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The launch of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII happened back in mid February, on a brisk Tuesday morning. Gamers wiped the dew from their eyes and paddled their feet off to the nearest game site, only to be met with the kind of review scores that would make a hardened Brooklyn brawler cry a single tear. Suffice it to say, the game didn't quite fare all too well with many positive review scores, and it resulted in a lot reviewers feeling burned out on Lightning and her convoluted adventures.
Nevertheless, Square is pushing onward... and upward... and forward... and maybe even little bit to the side, but never backward. They want so badly for people to love Lightning that a DeviantArt contest was recently held, with the special judge being none other than the new legendary design director Tetsuya Nomura picking the top three interpretations of Lightning from Lightning Returns.
For those who don't know, Nomura is responsible for the character designs in some Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games. He was tasked with sifting through more than 4,655 different submissions by many eager DeviantArt users, with the contest art securing more than 1.8 million total views. That's a lot.
According to Nomura, he stated that...
“There were so many well-drawn pieces, that it was very difficult to pick just three. I was blown away by the overall level of quality.”
After all that intense sifting, Nomura settled upon three distinctly artistic interpretations of Lightning by DeviantArt members Randis Albion, Marga Donaire and Nicolas Barge. Whether you like Lightning Returns or not, the images below are pretty rad.
I've got to say... that's probably the most seductive anyone has ever made Lightning... she doesn't look like a 12-year-old little boy pretending to dress up like his cosplay-inclined aunt.
Nomura was also very pleased with the work, taking a more critically educated stab at providing feedback, saying...
“With one look I was hooked. The costume itself is sophisticated, and it’s also very well done as an illustration. The background that reminded me of the Japanese flag (Hinomaru) matched well with the piece and was beautiful. As an artist, when I look at different works of art, I think to myself “If it were up to me, I would do it differently,” but that thought didn’t cross my mind once when I saw this picture.”
The second image comes courtesy of Nicolas Barge, also known on DeviantArt as ArisT0te, showcasing a very CG-awesome rendition of Lightning, which you can view below.
Nomura also had some words to share on that CG masterpiece above, saying...
“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.”
Interesting that he thought this was more feminine than the one above... or maybe he didn't, and was just commenting on the fact that he thought it was feminine. I'm also curious how many entries he had to go through that would probably make the Missis a bit red in the face and decided to skip rewarding in the contest for the sake of avoiding sleeping on the couch? I guess we'll never know. Another big mystery lost in the void of the many unknowns floating around in the great expanse of the universe.
Last but not least is Randis Albion's entry, also known as randis, and it's a provocative piece that resembles something that might be future DLC... oh wait... I better not give anyone any ideas. Check it out below.
Nomura dropped his insight on the above image, stating...
“It’s wonderful as an illustration, but in addition to that, the artist drew in both the front and back views, so I felt the artist’s clear intent when they created this piece. The red and blue color scheme was very beautiful, too.”
Each of the three top picks received $1,000 in cool breezy dollars, a free Xbox 360 and the entire trilogy of the Final Fantasy XIII saga.
You can check out the entire series of Lightning entries submitted to DeviantArt right here. Lightning Returns is available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 right now.
(Main image courtesy of DiegooCunha)