Wild Arms 3 Part 38 Interlude: Art Appreciation

Did you think we were taking a week off just because Janus died? Nope! Gotta post something on January 23, Odd Number Day. Even though half of all the numbers in this world are odd, why are odd numbers called ‘odd?’ Is it implicating that half of everything in this world is odd?

Previously on Wild Arms 3: Chapter 2 complete!


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And now that all the major players have made their appearances…

Back in the day, I always loved strategy guides. It wasn’t just about knowing what was happening/going to happen in a game, it was also about the fact that strategy guides (and their general gaming magazine cousins) were about the only place you could get “official” art of videogame characters outside of a manual. And this was huge when your protagonist was a 16 x 16 block of smeared pixels! Do you know how many different ways I tried to interpret Celes Chere back in 1994? There was Amano art of her with pants! Did her sprite have pants? Could I see them on my chiclet-sized television? A strategy guide might help!

Now, Wild Arms 3 was released in 2002, and that was well past the point that one needed a magnifying glass and guide to figure out what was going on. In fact, as has been noted before, Wild Arms 3 has some extremely detailed and expressive models. However, it never hurts to see what was “intended” by the art department, so let’s take a quick look at some official Wild Arms 3 art.

(Unlike the rest of the LP, click on any of the images in this post for a larger view)


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As was the style of the time, our first decent introduction to our team is available in the manual. I appreciate that everyone looks happy, and even Jet seems to be having a good time. Also of note…

  • Jet’s age is listed as ????, which is never not a red flag for “mysterious past”
  • Gallows is 6’ 3” and 220 lbs. He might be the most jacked mage in all of JRPG history
  • Clive is 5’ 8”, and his gun is nearly as tall as he is
  • Virginia and Jet are the exact same height. There is something about that that I find adorable


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And our villains get a page, too. While the Prophets are clearly implied to be evil, Janus seems to be described as almost heroic. Maybe aspirational? Regardless, he definitely comes off as the bad guy who eventually joins the heroes… But, as we all know now, that is not the fate for this JRPG Janus.

Maya is not mentioned in the manual at all, and that is a crime.


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Anywho, that’s it for good stuff in the WA3 manual. Just going to also note that I am not convinced that there are actual screenshots in this manual, but some kind of simulated, labor-intensive art going on. Speaking as someone who has spent the last year taking “real” pictures of Wild Arms 3, these examples do not look actually possible…

Beyond the manual, there was a Wild Arms 3 strategy guide, but I never bought it, because Wild Arms 3 came out at exactly the point in time that I was a poor college student that had to decide between purchasing strategy guides or buffalo wings for the week… And there wasn’t a free website called buffalowingfaqs.com.


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There was some free official art released on the Wild Arms website, though.


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I have had this nonsense saved as part of my pictures screen saver for the last two decades.


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I have always loved this piece, as it is the ultimate expression of something that obviously happens in the game, but is never actively seen. It’s the party pigging out! Jet looks embarrassed to be there, Gallows is grabbing everything he can, Virginia is making a show of it, and Clive is concerned about the check. I cannot be the only person that thought this was the best representation of Wild Arms 3 as a whole, as it is now the loading screen when you boot up WA3 on the Playstation 5.


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The party menaced by Prophets. Malik looks a lot more central than his actual standing, and Melody is just dancing off in the corner.


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Maya and family! Love it, but I find the truncated attempt at a consistent background there a little distracting.


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And, of course, Virginia vs. Janus. I’m kind of disappointed we never got a “getting to know you” Virginia and Janus dungeon (like with Virginia and Maya). Seemed like their respective teams kept these Drifters from truly loathing each other.

Okay! That was it for the age of Wild Arms 3’s release, but there was eventually the Wild Arms Million Memories Official Art Book.


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Wild Arms Million Memories was a mobile game released in 2018. Like with so many forgotten franchises, it was an attempt to harvest the characters across disparate games and turn them into something that could be sold to gacha addicts. It was the first (and currently last) Wild Arms game released since Wild Arms XF (basically, WA: Tactics) on the PSP in 2007. It was never translated/released in North America, and it was discontinued in February of 2020. That was a rough year….


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The plot of the game was basically that Mother of Wild Arms 1 is up to her old tricks, and, for poorly explained reasons, all the Wild Arms protagonists are on the same planet and working together to save the place. As you can see, Virginia is prominently featured.


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Though this may just be a side effect of Breath of Fire syndrome wherein main characters are often deliberately designed to echo the original main character, and Virginia breaks that mold in more ways than one.


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Oh! And Janus is featured in key art! And Maya! Maybe people just liked Wild Arms 3.


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This is a lovely two-page spread that features 66% of the main Wild Arms 2 party, a villain and hero from Wild Arms 1, and Virginia having a rough time. I feel like if Lilka and Virginia ever actually met, the sheer amount of anxiety-based optimism generated by those two could power the Yggdrasil System for decades.


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We’ve got some dedicated “character pages” in here, so let’s see official art of characters from 16 years after their conception.


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I always like when people remember that Virginia not only dual wields ARMs, but dual wields two different ARMs.


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Do you suppose it is deliberate that her dress makes a little upside-down V?


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You can see her left gun is drawn and still in the holster in Pose 4 there.


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For reasons no one can explain, this book (and presumably game) contains art of Tesla Maxwell, but not Werner Maxwell. Ostensibly, Virginia’s introduction involves her “running away from home”, but they never get around to her finding Daddy.


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Here’s some art of Virginia and Luceid. We’ll see this version of our favorite werewolf soon enough in the Let’s Play.


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Virginia may have been featured for the ol’ mobile game standby of dressing up your women for holidays. Halloween Virginia is… pretty rad, actually.


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Virginia strikes me as the last drifter on Filgaia to flash some leg, but maybe she is going to a ball with Maya. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to try to match an outfit to that woman.


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Bare shoulders? In this economy?


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Hi Jet! You’re looking very shonen today.


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I cannot stop thinking about how those bullets are extremely pointy.


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Here’s an action page that contains Jet and Virginia. Jet receives zero unique attacks or abilities in Wild Arms 3 (it is hard to illustrate “moves fast”), so they apparently enhanced his ARM for this shot. It resembles his canon cannon (check the manual shot at the top of this post), but it looks a lot more stylized here. Despite being plot relevant, Airget-Lamh is never “upgraded” visually at any point in Wild Arms 3.


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… Gallows is high as hell here, right? Just blazing it for a meeting between man(ish) and robot (kinda).


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And here is Gallows. The ongoing joke that Gallows continually strikes out with the ladies seems ridiculous when you see how this guy is 90% abs by volume.


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That one design view in the bottom right with short hair really makes our man look like T. Hawk.


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Shane is feminine to the point of parody. I realize he is supposed to be a stark contrast to his older brother, but that bow is not helping matters.


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And Granny “Hull” (I’ll save you a search, it should be “Halle”) looks like she is going to eff some ess up. I approve.


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Gallows appears about 2,000% more reasonably confident outside of his premiere game.


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Presumably because of some kind of oversight, Clive is barely featured in this mobile game/book at all. You might think he was some extraneous character, like Liz & Ard, or Shady Thousand the Schrodinger Cat. Wait! All those characters are super important, too! No wonder this game failed!


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Janearth gets more of a feature than Clive.


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I can understand why Janus works as a villain here: he is one of the few “plainclothes” Wild Arms villains. Most every other opponent in this franchise dresses like some kind of spiky weirdo.


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Or a ninja.


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Dario! Zip up that fly!


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Action shot of the last thing you see.


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Some yokel went ahead and put Janus and Ashley of Wild Arms 2 on the same page. Side by side, you can see how they look vastly different. Janus is generally merely evocative of WA2’s “hero” (loaded word in that game).


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Gimme that spear-sword.”


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Maya! It’s best girl!


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You would think the patron sainte of Wild Arms costume changes would thrive in a gacha, but she sticks to the default costume here.


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Maya is meant to be evocative of “Calamity” Jane Maxwell (no relation) of Wild Arms 1. You can see the resemblance on Jane’s featured page.


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Wild Arms 3 begat a Wild Arms 1 remake that used the WA3 engine, Wild Arms Alter Code: F. Here is Jane from that game’s official artbook.


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Back to Maya in a scene from Wild Arms 3. It… will make more sense later.


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Alfred, I appreciate the goggles, but those socks would be terrible in a desert environment.


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Yes, Todd’s official last name is “Dukakis”. And, yes, this is as dark as skin tone gets in this art book.


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Worth noting that Wild Arms 1’s Calamity Jane had her own swordsman butler, Magdalen “McDullen” Harts, too. Recolor Todd’s outfit, and you see more of a resemblance.


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I like that Shady has a scarf, so he can do that “pull down and breathe fire” thing that is all the rage.


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Leehalt Alcaste apparently has a much cooler name in Japan. Maybe it was changed so Americans wouldn’t instantly identify him as a Dick? Also, Alcahest, your robes got ripped.


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“Milady” gets a name that is not a name in any conceivable way. Also, unlike the manual art, the Prophets are barefoot(ish) here. Also also: I am not going to try to parse Melody’s chest situation.


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Malik mostly looks like some NPC that is going to tell you where to find the magical orb or something.


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This art of Asgard is really leaning into the “robot wearing a trenchcoat” motif.


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This is a physical representation of Melody’s wishes board.


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Heeeere’s Siegfried. Note that this is mostly his Wild Arms 1/Alter Code: F design. His monster arm only existed for one game, and is only revisited in that art above (with Maya) of Wild Arms 3.


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Here is Siggy distinctly from the Wild Arms Alter Code: F book. Again, his arm and spear are a lot less SoulCalibur here (though you can still make out an eyeball and some teeth on there). What was the real name of Nightmare going back to Soul Edge? Oh yeah, it was Siegfried. Probably just a coincidence.


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“Girl in Garden” of Wild Arms 3 is revisited for Million Memories. She is Florina in America, but recall that she was distinctly not named in the Japanese version of Wild Arms 3.


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And here is our dear elw from Wild Arms Alter Code: F. Can you see a bit of a resemblance?


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Marivel of Wild Arms 2 is featured in Million Memories, too.


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We are not just noting this for the fact that she is one of the best characters in Wild Arms 2. She will actually be relevant to WA3, too, eventually.

Also, she doesn’t have to dress up for Halloween. She is Halloween.


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That is the Guardian Luceid. This design seems to be based on their Wild Arms 2 incarnation, but with distinctly WA3 shading. Also note that after three games of being one of the most important (or at least interesting) guardians, Luceid would not appear again until Wild Arms XF… and even that was an extreme edge case.


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Here are some other Guardians, four out of five that we have seen in WA3. Fengalon is balding, apparently.


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Gobs! Get Virginia in here!


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And some other baddies you may recognize from Wild Arms 3. That green fellow with the arms was pretty memorable in Wild Arms 2


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All of these suckers appear in Wild Arms 3.


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And a few environments you may recognize from the Let’s Play. The Prophets were evil entirely because the Yggdrasil interior made them sick.


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And what is coming soon in Wild Arms 3? Well, how about we eventually get an airship with a pretty lizard-y motif? That sound good to everybody?


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This girl seems excited about it.

Next time on Wild Arms 3: We saved the world! What will we do for income now?!

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