CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
How Did FFT's Visual Style Come to Be?

Posted: 5th October 2021 02:12

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Holy Swordsman
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I was chatting with a friend the other day and Final Fantasy came up, so of course we talked about our favorites, which means I raved about Tactics for as long as my friend let me. Basically.

On the subject of art style, I talked up the surprising expressiveness of the sprites, but that got me thinking about other aspects of the art style—like how the art still holds up for me even decades later. It’s stylized rather than realistic, and that helps immensely, but something about the higher contrast between the more realistic backgrounds and the cartoonish proportions and expressions of the sprites keeps me delighted even today. I don’t know how the battle maps were constructed, but they keep me engaged better than a lot of FFT’s modern successor’s (mostly done up in Unity, I think?), and I can’t articulate why?

I’m curious: how would you describe the visual style of the combats? And, how much do you know about the nuts-and-bolts of FFT’s on-screen visuals?
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Posted: 5th October 2021 19:28

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Maniacal Clown
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Well, first, it has no noses. tongue.gif

It's a chibi style which seems to be a somewhat preferred way of doing idealized game characters -- especially with complex visul details -- at small scales.

Chibi pixel art seems to be more useful than trying to go for high-res polygonal 3D showing all the details, IMO.

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Posted: 6th October 2021 04:21

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Holy Swordsman
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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 5th October 2021 11:28)
Well, first, it has no noses. tongue.gif

It's a chibi style which seems to be a somewhat preferred way of doing idealized game characters -- especially with complex visul details -- at small scales.

Chibi pixel art seems to be more useful than trying to go for high-res polygonal 3D showing all the details, IMO.

Yeah, noseless is the future of gaming.




But seriously, the chibi works somehow--even when the villains are straight-up murdering people.

(Is it really chibi art? or are the proportions just similar? I mean, I'm no expert on chibi, but it seems like it's more than just a head size that's like 1/3, or at least 1/4, of the overall body size.)
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Posted: 6th October 2021 10:07

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Maniacal Clown
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Perhaps it shouldn't be described as "chibi", which has some odd connotations of cuteness when it might not be appropriate here, though the stylized elements such as emphasizing the eyes still apply.

Whatever it's called, it's similar in its basic form to the sprite art of other FF games, e.g. FF6.

This post has been edited by Glenn Magus Harvey on 6th October 2021 10:09

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current games:
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100% Orange Juice

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Posted: 6th October 2021 15:10

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Holy Swordsman
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Yeah, for sure. The eyes really sell the entire experience. (I don't think it's just nostalgia for FF6 and what not that makes me love the slow blinking sprites here, but I can't discount that possibility. Thanks for pointing that similarity out.)
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