of the original. [1] Other aspects of his design included the loss of the metal bands around his body, a white sleeve extending from the middle of his right forearm to his elbow fastened by straps, a black band on his left forearm surrounded by a pink string and bow, and a fishnet shirt that ends in torn fibers below his waist. The dog tags were altered to a bullet and medallion supported by a chain around his neck, and three rings covered his left hand. His Gimmick Arm was modified into a robotic prosthetic hand, developed by Nomura, with the only guideline being "a huge, over-the-top gun that transforms in a huge, over-the-top way." Nozue stated that these specifics made it difficult to work with, and decided to conceal the hand's transformation sequence into the gun as much as possible. [13] His Advent Children design was also planned to be used for the Final Fantasy VII remake. However, the staff later decided to give every character in the party a new look. [14]

Cornrows

Cornrows or braids, also called canerows in the Caribbean, are an ancient traditional African style of hair braiding, in which the hair is braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to make a continuous, raised row. Cornrows are often formed in simple, straight lines, as the name implies, but they can also be formed in elaborate geometric or curvilinear designs.

Yusuke Naora is a Japanese video game art director and character designer who worked for Square Enix. He served as the art director for several Final Fantasy and Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles. He also served as the producer of the Code Age franchise. On October 1, 2016 he announced on Twitter that he had left the company, but would continue to contribute to Square Enix games as a freelancer.

Overall trousers with attached bib and shoulder straps

Bib-and-brace overalls (AE), overalls (AE), or dungarees (BE) is a type of garment usually used as protective clothing when working. The garment is also referred to as a "pair of overalls" by analogy with "pair of trousers".

When choosing a voice actor for the film, Nomura was initially unsure of whether to have Masahiro Kobayashi do the role of Barret or another character, Loz. Kobayashi described his performance as treating Barret as "unrefined [...] but also dependable and unique," trying to keep his "upbeat character and good outlook in mind." He tried to give him a booming, confident sounding voice, though at times was instructed to "take it up a notch." [1]

Appearances

Final Fantasy VII

First seen in Final Fantasy VII in 1997, Barret is introduced as the leader of the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE. Situated in city of Midgar, his group opposes the ruling company, Shinra, and their use of "Mako" energy as a power source, believing it to be killing the Planet. To this end, AVALANCHE bombs their Mako reactors, with the specific goal of saving the Planet. [12] When the game begins, they have just hired the mercenary Cloud Strife at the behest of his childhood friend and AVALANCHE member Tifa Lockhart, [15] nicknaming him "Spiky" in reference to his hairstyle. [16] After the deaths of several members of AVALANCHE, Barret follows Cloud out of Midgar in pursuit of the game's villain, Sephiroth. [12]

Along the way he encounters a former friend of his, Dyne, armed in a manner similar to him, who forces Barret to fight him. Upon Barret defeating Dyne, Dyne kills himself. Through flashbacks it is revealed that Shinra had wanted to build a Mako reactor in his home town of Corel, an idea Barret advocated. However, due to an accident at the plant, Shinra razed the town, killing Barret's wife in the process, and causing Barret and Dyne to flee with Dyne's daughter, Marlene. Cornered, Dyne slipped off a cliff and Barret grabbed his hand, but Shinra soldier's opened fire, and destroyed Barret's and Dyne's right and left hands respectively, causing the latter to fall to his presumed death. [12] Barret adopted Marlene as his own daughter, had an "adapter" graft to his arm to interface with prosthetic weapons to aid in his combat against Shinra, and founded AVALANCHE. [17] Dyne's death causes him to admit his grudge with Shinra is solely for revenge, with his earlier claims of "saving the world" meant only to convince himself he was fighting for the greater good. Barret eventually shifts his goal to actually wanting to save the Planet, doing so for Marlene's sake, and he helps Cloud and his allies defeat Sephiroth to prevent the Planet's destruction. [12]

Early drafts of Barret's background featured subtle differences, such as Marlene intended as Barret's biological daughter, and his wife executed in front of him by a then-undecided Shinra executive. The attack on Corel was initially written to be due to the discovery of Mako energy and Shinra's desire to keep its existence a secret. His reunion with Dyne was also different, written to culminate in a duel between the two in Corel's ruins, while Cloud and the others fought investigating Shinra soldiers. [7]

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII

Barret appears in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII , a 2005 mobile phone-based prequel to the events of Final Fantasy VII, which shows the events prior to Corel's destruction. He helps the game's protagonists, the Turks, defend the Mako reactor, believing it to be the town's future. [12] It is revealed that the reactor is under attack by the original AVALANCHE group, who are the cause of Shinra's attack upon the town. Unaware of their involvement, Barret uses their ideals to form his own branch of the group. [18]

In 2005, Barret appeared in the CGI film Advent Children, which details the events two years after Sephiroth's defeat. Barret places Marlene in Tifa's care, travelling the world to rebuild the planet's infrastructure and find alternate power sources to replace Mako. [16] He returns later to assist in combating the film's villains, the Remnants and fight the summon creature Bahamut SIN. He later appears in a small role in the 2006 video game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII , set one year after Advent Children, where he helps the protagonist Vincent Valentine prevent Omega WEAPON from destroying the planet. [12]

A novella entitled "Case of Barret" was released in 2007 exclusively for the "Limited Edition Collector's Set" DVD edition of Advent Children. Written by Kazushige Nojima as part of the On the Way to a Smile series, it details the events between Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children, examining Barret's reaction to his weapon and his belief that it made him a monster. At the conclusion of the story, Barret visits the creator of the adapter on his wrist and receives the prosthetic hand/gun combination seen in the film, reasoning that although he needs a hand, he also still needs a weapon to prevent others from having to fight. He then decides to return to Marlene. [17]

Critical reception

Barret's comparisons to Mr. T in the media has resulted in both praise and criticism, [10] [19] [20] with most of the criticism accusing the character of serving as a negative racial stereotype of African Americans. [21] IGN argued in favor of this point, citing his use of "stilted slang," and stating that the character stands out amongst the cast because "his dialog is written as if it was run through a broken ebonic translator," further noting a trend in Japanese games to apply such dialogue to characters based on their skin color. [22] Journalist Jeremy Parish agreed that the character was racist, although he argued that cultural gaps between Japan and the United States, plus the lack of American translators for Final Fantasy VII may have been contributing factors, arguing that the likeness between Barret and Mr. T was possibly an attempt to make a character that appealed to Americans, as the actor did. [23]

In contrast, on 1UP.com, Parish argued in favor of Barret, noting that while on the surface he appeared to be the "worst kind of stereotype," he was a great character with complexity, having made "difficult decisions in his life, and agonized over his losses." Parish went further to describe Barret as the "first true father figure the [Final Fantasy] series had ever seen," noting his relationship with his adopted daughter. [10] RPGamer's content manager Shawn Bruckner took the discussion further, arguing that claims of Barret's presentation being racist was oversimplification of the character's portrayal, and stated that while he was in some aspects a stereotype, in others, such as his compassion towards his daughter or guilt regarding his past actions, he was not. He added that Barret "shows us that a black man speaking in 'ebonics' is not something to fear," and that his portrayal was not racist, but instead the opposite. [24]

Despite their criticism, IGN ranked Barret fourth on their 2006 list of best sidekick characters in video games, stating that he "took the videogame world by storm" when introduced and noting that his portrayal was also appealing, adding that his past made him a visibly loyal character. [20] Joystiq named him one of twenty characters from the Final Fantasy franchise they wished to see in Square Enix' crossover fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy , noting a preference for his use of profanity and citing his combat abilities as easily suitable for the game. [25] Edge praised Barret's introduction as something "new" in the series, citing both his use of a gun and his "distinctively black" character, and further describing him as a "pseudo-nod" to similarly armed characters, such as Mega Man or Samus Aran, who in contrast were either robots or encased in armor. [26]

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children</i> 2005 film by Tetsuya Nomura

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Characters of the <i>Final Fantasy VII</i> series Wikimedia list article

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