March 15, 2014 You know what I'm really good at? No, not graphic design. Not championing the cause of the much-maligned Final Fantasy X-2. No, what I'm really good at doing is underestimating the interest is gaming-related events. So when it was time to hop in my car and drive to Alhambra, California for Square Enix's art gallery/launch event for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, I didn't make a concentrated effort to make it there before the event began.
That was potentially a mistake.
Similar to the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children premiere years ago, there was a line of people around the building to get in. There were two lines, in fact: the line around back to buy merchandise was even longer, with dozens of people standing in the sun (curse you, SoCal) waiting to spend their cash on FFX goods. I got the Final Fantasy X HD Remaster Soundtrack (which I learned was a blu-Ray, so I wasn't going to listen to it in the car going home... whoops), but that's probably not why you're reading this.
The "exhibition" part of the event was held inside the Gallery Nucleus, an adorable little art gallery that was intimate, and made you wish the guy behind you had showered that day. But I digress.
Nearly all of the artwork that was being shown off is up for auction online, and you can still place bids until 11pm on March 26th. Everything was on display inside one main room, with Final Fantasy X adorning the right hand side, and Final Fantasy X-2 along the left. The back of the room featured some completely unfair - but effective - comparisons, with the HD version of the games running on a modern LCD TV sitting next to small CRTs running the PS2 editions. If I wasn't convinced to buy the PS3 edition already, this would have sealed the deal. The middle of the room featured a wall of "moments" from each game that people could vote on as favorites. As much as I hoped the infamous "laugh scene" would have won (it was indeed a choice, so Square Enix is well aware of its legacy), it couldn't compare to Tidus and Yuna in Macalania Woods. Last I saw, the clear leader for X-2 was the "true" ending where... people reunite. Finally, there were some FFX figures, and a sadly-for-display-only Blitzball foosball table.
The artwork on display featured everything I could have wanted from both games. There was plenty of concept art, both hand-drawn and CG, of locales, characters, Aeons, and events. The panoramic of hand-drawn characters from FFX was great, as you don't see that artwork used much to promote the game. In fact, I had never even seen these renditions of some characters. It really hit me how "complete" a collection this was when I saw artwork - again, some new to me - from Final Fantasy X-2's Japanese-only Last Mission release (which is included in the North American releases of the HD version). My favorite piece of artwork from Final Fantasy X has always been the yin-yang Tidus and Yuna piece seen above. Seeing the original and the new "HD" version together was pretty great. And if I had unlimited funds, I would definitely be bidding on one or both pieces.
I encourage you to flip over to the gallery page of this feature (via the link below, or by clicking any image) and take a look. It's not the same as being there, but you'll get an idea of the breadth if artwork on display, and the enthusiasm of the fans in attendance. Though few could compete in terms of dedication with these two Yunas, who weren't attending together, but still graciously posed for the RPGFan Camera(™). Thanks ladies! (and sorry I didn't catch your names!)