CoG 2011: The Hall of Heroes – The Hero of Artists


~ Yoshitaka Amano ~

The decision to elect Yoshitaka Amano as the first ever Hero of Artists was almost a unanimous one. Valiantly besting Steve Purcell of Sam & Max fame and Metal Gear Solid lead artist Yoji Shinkawa, Amano’s pen and brush have defined the Final Fantasy series since its inception in 1987.

A classic manga illustrator heavily influenced by mid-twentieth century Western science-fiction and fantasy art, Amano joined Square in the late ’80s to work on the first Final Fantasy game. There he stayed as lead character designer until the 1994 release of Final Fantasy VI, an installment widely considered among the best in the series. Though he stepped down from his senior position, he has continued to work alongside the Square team as a promotional artist and illustrator, and is involved with the upcoming Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Amano’s character designs have attained an unparalleled level of recognizability; his creations are imbued with a high degree of personality and can be picked out of a crowd instantly by their distinguishing characteristics years after playing the game that featured them. Paradoxically unique in style but instantly familiar, Amano’s masterful blending of occidental and oriental art styles has not only helped define one of gaming’s most influential and ubiquitous RPG series with incredibly well-designed characters like Kefka, Kain and the iconic Moogles and Black Mages,  but inspired a veritable legion of fellow game artists and their work.

Hero Amano, welcome to the Hall.

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