Here’s comic artist Nikolas Draper-Ivey’s take on the main cast of Final Fantasy VII.
Re-imagining this game is nothing new, but Draper-Ivey’s designs here don’t go changing anyone’s outfit. Instead, by altering the race of each character, they show that everything iconic about this cast has to do with their original designs, haircuts and weapons, not the colour of their skin.
They’re also a response to a particular type of internet shithead, as he writes on his Facebook page:
Recently, it was brought to my attention that some people on my page had a problem with me drawing black people because I, a black man, was drawing far too many of them (and not as stereotypes or tropes) when I’m known for having diverse character designs in the first place. This struck me as odd because there is literally no problem with me drawing characters of other backgrounds any other time, but the moment I start to draw us in a way that doesn’t make us look like the same stereotypes you’re used to seeing, it’s a problem? Check yourself.
I literally got asked, “Do you ever draw white people?” And “You only draw black guys. Why?” In the same morning and I’m like, “Oh so this is a PROBLEM now?” Anyone that has seen my work knows that I draw people from all over. That said, there IS a conscious decision to represent my people in a way that is just and equal to how every other race has been represented since like...forever. Don’t come at me for actually taking the time and effort to show us in positive light.
If me drawing people of color as characters and not stereotypes and over used tropes offends you, then get ready to hate my black ass then, because I’m not about to sit by and let us not be represented in a respectful, uplifting and positive light anymore and if you don’t like it well.... Too bad. But since it was an issue with me drawing my own heroes of color, I decided to do other heroes and villains from a game I’m fond of and make them people of color.... I specifically chose FFVII because it’s already a diverse cast and to Square Enix’s credit, you could literally tell the same story with these designs. Enjoy.
You can see more of Draper-Ivey’s art at his Facebook page.