Zombie Butts!

Dionysos

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(I challenge someone to create a better clickbait title this week - I'll give out a prize!)


Think about Bartz Klauser (AKA Butz). He’s the adventure-loving primary protagonist of FFV, has a very close relationship with his chocobo, is an aspiring piano player, and he loves to goof about.

He is mostly remembered for looking something like this:
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But in the cutscenes and rendered models for the PlayStation remastered version he looks like this:
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To me, it makes him look a little bit like a zombie. He has white hair, cold, soulless eyes, grey/green skin and he looks like he desperately needs a feed on someone’s brains.

It’s a dramatic departure from the colourful, adventurous Bartz from the game.

I understand that the Amano artwork was the basis for this. Amano designs are often preferred over the sprite designs as a basis for more detailed rendered, full-scale models in most added cutscenes in classic rereleases. This is also the case for the other characters. Faris, in particular, looks different from the character sprite because the 3D model is based on Amano's design where she has a piratey coat. But she is still evidently Faris.

Yet even the Amano artwork for Bartz (which has white hair and pale skin) still manages to make him appear animated and vivacious. He's not entirely devoid of colour. His limbs aren’t in danger of dropping off and getting chewed on by the nearest Wind Drake.

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Seeing him in the cutscenes really threw me off when I watched them for the first time since it took me a while to recognise who he was supposed to represent.


I am glad they went for the more colourful appearance for Bartz in Dissidia and World of Final Fantasy as he is quite a warm and down to earth character.

So which Bartz do you prefer?
 

Linnaete

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Yeah, for some strange reason when they ported Final Fantasies V and VI over to the PS1 as the Final Fantasy Anthology package, they created new CG renders for the two games and...it's a very strange CG art style they've gone for. While the FFVI characters generally look okay, everyone looks deathly pale and as if they've been living underground their entire lives, never to be exposed to sunlight until now.

Pair that with how Amano artwork for older entries up to and including FFVI have a strange distinctive dissonance with how the characters look in the game and you have a recipe for a very zombie-looking version of a protagonist who does not resemble his in-game brown-haired blue-tunic counterpart. Amano has a unique art style that does not translate well to any 3D model, let's just say.

I know the Funko Pop art style for World of Final Fantasy is very divisive, but I really adore how they look, so their Bartz gets my vote for my favourite visual take on the character. He just looks adorable - that blue tunic from his in-game Freelancer sprite is there, and he generally looks like a nice, fairly normal swell guy about to head off with Boko to an adventure.
 

Dionysos

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Yeah, for some strange reason when they ported Final Fantasies V and VI over to the PS1 as the Final Fantasy Anthology package, they created new CG renders for the two games and...it's a very strange CG art style they've gone for. While the FFVI characters generally look okay, everyone looks deathly pale and as if they've been living underground their entire lives, never to be exposed to sunlight until now.

Pair that with how Amano artwork for older entries up to and including FFVI have a strange distinctive dissonance with how the characters look in the game and you have a recipe for a very zombie-looking version of a protagonist who does not resemble his in-game brown-haired blue-tunic counterpart. Amano has a unique art style that does not translate well to any 3D model, let's just say.

I know the Funko Pop art style for World of Final Fantasy is very divisive, but I really adore how they look, so their Bartz gets my vote for my favourite visual take on the character. He just looks adorable - that blue tunic from his in-game Freelancer sprite is there, and he generally looks like a nice, fairly normal swell guy about to head off with Boko to an adventure.

I think Amano’s artwork (when he really lets loose) was simply too insane for 3D models in the late 90s / early 2000s when these CGI prologue/epilogue scenes were created. Amano would add random dragons and silly-looking creatures to his drawings, but also the characters themselves would look very, very different to the in-game counterparts. The same can be said for the Amano variants of characters in later games.

I think they could do a much better job at rendering Amano in 3D now. In fact, FFXIV shows that some of Amano’s ideas can look good in 3D. At least a number of costumes and vehicles have Amano influences.

For Bartz though, I definitely agree that the Amano-inspired CGI image doesn’t appear to capture his essence at all. Dissidia’s version takes elements of Amano’s artwork but switches the colour palette to the more vibrant hues of the FFV in-game sprite. That’s a fair middle ground, and I applaud that. The World of Final Fantasy version is closer in appearance to the in-game sprite’s design itself, and it is so cute that I have to admit that I do prefer it. I would sell a fraction of my soul for Funko Pop to do a Final Fantasy series, while we are on that.
 
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