Onward to
Final Fantasy: The Movie

(Not An Offical Final Fantasy Page, But www.finalfantasy.com is!)

Final Fantasy is a Columbia Pictures/Square Pictures release due to open in 2001, and promises to be one of the most beautiful and technically-challenging films ever made. Your humble correspondent can't say much more about it yet, but since October of 1998 I've been here in Hawaii, where Square USA (the American portion of Japanese software titan Square) has built new animation studios.
The oceanfront studios house Square's feature films unit and are also the home to the development teams for games like Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy IX, and the Chocobo series. The staff is international mostly Japanese and Americans, but also other animation and effects kings from just about everywhere in the world. Final Fantasy is directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the original mastermind and storyteller behind the entire Final Fantasy series.
Currently I am the Lighting Section Supervisor, handling lighting and rendering issues across the film. My original official title at Square was "Senior Layout Artist," with responsibilities range across layout and sometimes into the neighboring production sections, namely story, editorial, and (obliquely) animation and lighting; I was also handling many RenderMan technical issues, since I've had plenty of experience with that renderer writing shaders, integrating RenderMan with Maya, etc... which then dragged me occasionally into modeling, lighting, sysadmin, and even film recording issues. As layout has gotten firmed up, this has moved me into my current role (which finally means that I can do something we were never able to do at Pixar have the same artists involved in the lighting and the camera work for a sequence). As you might expect, I'm pretty busy all the time!
Like all the Final Fantasy games, the story for the film is completely new no characters or kingdoms are carried over from the previous FF titles. The project has attracted a host of topnotch Hollywood acting talent, such as Alec Baldwin, Ming Na, Donald Sutherland, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin, and more; as well as other experienced creatives from throughout the industry.
I can't yet say much about the film (even the pic at right was already published elsewhere...), but I'm sure you can find plenty of (often completely bogus!) info if you dig through the usual web suspects, such as aint-it-cool-news, the www.imdb.com, etc. There are old movie clips (preproduction tests) that you can find on the web in a few places, including here, which has a clip shown on a Japanese TV news program. As of March 2000, the film now has its own official web site!

(A still frame gleaned from
& cleaned up a little, particularly in
the gamma correction they
mistakenly identified Aki here as a man!)

So how do I get a job at Square?

What do you want to do? We're always looking for technical expertise with a great reel attached currently my own department is looking for experts in Maya and RenderMan. Mail me!
Final Fantasy is © Square.
Visit the official web page!
Updated March 2000 Feedback Home