Frustrating Assumptions About Tetsuya Nomura; Strife of Online Reputation

Today, I saw a tweet that, quite honestly, exasperated me. Outlet Nintendo Life published their review of the soon-to-be-released Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, and their tweet sharing it contained blatant misinformation.

This tweet has since been deleted, but a screenshot of it is below:

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Now, I genuinely wish no ill will on whoever wrote that sentence. But for those unaware of what makes this post misinformative, it’s the fact that Tetsuya Nomura did not write Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The actual writers are Kazushige Nojima and Sachie Hirano.

For something as elementary as the game staff, you’d think that identifying it would take no effort. And, in fact, it doesn’t. Just searching up the title and doing approximately half a minute of research will inform you of who the writers are. So, with that being evident, what caused this tweet to be sent with such a matter-of-factly tone?

I believe I have a hunch. Tetsuya Nomura is quite the divisive figure online, to say the least. If you don’t follow either the Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts fanbases, then you might not know that there are incredibly vocal groups who vehemently oppose his involvement in any project, especially if it comprises non-artistic work. Although his illustrations do sometimes earn ire, as well.

And as a result of this distaste, any negative connotation made to parts of Final Fantasy and all of Kingdom Hearts is usually attributed to Nomura, even if there’s no proof. That tweet was likely born from that collective type of assumption since it describes Crisis Core’s writing as Nomura’s “Goofiest,” which we’ve already established is not even based on truth. Therefore, the natural conclusion one can infer from examining this review tweet’s writing with this added context is that whoever illustrated the phrasing equates “goofiness” to Nomura, likely because of his online reputation.

This upset me, despite not being a huge fan of the Final Fantasy VII series myself, because of how entirely disingenuous countless conversations pertaining to it have become, with this tweet showcasing how second nature the assumptions are. Several instances of critique toward Final Fantasy VII Remake tend to consist of culturally accepted, hand-waving mockery toward Nomura regardless of facts.

During the lead-up to Final Fantasy VII Remake and its initial weeks of launch, a common prevailing thought from many individuals agitated at the title not being a 1:1 remake was that Nomura’s involvement on a baseline level ruined the project. When, in fact, he was someone on staff trying to prevent monumental deviations from the original game occurring (thanks to The Landi Lodge for sharing this source):

Interviewer: Generally for remakes, there’s those who don’t want changes from the original and there’s another camp who do. As the creators, did you have disputes over what to change and what not to?

Nomura: Because the plan for the ‘FF7 Remake’ was decided from the very start, there weren’t any disputes. However, from person to person there were differences in ways of thinking so there were instances where disputes arose as to how much should be changed, unexpectedly in the second half there were many instances where I became a (door) stopper [laughs].

Still, to this day, there are those who blame Nomura for these changes to a degree where, supposedly, his presence alone has influenced his peers’ work for the worst. I kid you not; that is a real sentiment I’ve seen shared almost humorously often.

I firmly believe that much of this abhorrence for Nomura stems from Kingdom Hearts, which several detractors claim has a nonsensical narrative. Still, that’s such an old-hat presumption usually presented in a sheep-like fashion that it’s not worth discussing here.

What is worth discussing, though, is a widely believed falsity regarding Kingdom Hearts that goes in line with the assumptions people make about Nomura. For years, waves of individuals believed and perpetuated that he came up with Kingdom Hearts Coded while drunk. If you think that sounds too bizarre to be accurate, let alone wild enough to be revealed publically, then you’d be correct.

This now-debunked revelation originated from a mistranslated section of a Famitsu interview in October 2007. If you’re curious about the whole story, I recommend viewing this video by Kingdom Hearts content creator Regular Pat which details and debunks numerous misconceptions about the series. I’m positive that this falsity was so easily and widely accepted because of how ‘wacky’ and ‘senseless’ Kingdom Hearts, and Nomura, by extension, are seen by not only fans but gaming media at large.

I’m not entirely innocent, either. I’m also guilty of believing the drunk fabrication, and it was honestly because of how Kingdom Hearts is perceived. Such a development seemed in line with how so many people talk about the series and Nomura, so I unconsciously chose to believe in that assumption of silliness without ever questioning its validity.

You don’t have to like Nomura’s work. Still, if you dislike it, then at least have your critiques be rooted in fact rather than headcanons where blaming him is the convenient end-all-be-all. As stated earlier, I’m not a fan of everything Nomura’s been a part of. Even with my favorite series of all time, Kingdom Hearts, there are parts of the storytelling and characters I’m not the biggest fan of. However, solely affixing Nomura when there’s a whole staff working on these projects invalidates his and everyone else’s efforts.

This article might be a mess but seeing such blatant misinformation spread about easily accessible information just because a certain creator is involved frustrates me immensely.

When closing this piece, I want to highlight tweets I saw by content creators KZ and Washington Post Games Reporter Gene Park. They bring up a disturbing trend with how Japanese game writing is perceived that’s worth keeping in mind.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is releasing for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on December 13, 2022.

If you missed it, check out our review of the game.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.