Toriyama: Final Fantasy leading ladies’ looks come second

Wednesday, 30th March 2011 23:48 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama says Square Enix’s female character design process starts with personality, not looks.

“With Yuna from Final Fantasy X, we started with the back story of a summoner that fights against Sin,” Toriyama told Famitsu, via 1UP.

“But for Lightning in FFXIII, our initial concept was just for a ‘strong woman’ — it was personality-based instead of plot-driven.

“Then we consider the heroine’s ‘job,’ her position in the story and duties in battle. … Since there are so many games in the series, it’s always a trial to ensure that new characters don’t overlap with previous ones.”

Only after the character’s mindset and role are locked down does Square Enix turn to current character designer, Tetsuya Nomura, to find out how its newest leading lady looks.

“Once the character’s concept starts to take form, we write out her basic personality traits and so forth on a sheet of paper and give it to Nomura,” the director explained.

“With Lightning, one look at the design made me say ‘This is it!’ She looked so cool and strong that there was no need for any retakes. It was the same way with Yuna.”

After that, the team begin exploring the character’s history and tidying up the overall plot to avoid inconsistencies, before moving on to the two aspects which probably feel most immediate to many players: motion capture and voice acting.

“”When portraying a character, we take extreme care in her movements and voice,” Toriyama said.

“This begins with the motion-capture process, something that will make everything go wrong if we mess it up, so we get very intricate with our directions for that.

“The voice acting comes last in this process … The voice we record essentially becomes the main image of the character, so in a way that’s the most delicate part of making the character.”


Posted in: Development RPG Square Enix




  1. Tamo123

    I have to confess as boring as the entire game was, I’m glad I completed it to watch the end. It was a good game, just boring running in a straight line.

    I wonder what was said to make him comment on the way female characters are designed?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    I will admit that Square’s female characters tend to be far less overtly sexualised than many other Japanese companies make theirs… but unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that 90% of them are utterly abysmal when it comes to personality and character development.

    That and the saying that “looks come second” becomes completely redundant when you consider that every single one of them ends up looking like a perfectly unblemished anime doll anyway.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. neon6

    Post above me pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject. I thought so much was wasted when they announced it for multi-plat considering they said an entire game’s worth of content was taken out and it still ended up spanning up to 4 discs. I really hope 13-2 is able to make up for it les there’s no hope for the franchise.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Rosseu

    When I read it thought it was really for the males who are 100% androgynous

    #4 4 years ago
  5. kupocake

    Shame Square(-Enix) have only ever discovered three female personality types. I mean, look at number 6: cast of 14 playable characters, 3 of which are female. Without exception there’s always 1. The Princess or Princess-like heroine, 2. The goth chick / tough girl, 3. The happy go lucky childish tomboy. Just because they switched it up so the heroine wasn’t the princess type doesn’t mean they put personality first.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Epic Fool

    “90% of them are utterly abysmal when it comes to personality”

    Just like real humans then? :)

    #6 4 years ago

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