Square Enix recently did an interview with the former director of Final Fantasy XI, Koichi Ishii, and prominent artist Yoshitaka Amano to discuss the initial creative development process for the aforementioned title. Like someone who literally knows nothing about Final Fantasy XI, this interview was instructive in several respects. The interview is divided into two published parts, the second having been published on January 26, 2022.
One of the most obvious and challenging facets of game conceptualization was how an MMORPG would work on console. The general genre wasn’t exactly too popular in Japan at the time, and when considering a console as your chosen platform, severe measures had to be taken to make this ambitious project a success, even from a distance.
Amano’s art style was inherently impactful, he even designed the game’s first draft world map, taking Ishii by surprise. Amano illustrated the map on four large pieces of paper roughly equivalent to tatami mats, so to say he was serious about the task is an understatement.
Speaking further about Amano, illustrating the logo turned out to be an unexpected challenge due to the gender difference, making the subject matter of the artwork more debatable.
There are far too many specific talking points to reiterate in this article, so if you’re interested, watch parts one and two of this in-depth and thought-provoking interview on a Final Fantasy title that many overlook.