Aug. 9th, 2016

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 This post comes from Wednesday, January 31st, 2012, the second day of the Star Ocean Universe's launch.

Updated Video Game List
Now for a list of the Star Ocean games and their available platforms:

Star Ocean                                                          Super Nintendo; Japan only
Star Ocean: Second Story                                    PlayStation
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere                                      Nintendo Gameboy; Japan only
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time                            PlayStation 2
Star Ocean: First Departure - remake                     PSP
Star Ocean: Second Evolution - remake                 PSP
Star Ocean: The Last Hope                                   XBox360; PlayStation 3
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
                 PlayStation 3 (Japan only); PlayStation 4*

*-I've not seen where the game is available on the XBox system. If it is available for the XBox, I will update accordingly.

Now for the conversation rehash.

This was the original post from January 31st 

If I'm not mistaken, the point of First Departure is to defeat the Archfiend Asmodeus while I know for sure the point of Second Story/Evolution is to rid the universe of the Twelve Wise Men. Of course, in Till the End of Time, the one to defeat is Luther, who is also the Creator of the world in which all of the other characters live, and finally, in The Last Hope, the object of the game is to defeat the Apostle of Creation/Satanail.


Addendum: I still have not played the first two games. I have read up on the Star Ocean wiki page, but it's been a while. For those who have played the first two games, please let me know if I'm correct in the objectives.

These are tidbits players of Star Ocean know, and one might think that, because he is the Creator throughout all of this, Luther is masterminding and orchestrating all of the events that lead up to these final fights. In thinking about this, I'm very inclined to say it isn't quite so simple.

See, those who've played Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, who've not only reached Luther in his WorkSpace and have actually defeated him in both battles, they know that Luther is trying to destroy the anomalies, these viruses that are rapidly taking over, that he feels are threatening this perfect world he's created. His creations are starting to head in directions he doesn't want them taking, and it alarms him when some of them have not only discovered the Time Gate, the one thing that can connect his world to theirs, but have found a way to enter his world as well, something that had remained physically impossible since the beginning of time (for the Eternal Sphere).

Now one thing to understand about the world Luther lives in is that it's backwards from what we know in our daily lives. Only the privileged can work and do work, and Luther is one of the privileged. Information is power, and he's one of the few that knows how to master the flow of information around him. He rises through the ranks at Sphere 211 as a computer and gaming programmer, the creative genius behind the world of the Eternal Sphere. This is something most Star Ocean fans already know because the Eternal Sphere is where most of our game play takes place. Even if a player hasn't reached the Spiral Tower leading to Luther's WorkSpace, those who've reached Gemity, a place in the four-dimensional realm, know that, because competition is fierce with companies like Sphere 211, no one can travel freely to the Lost City. This makes me wonder what that city looks like. :) Playing video games all day long is the only way to keep the general population in the 4-D realm under control, and, since it's free it seems like, no one seems to mind, either.

Addendum: It does make me wonder how gaming companies like Sphere 211 remain in business. Or perhaps my theory about the games being free is wrong, and the people receive a stipend from the government in order to take care of necessities like bills, food, clothing, and shelter with enough to go around to pay for luxury items. Come to think of it, my original theory is, in fact, incorrect since the Arena in Gemity charges you for taking on other combat teams.

I'm not sure at what age Luther obtains the coveted title as Owner of Sphere 211. I know he's managed to snake the title away from the original owner's son. Truth be told, I truly believe Luther displayed some kind of care and love for the company and the games created by them whereas the owner's son, Belzeber, really is only interested in the money and prestige that comes from owning what could be considered a Fortune 500 company, and Luther, at the peak time where he's starting to lose his grip on rationality, is twenty-six (or so that I've heard). He isn't old by any means, but it's kind of hard to figure this out since there is no notion of time passing in the 4-D realm. He's also a very brilliant man, especially if he's able to sway the original owner into handing over this Fortune 500 company and to create something as intricate and complicated like the Eternal Sphere.

The Eternal Sphere is something that Luther isn't out to destroy right away. Star Ocean fans who've reached him know he's thinking like a computer geek, thinking in terms of anomalies, bugs, and viruses. Things like that can wreak havoc on a system, and Luther's livelihood is invested in this. It's because of his thinking that I don't believe he's the one responsible for the Grigori that appear in Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

Before I continue further, for those who haven't played Star Ocean: The Last Hope, the game doesn't take place after Till the End of Time. It actually takes place before all of the other games, and the idea is the Earth is in so much trouble, it can no longer sustain human life.The Grigori are out to destroy the universe as everyone knows it by causing rapid evolution in species that aren't ready for things such as language, computers, and space travel. This in terms creates energy for some unknown force in a separate dimension. The idea behind the Grigori is to cause such rapid evolution and destruction to keep feeding this unknown source, labeled in computer terms as The Missing Procedure. In essence, the Grigori are causing anomalies, disrupting this perfect flow that Luther so desperately desires.

Some might argue that Luther is the one behind the Grigori. After all, the Eternal Sphere continues to live on after he's deleted the entire programming that's brought this gaming universe into existence. What better way to get rid of it by trying to destroy it at the start of mankind's ventures into space? He is an entity in a separate dimension. It'd be like him to want a blank universe in which to start over.

I will admit. That is a very true thing. It does sound like something Luther would do, sending something like that into the past. He is a control freak that way. Yet, I find the whole Grigori scenario as being Luther's masterminding to be very implausible. I can't see him sending something that will cause anomalies, bugs, and viruses into his precious program in an effort to destroy it. It, to me, doesn't make any sense to send in bugs and viruses to wipe out bugs and viruses.

What I am thinking is happening, from beating Till the End of Time and the Last Hope, is that somehow one of Luther's competitors has infected the Eternal Sphere data. As the game play for the Eternal Sphere pretty much is running side by side - at the same time Edge and Company are facing the Apostle of Creation/Satanail, Roddick and his friends are facing Asmodeus, and Claude and his group are facing off against the Twelve Wise Men while Fayt and his friends are preparing to storm his Workspace - it would be entirely possible for anomalies, bugs, and viruses to be appearing more rapidly than what Luther can fix them. However, since he's more focused on the year 772 S.D., he's not seeing that the vast majority of his problems are appearing in the year 10 S.D.* He's trying to get rid of the problematic data, whom he truly and honestly believes are in the forms of  Fayt and his friends. They're the one who crossed over from 3-D space into 4-D space, having the technology** to do so. Remember, Till the End of Time players who have defeated the game, in a last ditch effort to get rid of all problematic data, Luther deletes everything related to the Eternal Sphere. In that essence, in that Hail Mary effort, he's won over his creations.

* - Correction here. Edge and company take down the Grigori in the year 11 S.D. My error here.
** - They also have the symbological input as well.

So how would one of Luther's competitors manage to infest the Eternal Sphere universe with things like the Grigori? Well, Till the End of Time players who've reached the planet Styx, have reached the Time Gate and crossed from 3-D space into 4-D space, know they don't land in the Lost City. They don't land anywhere near the Lost City, but in another town called Arkives. They're coming out of this huge monitor that really isn't heavily guarded. In fact, if I'm recalling correctly, it isn't even guarded until after Fayt and Company jump through, weapons drawn and ready for battle, and do damage at a private residence. The Time Gate itself doesn't directly connect to Sphere 211. If that huge monitor isn't guarded until after the fact, what would stop a competitor from sending someone to it and planting the program of the Grigori into the Eternal Sphere? Even if there were guards there to keep competitors away, what would stop said competition from paying off the guards? Yes, it would mean crossing Luther and losing a job, but if the pay was right, it isn't entirely out of the question.

Nor is it impossible to think that perhaps Belzeber could be behind the Grigori, either. He isn't an unintelligent man, and it would be like him in an effort to overthrow Luther as the head of Sphere 211. By birthright, the company should be his. I'm still more behind a competitor placing the Grigori virus into the Eternal Sphere simply because the energy created from the rapid evolution and undeniable destruction of those like the Cardianon feeds the Missing Procedure, giving it more and more strength to keep producing Grigori. For me, and not just because I'm biased towards Luther, it seems far-fetched to hold the notion he's behind the Grigori when such things are the cause of his misery.

Addendum: I am adding in that, because it's a game, it's very much like a massive and multi-timeline MMORPG. I'd mentioned such a thing in another entry. 

For those of you who haven't played any of these games but have read through this entry with patience, you might be wondering what could cause someone who calls himself (appropriately) the Creator to want to destroy his creations? The simple, canon answer is Luther is a genius, bordering on insane, and is thus pushed over after Robert Leingod and his research team discovered how to cross over. One of the many problems he failed to account for when creating AIs is their curiosity about the world surrounding them. Robert and his research team meant no harm when they figured out the right combination to get the Time Gate to work and to find a way to crossover. (It doesn't mean the Pangalactic Federation wouldn't have tried something, but that isn't what set Luther off in the first place.) It was Luther's gut reaction to proclaim death to the research team. Why he didn't kill them right then and there, we don't know. It wouldn't have been much of a game if that had happened. :) Still, it's that proclamation that has sent events into motion, and the other thing Luther fails to realize, as he's looking at everything from a programmer's point of view and not as someone who's created life, is that his AI programs have adapted and evolved to their current circumstances. If you find the right house in Arkives, there's a girl at a computer, and she's creating a character so she can game in the Eternal Sphere program.

If you've ever created a character for a game, like Dungeons and Dragons (especially for Dungeons and Dragons and you're at a kitchen table with a group of your friends), it's very tempting to create the most powerful character imaginable. You want the perfect stats every time. High wisdom, intelligence, constitution, etc . . . The thing is, those high stats actually make for a very boring game play. If you have a Game Master who doesn't care for the all-powerful characters, he or she adapts the game play accordingly so that it's more difficult to beat that Level One goblin or that Level Two undead bovine. The same holds true for the AI programs and situations in Luther's Eternal Sphere. The girl in question is creating this powerful character so she can be seen as a Goddess by the Eternal Sphere denizens and thus be worshiped as such. Being the Owner of such a powerful company and thinking more in terms of 0s and 1s instead of actual living beings, Luther can't see that, and that is why he panics as quickly as he does when Robert Leingod and his research team make their discovery.

So why like Luther at all? What is it about such an obvious villainous character that appeals to someone like me? Well, for me, Luther isn't the typical cookie-cutter villain type. He really is trying to do the right thing, but in trying to do the right thing, he's creating all kinds of unnecessary chaos and havoc. If you stop and think about it, he really is doing his best to try and protect the one thing that means a great deal to him. He's put a lot of effort into creating the Eternal Sphere and building Sphere 211 into its current juggernaut status. That doesn't come about without effort or hard work or without a great deal of love for what he's doing. For the most part, villains, like heroes, are complex creatures, and I feel certain that, once his haze of insanity is lifted, Luther could see the error of his ways. It won't make him any less of a control freak and schemer, but he could still the error of his ways and somehow make it work to his advantage.

Parts have been amended with additions.

Now, in theory, if we think of the timeline of the Eternal Sphere as 100% linear, then, yes, it's entirely possible Luther is behind the Grigori. If he can destroy the past, he can prevent the future and start all over again with Faize as his energy conductor. Certainly for the denizens of the Eternal Sphere, time is linear. It moves straightforward, and they cannot undo the past. 

And even then . . . I still don't buy that Luther is behind the Grigori. If he wanted to change the past, all he'd have to do is make the death counts higher for Earth when World War III takes place, wiping out all of humanity instead of the majority of it. I don't think, until he tried to delete the Eternal Sphere, that Luther lost all connections with his creations. The anamolies happened too rapidly, and, like I'd said the first time around, it was easier to attribute the anamolies to Fayt and friends than it was to sort and sift through hundreds of thousands of lines of code in order to find the actual problem. In other words, Luther got a little lazy.

With that said, what do you guys think?


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