The Final Fantasy series of role-playing games (RPGs) has been a juggernaut of the gaming industry since its inception in 1987. With over 140 million games sold over the course of its 34-year history, it’s the second best-selling video game franchise of all time. Its expansive world, characters, and stories have captivated fans from all over the world and have inspired numerous spin-offs, sequels, and adaptations. But one of the most important elements of the series is its art style. Final Fantasy’s distinct art style has evolved over the years, from its 8-bit origins to its current high-definition 3D visuals. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of the Final Fantasy art style, from its early days to the present.
The Early Art Style of Final Fantasy
When Final Fantasy was first released in 1987, it was a revolutionary game for its time. It was the first Japanese RPG to be released in the West, and it featured 8-bit graphics, a genre-defining soundtrack, and a deep, engaging story. It was also the first game in the series to introduce the recurring characters and elements that would become staples of the franchise. The 8-bit art style of the original game was heavily inspired by the works of Japanese manga artist and animator Hayao Miyazaki. The character designs were simple and iconic, and the world was filled with vibrant colors and detailed backgrounds.
The 8-bit art style of the original Final Fantasy game set the tone for the series and became a template for subsequent games. This art style was used in the first five games of the series, with minor adjustments and improvements being made in each subsequent game. The 8-bit art style was also used in the spin-off series, such as Final Fantasy Adventure and the Chocobo’s Dungeon games.
The Move to 3D Graphics
In 1997, the sixth installment of the series, Final Fantasy VI, was released. This game marked the transition to the 32-bit era and saw the series make its first foray into the world of 3D graphics. The 3D graphics brought with them a new level of detail and immersion. Characters were no longer represented by simple sprites but were now fully-realized 3D models with facial expressions and detailed textures. The world was also no longer limited to two-dimensional planes, and players could explore a fully-realized, three-dimensional landscape.
The move to 3D graphics also marked a shift in the art style of the series. While the 8-bit games had a distinct anime-style aesthetic, the 3D games had a more realistic, modern look. Characters had a more detailed and realistic design, and the world was filled with more realistic textures and lighting. This art style was used in the seventh, eighth, and ninth games in the series and has remained largely unchanged to this day.
The Advancement of Technology
As technology has advanced, so too has the art style of the Final Fantasy series. In the tenth game in the series, Final Fantasy X, the graphics were improved to take advantage of the PlayStation 2’s increased hardware capabilities. The character models were more detailed and realistic, and the world was filled with lush, detailed environments. This art style was used in the eleventh and twelfth games in the series, as well as the spin-off series, such as Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings.
In recent years, the series has made use of the latest hardware capabilities to create even more detailed and lifelike graphics. The thirteenth installment of the series, Final Fantasy XIII, was released in 2009 and featured high-definition visuals and detailed character models. This art style was continued in subsequent games, such as Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XV, and is currently the standard for the series.
The Final Fantasy Art Style Today
Today, the Final Fantasy art style is more detailed and realistic than ever before. With the advent of modern technology, the series has been able to create more lifelike characters and environments. The characters are now fully-realized 3D models with detailed textures and facial expressions, and the world is filled with detailed textures and lighting. The art style of the series has come a long way from its 8-bit origins and is now a fully-realized, modern aesthetic.
The art style of the Final Fantasy series has evolved significantly over the years and will no doubt continue to evolve as technology advances. From its 8-bit beginnings to its current high-definition visuals, the series has captivated fans for decades with its unique art style. No matter what the future holds for the series, it’s certain that the art style will remain an integral part of the Final Fantasy experience.