(Maybe writers have done this in other FF games before. As I said on the welcome page, I havent had much experience with the main series aside from brief memories of FFVI, FFIX, and terrible fever dreams of FFX).
What I noticed about FFIX from the get-go and even into late game was its sense of pacing. To reduce JRPG narratives plainly, one could simply call them 'tele-novellas punctuated with grinding,' but there are still a lot of storytelling devices that, while they make many games more digestible, may also come off as forced and grating.
That's why I'm glad to say FFIX avoids quite a few of them. For example, instead of dragging along a cast of misfits on leashes, the game has a lot of switching around in terms of party members. In a narrative sense, this actually expresses a lot for individual characters and how they develop as well as proof that they have their own motivations (i.e: Steiner finding the chance to break off of Zidane to sneak Dagger/Garnet home). This also compliments the combat mechanics in the game, which includes diverse character combinations and forces you to form functional teams from who you have at the time.
I hope this thread could serve as an FF9 story appreciation thread with chunks of literary theory thrown in the mix.