When Square Enix is making heroines, it might start with the character's back story or her role in the story. For example, in Final Fantasy XIII, the initial concept for protagonist Lightning was a "strong woman".
FFXIII director Motomu Toriyama tells Japanese game mag Famitsu, "it was personality-based instead of plot-driven." Then Toriyama says the heroine's personality traits are written down and solidified before giving them to character designer Tetsuya Nomura.
"We always try for unique worlds in the FF series, so we don't base characters off of real people or anything like that," Toriyama says, "but since there are so many games in the series, it's always a trial to ensure that new characters don't overlap with previous ones."
Wonder if this is also true for antagonist characters like Lieutenant Colonel Jihl Nabaat (pictured). Or maybe they start with neckties...