In 2001, Square Enix decided to release a CGI movie called Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and while the title had absolutely nothing to do with Final Fantasy, it was visually stunning and helped inspire what would become one of the most popular video game series. The series in question is Mass Effect, which was heavily influenced by The Spirits Within according to art director Derek Watts.
Speaking to Xbox World 360 Magazine, Derek had high praise for the 2001 movie and what it meant for Mass Effect.
Yeah, you know we actually reference a lot from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. We used a lot of their GUIs and the way they did their ship – that was kind of like in some of the early designs for the Normandy.
Our attack helicopters are loosely based off that movie. There’s some great stuff, especially their glowing GUI screens; we used those a lot. I keep a folder of that stuff and I still actually tell the guys ‘just go back and look at that. Change it like that!’
If you go back and look at the two side by side you can definitely see the similarities between the two, and while the movie wasn’t a blockbuster, we have to thank Square Enix on this one because Mass Effect has quickly become one of the bestsellers this generation.
Mass Effect 3 launches next March for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.