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An interview with character designer Kazuyuki Hoshino

10 August; Author: TRiPPY

Listen to the Kazuyuki Hoshino interview MP3
[PLAY] – Kazuyuki Hoshino interview 2013

Summer of Sonic 2013 – Kazuyuki Hoshino interview
Special thanks to Bobby Wertheim for translating

It was a Saturday. It was Summer of Sonic. It was sunny. Very sunny. London was over-run by hundreds of bicycles. Tesco Local was a warm sandwich gauntlet of death. Small hyperactive children ran around in circles outside with pointy blue hats… Oh and we spoke to the legendary SEGA artist/designer Kazuyuki Hoshino about all things NiGHTS. It's not often you get to sit down and have a jolly good chat with the Lord of Nightmares dad, so yeah! Prepare to be slightly awed by the creator of everything wonderful from Jackle to Metal Sonic!
{The following is an transcript of our short interview we have on audio recording unedited. There also exists a video version by Mr Awesome Eva who loaned us his camera, but for now have the full untouched version with the lols, rustlings, insanely obscure questions and jokes still included. As we were pressed for time and didn't get the chance to have our other interview with Iizuka san (long series/story based questions) we kind of had to just pick short questions on the fly since our plans got messed up a bit. But what we got was still very very cool.}
Also random Jun Senoue *happened* which was hilarious at the time.
Read on for the full interview:

[DiGi] Allllright! Cool.
[Hoshino-San] *spots DiGi's NiGHTS E3 T-shirt* What a great T-shirt!
[DiGi] It's hers! *laughs*
[TRiPPY] It's mine… he took it off my shelf :<
*T-shirt/camera related ramblings and interview begins*

[DiGi] Okay, so firstly, how did you end up working for SEGA and how did your career begin as an artist?
*insert comedy group harassing of translator* Come on Bobby. *fast writing*

[Hoshino-San] I actually went to an art University and always liked pictures and drawing art, I always wanted to be a designer of some sort. Now in Japan at the time games were all the rage and the Famicom was huge for example. When I was in University I wanted to and had the ambition that I want to make games and be involved in that. So in my mind I either wanted to apply for Nintendo or SEGA. Nintendo's HQ they're based in Kyoto, which is quite far away from Tokyo. Now after University when I was going through the whole job hunting phase I was asked by Nintendo to come down to Kyoto for an interview. 'Where do I have to go for this interview?' I said. *laughs* They said 'Kyoto', as at the time they didn't have a Tokyo office. So I just immediately ruled that one out because that's just -too- far away.
*laughter*
So I applied for SEGA. I passed the entrance exam and joined the design/artwork section. That was the beginning of my career.

[TRiPPY]
What is your favourite NiGHTS cameo of all time out of all the Sonic games?
*pause*

[Hoshino-San] Pinball (in Japanese).
*TRiPPY and DiGi laugh*
[DiGi] It's ok you don't need to translate that *laughter*

[DiGi] For the NiGHTS series what did you have a hand in creating? What characters were your creation? What did you create for that series?
[Hoshino-San] *starts listing character names in Japanese* But suddenly does a VERY familiar noise. This is the ingame sound effect of Elliot's voice when he jumps in the air* (wow!!)
*pause* [Hoshino- San] What's the name of the fish?
*group laughs*
[TRiPPY and DiGi] Gulpo, Gulpo.
(Translated)[Hoshino] The characters that I specifically created were Elliot, Claris, they were the playable characters that I created. You probably already know but did you know I was the voice for Elliot? I done all the the 'HYAH!' *motions*
*bemused laughter from TRiPPY and DiGi (We didn't know!)*
And also I designed all of the bosses, Puffy and all of them.

[DiGi]Jackle! I LOVE Jackle.
[TRiPPY] You're a Jackle fanboy.
[DiGi] Amazing.

*Jun Senoue suddenly walks in the room. Everyone stops and looks up. Jun pauses and waves.*
[Jun] Yo.

[TRiPPY] Hello Junnn~
[Group] Eyyyy! *laughter* /end random Jun (Is shushed by TRiPPY)

[TRiPPY] -Begins confusing question of doom about concept art- About Reala! He used to have a different design, he had a different shaped head. I think it was uh, one part Ohshima-San's design and the other part you designed and then they both came together.
[Hoshino-San] *surprised*
Can you tell us a bit about why Reala was changed because the design seemed pretty final, then he got the red and black colour scheme?
[DiGi] We seen some concept art for the first game for Reala and his design changed completely from what he was.
[TRiPPY] *laughter* He used to have earrings.
[Hoshino-San] *laughing* You know too much, you know so much.
[TRiPPY] I know – everything! *laughs*
[DiGi] Fangirl.

[Hoshino-San] So originally it was actually Ohshima-San's job to create Reala, he was designing NiGHTS. He was really struggling, so he actually asked me like 'Hey, Hoshino help me out'.
[LAUGHTER]
[TRiPPY] Do my homework for me.
[DiGi] I need a favour.
[Hoshino-San] So I was like 'Okay' and I started making some designs. So Ohshima-San basically took what he liked from the designs I made, like the nails and stuff like that.

[DiGi] Out of ALL your creations, which one would you say is your favourite and why?
[Hoshino-San] (Japanese) Wizeman.
[DiGi] Yeaaah.


Photo thanks to sonicwrecks.com


*insert Hoshino-San enthusiastically describing Wizeman by doodling on paper and mimicking his hands and cape*
(TRiPPY and DiGi fangirl mode while the translator needs new paper to write on)
[DiGi] Keep going.
[LAUGHTER]

[Hoshino-San]
In the story Wizeman is like the all knowing, all seeing, be all and end all, he is the creator of creation. He is everything. He is the ultimate god. So I really wanted to sort of scale that and represent that visually. That sort of scale of what he represents. So i took inspiration from the Buddhist statue. You know like a Buddhist statue, a typical Japanese Buddhist statue has multiple hands and they've got this sort of halo effect thing going on in the background.

[TRiPPY]
Journey of Dreams has the halo in.
[DiGi] Yes!
[Hoshino-San] It's not your sort of Christian halo though, it's like Japanese halo in the background. So I've taken inspiration from those statues for that. So he has all floating hands, *in the circle* so that's what it's forming. And instead of having a body, he's got no body but he has a cloak – and by not having a body it represents like infinity.
[DiGi] That's awesome~
[Hoshino- San] He hasn't got eyes, but he's got eyes in his hands. That's basically him, he's not looking because he hasn't got eyes, but he's seeing everything. Like he sees – everything. So it's that sort of sense of spirituality, that mythic feeling that he has, that sort of religious motif, that's what I think of, I really like that.

[DiGi] He is a great design.
*laughter*
[TRiPPY] Well done!
Wizeman in Journey of Dreams was amazing, I loved him.
*thinks* Uh, If you voiced Elliot who voiced Reala? *laughter* Does anybody know? I know how the voices were done for the game (*Anon members of Sonic Team recorded the voices during sleep overs at the office in secret)(Just because)(Sonic team)(90's!) So does anybody know?

[DiGi]Nobody knows.
[TRiPPY] Everyone asks me!
*long think*
[Hoshino-San] I'm not too sure.
[TRiPPY] I think it's better if nobody knows *laughs*
[Hoshino-San] I will ask Ohshima-San!
[TRiPPY and DiGi] Yaaay, cool.

[TRiPPY] Where any of the Nightmare designs inspired by nightmares in your own dreams?
[Hoshino-San] Well from when I was a student I was always interested in dreams and what it meant, what it could mean. I read up a lot about it, the philosophy and academic side of what others think of it, like Freud and Jung. So that's what really I was basing it all around. But it turned out, different, what we were concepting at first was quite a difficult and academic thing to grasp. Ohshima-San wanted to implement a more entertainment based, feeling of festivity, of almost like a circus. So it really transferred from being a really academic point of view to start with- to a more light-hearted entertainment colourful and flashy sort of thing. So anyone should be able to understand. It's more sort of mass acceptable entertainment content. Then, with it being a very evil world as well, rather than it being being based specifically on my experiences.

*End of interview ramblings, signing and nattering*

Thank you Hoshino-San for a great and funny interview! :) Thank you everyone for your questions. Don't be disheartened if your question didn't get asked this time because I'll try to get everything answered eventually by those in the know.

 

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