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Square Enix nervy on chibi art for western audiences

Cultural perceptions of different art styles are something Square Enix takes seriously, according to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy producer Ichiro Hazama.

Speaking to IGN, Hazama said he was glad western gamers had reacted to positively to the rhythm action game's adorable art style.

"Whenever we propose those chibi types of characters to an American audience, they tend to see that as part of a game that's aimed toward little children," he said.

Hazama explained that Square Enix chose the cute style as one solution to the problem of the franchise's wildly varying graphical fidelity.

"If you tried to use the original character art, you’d see such a variety of art styles, from simple pixel images to beautiful CG images. So it was difficult to put those all together in one game," he commented.

"But in Japan, when we were developing this game, there was another game, a mobile Kingdom Hearts game, which had something called the Avatar Kingdom. In that game, some Final Fantasy characters appeared as chibi characters.

"I thought it was really cute, so I proposed the idea of using it in Theatrhythm to Tetsuya Nomura. Nomura approved, and so that's how we came to it."

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy hits the 3DS on July 3 in the US and July 6 in Europe.

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