SPOILER LEVEL: PACE SALSA MEDIUM (This game has been out for nearly 20 years)
Name: Barret Wallace
Job: Leader of AVALANCHE
I may catch some hell for this, but hear me out. I will be evaluating Barret, from Final Fantasy 7, as the leader of AVALANCHE, an eco-terrorist group that actually delivers on the terror rather than hugging the evil out of the mega-corporation. This has nothing to do with his character arch or how he indirectly destroyed his hometown.
Let’s look at the three characteristics a leader needs and see if Barret matches up.
Barret’s plan for reactor 5 consists of two things:
A. Break in
B. Blow it up
Now that is straight forward and simple. When we join AVALANCHE (a name so cool it must always be said in caps or yelled) that is the plan and after executing it successfully, barely mind you, Barret calls together a meeting at the ultra secret AVALANCHE hideout that is directly under the bar that one of his team members owns. I guess it increased the property value?
And the plan for the next reactor is to blow up it! Great! How will they do that?
A. Break in
B. Blow it up
Yes, it’s the same plan! Surely Shinra won’t see this coming!
When planning to blow up a reactor it is advisable to, perhaps, change the plan a bit? This is when things go wrong and the group fails at their mission, because Shinra, somehow, saw this one coming.
2. Cool under pressure
When the pressure mounts and things go south you have to be cool under pressure so the rest of the team can be reassured that everything will be alright.
Barret doesn’t do that; in fact he yells and shoots his gun off whenever he feels like it. When he goes to the bathroom, to call a waiter over, or when he washes the car he doesn’t have, that thing just goes off. Whenever things go just a tiny bit off schedule, Barret is the first character to start yelling and shooting everything.
3. Building up team morale
If there is a motto that embodies Barret’s leadership style it’s: “The beatings shall continue until morale improves.” The guy is constantly belittling the members of his terrorist cell and constantly gives Cloud a bunch of shit from the word “go.” He is like that one friend from high school who thought Stockholm Syndrome was a philosophy on how to make friends. This isn’t a man out to win an award for being an inspiration or anything, no, this guy wants to murder Shinra piece by piece.
Which leads me to the biggest fault of Barret’s leadership:
What was the end goal again?
We get it, you want to save the planet, but blowing up the reactors that are pulling in this highly unstable, and potentially dangerous, substance from deep within the planet might not be the best course of action. I mean, what’s stopping the explosion from causing a chain reaction that would do the very things you were trying to avoid, which is, oh, I dunno, destroying the planet?!
That aside, let’s say you stop Shinra, what then? It seems that while everyone in this city is rather not cool with their lot in life, they’re not really giving a giant shit about almost everything in town. In fact, the people you run into are just trying to get by, and if Shinra left town, do you think they would be better off? Yeah sure, the planet would be saved, but how many people would die in the ensuing riots? What would be the plan to make sure that didn’t happen?
Did Barret even think about that when he started his crusade? No, he didn’t, he was so pissed at this company that he just didn’t care about anything else other than destroying this place utterly.
Should he keep his job?
No, he shouldn’t, but in the game he doesn’t anyway because Shinra decides to blow up a section of Midgar that drops on top of the slums along with everyone in AVALANCHE that wasn’t an A list character in the game’s instruction manual.
His actions did attract attention to this particular section of town, but that’s some scorched earth politics! I guess I can see why he was so pissed at Shinra… apparently PR isn’t one of their strong suits. I’ll go over evil mega corporations another day, but for now:
My job recommendation: