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Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
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Author Topic: Cutesy-ness  (Read 6206 times)
Dice
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« on: March 31, 2007, 01:18:07 AM »

I was browsing wicked-pedia (wikipedia), and did soem reading on the Castlevania series after playing Portrait of Ruin.
One of the first things you notice abotu the game is the fact the artist who so beautifully visualized Symphony of the Night [and others] is nowhere to be found.  A shame too, because (IMO) the artist really captured a dark yet beautiful feel to a series about Vampires.

I know its a bad idea to look to Wikipedia for fact, but this could potentially be true, and thought I'd share it.
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"While Kojima's style continues to enjoy success in the Castlevania franchise, it was notably excluded from both Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (2005) and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (2006), which feature simpler, anime-style designs. In an interview with game development website Gamasutra, Producer Koji Igarashi explains the new aesthetic as an attempt to attract a younger audience to the franchise.[10]


For shaaaame.
I could see the need to attract younger audiences, but way to step it down.  I don't know.  THere just seems to be a lot of this cute stuff going around.  FFTA, Trusty Bell, Chocobo's friggin' Picture book.  I hate spreading hate or dislike for a subject too long.  But I've been playing less and less JRPGs (and role plays games in general for that matter) and more X360 and the not.  I miss the good ol' mature thing or two happening in games.  Please tell me its just me, and I've accidently skipped passed a good gory (or more lack of better words) and mature game.

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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 01:31:52 AM »

Ayami Kojima is the ONLY Castlevania artist as far as I'm concerned.  The new art doesn't look like Castlevania at all.
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Eusis
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2007, 01:33:38 AM »

It's true, I recall reading it on... I believe 1up. And yeah, though games like Trusty Bell are fine to me (it's going for something distinctive there at least), stuff like PoR and fucking FFTA2 is just obnoxious. I'm pretty tired of how JRPGs seem to be failing to grow up with the player bases that started with the 8-bit and 16-bit games... Probably regressing if anything. Stuff like MegaTen's just the exception unfortunately.

Ah well. There'll be stuff like Mass Effect at least. :P

Edit: Actually, what bugs me more in the case of CV are the lame anime cliches that came along with the art style. Hammer became one of the most obnoxious characters I've ever seen in a video game, and it pisses me off to hear Charlotte go "you should be working harder!" after you beat the god damned game. Slave driving bitch, I swear.
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Sagacious-T
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2007, 02:04:39 AM »

Those Japanese love appealing to the teens. I still catch myself saying Tidus instead of Vaan :/
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2007, 02:58:18 AM »

I don't think they were trying to "step it down" or anything, so much as appeal to a broader audience. Where you might think that anime is "cutesy" in some way, place the Castlevania art next to say, Spirited Away. It's not cutesy, nor childish compared. However, it is of a markedly different style, and simplified down to cell shading for a purpose.

If I may borrow from Scott McCloud for a moment; Anime-style drawing tends to allow the player to put themselves in the place of the characters. This is done through the simplification of features -- making them more generic so that the player or reader can impress his or her own aspects on the character. Kojima's art does not allow for this (though do not confuse this with criticism).

Even if it isn't for that reason, the anime look is far more mass-appealing both in the East and the West than Kojima's realism. Why? Because it's far more pop-culture, especially using what I would consider an utterly vanilla approach to cel-shaded art. I'm loath to call it 'anime-style' because that would be marking anime down as a style, when in reality it's a larger umbrella than that.

Now I agree, it's extremely vanilla. Why they did it is probably mass appeal. It has less to do with children so much as the general consumer who doesn't really care for Kojima's realism. Consider that a typical shoujo-manga fan may be put off by typical American-style comic books, or that someone who's an Abstract art enthusiast would utterly scoff at Realism. It depends on your market.

Castlevania is marketed to a Japanese audience first, an American audience second. The Japanese are used to rendering with line, while Western audiences are used to drawing with volume. Kojima's art falls further towards the Western view of art. While one might ask the question "why market differently? The old way was fine!", you really need to go talk to someone who's been part of a marketing division. Some people are batshit insane, and others just want to see if they can grab even MORE with a new tactic than with the tried and true.

But to be succinct, while I understand why something may be done: Fuck the anime look, it doesn't work for Castlevania.
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Eusis
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2007, 03:10:03 AM »

Outside of PoR's intro movie, I really think using 'cel shaded' to describe a drawing is akin to saying a picture of landscape is computer generated: You're calling item A by a term used for when item B copies item A (close enough in this case), and that just makes it sound ridiculous as hell. I think I'd just use the term animu for this. :P
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Raze
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2007, 04:25:39 AM »

I'll give it credit for one thing. I do like that Jonathan Morris wasn't near as bad on the prettyboy scale as the heroes usually are(He is in that art, but they didn't go with that hair in the final version). I remember playing SoTN back when I was a teenager and my mom asking if Alucard was a witch. Less androgyny is definantly welcome.

 Though that said I really don't think anime style works for castlevania. The normal anime style just doesn't do dark and creepy. It's bright and colorful. And bright and colorful just doesn't work for Dracula.
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Losfer
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2007, 05:35:52 AM »

Fucking selling out.

Next thing you know, Solid Snake will have his own collect and battle mech card game.  He'll use special secret ops C.A.R.D.s (Complex Attack Radical Droids) to train and battle against Liquid Snake and Gas Snake in one on one duels and sometimes D.U.O.s (Destroying Uber Orders) where he will team up with Meryl.

The fellows who animated Digimon will step in and suddenly Solid Snake will be a 12 year old voiced by the chick who does Ash Ketchum.  The music will be done in the style of Avril Lavigne's H I T S attracting a larger crowd for a fanbase.

Each box of Choco Pops will contain ONE free C.A.R.D. and every one hundredth box will contain one free R.A.R.E (Really Awesome Really Expensive) C.A.R.D. thusly adding to the spending frenzy.

Anime, manga, face paints, cheese cakes, action figures, real dolls, pillow cases, hand helds, multi platforming, boxing gloves, cod pieces...  All of the current trends will become included within the franchise, totally maximizing the fanbase and thusly profit!!!!!

...

The new art style for Castlevania isn't even GOOD looking anime.
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Alisha
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2007, 05:36:07 AM »

that guy in the picture looks nothing like this:


i need to get back into the series i think bloodlines was the last one i played.
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Eusis
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2007, 05:37:23 AM »

Quote from: "Alisha"
that guy in the picture looks nothing like this:
http://darkalisha.homestead.com/files/johnmorris.jpg

i need to get back into the series i think bloodlines was the last one i played.

They shared the same name, as I recall. John Jr basically.
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Aelph
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2007, 06:56:11 AM »

Quote from: "Losfer"
Next thing you know, Solid Snake will have his own collect and battle mech card game.  He'll use special secret ops C.A.R.D.s (Complex Attack Radical Droids) to train and battle against Liquid Snake and Gas Snake in one on one duels and sometimes D.U.O.s (Destroying Uber Orders) where he will team up with Meryl.


Oh, but just imagine how well Top Trumps: Manhunt will sell...!

I commented yesterday on how the 'cuteness' of the FFTA2 characters didn't bother me much, but I'll join the masses here: that's a step down for Castlevania art. Castlevania is one of the few series I've been following for a large part of my gaming life, and I've loved the artwork for the past few years. It fit with the way I viewed the series; there's some dark, wonderfully fantastical stuff in there, and the art reflected that.

What's the rating on Portrait of Ruin? Teen, isn't it? I guess I can see wanting to appeal to a young(er) market, but Castlevania is one of those series that most people I know who game will want to play -- and they're all older than 'teen'. Then again, if they're going to buy it anyway, why not change the artwork to try to attract a different demographic?

I'm not particularly sold on it, but... eh. Maybe they'll go back for the PSP release of Rondo of Blood/Symphony of the Night.
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Tria
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2007, 09:04:42 AM »

I don't like the new art at all either.  It's just all of that cliched anime crap that I have seen everywhere else.  Changing it to help garner more fans may be understandable, but I wished they only did that with like...Castlevania spinoffs or something.  Not the big-name ones.  Both Portrait of Ruin and Dawn of Sorrow felt very, very dull to me, and the art style is the reason why.

I seriously hope that other series' don't start doing that.  Especially the ones with already stunning character designs, such as Valkyrie Profile or something.
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2007, 09:28:38 AM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
Outside of PoR's intro movie, I really think using 'cel shaded' to describe a drawing is akin to saying a picture of landscape is computer generated: You're calling item A by a term used for when item B copies item A (close enough in this case), and that just makes it sound ridiculous as hell. I think I'd just use the term animu for this. :P


The issue is that item A doesn't have its own proper category because everyone assumes it's synonymous with a larger item A.

Or whatever vague terms we're using now. You get the point. Just because something falls under "anime" does not make it /just/ anime Technically all of Kojima's art is also "anime", just with a realistic style.


And Losfer: It's not called selling out. Selling out implies they weren't doing this for the money in the first place.
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D-Rider
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2007, 09:29:52 AM »

Fuck that hack job that's happened to the recent handhelds.  At least the Dracula X remake has that shit straightened back out.  When Dawn of Sorrow came out and I saw those Macross wannabes splayed across my screen, I thought "Well, this and Curse of Darkness came out at the same time, maybe they needed two different artists to get it done."  But then Portrait of Ruin came out and shot my theory to hell. :P

Targeting a younger audience for a series that has you killing a horde of undead, demons, and other miscellaneous wild beasts?  Shut the fuck up.
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Tlonuqbar
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2007, 02:24:12 PM »

Macross wannabes? LOL.

I mean, I see your point, but Haruhiko Mikimoto's artwork is nowhere NEAR as bad as the Castlevania DS artwork.

Here is an example of Mikimoto's Macross art:

If you think that this is not representative of his typical art, do a google image search with his name.

Even though his characters have "anime faces" his overall art style is much more in common with Ayami Kojima's than it is with whoever did the CV DS games.
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