Tetsuya Nomura is no stranger to bold styles.
The acclaimed artist, designer and director has created some of the game’s most distinctive and stylish characters, including Final Fantasy VIICloud Strife and Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series.
His last game, NEO: The world ends with you, is the long-awaited sequel to the 2007 role-playing game that sees players compete in the deadly Reaper’s Game that spans seven days. Every morning brings new challenges and chances to rack up points against other teams – think Hunger games meets Persona 5. The street style of the Shibuya and Harajuku districts of Tokyo is a key part of the character design and the story; your character’s clothing choices can even influence combat.
Nomura says he didn’t have to look far for inspiration for one of the returning characters in the RPG sequel.
“In the Minamimoto design of the original TWEWY, everything – his hat, his boots, his pants, his outerwear – is based on something I actually own, âhe says. Reverse.
Reverse spoke with Nomura as well as NEO: The world ends with you character designers Gen Kobayashi and Miki Yamashita on the challenges and opportunities of designing street clothes, the play pieces they want for their real-world wardrobes, and why two characters have swapped faces halfway through. development.
The interview below has been edited for clarity and brevity.
What are the advantages and challenges of designing contemporary streetwear clothing as opposed to something for a high fancy setting?
Nomura: I also designed a lot for Final Fantasy, but I never really distinguished between the modern and the fantastic. The technology has improved so much that even for these Final Fantasy designs I would have to specify what material they would wear. Even for high fantasy designs, I was the kind of designer who incorporated more modern elements.
That being said, for the fantastic designs, we can differentiate the designs by the overall silhouette, so something like armor. So, I’m going to put this as part of something that we don’t see in everyday life.
For the present day, it is much more difficult to differentiate the designs. This is the main difference I see between the two.
Kobayashi: So when you look at modern fashion, the reference material that I use is sold everywhere around me. These are the clothes I wear every day. But because that’s what everyone is wearing, people will be scrutinizing the details if something looks a little odd. So we really have to be very particular and careful with the design, to be sure that we create a good balance with the fashion and the character themselves.
Yamashita: This is pretty much my first time doing character design. So I never had any experience with high fantasy characters, but it was difficult to choose different fashion items and put them together while trying to make sure that each character’s personality shines through their clothing.
If you could add a garment designed for NEO: The world ends with you to your actual wardrobe, which one would it be?
Nomura: It is in fact the reverse! In the Minamimoto design of the original TWEWY, everything – his hat, his boots, his pants, his outerwear – is based on something that I actually own.
Kobayashi: So it’s not something that I personally want to wear, but the hoodie that Shoka wears in this title is something that Nomura designed. I think this is a very cute design that would be very popular if it existed in real life.
Yamashita: I also really like the Mr. Mew hoodie that Shoka wears. Looking at this upcoming title, there is a lot of clothing that we think can be replicated in real life. The Rindo hoodie has already been turned into a real product.
Each of the Wicked Twisters has a remarkable color in their designs. What do these colors tell us about their personality?
Kobayashi: In general, when we design characters, we don’t design them all at the same time. So, depending on the order they’re designed, we need to make sure we’re not overlapping any existing characters.
When we look at Fret, just because of his kind of carefree nature, I wanted to go with a very bright and bright color for him. Her signature color is pink, but it didn’t start that way. We actually did some trial and error with different colors.
Yamashita: Nagi is actually the opposite of Fret and Rindo. He’s a bit more of a low-key character, who can’t fit into a social environment as easily as the other two. Considering this, we decided to go for cooler and cooler colors in its design.
Nomura: Minamimoto’s original color was black, so there really wasn’t any other option!
Has any of the characters changed significantly from the first concepts?
Nomura: I asked Kobayashi-san and Yamashita-san to send me the rough designs they created, so that I could review them and give feedback if needed. For some characters, we basically had to swap their designs.
Kobayashi: So there are two characters in this title. Ayano and Kanon. They are a Reaper and a participant in the game, respectively. But at the very beginning of the design, their appearances were upside down from what we have in the final version. So these were characters that I was designing first, but once we decided to swap their looks, I handed it over to Yamashita-san to make further tweaks and tweaks.
Yamashita: Originally, Kanon was a character in his teens. But now she was going to be a character in her twenties, more of a grown woman. So we had to change his stature and also make his fashion a little more mature. Through trial and error and after a few iterations, I was finally able to get the green light and finalize the design.
How would you describe the fashion scenes of Shibuya and Harajuku?
Nomura: Shibuya sits right in the middle of Shinjuku and Harajuku, both in terms of the overall design aesthetic and the age range of the people here. In Shinjuku, you see a little older, a little more mature people, and it’s portrayed in their own way. Harajuku has more young people, and this is represented in their fashion.
Shibuya sort of falls in the middle of these two, and that’s why I asked for Ayano and Kanon’s conceptions to be swapped. The fashion that we see in these cities is really related to the age range of the inhabitants.
NEO: The world ends with you arrives on PS4 and Nintendo Switch on July 27.