Fictive affinities in Final Fantasy XI: complicit and critical play in fantastic nations


Like many massively-multiplayer role-playing games, Final Fantasy XI is a persistent world with a heroic fantasy setting. This paper discusses fictive player identities, and describes specific visual and ludological tropes of race and nationality, and the techniques by which the game engineers the complicity of the player in the problematics it represents. Some of these are coherent with themes and structures developed in earlier (single-player) iterations of the Final Fantasy franchise; others are original to the multiplayer title. This treatment of the game-as-text is offered as an exercise in critical close-play, and as an example of a necessarily hybrid approach to the study of game genres.