What I liked the most about Final Fantasy games is that every new entry had its own unique art direction. Borrowing from different periods and cultures in real life to create fantastical settings.In terms of the FF aesthetic, what do people prefer? The gritty futuristic Midgar setting from FF7, or the more fantasy based FF9? I've always preferred the latter, possibly because it creates more of a sense of escapism and wonderment
Not sure when some fans started boxing things as either sci fi vs medieval or futuristic vs steampunk. The mainline games draw inspiration from a variety of unique source for art direction.
FFVII- borrowed from cyberpunk, dieselpunk, Eastern European culture
FF VIII- borrowed from French culture, futurism, greek culture, modern era.
FFIX- borrowed from Elizabethan era and European cultures, steampunk, industrial revolution.
FFX- borrowed from South East Asian & Pacific Islander cultures. WIth an emphasis on religion & spirituality
FFXII- borrowed from Mediterranean & Arabic cultures, Art Deco era, medieval Europe & Moorish era.
FFXIII- has arguably the most futuristic art direction thus far. Borrows elements form Catholic religious imagery.
FF XV- with a 'fantasy based on reality' motif, it borrowed a lot from contemporary cultures on Earth. Modern day Tokyo, Americana subculture, Italian & Cuban culture.
With FFXVI I hope they draw inspiration from other interesting cultures & subcultures. Taking on new themes that we haven't see in previous FF games.