Watch Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII’s Art Director Work On His Oil Painting

By Ishaan . September 10, 2012 . 8:30am

Back when Square Enix first revealed Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the game’s art director, Isamu Kamikokuryo, showed off a promotional oil painting he had made, featuring Lightning. You may not have gotten to see this unless you watched Square’s livestream presentation, but you can now watch a highlight video of how the painting was created below:



Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will conclude Lightning’s saga, and is slated for release in 2013. The game takes place in a place named Novus Partus, where the world is set to end in 13 days, and a Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask-style system adds or depletes time from the countdown clock, depending on your actions.

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  • Paradox me

    I don’t like his work as much as Amano or Yoshida and his characters are kinda hit-or-miss with me, but he’s still immensely talented and his scenery looks fantastic.

    This was his first oil painting in nearly 15 years if I’m not mistaken, which is all the more impressive. I haven’t done any art since high school and I pretty much have to re-learn everything.

  • It’s awesome but I would rather watch a trailer.
    Can we expect a trailer at TGS?

  • That painting is simply beautiful! =^_^=

  • I’d be interested in seeing a longer version of this video to get a better idea of his technique.  He does a very good job of blending, I wonder what he dresses the paint with.  I abuse the hell out of turpentine when I’m working (thought I wouldn’t claim to have any idea what I’m actually doing when it comes to painting).

  • Luna Kazemaru

    That’s some nice art you have there my friend.

  • theoriginaled

    gotta admit. I had to look him up. Not crazy about his figures, but his landscapes and cityscapes are gorgeous.

  • GOLD

    Im striving to be a game art director and things like this make me want to laovk myself in my room and practice practice PRACTICE

  • Oni123

    That would suck so much if he messed up right near the end.. o.o; Looks Great!

  • Budgiecat

    okay… nice painting? Is there a point to this

    • Luna Kazemaru

       The point of it is the art director made the painting for the game. Problem?

      • Budgiecat

        Okay cool thanks. Can you buy it for me?

  • damn the japs, such good stuff right there….dammit need more practice T_T

  • omeganeko

    Kat from gravity rush popped into my head foe a sec there. It is a very nice painting, I would love to go to a video game art gallery.

  • Levin_Scorpius

    That Lightning is terrible. Those legs are just so, so wrong, the pose in general is extremely awkward with that anatomy, and the whole ‘sitting thing’ just isn’t working at all without any actual decent anatomy in the first place. Basically the art director can’t draw people very well.

    But on the other hand the city/skyline is quite pretty and good, though, I’m quite fond of the square pattern thing on the rooftop there. All of the locations’ concept art thus far seems to be rather pretty actually.  

  • Anime10121

    Love the art, really hate the way they are promoting this game, I’d like to see even a 2 minute teaser (even if it is all CG) like how they announced XIII-2.  I mean, unless they have something at TGS this year, the next big game convention is Jump Fest in December.  If this game is supposed to release next year, it will be EXTREMELY weird to not have any kind of trailer for a Final Fantasy game until the year it released, even their handheld/mobile games have had more promotion than that. The game is only 30% complete (according to them) so they have a year to finish the game, promote the game properly, and bug test it for release. 

    I’m just hoping this extremely fast development cycle wont reduce the quality of the game, and whats to be expected of a Final Fantasy game.  Regardless of how one felt about XIII and XIII-2, they were both quality titles from a technical standpoint.  While FFXIII-2 used the exact same battle system it was still released 2 years after the original XIII, this game (LR:FFXIII) will have less than 2 years and is supposedly trying something brand new, and will have even less time to be completed. 

    I mean, if they started this right after the DLC (which seemed to be the case, considering they were barely able to say they had even started the project until July) from FFXIII-2 which had its last one drop in May, they’ll only have had about a year and a half to work on the title and have it released.  That is a really short period for developing a Final Fantasy title, and I just hope that this game retains the quality (at least not being marred with bugs) the series is known for.  The premise of the game SOUNDS good, but I want to see some actual footage that shows either gameplay or art direction (via CG trailer). 

    Epic Mickey 1 was a perfect example of gorgeous art, and images of what they would have LIKED to accomplish, that turned out completely lackluster when the game was released (not saying it was a bad game or anything, It just looked NOTHING like the awesome art that was released prior to its first trailer). MGS:GZ is not even far enough in development where it has an actual release date, but they still showed a 14 minute trailer with a minute or two of gameplay, Square I know you can do the same. While I can appreciate the focus on the art and the premise of the game, It IS a game, and even if it is early in development, I’d still like to see SOMETHING from the actual game aspect.

    • theoriginaled

      I concur with this 100%. There is something VERY offputting about the way they are marketing the game. Its almost as if Square is afraid to show a cinematic trailer. Or release any concrete info. The same thing has kept Versus behind closed doors for years. Instead they give poetic reconstructions of a rose and how it relates to the games thematic concepts, a clip of the art director painting a picture about the game. Haunting piano melodies set to concept art.

      Give Kojima all the crap you want, the man is a marketing genius. He knows how to get you excited whether you want to be or not. It seems all Square can bring themselves to do these days regarding their main license is obfuscate.

  • Lazulis

    That background is GORGEOUS. Lightning…not so much…her legs don’t…her body…uh….??????


  • Just look at all the why.  Just put the art in an artbook next year and be done with it.

  • Göran Isacson

    Have to admit, I smiled a little at the victory music at the end of the video.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Bravo! Nice Painting 

  • Aoshi00

    Nice background music.. I’ve always loved the background/location paintings/color drawings done by Kamikokuryo Isamu, from X to now.. very imaginative and otherworldly..   his chars are good too, but background design better.. S-E certainly has a lot of talented artists..

    I haven’t painted since high school either.. I did a painting of Sakuragi from Slam Dunk dunking and still have the canvas :) it was the last shot of the Slam Dunk first Ending song..

    Used to love the color drawing by Inoue too..

  • Andres Pena

    DEM legs

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