Game Artist Profile
 Akihiko Yoshida

Akihiko Yoshida Akihiko Yoshida, born in 1967, is renowned by his detailed and often times medieval-themed artwork. His preference in using traditional drawing methods has kept his name high on the favorites lists of fans who favor personal style and detail over the increasingly common digital arts. Yoshida's involvement in video game illustration started at the age of 23 with a minor design role for a PC game, grounding a path for his first major job a few years later for developer Quest as character and tarot card designer for the SNES strategy game, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. His art style was well-received, and series creator Yasumi Matsuno welcomed his talents back for the next installment, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.

Many people know Yoshida by the game that put his name in the spotlight, Final Fantasy Tactics. In 1997, Yasumi Matsuno left Quest to join Squaresoft, and Yoshida followed with him, a move that would years later likely lead to the closure of the Quest company, with it's resources and franchise rights being sold to Square. At Squaresoft, Matsuno created the hugely successful Final Fantasy Tactics, an obvious copy of the strategy system that proved so popular for Tactics Ogre, and Yoshida once again provided full designs for the huge array of characters and monsters. His illustrations were highly praised and became an instant classic almost overnight.

Concept art of a wyvern for Vagrant Story. Riding on the success of Final Fantasy Tactics, Yoshida was commissioned again as character designer and background art director for Vagrant Story on PlayStation, and then as character and card designer for Wild Card on WonderSwan Color. His talents were next requested almost simultaneously for the remake of Final Fantasy III for DS, and the monstrous production of Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2, both to be released in 2006. Yoshida created completely new designs for the formerly generic and faceless FFIII characters, allowing for their recreation in 3D. FFXII demanded a larger role from him, not only as head of character design, but as supervisor over background design for the game's many cities, dungeons, and fields. His team visited Turkey to style the game's Mediterranean setting from, and studied areas in India and New York City, as well as Arabic and ancient Roman cultures for inspiration.

Yoshida works best with traditional drawing and organic colors. Yoshida was accused of copying Tetsuya Nomura's art style in the designs of Vaan and Ashe in FFXII, but he explains that it can be attributed to changes made as the game development progressed, to remain consistent with the series' past design and colors. The new colors he used play a big part in this, he says, as bright colors such as pink are new to him but were necessary in the feeling and setting of the game. Normally, Yoshida is most comfortable working with organic colors when drawing, a choice that compliments the seasoned and often rugged look of his designs. He has admitted to being a fan of the art style and direction of Yoji Shinkawa found in the Metal Gear Solid games, and has followed the series' design with interest.
 Artist's Video Game Work
1990  Zeliard (PC)
1993  Ogre Battle (SNES)
1995  Tactics Ogre (SNES)
1997  Final Fantasy Tactics (PS)
2000  Vagrant Story (PS)
2001  Wild Card (WS)
2006  Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
2006  Final Fantasy III (DS)
2007  Final Fantasy Tactics:
          War of the Lions (PSP)



 
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