The Nomura version of Japanese virtual idol, Hatsune Miku, is currently on display in New York until the 19th as part of a Hatsune Miku art exhibit. Asked by Weekly Famitsu in an interview, Nomura said the he had been very surprised when the offer from Crypton Future Media came to his doorstep. "When they approached me saying 'we'd like you do draw Miku,' I was taken aback. I wondered, 'why me?'" Nomura stated. "Apparently, Crypton had polled fans outside of Japan. I've been told that the design for Lightning were very popular, so I suppose that had an influence."
One of the conditions for the Nomura take on Miku was that he not change her outfit – which might explain the lack of zippers. Nomura took the assignment one step further and had Square Enix's CG movie production team, Visual Works, create a CG video of the character. "I'm a designer, not an illustrator, so I 'design to create' things." Nomura explained. "I figured that rather than completing [Miku] as just a still image, I needed her to move in order to convey [the design]."
For the CG version of Miku, Nomura focused on the design of Miku's face. "[I focused on] her mouth and eyes." Nomura noted. "By making her realistic, I expected Miku to end up more adult than people imagine her as, so I added some volume in her cheeks around her mouth and gave her what you might call 'duck lips' to give her mouth a sense of youth." As for Miku's eyes, Nomura focused on making them seem artificial. "Miku is a Vocaloid, not a human, so I intentionally made [her eyes] that way."
In other Nomura news, at this year's New York Comic-Con, his Play Arts Kai redesign of DC Comics' Catwoman was revealed. This follows the San Diego Comic-Con reveal of his original Batman design. "This Play Arts Kai Batman design was something I thought up years ago." Nomura stated. "A while ago, Warner Brothers approached us with the offer for a Batman game, and this is the design I came up with. That game never came to fruition and the design was laid to rest."
According to Nomura, Hidemi Matsuzaka, the division executive of the Square Enix Merchandizing Business Division had made a push for Nomura to be able to work outside of Japan, which led to the decision for a Variant series for the Play Arts Kai line of figures. The first move was to dig up the old Batman design and develop a figure out of it. "Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original rough designs I made, so I had to recreate the design from memory." Nomura said with a laugh.
Aside from Batman and Catwoman, there was also a small Joker card on display at Comic-Con indicating further designs to come. "This project is still ongoing, so please look forward to further news." said Nomura.
Also at New York Comic-Con, Nomura's collaboration designs for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate were announced. These designs include original male and female weapons and armor and original Felyne equipment. As these collaboration designs are for regions outside of Japan, they are not available for the Japanese Monster Hunter 4 G that was released last week. "I've publicly stated that I love the Monster Hunter series, especially the multi-player." Nomura stated. "So when I received the offer, I was honestly very happy."
"I've received several other [design] offers other than the recent announcements, and it just a coincidence that some of the announcements happened to overlap." Nomura said towards the end of the interview. "It's not that I've been focused on work outside of Japan, but people around me are constantly saying, 'you should target overseas,' so I guess the offers just came naturally."
Nomura noted that his calendar is currently booked with projects up to 2019 – something the designer seems very pleased about. "I get bored working one just one thing for a long time, and I tend to like working on all sorts of different projects." Nomura said, adding, "Of course I'll be making games as well."
It's refreshing to see Nomura, who has long been tied to Square Enix, stepping out and working in other ares. Whether this influx of non-Final Fantasy-related work has anything to do with his no longer working on Final Fantasy XV or not is pure speculation, but hopefully, some of this creative energy is being focused on Kingdom Hearts III. You don't want to keep the mouse waiting...
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