The Art of Final Fantasy

  • Posted March 25th, 2008 at 10:30 EDT by

(continued from previous page) is coming to the position where there is no clear disparity between what is in-game and what is CG. Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4 is a perfect example of this and we shall see the same with the upcoming FFXIII titles.

Kamikokuryo explains how the studio approaches graphics in general now that the line between CG and real time is beginning to blur:

“We have a very high quality execution. So we have to nature our staff and have a good program to train our staff at all times. We want the best people to work together and enhance their capabilities. When I first started, nobody guided us, you just had to watch in learn back in those days.”

With the lines between CG and in-game visuals starting to draw thin, what is to become of the overall quality of the graphics? For the past decade, gamers have pondered over the hope that maybe someday, videogames would render near life-like visuals. On the flip side, not everyone is willing to reach the stage of photo-realism in videogames as that would take away the core vision of playing videogames in the first place. However, in the case of Square-Enix and Final Fantasy, photo realism is fundamentally an attractive proposition, as Kamikokuryo explains:

“Well….that in itself will be quite valuable mainly in FF since there has to be a real expression. So with FF, itself or the creators individual flavors, it has to be brought together to make this possible I think.”

Square-Enix has constantly hard-pressed the videogame industry with their creative detail in CG and graphics. The very belief that they seek out the opportunity to recreate photo realism in videogames, primarily Final Fantasy, is something remarkable on their behalf and, speaking as a fan, it would be a great pleasure to see where and how this concludes. I have always maintained that I would love the fact videogames may one day reach the same pedestal as many of today’s Hollywood movies have achieved.

Think of Star Wars’s General Grevious or The Lord of the Ring’s Gollum; fully CG rendered characters but they present nearly like-like appearances and qualities. Imagine if you will, a Final Fantasy title where all the characters, in-game, represented that same visual detail. Having barely scratched the surface of what videogame are able to achieve from a visual perspective with next-generation consoles, it’s entirely conceivable that Square may ultimately strive to render this level of quality in future instalments.

Another avenue to quickly bring up while on the topic of visuals is the certain abundance of young, attractive individuals featured throughout the Final Fantasy series, typically in the shape of the main protagonist. This is another subject I would like to raise, and one that has concerned me over time. In relation to this, Kamikokuryo himself stated that it has become a tradition in Japanese story telling that whenever a “good-looking” individual is featured, he/she is typically depicted as the main character. As such, this would explain why the majority of female characters looks as if they should be up on the catwalk, while the male characters are typically shown to be attractive young hunks for the female gamers to salivate over.

In closure, Kamikokuryo has a strong vision of what he would like Final Fantasy to look like. Twenty years into the future, how will the franchise be portrayed? Even more interesting is how will Final Fantasy help the videogame industry progress in the art/graphics department? It is to my estimation that we will look back into the archives and see that Square-Enix, along with their Final Fantasy franchise, revolutionized the way art is expressed in videogames.

With twenty-eight titles under its belt the Final Fantasy dynasty has sold well over 80 million copies worldwide. This is a huge testament to the creative talent assembled at Square-Enix, and there is no doubt that this great endowment known, as the art of Final Fantasy, and its influences, may be felt throughout the industry for many years to come.

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