Final Fantasy has remained one of the biggest and most popular Japanese RPG titles in the gaming industry. Each title takes gamers to a different world, with an entirely new cast of interesting and developed characters.
Whether the new world be in Ivalice or in Midgar, Square Enix meticulously crafts a complex universe that couldn’t have been done without its extremely talented artists. While Final Fantasy has had a huge influence on RPG gaming in general, the series also had a massive influence on the artistic community.
The series has inspired fans to redraw characters based on their own interpretations, and sometimes their creations are even better than the originals in the game. This is not uncommon, as countless fans of different franchises will often take to their drawing boards to create their own versions of certain characters. For example, even Star Wars fans have reimagined their favorite iconic characters.
We’ve scoured the internet in order to find artists that are taking iconic characters from the franchise and creating something new. These artists don’t replace the original characters, but instead recreate characters in an entirely new sense.
These fan recreations either enhance the original concept designs or completely change them. Overall, each piece shows something entirely new.
With that said, here are the 17 Final Fantasy Redesigns That Were Better Than What We Got!
17 Barret Wallace
Muhammad Firdaus drew this new and improve version of Barret for Brainstorm Challenge, a Facebook group from the Brainstorm School in Burbank, California. In celebration of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, the group was asked to redesign their favorite Final Fantasy VII characters.
Firdaus’ redesign of Barret Wallace captures much of the original AVALANCHE leader. This Wallace is carrying a large backpack and his fullmetal right arm is crafted into a machine gun.
On Facebook, Firdaus stated that he imagined Wallace as “if he was a character in some kinda early '90s cartoon show, with a fully mechanical arm and weapon extension. [I] gave him a backpack, because I've always wondered where he got his ammunition from.”
Wallace's gun looks like it came from an old school tanker, and overall Wallace looks strong but calm and calculated.
Here, Beatrix is reimagined as an epic warrior, which justifies the legends that are told in the game. In the legends, she’s known as “Beatrix who felled 100 men.”
She leads the kingdom’s army and doesn’t stop fighting when Kuja takes over. While the design may look simple from a distance, the detail is astonishing.
Overall, this redesign is practical compared to her original design, since this one includes a lot more armor. However, in this piece she is wearing just the right amount of armor-- she continues to have a lot of flexibility, as it isn't weighing her down too much.
The artist drew inspiration from the Witcher designs and created a practical but decorative warrior outfit that is fit for the general. The only downside to this design is that the eyepatch is on her left eye, not on her right.
15 Neo Exdeath
There are some great fan redesigns that have been made of Exdeath, and user Honoji’s interpretation of Neo Exdeath is eye-catching. Compared to his other forms, Neo Exdeath merges with the Void, amplifying his powers and drawing forth malevolent beings from the other dimension.
The original game design is a combination of different beings, including dragons, monsters, and revealing women who are clustered together.
Though the design in the original game is epic, Honoji took it one step further. What makes this piece so interesting is its different layers of texture as well as the amazing blend of colors.
In fact, the design is so good some might mistake it for official Final Fantasy V artwork. The background color has a granular texture that is comparable to the colors of the actual boss. Honoji has created an amazing version of Exdeath’s third form.
The latest Final Fantasy game is based on the concept of a fantasy story taking place in a world much like ours that includes magic and monsters. Final Fantasy XV had undergone a number of revisions, though Noctis Lucis Caelum's original design remained relatively unchanged throughout the process.
Noctis' black clothes stayed the same for the most part. However, his outfit isn't the most practical since he doens't have tactical gear compared to Magitech armor from Nifleheim. (This could be also said of Gladiolus, Noctis’ bodyguard.)
User Pearlpencil created a version of Noctis who is clad in armor, looking a lot like an old school Final Fantasy characters. In this piece, Noctis wears a layered plate armor and the cloak he wears is similar to the Lucian King’s robe. This design also has Noctis wielding the Sword of the Father.
In this redesign, Ashe doesn't look as fanciful as she does compared to the original art, but user MCAshe goes back to the roots with this old school style. In the game, Ashe has other outfits besides the ones from the gameplay character, which include a wedding and mourning gown that are showcased on the CG cutscenes.
This artwork changes Ashe up, departing from the colorfully layer garments that the original Ashe wore. While the official artwork shows Ashe in her colorful attire, MCAshe shows an adventurer side of the character, giving her a more practical look.
The yellow and earthy colors blend well with the design. The outfit design makes sense given the desert climate in Dalmasca. It would have been cool to see this fan design on an actual CG model.
12 Cloud Strife
We’ve seen countless art pieces done of Cloud Strife, with some being exact renditions of the original design and others creating entirely new versions of the character.
User JasonTN submitted this piece for Brainstorm Group’s as part of the Final Fantasy Redesign Challenge. This Cloud looks exactly like a fantasy-like warrior. He looks like a paladin with a giant buster sword.
Overall, the colors in this piece are amazing, as they all mesh incredibly well together, creating a lot of depth and detail. JasonTN provides Cloud with something that he could wear if ever Square Enix considered allowing fan designed DLC skins for the remake. We would love to see this darker version of Cloud on our screens.
11 Black Mage
Final Fantasy Black Mages typically wear blue robes and have large yellow hats covering their faces. The Black Mage class went through several changes in the series' franchise.
Its latest redesign was in Final Fantasy XIV, where the character class still had the traditional robes and hat that concealed the character’s face, though in this game the robes are black.
User Chenthooran’s interpretation of the Black Mage differs from the official character design. The artwork was submitted for an 8 Bit Theater challenge, which is a popular webcomic parody of the original Final Fantasy.)
This fan redesign depicts a Black Mage in a blue jacket that looks as though it's from the Victorian era. The iconic yellow hat is replaced with a smaller hat and set of headgear, which both look like they were inspired by steampunk.
10 Tidus and Yuna
When Final Fantasy X-2 was released, fans and critics were disappointed that it didn’t live up to the expectation of its predecessor. Final Fantasy X-2 had compeltely different character designs.
For example, Yuna abandoned her summoner outfit in order to become a new person unburdened by Bevelle’s duties. However, what if the developers kept the old designs from Final Fantasy X and updated them? Characters probably would have looked like user Risachantag’s redesign.
This redesign takes inspiration from Spira’s aesthetics and previous official artwork. Tidus’ new design is similar to the original Blitzball outfit but now uses a different color scheme and includes some of Spira’s religious scriptures.
Yuna’s new summoner outfit is longer and more elegant than the original. Her staff is fashioned as a spear but, overall, it still looks similar to the old staff. While it isn't a drastic change, Risachantag used magenta and purple hues that are different from the original.
At a glance, Fran’s original design does not include the most practical attire for long adventures. One might wonder why Viera would ever wear stilettos that are not practical for long distance traveling.
Ashley Hankins created a new version of Fran that included a few modifications. Fran’s shoes are replaced with with boots, that would be a lot easier to wear. As for the actual design, Hankins kept the shape and color scheme of the original model but replaced her negligee-like armor with real armor that would actually help to protect her.
Hankins’ design is far more practical for adventuring, and the addition of the armor-clad Chocobo only amplifies how amazing this piece is. The helmet is the only piece that remained from the original design.
8 Red Mage
The Red Mage class also had its own fan redesign. User Obsy-3 combined elements from the official designs in this fan art in order to create a kick-butt version of the magical swordsman. The Red Mage is the jack of all trades, where the warrior of light can learn a number of white, black, and warrior attacks.
Obsy-3’s creation updates the old school version of the Red Mage with a few pieces of armor. However, this recreated Red Mage design still has the classic red garments with black and gold colors.
The piece perfectly sums up the job of the Master-Of-None. He wears a black and gold trim pauldron over his armored hand, while his left arm is used exclusively for spell casting.
The vibrant red, black, and yellow colors stand out and look incredible. The garment used are similar to the ones seen in Final Fantasy XIV, while the color scheme resembles the Red Mage in Final Fantasy IX.
The Man in Black never revealed his face until the very end of Final Fantasy IV. Golbez is usually seen in his armor, though he later abandoned it in Final Fantasy IV: After Years.
User FalyneVarger recreated an entirely new version Golbez, one without armor. Instead of a shirtless Golbez, this design shows Golbez in traditional adventurer clothing. Golbez now wears loose trousers and a plain white cotton shirt with a cloak over his shoulders. This version still includes the beaded bracelet on Golbez's right hand, but his large sword is replaced by a regular long-sword.
Despite the slight changes, the style reminds us a lot of artist Yoshitaka Amano’s designs for Final Fantasy. The color palette uses grey and cool colors, which compliment the calm setting.
6 Vincent Valentine
At a glance, this character reminds us of Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII and Captain Harlock’s long distant cousin. User NibelArt created an original character that has many similarities to Vincent Valentine.
This Valentine wields a glowing red sword, however, and while his outfit is a long, black coat, the coat lapels and the sheath’s designs look similar to Eastern designs.
Whether or not this was intended, we still included the character in this list because the design is something that we would expect from Square Enix if they ever thought of including another character in the next Final Fantasy title.
He could be either a new Valentine character or become one of Vincent’s alternate outfits in the remake. Either way, NibelArt’s original design is incredible.
5 Midgar Folks
If Final Fantasy VII was adapted into a cartoon show from the '90s, it probably would have ended up like this. User Soap-Committee does a lot of the '90s to early 2000s redesigns of pop culture figures.
Soap-Committee took the blocky characters from the original Final Fantasy game and recreated them as Saturday morning cartoon characters. She also included a few that depicts only team AVALANCHE, Migar’s Punks, and the Chocobo Farm.
Compared to the other fan redesigns, Ryan’s pieces capture the personality of the folks living in Midgar, which adds a lot of depth to this artwork.
Her designs take us back to the old-school Final Fantasy, back when fans would spend hours grinding through the game.
4 Celes Chere
While such characters as Terra Branford are mostly seen as the face of Final Fantasy VI, there are a few characters who are often swept under the radar. One of these characters is Celes Chere.
Celes played a huge role in the game. She originally worked for the Empire, but was later imprisoned by it because she spoke out against Kefka. She then went on to join Terra’s team.
After a major fallout in the first part of the story, the player takes control of Celes and journeys across the continent in order to find her former comrades and fight together.
User ArtofBenG was influenced by the original concept art of Celes, but decided to change her costume into a steampunk-like outfit. This version of Celes isn’t too different from the original, however.
It borrows from the original design but changes a few minor details. The artwork was submitted to Brush Sauce Theater contest, where contest host Tyler Edlin would review the entries and provide suggestions for each submission.
3 Cloud Strife
The red buster sword stands out and draws our attention to the piece. When we look at the detail, we can see the blade is made from metal sheets that have been bolted together with a serrated edge. Overall, Cloud’s outfit is on an entirely new level.
This Cloud looks like he survived through a wasteland, Mad Max style. He still has the SOLDIER garb, but it is modified with a few new armor pieces, like the pauldron on his right shoulder. Also, the red feather headpiece is a nice touch to the overall design.
This submission was also part of the Final Fantasy VII Brainstorm Challenge.
Square Enix has hosted fan design contest in the past. They hosted a tank armor fan design for Final Fantasy XIV and a class unit design contest for Brave Exvius.
As part of a promotional campaign, Square Enix and Deviantart partnered together and hosted a fan art contest for Lightning Returns. Fans were asked to create an original design of Lightning, with Tetsuya Nomura overseeing the contest.
User ArisT0te won the contest and even Nomura was surprised by the level of detail in this work. Nomura comments, “At first glance it looks like a CG, and it has a level of quality that makes it look like it was captured as a screenshot. While there were many heroic costumes for Lightning, I was drawn to the femininity of this costume and her hairstyle."
This redesign is so incredible and detailed that were would expect to see in the official release.
Nikolas A. Draper completely took us by surprise with his work. His artwork here is so incredible that we would love to see his designs in the official Final Fantasy series.
According to a Buzzfeed, Draper worked with Square Enix for a time, and they even published his work. Draper also did the art cover of Black Panther’s Original Soundtrack.
He redrew Cloud, Sephiroth, and Tifa as people of color, and his best work is by far his concept art of Final Fantasy's Sephiroth.
Draper rediscovers the world of Final Fantasy, using his artwork to explore different cultures and incorporating them into the universe. This is similar to the official games, which combine parts of western mythology, Shintoism, and Hinduism, using them to create something new entirely.
Do you know of any other incredible Final Fantasy fan redesigns? Let us know in the comment section!