Policy: Canon

Pre-Convergence Canon

FFMUX expects prospective players who apply for a character from a given game to have completed the game’s main storyline and to be familiar with the major events, cast of characters, backstory, and applicable paradigms for the game. Staff reserves the right to deny any application if a player demonstrates lack of background knowledge of their intended game.

A character’s pre-Convergence canon is based on the contents of their application, which is checked for canon accuracy and completeness at the time of submission. The appstaffer for a given game will be intimately familiar with the game’s setting, world, and characters, and is the final arbiter of canon for that game, although they may choose to consult with other staff if there is a question.

RULE OF THUMB: If it’s not in your application, and it’s not explicitly in the game, it’s not in your pre-Convergence canon!

This means that if you didn’t put it in the application, and it’s not mentioned or described in the game itself, it didn’t happen. The contents of your application are “set in stone” upon approval and cannot be amended later in any way. While not every detail of your character’s life needs to be spelled out, the most important broad outlines — including all major relationships, events, and other factors involved in the character’s development — should be present.

Players who are unsure if something in claimed canon is viable should ask the player making the claim: “Was this approved by staff?” If there is any further question, players should ask staff.

Post-Convergence Canon

FFMUX draws a careful distinction between pre-Convergence and post-Convergence canon. Post-Convergence canon is much more fluid and therefore more of a gray area. Family is lost, friends disappear, and lives irrevocably change in a world where you could wake up tomorrow and the love of your life is gone forever.

In a world such as this, it is not unreasonable for characters to change and grow as time goes by. People do become older and (we all hope!) wiser as well, after all, just as they do in real life. In a world with Squall gone forever, is it impossible for Rinoa to move on, find someone else? Applying the same standards with different environmental conditions does not make sense.

Post-Convergence canon is a very tricky topic, and it is impossible for everyone to agree on what fits. Like in any collaborative creative work, sometimes we must agree to disagree — to a point. It’s when we get past that point that we get into the morass that is “non-canon behavior”.

Non-Canon Behavior

Staff walks a tricky line when considering whether something is non-canon behavior: between preserving the Final Fantasy “feel” so important to our theme and giving our player community the creative flexibility to tell its own unique stories.

Without canon accuracy, the game stops being “Final Fantasy”-esque and loses its flavor, but without creative flexibility, the game stagnates, like chewing gum that has been chewed for too long loses its flavor. FFMUX must balance authenticity — as judged by staff — and giving characters room to grow and change in the interest of maintaining the viability of the game’s story.

The only way to adjudicate canon fairly for all is to apply concrete rules equally to everyone. That being the case, staff action on non-canon behavior is carefully circumscribed to the following:

(1) The behavior in question is clearly, egregiously not in keeping with the character’s demonstrated behavior in canon and/or their background and personality as described in their application and no adequate post-Convergence explanation is given.

(2) The portrayal, for whatever reason, is so egregiously far off as to materially disrupt the relationships within the cast and make it impossible for other members of the cast to maintain their own canon portrayal.

This approach is for the benefit of all casts and the community as a whole, and so, all requests to arbitrate canon are judged against these two standards. We’ve found that it’s all too easy for the strict policing approach to slip across the line into overbearing and heavy-handed, and if it does, it stifles the game itself, which is not in the interest of FFMUX or its players.