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.”