Final Fantasy Loses Art Director


Final Fantasy games have some of the most beautiful art of any franchise. But that may change.

Mr. Isamu Kamikokuryo parts with Square Enix.

For those that haven’t heard, Isamu Kamikokuryo announced on via Twitter that he is departing his station as art director¬†at Square Enix (where he worked on the Final Fantasy franchise).

He began his 18 year tenure in 1999 as a background artist on Final Fantasy X but quickly earned his chops and was made primary art director. He’s worked on every major release and several FF spin-off titles, including Final Fantasy X, XII, XII: Revenant Wings, XII International Zodiac Job System, XIII, The 3rd Birthday, XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and XV.

Kamikokuryo’s artwork played a huge role in directing Final Fantasy’s visual style for nearly 2 decades. Being an avid photographer, Isamu would travel the world taking photos of interesting places for reference in his artwork.

Fans might find it interesting that scenes from Final Fantasy XIII were likely inspired by his visits to New York, The Grand Canyon in Arizona, and ancient ruins in Italy.

It’s a FACT: Games are heavily influenced by their art directors and those games can take on a very different look and feel when one leaves.

Take for instance the artwork of Yoshitaka Amano, who lent his talent to Final Fantasy franchise before Kamikokuryo. While Amano was only a character designer and graphic artist for the franchise, his watercolor painting were synonymous with Final Fantasy games until the series directors decided to adopt a different primary art style when the franchise jump off the Nintendo bandwagon. Today Amano creates the logos for Final Fantasy, along with other assorted marketing pieces.

Looking at Square Enix’s past, it’s likely they will promote an artist from within. This could mean that they’ll try and keep with the current style, as their teams are likely trained to paint like Kamikokuryo. But it’s possibility they’ll try something new.

Frankly, I’d love to see a new style. While I enjoyed Kamikokuryo’s art, I think every series needs a visual overhaul every once in awhile. I prefer rugged art dripping with personality, much like Amano’s work in Final Fantasy 6 (coincidentally, my favorite game). It’d be nice to revisit that for a change.

What about you? Do you know of any art styles that could work in a Final Fantasy game? Comment below!



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