KH3 Ultimania: Interview with Toru Yamazaki (Art Director: Characters)
DISCLAIMER: This is only a tentative translation. It is possible there are mistakes.
Previously worked on: KH2, KH Re:CoM, KH BbS, KH BbS FM, KH3D, KH 1.5, KH 2.5, KH 2.8, FFXI, Brave Fencer Musashi 2: Blade Master, Final Fantasy Legend II
Q: What kind of exchanges did you have with the staff responsible for the modeling of each character?
A: In the case of creating the character models and expressions, the staff and I always encouraged each other while doing our work. In any case, there's a full lineup of characters who have a leading role in each world, and the methods of expression for each of them is different, so we had to create a really huge amount [laughs].
Q: Which characters were difficult to create?
A: In Toy Box and Monstropolis, we constantly went back and forth in a process of trial and error with Pixar on [the designs of] Sora, Donald and Goofy. In Toy Box it was how to deal with the edges and the placement of the screws, and in Monstropolis it was the shape of the horns and placement of the eyes, so you can really acutely feel how fixated on it Pixar was.
Q: Please tell us if you used any references from past works in the series, or if there was anything you thought about changing.
A: We made the KH-original characters modeled in keeping with past works, but Nomura instructed us to give them a more realistic impression, too. It would make me happy if all the players could come to like the reborn characters, who still have their old impressions.
Q: Please tell us the point you fussed over the most.
A: The townspeople who appear in several of the worlds. In order to create a deeper, more expansive feeling for the worlds, I made models with different expressions in different places.
Q: What parts of this production do you especially want us to see?
A: The Keyblade transformations, which are made up of models, motion, materials, and effects brought together by each action. Watching them is really fun, so please play while changing out various Keyblades.
BONUS! "A secret about the game only you know"
When production began, the demo image that Visualworks (note: Square's video production studio) made for us of The Caribbean was so well done that I mistook it for a real photo. Disney asked if it could be recreated on a real machine, and when the person in charge said firmly "it can be, with a 20% reduction" my eyes shot wide open in shock.