|Birth name||野村 哲也|
October 8, 1970 |
|Field||Video game director, character design, illustration, video game designer, graphic designer Penciller Inker|
Tetsuya Nomura (野村 哲也 Nomura Tetsuya , born October 8, 1970) is a Japanese video game director and character designer working for Square Enix (formerly Square). He first started work designing Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI and has also been the character designer of various games, debuting in Final Fantasy VII. Additionally, Nomura debuted as video game director for the Kingdom Hearts series starting in 2002 and was also the director for the CGI film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
Nomura received the "Excellence in Visual Arts" award by the International Game Developers Association for his work in the first Kingdom Hearts game, alongside Shinji Hashimoto. In IGN's "The Top 100 Video Game Creators of all Time" Nomura was listed at number 84.
In the early 1990s, Square hired him to work as a debugger for Final Fantasy IV and following it as a monster designer for Final Fantasy V and then as the graphic director in charge of monster designs for Final Fantasy VI.
Nomura's most notable work came in 1995, when Square asked him to be the character designer for Final Fantasy VII to replace Yoshitaka Amano. Nomura has expressed that Final Fantasy VII was hindered by graphical limitations, and as such his designs were very plain in comparison to his real style. He also took part in the making of various parts from the gameplay and plot. It was a critical and commercial success. In 1998, he worked on both Parasite Eve and Brave Fencer Musashi. In 1997, Nomura worked on Final Fantasy VIII, a game that achieved commercial success, where he returned as the character designer. Nomura worked alongside art director Yusuke Naora in making characters more realistic, an approach requested by director Yoshinori Kitase. Additionally, he was the battle visual director, in charge of designing sequences from the game's fight. Afterwards, Nomura worked on several other different projects for Square (now Square Enix), as a character designer in Ehrgeiz for the PlayStation which also used characters from Final Fantasy VII in 1998.
During 2001 he was the character designer for the beat 'em up The Bouncer before returning to character designing for the Final Fantasy series with Final Fantasy X in 2001. Nomura also worked with the staff so that characters' clothes would be identical in full motion scenes and in-game parts unlike in Final Fantasy VIII, During February 2000, he started working as the director for the development of Kingdom Hearts with the production team consisting of over one hundred members from both Square and Disney Interactive. Nomura first heard of the game during a discussion between Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi regarding the use of the character of Mickey Mouse in a video game. Nomura was inspired to work in Kingdom Hearts by Nintendo's video game Super Mario 64. After discussing with the Disney staff, Nomura convinced them to use original characters with Nomura also working as the character designer. The game's protagonist, Sora, became Nomura's favorite character he designed so far. Following Kingdom Hearts, Nomura worked once again in the Final Fantasy series including Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy X-2.
For the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII metaseries which featured new titles based on Final Fantasy VII, Nomura was once again the character designer. Various returning characters were recreated due to their lack of appearances in Final Fantasy VII as well as to be similar to other recurring characters they are related. He first worked in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII released during 2004.
A sequel to Kingdom Hearts started development around the completion of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, an international version which added more foreshadowing elements regarding the series' plot. Nomura continued his work in the Kingdom Hearts series with Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance in 2004. Nomura originally planned to directly work in the PlayStation 2 sequel Kingdom Hearts II. However, desire from fans to play the original game in a portable console resulted in the creation of Chain of Memories which would bridge the gap between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.
He also directed the CGI animated film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children which was released on 2005 in Japan and in North America on April 25, 2006, and also wrote some of the lyrics that appear on the soundtrack. This was also Nomura's film debut, and he re-designed the characters as well. Nomura joined the Square crew after producer Yoshinori Kitase called him. Nomura agreed to direct the project, largely in part because of his attachment to the character of Cloud Strife. He split the role of directing with Takeshi Nozue. On April 16, 2009, Square released a director's cut of the film which added new content to original film.
Kingdom Hearts II was later released in 2005 resolving the elements foreshadowed in the first game's secret ending. As a result of being set a year after previous titles, Nomura was careful to make the plot accessible to newcomers. After Square Enix finished development of the updated versionKingdom Hearts II Final Mix+, Kingdom Hearts producer Nomura was approached by Disney who expressed interest in a sequel. Nomura said "We have various ideas, but we're not at the point where we can say that." Wishing to stop using the character of Sora temporarily, Nomura instead wished to continue the series with games that explained different subplots. This resulted in the creation of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS in 2008 which explored events that set the story of Kingdom Hearts II. In mid-2007, Nomura mentioned a desire to create a spin-off Kingdom Hearts game on a mobile platform and wanted it to play slightly different than other titles in the series. The resulted was Kingdom Hearts coded, a game set after the events of Kingdom Hearts II, which was later remade for the Nintendo DS in 2010.
In the meantime he was also responsible for the complete designing and orchestration of The World Ends with You for the Nintendo DS. In 2009, he was also the main character designer of Final Fantasy XIII. The graphics capabilities of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 compared to previous consoles allowed Nomura to use more complex elements in the character designs than before, such as Lightning's cape and detailed facial features. This in turn meant that the art team had to do much more work for each character or area than in previous games. Nomura did not take an involved role in the creation of the non-playable characters. In 2008, he was the character designer of Dissidia Final Fantasy. Dissidia Final Fantasy was originally envisioned by director Nomura as a Kingdom Hearts spin-off featuring a cast of Disney characters. Nomura later felt uncomfortable with the Disney characters fighting each other and instead opted to use Final Fantasy characters. Nomura was responsible for the character designs, which changed much of the look and style of Yoshitaka Amano's illustrations.
During 2010, Square released Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, a prequel of the first Kingdom Hearts that explained scenes shown in Kingdom Hearts II and its updated version. In early 2011 Square released a follow up to Dissidia titled Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. The game carried several ideas Nomura had ever since early development such as the inclusion of new characters and new gameplay mechanics. For the 2011's Final Fantasy XIII-2, Nomura only created the characters' faces as other members the staff designed their clothes. Once the Kingdom Hearts coded remake was released, Nomura and his companions already had thought to release Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, a game that would set the events of Kingdom Hearts III. The game was released for the Nintendo 3DS owing to the team's positive reaction to the console's quality. Nomura confirmed that he would be considering what he called a "HD Technical Test" in order to commemorate the series' tenth anniversary and to entice players new to the series. This occurred on March 3, 2012 in the form of a premiere event where footage from the game, including its full CGI introduction sequence, was showcased to celebrate the game's release.
During May 2012, Nomura revealed he was still working as the director of Final Fantasy Versus XIII as well as a new Kingdom Hearts game that has yet to be announced by Square Enix. Although development of Final Fantasy Versus XIII started in November 2005, it did not enter 100% production power until September 2011. In June 2013 at E3 2013 it was revealed that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had shifted to next gen consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One and would be rebranded as Final Fantasy XV.
Yoshitaka Amano had been considered by Nomura as one of his biggest influences when doing artworks for the games. His four "seniors" that also were major influences include Yoshinori Kitase, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hiroyuki Ito and Tetsuya Takahashi. Ito's work as a battle system designer inspires him when thinking of the gameplay system for the Kingdom Hearts games. When designing characters, Nomura wants their names and outfits be related with their personalities. An example occurs in Final Fantasy X where the protagonist Tidus was given a colorful uniform in order to reflect his cheerful personality and contrast previous moody Final Fantasy characters. His name is also related with the one from Yuna, another character appearing in the game, with the former being Okinawan for "Sun" and the latter Okinawan for "night". Various characters such as Squall Leonheart and Lulu are given multiple accessories, making the games more challenging for the programmers.
When directing Advent Children, Nomura explained how the film was different from Western films due to the lack of direct answers from the plot. He added that he wants viewers to interpret certain scenes themselves and then discussing them with friends as another way to enjoy the film. The same occurs within the Kingdom Hearts series where the scenes that show unknown characters are left to the player's imagination until the following reveals it.
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