My gaming history is somewhat cliche for my age range. For instance, the first RPG that I ever played was Final Fantasy VII, and I feel it responsible for my sad and painful blossoming into a gamer. Like many people, I've always held a shining, warm spot in my heart for the franchise.
My dedication to FF VIII was legendary within my circle of three friends, and I never felt closer to my brother than the summer of FF Tactics. But I can't bring myself to play FF XII. There is a giant racist roadblock preventing me from the "best game of the franchise." I would really like to meet the person who thought, "oh, lets make the first and only black female character this series has ever had into a sexy bunny."
I mean, come on. Nobody thought this image was in any way offensive? Despite the long tradition of showing the black community as nothing more than animals? And then to sexualize her on top of that! "Hi, I'm Fran. Please do me. I'm just an animal, so it's ok." If there were any other non-human characters, or if there was ther black human characters in the party it wouldn't be as bad. But the only image this game portrays of the black community is a dehumanizing one.
I understand that the subject of race in a Japanese-made game is a complicated subject. Japan is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, so I am weary to scream foul when a game is made with only pseudo-Japanese characters in it--by which I mean that sometimes it's difficult to tell the race of a character that is drawn in an anime style. However, gaming has reached a global level, and triple A titles like the Final Fantasy series reach all over the world. I feel it is important for these companies to realize that a wide range of people play games, and it would be nice to see some healthy representation of that. At the very least, if you are going to diversify your supporting cast, don't fall back on centuries-old racist stereotypes.