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Author Topic: what kinds of character design appeal to you?  (Read 2860 times)
Lucid
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« on: April 28, 2007, 07:48:29 PM »

Personally, I've always been down with characters who have a simpler, not so elaborate look to them. Characters like Adol Christin(Ys) or the characters in FFT. Suikoden I've admired for their realistic use of aesthetic, in that the characters who do dress elaborately usually have a cultural or story based reason for looking so(as with the prince in Suikoden V). Games such as the recent Tales of Abyss also had creative use in design, but kept it fairly simple   in the look of its characters. Maybe it's from growing up old school where characters seemed less fanciful, and more tactile in the way they dressed or appeared, but the less bells and whistles, the better.

Designs that don't really appeal to me, are like some more current games such as Xenosaga with its goofy looking anime designs(kosmos was absurd looking, especially when you consider who she is supposed to be.), the FFTA games with their crazy clothes Weird hairstyles don't usually do it for me either.

Also, how important is character design to you, when thinking of a game you haven't played, and you see the characters first. Can the designs turn you off?
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2007, 08:46:34 PM »

Interesting question. I've not noticed one particular style that I'm attatched to. I'm not a fan of ultra-deformed chibby, because it can become very distracting. Then again, Final Fantasy VI falls into that catagory, and I have no problem with it, at all. I guess that particular style doesn't really matter as much as it seems inspired and fits with what the authors are attempting to do.

You mentioned Tales of the Abyss. I'll agree that the intended style works, although I have problems with the execution... I think that particular style would have come across much better, had it been cellshaded... sorta like less deformed versions of Tales of Symphonia, or Trusty Bell. The textured poly usage was pretty piss-poor in Abyss, IMO. Lots of graphical issues in that game. Thankfully the characters, writing, and VA made up for all of that.

I loved Okami, and I loved FF8, which are practically complete extremes, graphically. I think the big-head/big-eyes thing works (a tradition in animation) because it allows for more detailed emtional expression... but I don't think it's always neccessary.

As for Suikoden, I think that's one series that really needs to work on its emotional expression. I loved SuikoV, but it still felt a bit cold and unemotional at times... which the series has a bit of a problem with, as a whole. They're getting better at it, but they've got a ways to go.
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2007, 08:46:36 PM »

Character designs won't turn me off to a game (I've play tons of games with fucking ugly, stupid characters), nor can they turn me on to a game. However, I thought that the simple look and style of the characters in the original FFT were cool. Plus, they worked well in the context of the game because they were easily recognizable on the battlefield, and also their lack of defining features made them seem more like replacable grunt soldiers.

Recently I completed Mazes of Fate for GBA. Excellent game, but if you want to talk about some lousy character art...
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2007, 02:12:35 AM »

I think Tales of the Abyss had shitty graphics to compensate the fact that its one disc.  Namco is EASILY capable of doing better (hell, look athe the Xeno series).
...methinks.

Anyways!

I'm kinda getting tired of this pretentious modern-esque look (best examlified by Tetsuya Nomura's crap, espcially for What a Wonderful World).  

I'm kinda at clashes otherwise.  I hate heavy-duty anime looks, but I adore the Persona 3 artist.  I love new-world (1800's-esque) designs, but I hate this path FFTA is on (FFT was boss, though).

So long as the art is executed beautifully... than no biggie.

-The Drakengard artist succesfully combines anime with realism...thumbs up.
-The Castlevania artist makes a concept like beautiful men actually appealing.
-The Tales of artist, Fujishima, takes his heavy0duty anime style (which many seem to like less and less lately) into something that is very creative and fantstic.

I think its really important for a game's art style to match what its representing.  For example, while I normally would hate Okami for its cell shading and cartoon-y look, the fact that it was designed to look like an old Japanese painting wins my favor (as well as many, many others').
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2007, 05:52:10 AM »

Right on... Dice. Cell shading... cell shading is a double-edged sword. I don't think it's been used very well, but Okami really went to bat with it, and became my favorite game, graphically, from the very beginning. I think Tales of Symphonia was also very stunning, graphically, with a lush combination of prestine texture-based and cell-shaded animation. Wild Arms 3 and Dark Cloud 2, on the other hand, did a terrible job, and basically used cell-shading as simply a way of cutting down on processor cycles, instead of using it for what it could do.

All these techniques mean nothing without their intentionality. Okami showed SERIOUS intentionality and conceptualism, WA3 (as decent of a game as it was), most definitely did not.

Flipside, graphics aren't always a good indicator of how well thought-out a game is. In the case of Okami, the game turned out to be just as ingenious as the graphics presented it. But in the case of Tales of the Abyss... the whole of the game was a hell of a lot more inspiring than the graphics presented it to be (I'm gathering that you agree, to at least some extent, from the Tear avitar you wear). Many times graphics and final presentation go hand in hand, but sometimes they don't.
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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2007, 07:13:37 AM »

Quote from: "Dice"
I think Tales of the Abyss had shitty graphics to compensate the fact that its one disc.  Namco is EASILY capable of doing better (hell, look athe the Xeno series).

Games like the two GoW series are on a single disc. They could be dual layered, but even then Gears is using HD visuals and detail, so the Tales Studios don't have that excuse.

Personally, eh. I honestly do like anime-ish designs, even some of the blatantly animu-ish ones, and am fine with a lot that's out there. I just don't like the stupid kind of crap that Nomura does and seems to have spawned. I prefer they at least have some semblance of fitting what's going on, not simply wearing some clown costume the designer thought looked cool.

Edit: Related to the topic, I tend to prefer seeing handdrawn artwork of the characters shown over CGI renderings.
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 10:29:39 AM »

this is a difficult topic to answer because its hard to deferentiate between what kind of characters you like versus what kind of character design you like. but i think with good character design the two should not be seperate. a good example of this i think is lulu from ffx and fran from ffxii neither characters personality matches their attire. i actually think of the ones ive played FF8 and perhaps ff9 had the best character design. in this respect i also think wild arms 4 had good character design.
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2007, 12:25:42 PM »

I like character designs that don't look too cartoonish and don't have that fucking goggle-eyed anime look.

As such, I hate 99.9% of Japanese character designs.  That .1% is Kaneko and Kojima. :P

EDIT:  I like a few of Amano's albino abortions too...emphasis on few.  Which isn't to say he can't draw; his work on "The Dream Hunters" is great.  He just needs to learn some fucking variety. :P
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2007, 05:14:15 PM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
I just don't like the stupid kind of crap that Nomura does and seems to have spawned. I prefer they at least have some semblance of fitting what's going on, not simply wearing some clown costume the designer thought looked cool.

I've never seen a picture of Nomura... but I'm imagining him to be some kind of grotesque, disfigured being with one leg half as long as the other, an extra arm, and a second penis coming out of his ass. As no one with normal human physiology would EVER believe that his creations would actually be comfortable, or make any logical sense.
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2007, 05:37:51 PM »

Anything by Kazuma Kaneko (Shin Megami Tensei Games) is quite appealing to me. When I was younger, I thought his character designs were too minimalist and just seemed a bit off, but looking at it again, they fit perfectly with the games in which his designs are used.

I also really like the character designs in every Suikoden game with the exception of the first one. Initially I thought I really just disliked Junko Kawano's art style, but I like it a lot in Suikoden IV, so maybe it just wasn't refined enough when Suikoden I came out.
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Lilim
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2007, 09:00:12 AM »

I'll agree with liking the designs created by Kazuma Kaneko and Ayami Kojima. I'd kill for more artbooks of their collected works. Another artist I like is Kunihiko Tanaka (Xenogears and Xenosaga I designs); I found the character designs were appealing and yet quite functional.

As for Nomura, I only really liked his designs for Final Fantasy 6 & 7 and to an extent Advent Children. Otherwise, they've gotten really out of hand.

NOOJ!
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Tsi Aileron
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2007, 12:18:53 PM »

Quote from: "Lilim"
As for Nomura, I only really liked his designs for Final Fantasy 6 & 7 and to an extent Advent Children. Otherwise, they've gotten really out of hand.


Nomura is only credited for monster designs, and to an extent, Shadow and Setzer in FF6.

But, i'm a fan of Nomura's work myself, regardless of how much he's ripped off Gackt in his designs. Then again, I'm a fan of Gackt too, so I guess it all works out.
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2007, 01:41:11 PM »

My favorite type of character art is the hyper colorful (especially in the area of brightly colored hair), hyper-cutesy, big-eyed, anime loli girls who look like 8 year olds with basketball breasts that make fanboys go "waaaaaaai" and "OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!!" at the same time.  That's what character art is all about...... booyaka ooga ooga wakka chikka wow wow chikka chikka wow wow ohhhhhhh yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhh!

Just kidding.  The above is almost everything I dislike.  H games are usually the worst offenders here (surprise surprise.)  

Among Japanese character artists/designers I also like the work of Ayami Kojima and Kazuma Kaneko.  Both do character designs that are highly stylized.  Their character art is aesthetically pleasing to me.  

I dig the character designs in the H game Crescendo.  To me, the character designs in this game beautifully capture subtle essences of both Ayami Kojima and Kazuma Kaneko.  I'm a bit ambivalent on their eyes, though.  I'm not sure if the saucer-eyed look works for these characters.

I feel as if character designs like the aforementioned are timeless.  I can dig originality in character designs (i.e. those in Touch Detective) but when the novelty value wears off...
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2007, 08:24:32 PM »

I dont have a favourite type of character design, I really like to be surprised by the character and the thoughts and creativity of whoever designs them, and how they evolve through the story.
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SonicDeathMonkey
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2007, 06:31:54 PM »

Hmm, good thread....

Personally, I can actually be quite picky about what type of character designs appeal to me. Anything too cutesy or colorful is a big no, and I'm also usually not a fan of the "fairies-and-dragons" aesthetic (unless it's very well fleshed out and executed to exceptional effect). The overall "style" of a game is very important to me if I'm going to spend a lot of time with it, and we all know how time-consuming RPGs can be. Grandia II came highly recommended be several friends of mine, but I couldn't enjoy it at all (despite it's awesome combat system) because I completely disagreed with its cutesy character designs. Ugh... I don't think I've ever seen that many bright colors on a screen in my life.

A great example of the sort of character design that appeals to me would be, I hate to say it, Final Fantasy VII. I loved the gritty pseudo-realistic approach they took with that game (especially in Midgar). The first part of FFVII in Midgar is still my favorite section of any RPG I've played, and if anyone ever makes an RPG that takes place entirely in that sort of futuristic distopia, I'll be the first on that bandwagon... (the Shin Megami Tensei games seem like they may fit the bill, but I've never played them personally). FFVII is still my favorite RPG but I don't know if I'll ever play any of the new installments... FFX was OK enough but the increasingly effeminate character designs are sickening. There's just no way I would be able to enjoy a game when I don't like the way any of the characters look.

So basically, for me, the more realistic the better, be it futuristic realism i.e. FFVII or "Earthy" realism i.e. Persona or Legend of Legaia. I can play cutesy/anime-looking games, too, but only if it's 2D... I just don't like big lame-looking 3D characters on my screen when I'm trying to whoop some ass and save the world, know what I mean? It just isn't very empowering to know that I'm saving the world via an apparently-androgenous (sp) wimp. I think that's one of the main reasons I don't play many of the new RPGs these days. I don't very much like the idea of knowing exactly what everything looks like... I liked how 2D/early 3D games left more to the imagination....
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