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This picture is awesome. And huge.

  1. An eerily accurate resemblance. I'm just glad that they didn't try to pass of a rehauled Advent Children Barret as a new female protagonist.

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  2. You have to wonder too if Square is reusing the models from Advent Children to save a couple of bucks.

    I think this image just reemphasizes what I've said before about Nomura's one-note approach to character design. I think Square needs to pass the ball on the next FF before Nomura drops it completely.

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  3. I bet you that's the reason why they gave the reins to Matsuno, et al for XII. Nomura's FFXII would have been FFX-3.

    The whole situation sucks, but I don't want to wallow in pessimism (though one can't help but dabble in it).

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  4. There was all of those rumors flying around that FFXII wasn't a FF title in the beginning. (In my most lavish dreams) I bet Matsuno and Yoshida were working on Vagrant Story 2 until Square pulled Nomura to churn out Kingdom Hearts sequels.

    I probably am getting a little ahead of myself with FFXIII. Since we've seen very little of what the game is going to be, it may turn out to be not as bad as it looks now.

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  5. I guess there's a possibility that it may. But I gotta say, my favorite Final Fantasys - VI, IX, and XII - were all sans-Nomura. Mathematically, I will hate XIII and XIV, but love XV.

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  6. The materia system in FFVII was probably one of the best ability systems I've ever seen in a game. The ability to link magics and skills together through weapon/armor, which also gained magic affinity, enabled you to customize your character to a ridiculous degree.

    If they had that sort of innovation in FFXIII then I would be sold on it. On the other hand, if they had something as retarded as the sphere grid again, I think I'd just skip this one.

    Oh, and I heard FFXV is going to be the shit!

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  7. The sphere grid was a lot more brilliant than the job board, which was a surprise to me because I expected Matsuno to mercilessly deliver on the mechanics in FFXII. Instead the game leaned more on the gambit system than the job board setup.

    As for Nomura, I feel that he tends to design characters visually that are very similar, but fortunately the scenarios his characters are used in are very different and as such their personalities end up being pretty dissimilar. For instance, Cloud, Squall and Tidus are very different and face very different challenges. I guess that's a compliment to Kitase and Nojima's scenario writing more than to Nomura's designs, but I'm not going to discard FFXIII yet. There are interesting concepts in both FFXIII and Versus, and the idea of a Fabula Nova Crystallis is appealing and reeks of Nojima/Kitase, so I'm going to wait and see what happens.

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  8. I still love FFVII but the longer it has been, the more I dislike the materia system. It gives no motivation to use all but your favorite characters. I had a similar problem with FFVIII.

    Those character similarities are very striking, I am still not that worried. I mean, if the games sucks, it will just save me the cost of a PS3 FFXIII. If it is good, it is still highly likely I won't buy a PS3. So I will just sit and wait and hope something good comes out of it.

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  9. Although I do agree with Rahul pointing out that the scenarios are different, I couldn't help but remember something my girlfriend showed me recently...

    Cloud Squall joins Avalanche Garden in order to go on a mission to stop Shinra the government. Later, he becomes a body guard of Aeris Rinoa who falls in love with him. Soon, they discover a force much evilier than Shinra the government, Sephiroth Edea! Sephiroth kills Aeris Ultimecia possesses Rinoa, so Cloud Squall goes after him her. He goes all around the world trying to stop him from bringing the Meteor her from bringing time compression. Then he finds the airship Ragnarok and goes to the center of the world the end of time for the final battle. Afterward, he mourns Aeris saves Rinoa and everything is A-ok.

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  10. Well if you're going to put it that way, any RPG can be attributed to certain clichés, such as "save the princess", "defeat the bad guy" and so forth. We also know most stories involve a small group of "rebels" fighting an "evil empire". So what? The point is the themes explored during the telling of the story. Final Fantasy arguably should continue to explore the same basic storyline, albeit with different execution each time. That's what makes it Final Fantasy.

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  11. No of course, I was just amused by it that's all.

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  12. I don't think you're ever really challenged to use your entire party in equal frequency in any FF game.

    Remember Rikku? Yeah, neither do I.

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  13. You can take almost and story and cut it down to a sentence or two so that is sounds cheesy or contrived.

    Also, I think the nature of video games lends to the constant retelling of similar stories.

    I mean, look at action flicks: how many movies do you see where one badass takes down and entire crime syndicate?

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  14. There are a lot of great games that can't be quantified easily. I challenge you to make a brief synopsis for Xenogears.

    The thing about the Nomura Final Fantasies that kind of gets me is that the worlds never really seem to have much depth in terms of history. Almost every game deals with something that occurred only a generation before and the current generation has to deal with it. In FFVII you had Sephiroth continuing the Jenova legacy the scientist that created him (and Cloud) began which Cloud has to stop(sins of the father), FFVIII all of the SeeDs are fighting the Sorceress that the orphanage founders intended them to face, FFX Titus follows the same path as his father and then has to fight him in the end. It's all very microcosmic.

    I think I like Matsuno's games because they deal more with events focusing on the actions happening through more realistic progressions. In FFXII, Vagrant Story, and FF Tactics the plots were very far ranging and dealt with some characters and events that you may never meet or witness. And all of this is in a world that constantly alludes to a colorful history of events and eras. That creates a rich backdrop that allows you to delve deeper into the game's world.

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  15. dean said:
    There are a lot of great games that can't be quantified easily. I challenge you to make a brief synopsis for Xenogears.

    If only because I can:
    Deus falls to the planet, injured beyond quick repair, and creates life to eventually serve as components for his rebirth. Meanwhile, a small surviving child runs through several incarnations, guided and opposed by Elly and Miang, with the ultimate destiny of putting an end to Deus and freeing the Wave Existance. And we all go home a little wiser.

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  16. Dean, I agree with your calculation and share your preference of Matsuno's story arcs over the convolution and triteness of others. The recent release of War of the Lions has provided an opportunity to experience a truly refreshing and well constructed story within a FF game; A phenomenon that, in my opinion, hasn't been seen in some time.

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  17. I enjoyed Xenogears a good bit, though I felt it was unnecessarily convoluted. IIRC it can be summed up as Small group of heroes must kill God

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  18. The challenge has been won. I have been slapped by many a dueling glove.

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  19. The only problem with labelling FF games as "Nomura's" is (with the exception of FFVII) he designs the characters, not the story. It can be argued at length (which I can't be bothered doing) about how much a character designer influences the story, but at the end of the day you've got someone listed as 'scenario writer' and so on, who it can be assumed is the actual writer.

    I can't really get into this discussion properly though, good old Vagrant Story and so on is harder to find around these parts.

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  20. That's a valid point, but he does have roles that go deeper than merely character design. For example, he directs all the games in the Kingdom Hearts series, and he is credited as a conceptual designer for several of them. His status within SE has been very much elevated in the last decade, and he's amassed a lot of publicity and, I would guess, cemented himself in a powerful position within the corporate chain.

    Also, it seems that all of the games he's a part of are radically different (and in my opinion, worse in all the most important aspects) than the top tier of SE titles. For example, FFIX, FFXII, Vagrant Story, and FFT were all great, but I hardly feel the same toward FFVIII, FFX, or any Kingdom Hearts game.

    We've discussed it here and in the other thread, but I don't think it's any coincidence that everything he's a part of becomes a trite affair full of porcelain-skinned hermaphrodites with too many belt buckles. If the gameplay is any good, these affairs are often too much of a distraction to realize it.

    And, really, is the gameplay ever really that good? Do FFVII's materia system and FFX's advancement of the entire genre stand out above the rest of the game's faults? FFXII had serious issues in character and story development, yet in the aggregate it turned out to be fucking spectacular.

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  21. Well if we're diverting the topic to the last paragraph you wrote...

    Personally I feel that while the materia system was good, it did not allow for any real character input into abilities. I prefered, for example, the system in FFIX as it allowed each character to have a specific role. Sure, this may be a little too restrictive, however the general 'job'-type system allows for characters to be individualised more so than for one particular battle. (After all FFVII allows you to chuck any kind of materia on anyone, the only real difference is in the slightly different base stats.)

    Having locked myself into a horribly impossible position by not battling enough prior to the point in question, I'm not in a good position to comment on FFXII (it was pretty early on).

    Interesting to note...wherever I read it that Square wanted someone else to design characters as Amano's work was too "arty" for a real-looking 3D world. Yeah his artwork was cool, but they seemed to feel they needed some more anime-styled images to go from.

    Having started playing from FFVII onwards means I started on Nomura, and being where I am, FFT never came out here, so I haven't really been able to delve into the titles. My girlfriend scored a copy of Vagrant Story from a second-hand games dealer so hopefully I'll be able to give that a spin in the coming months.

    And just so we're all clear, Kuja is also a porcelain-skinned hermaphrodite too. Oh, hitting up Google for him is amusing, not for the kiddies.

    http://www.ffcompendium.com/chara/9kuja-s.jpg

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  22. Oh, and let me edit my own posts damn it!

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  23. Nephtis said:
    And just so we're all clear, Kuja is also a porcelain-skinned hermaphrodite too.

    He's the bad guy, you're supposed to hate him.

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  24. As a concept artist, I can tell you that, even in the little shitty game were making, a concept artist doesn't really get away with all he wants, nor is the work you see on the media really his own. I go trough constant hoops all day to get even one little thing to look like I did it. All of my concepts get so scrutinized by committee that by the time the thing has been filtered trough enough eyes, I can barely recognize it.

    So, just cause Nomura puts shit on paper doesn't mean that its magically in the game SPECIALLY on such a huge company like SE were everything is under watch by a million eyes. Is it his fault that Lightning and Cloud look similar? Of course not, thats a decision made by a team of people who feel that its a much better use of resources to re-use the same model. Smart move too. Video Games are always publicized to make believe 3 people make them and that is probably the biggest misunderstanding of all.

    You can say that Nomura's style is all belts and girly hair, but honestly, the guy just follows current fashion standards in Japan, and that is a smart move to make (and obviously successful) In Final Fantasy games hes the concept artist, true, but not the ART DIRECTOR. Remember, thats who the Concept guy bows to, thats the guy who decides how faces are shaped, if the guys wear belts or not, of they all look like girls or whatever. Then once the AD decides on a look, he presents it to the Producer and Director who will review it, then they themselves show the art to the Executive Producers and Marketing and THEY review it as well. At any spot they can send it back and ask for a do-over or just start the whole process from scratch.

    Art wise, Nomura will do his thing and not have a very varied facial style, but the same happens to MANY Japanese and American artists. Its the higher ups at SE that have the final call and make him the poster boy for FF design, hes pretty extravagant after all and not a bad choice really.

    Hell if anything Id go on a limb and say that Nomuras style is versatile! Look at his FF VII art, then look at his Kingdom Hearts art, then his FF X art. He also did a lot of texture work on Advent Children and that movie is gorgeous if nothing else. Its not just all characters you know, hell its not that easy. What the public sees is just about 5 percent of the work a Concept Artist puts in a game.

    This KH 2 piece he did for example

    Awesome.

    Now hey, SE doesn't really show that since its not very marketable to the general public that buys the game, but thats a VERY valuable concept piece to have in production, and I'm sure if the guy has moved up in SE so much is because he brings invaluable contributions to the way the games look (after all, the characters are only what, 10 percent of the whole game?)

    Sorry about the rant, just felt like I could bring in something relevant :)

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  25. Xavi, if Nomura had a basketball team you would be the lead cheerleader. It was a nice rant though.

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  27. What I find most sad about that method is that it is highly effective at attracting the Japanese audience. I was watching the movie Babel a month or two ago. Parts of the movie take place in Japan with a bunch of highschool age kids. I'll be darned if those Japanese highschool males didn't look suspiciously feminine in their dress and hairstyles.

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  28. They should do another one for american character designers:

    Men:

    • Must have 30[PLUS] inch biceps
    • Must have dark, shaved hair. Blond or light brown is considered too "fruity"
    • Character should be of indeterminate race so that the game can be marketed to both the caucasian and budding hispanic demographic (studies show no one wants to play as an asian or black guy)
    • Cannot display anything above a fourth grade intellelect
    • If the character is overly muscular, add immaculately groomed, metrosexual facial hair (Gears of War, Mercenaries 2)
    • Character's name must reflect some aspect of their role (ex. Shepard or Bruce Ballcutter)
    • No character should ever be older than 35 under any circumstances

    Women:

    • All people think Carmen Electra is the most attractive woman that has ever lived, therefore she is the template (note: increase breast size 2x)
    • Must appear as though "scientist" was her second career choice behind "slutty-bangkok-prostitute"
    • If accompanying a male protagonist, the female should be an unhelpful bitch for at least 98% of the gameplay
    • As a character designer, resist the urge to research fashion trends or actually talk to living females as this will hamper your ability to make a truly memorable female character.
    • No female character should be older than 23 under any circumstances
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  29. Yeah nice tutorial, you can make the same case for pretty much anything though, Amano, Yoshida, etc.

    Please tell me whats wrong with these designs in your absolute wisdom:

    My point is, the guy is talented, skilled and knows whats popular. You can dislike the art all you like, but youre wrong if you think hes not a good artist or a good contribution to the projects he works on (and hes not even my favorite, I like Amano stuff better for example, but all the hating from people who don't know much about designing characters is just disproportionate)

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  30. I like colors in my pictures, they make things more better

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  31. The only thing I can't stand about character design (anywhere) is when the dress doesn't combine with the character's behaviour. For instance Ashe wears a miniskirt that would be sure to ride up her ass as soon as she takes a step, which means no sane woman would put it on and then go fight monsters or walk around town. Lulu's dress is aesthetically awesome but combined with the size of her boobs is impossible because it'd never stay up if she runs, jumps, dodges or moves in some other way. Etc.

    One thing that WAS awesome about Ashe though was that Yoshida clearly drew inspiration for her outfit from Agrias, which was a pretty cool nod to Tactics. Too bad they didn't leave her covered up with leggings like Agrias, because that was an awesome trend, and instead decided to shred her outfit into multiple layers of teeny slices of cloth that somehow form to make a dress. :(

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  32. I happen to agree. Even with the tons of buckles, zippers, straps, etc. his design are quite cool and trendy. Just because it would be ridiculous to wear it in real life, doesn't mean we should scoff at it in game. They are stories of fantasy after all, not real life.

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  33. Rahul said:
    The only thing I can't stand about character design (anywhere) is when the dress doesn't combine with the character's behavior. For instance Ashe wears a miniskirt that would be sure to ride up her ass as soon as she takes a step, which means no sane woman would put it on and then go fight monsters or walk around town. Lulu's dress is aesthetically awesome but combined with the size of her boobs is impossible because it'd never stay up if she runs, jumps, dodges or moves in some other way. Etc.

    One thing that WAS awesome about Ashe though was that Yoshida clearly drew inspiration for her outfit from Agrias, which was a pretty cool nod to Tactics. Too bad they didn't leave her covered up with leggings like Agrias, because that was an awesome trend, and instead decided to shred her outfit into multiple layers of teeny slices of cloth that somehow form to make a dress. :(

    Man, you must looove WW II games. Everything there makes so much sense ;)

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  34. LittleCactaur said:
    I like colors in my pictures, they make things more better

    Damn right! Speak the word, brother!

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  35. Xavi said:

    Man, you must looove WW II games. Everything there makes so much sense ;)

    Of course not. For instance, I think WoW character designs are generally pretty appropriate despite having swords that are so huge no one could wield them, etc. I won't complain about that because that's somewhat internally consistent. But all these separate layers of clothing that seem overly designed and not plausible as something someone would actually wear... especially when the same character designer has done different work before...

    Auron for example is great character design because he has unique attributes that make him interesting. He wears a long coat but has one arm hanging out of a sleeve. He has a jug on his belt. His hair has white streaks, his face is scarred and he wears sunglasses. He has steel-toed boots. But despite all these things that would look ridiculous in real life, he's still internally consistent within the world of FFX, and on top of that, he's unique and interesting to look at. Same goes for Yuna, Wakka, Kimahri, etc. But Lulu was just a little bit too much over the top. And that applies to Ashe in FFXII as well.

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  36. Xavi said:
    Please tell me whats wrong with these designs in your absolute wisdom:

    ... who are you talking to?

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  37. Matt said:

    Xavi said:
    Please tell me whats wrong with these designs in your absolute wisdom:

    ... who are you talking to?> >

    You dude, youuuuu

    Sorry, English isn't my first language :P

    Rahul said:

    Xavi said:

    Man, you must looove WW II games. Everything there makes so much sense ;)> >

    Of course not. For instance, I think WoW character designs are generally pretty appropriate despite having swords that are so huge no one could wield them, etc. I won't complain about that because that's somewhat internally consistent. But all these separate layers of clothing that seem overly designed and not plausible as something someone would actually wear... especially when the same character designer has done different work before...

    Auron for example is great character design because he has unique attributes that make him interesting. He wears a long coat but has one arm hanging out of a sleeve. He has a jug on his belt. His hair has white streaks, his face is scarred and he wears sunglasses. He has steel-toed boots. But despite all these things that would look ridiculous in real life, he's still internally consistent within the world of FFX, and on top of that, he's unique and interesting to look at. Same goes for Yuna, Wakka, Kimahri, etc. But Lulu was just a little bit too much over the top. And that applies to Ashe in FFXII as well.> >

    Its a fair point. I still think Lulus design was good because it was a cool sexy twist on a Black Mage and given her personality I have a hard time seeing that character with a different design after playing trough the game.

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  38. I like Nomura's designs because I'm looking past what is considered 'normal' or 'practical' and looking at the colors and shapes. I like that he uses a lot of hard outlines right next to skin tones that really make the image feel fresh and new, and the colors he uses make the image seem vibrant. For some reason I gravitate towards his design for jecht the most because he uses a lot of orange (which is my favorite color), but also makes the drawing seem as though Jecht is a total bum, while still managing to present him in a way that is crisp and pops off the page. I've always admired that kind of style in an artist.

    while buttons, zippers, keyrings and chains may not seem like something someone would do in real life, if you take them out of Nomura's drawings it messes up the design because he's used a lot of that stuff to fill in negative space. I can't even begin to call myself an artist of any kind, but I just like his art...

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  39. I didn't draw those pictures, why are you talking to me? I haven't drawed anything non-doodled in a decade.

    And to answer your question, what's wrong with them is that they look motherfucking retarded.

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  40. I ask because since you make fun of them, you might as well explain to me why. It wasnt an unreasonable request :P

    Apples and oranges I guess

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