Friday, July 4, 2014

Why does Lightning look so different in FFXIII Lightning Returns? [SPOILERS-!]

I finally finished the game Lightning Returns recently and zomg, why does her face look so different?  I mean, she looks like she got plastic surgery.

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)

I was a bit disappointed that the animators weren't consistent in her facial design, especially when it was so beautiful to begin with.

Here's some compare/contrast pics I found.

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.

My theory for these changes is that the animators wanted to make Lightning look more like Lumina as she was a part of Lightning and they eventually fused back into one.  I also think that they were attempting to make Lightning appear more Human-like (with the ending showing that all the characters were reincarnated in our world) and that's why her hair texture in Lightning Returns looks more like a real person's instead of the typical, perfectly textured and styled Final Fantasy hair (at least in the CG scenes).  But really, I'm more bothered by the drastic change in her facial design.

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.


lovepirate said...

I've only played FFXIII yet, so I'm just looking at the pictures and don't reading your text. XD
I think the change of her looks is indeed visible. o_o I don't know why they did it but I prefer her in FFXIII, just like you. She's so pretty and hawt in the first picture. T~T

MiNapi said...

@lovepirate, I know, right? You should play the game and post your thoughts after finishing it. ^^ It's only after the ending video that I realized how different she looked.

Caylie Konma said...

I completely agree with you and was thinking the exact same things playing Lightning Returns

Kevin Farron said...

THANK GOD I'm not the only crazy one obsessed with this throughout all the game and long long after finishing it. You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, everything you've pointed out is correct. I don't know why they did it, Lightning's CGI design was already made and great, why change it ?! For once I would've encouraged them to be lazy and copy/paste it.

Kevin Farron said...

She underwent some slight changes in FFXIII-2 but still looked herself only improved and with more details. What annoys me the most is that they changed her eyes color which used to match with FF13's Logo, and as you said her hair is getting pinker and pinker. What a pitty...

cc ahaha said...

This bugs me everytime I see pictures of her from lr. They are all beautiful but I like the original lightning better. She seemed more badass looking a tough. Either way she's badass and tough but yeah. But I like your lumina theory, even if square enix might have not intended the theory it at least shuts my mind up about why she looks different. I think it makes sense and fits.

Nov Nox said...

Agreed. Lightning's eyes in XIII & XIII-2 are more upturned, which I think are beautiful. Thanks to you, I ended up making more comparisons to ensure myself. Btw, could we have further discussion on this topic?

mel bourne said...

She needs some enhancements 'cause you know...Louis Vuitton endorsement and stuff lol but yeah I liked the older Lightning. It's waaay better and she looks so hawt with those blessed sexy eyes of her. In Lightning Returns she lost that when-you-look-at-me-I-will-melt touch, at least for me.

Elementalist Lux said...

I think they kind of wanted to make her look less perfect because it might melt our tv screens if they don't. Or just a "let's try other stuff" thingy by square. All i got to say is its settled and we can't change it. but still, our love for Claire will never ever change no matter what. FFXIII Forever!!! <3

koosha said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's kinda disturbed about the differences!! o.o" Lightning is my fav chara in ffxiii series so the thing that stood out was the cover of LR. She looks so different and yes...i prefer the design of her in the first two series. But she didn't look that bad cut scenes? I just hope they stick to her old design for any future works of her....if there is 😉