In celebration of the staff’s play through of Final Fantasy IX, I want to look at one of my favorite aspects of the game: character design. One of the things that has always struck me about the Final Fantasy franchise is that they continue to bring beautifully designed and interesting characters to life within their games. Final Fantasy VIII was the first Final Fantasy game I played and it was also the first game I could honestly say I thought was “pretty.” The first time I played Final Fantasy IX, the designs and environments absolutely floored me (despite not particularly enjoying the game itself).
Video games, by nature, are visual engines of entertainment. When I play a game, I expect it to be at least moderately visually appealing. I want the characters to have interesting designs, the backgrounds to be well-done, and the effects to dazzle me. Final Fantasy games have always gone above and beyond my expectations– where other similar RPGs might sometimes fall short. One of the drawing points of the series has always been the sometimes whimsical, flowing designs that decorate the worlds of Final Fantasy.
When I think of video game art, only one name comes to mind: Yoshitaka Amano. To this day, Amano remains one of my favorite contemporary artists– his flowing lines, subtle colors, and intricate character designs never cease to amaze. Amano is responsible for designing the characters for the first six Final Fantasy games as well as for providing promotional and character artwork for later titles. His work has set the tone for the Final Fantasy world that we have all become familiar with over the years.
I may not be able to tell you who programmed a games battle system, but I can tell you that Yoshitaka Amano’s name has become synonymous with the Final Fantasy franchise. His conceptual work has lead to the development of some of the most loved characters in RPG history.
For me, character design in video games provides more to players than dialogue or plot every will. A character’s hair, clothing, and features allow to have a glimpse into the life of the character and the customs of that characters world. Besides, if I am going to spend 40+ hours staring at Zidane’s backside I want it to be an attractive one.
So, readers, what are some of your favorite designs for characters in video games?