Background Bauhaus

Back in 1997, FFVII was a graphical hallmark. While its 3D graphics may not hold up to today's standards -- does that sound too kind? -- its prerendered backgrounds at least aren't nearly as bad to look at.

You might think Square had everything to do with FF7's visuals, but part of the job belonged to KUSANAGI, a Japanese graphics company that deals in nothing but background scenes for games and anime (even our flagship game, Boku no Natsuyasumi).

All the renders you see Cloud trampling around on began life at KUSANAGI, first created as lovingly detailed drawings, then paintings, then sent to Square for 3D-inization. The end result is you, the high school-aged nerd being awed at the awesome display in front of you as you think man, I want to do that someday. Then it all shifts to your depressing future selling waterbeds to burly biker couples. But that Final Fantasy game sure looked good, eh?

KUSANAGI's done background art for every main FF since; yeah, even the all-3D FFX. Those with the book The Art of Final Fantasy IX can see even more of their work before it moved into the final stages, and KUSANAGI's site also has image galleries from the titles they've worked on, if you're interested (as we are) in looking at pretty pictures of places that don't exist.