Before I begin, I'd like to point out that I am not criticizing the game in its entirety. This is solely about the change in Lightning's hair and facial design. The game play of Lightning Returns has nothing to do with this. :)
I didn't really notice her face change until I beat the game and watched the ending CG animation scene. (pic above is from the opening CG scene)
This one is of the CG animation for FFXIII, FFXIII-2, and FFXIII Lightning Returns.
And here's the cutscene animation. It's a bit more difficult to tell the difference in the cutscene animation unless you look closely.
The hair quality is quite varied. FFXIII had very nice hair rendering at the time and it got even better in FFXIII-2. But in Lightning Returns, it seems like the hair texture isn't as sharp. Lightning's hair also seems to get pinker and pinker as the series goes on.
It's a bit difficult to tell the difference in her face with the pictures above so I made a few of my own comparisons.
I tried my best use pictures that had the most similarity in the position of her face.
Does this even look like Lightning anymore?
In my opinion, she really looks like a whole different person!
What do you think?
As for the changes in Lightning's face...
- Her eyes are smaller, rounder, and farther apart. They're not as heavy-lidded and the hue of blue in her eyes is different.
- Her eyebrows are lighter and aren't as arched.
- Her nose is now angled downward.
- Her lips are a different shape.
- Her face isn't as long or sharply angled.
- Her hair color is different, isn't as textured, and isn't as sharply rendered.
Who knows, maybe the animators just weren't consistent. I personally wish that regardless of the reason, they stuck with Lightning's original character design because it was so great! She had a beautiful face and her hair texture and color was gorgeous..
Now she looks sort of.... weird. Basically like a different person. I'm not saying she's ugly but this design isn't the Lightning I know.
Do you think she looks different?
I don't see many forums about this so maybe it's just a minor detail but part of the reason why I love Final Fantasy is for their gorgeous CG cutscenes and characters. So if the creators change an originally awesome character design this much, it leaves me a bit disappointed, especially when all the other characters' designs are consistent.