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Disguising linearity?

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Just a guess here, but perhaps the illusion of choice plays a factor? Choosing different dialogs opens different reactions, and those reactions have a cause-and-effect trickle-down effect later. You''re given the illusion that what you do/how you treat an npc has consequences, and that will dictate how the story unfolds.

You also come to believe you''re problem solving, or puzzle solving - figure out X to move on. Find the secret panel. Combine these crystals. Unlock the secret game. You''re made to feel like a participant.

It''s a bit of digital sleight-of-hand that happens to work well enough for the FF games.

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The profusion of side-quests also helps. Knowing that you can get in the airship and go anywhere makes the world seem far more open, and being able to do things at most of the available ports is also a big bonus. Sure, Kefka''s tearing up the world, but I think I''ll go track down the Pheonix magicite, and get Locke some closure regarding his dead girlfriend before I take on the man. Or maybe I''ll go collect some critters on the Veldt, or find Shadow again, or visit the auction house, or go get Gogo and Umaro, or search for the Moogle Charm, or the Chainsaw, or Cyan''s family. Then I''ll go fight some Tyrannosaurs and a Brachiosaur or two, because I''d really like to have another Economizer. Then I''ll definitely go fight Kefka. Or maybe I''ll...

Sure, there''s only one ending, and there''s only one thing to do that will "advance the story", but that doesn''t mean the game has to be linear.

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Although it was a liner game chrono trigger did a good job of this. There was other places and things you could do along the way for instance you could goto a time period before you where ment to, however you wouldn''t be able to do much of anything there. Also when you reached end game time, there where not only 3 ways to reach the final boss, but large number of side quests opened up to the player involving people and places you had encounter during the course of the game. Such as the decendent of the vist boss enemy you encoutered, out for revenge.



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