Come for the fire-breathing dragon vs. Dragoon action, stay for the iconic victory fanfare.


Heavy snowfall may be a rare event here at SoraNews24 headquarters in Tokyo, but it’s par for the course up in Sapporo, the largest city on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. Sub-zero temperatures are so consistent that the city annually hosts the Sapporo Snow Festival, which kicked off in earnest on Monday, the first day when all three venues within the city opened their displays to the public.

The most dynamic sculptures can be found in Odori Park, which runs through the center of the city. Waiting for visitors at the Odori 4-chome block is an approximately 15-meter (49.2-foot) tall scene from video game Final Fantasy XIV, showing a fierce dragon about to do battle with a brave armored Dragoon, as the franchise calls its armored, spear-wielding warriors. Also present is a magical crystal, a recurring motif which shows up in multiple Final Fantasy installments.

But though the detail on the sculpture, made with the support of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces 11th Artillery Unit (Mechanized), is impressive, it’s a little startling to see Final Fantasy art in pure white, given the series’ penchant for lushly colorful game graphics. Plus we know the dragon and Dragoon are going to have to fight, right? So to solve both of those problems, there’s a jaw-dropping two-and-a-half-minute projection mapping show, complete with dramatic audio.

▼ And yes, the Final Fantasy victory fanfare is part of the audio package.

While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen awesome Final Fantasy projection mapping, what makes this especially amazing is that the ice sculpture is far more complex and multi-contoured than the sort of buildings and other structures that are usually used as projection-mapping canvases. The results are incredible, imparting the battle with a real sense of kinetic drama despite the fact that the warrior and mythical beast remain completely motionless throughout their duel.

This is actually the second year in a row for Final Fantasy projection mapping at the event, following a Final Fantasy VII tribute in 2017.

The Sapporo Snow Festival runs until February 12. Considering the positive response the Final Fantasy XIV display is getting, hopefully the franchise will be part of the event again in 2019. Granted, there’s no sequel game planned for release between now and then, but considering how many characters are part of the collected casts of Final Fantasy, designers shouldn’t have any trouble finding an attractive face from the series to recreate in snow.

Source: Twitter/@ciari_snow via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@ FF_XIV_JP

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s hoping for a giant snow Chocobo in 2019.