Tetsuya Nomura’s Batman Figurine Came From A Canceled Videogame Project

By Spencer . July 25, 2014 . 2:34am


Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura is working on creating a Variant Play Arts Kai Batman figuring. Its origins are quite surprising, since it comes from a game project, a game concept that perhaps influenced character designs in the Kingdom Hearts series.


Nomura explained this in an interview with Siliconera at the San Diego Comic-Con this week.


Square Enix has been working with DC Comics to create Play Arts Kai figures for quite some time. How did you get involved with creating this Variant Play Arts Kai Batman figure?


Tetsuya Nomura: Many years ago, I worked on a different project and the concept and idea was kind of already there. Unfortunately, that project didn’t pan out and it never saw the light of day. When the merchandise team started expanding into the DC Comics Variant figures, they approached me and said, “We remember you drew a sort of Batman design back then. Would you be able to share that with us?”


Was this project a game?


Yeah, it was game-related. It didn’t even start development as a project, it was just a concept and ideas, not a full game. Since the project was canceled, I can’t talk much about it.


The Batman figure, especially its armor, reminds me of the Kingdom Hearts series and the armor Keyblade users wear [in Birth by Sleep].


Actually, to be honest, the project that never got off the ground was done before Kingdom Hearts was conceived. It might be the opposite—the design from that early project influenced Kingdom Hearts and armor design in that series.




The cape kind of reminds me of wings. Was that your intention?


When it comes to Batman, one of his iconic features is his cape. In my mind, I also wanted to have bat wings and the core concept was the to have bat wings exist with the cape design.


Are you working on more Play Arts Kai figures or more Variant Play Arts Kai figures with DC?


Next to the prototype of the Batman figure at our booth is another display case with a teaser. That’s also part of my project. We’d like to stay within the Batman series and we are going to have more figures coming in that line.


For the second item, the design is complete and the sculpting is done. Hopefully, we can reveal that in the near future.


[Editor’s note: The animal tracks in this photo are a clue to who it might be.]





As a character designer, what about the Batman universe do you find interesting?


I find the concept of a dark hero intriguing. Rather than having a straightforward hero fighting for justice, an iconic brooding hero with his own inner demons is an appealing part of the Batman series. The story itself isn’t a cheerful tale either, it has a dark tone which is also appealing.


How is creating a 3D game character different from designing a figure?


The design process and steps to take for figure creation and character creation in 3D are actually pretty similar. With a game character, you have a backbone and setting for the story. There’s a narrative, but for a figure there is just that object someone purchases. Of course, with Batman there is a backstory. That might be the biggest difference between creating a 3D game character and a figure.


When making this Batman figure, every time we had to submit any sort of figure design or concept to the licensor, we had to give an explanation of what the concept is. So, we did have to craft a narrative for this particular Variant Play Arts Kai Batman.


In the end, it wasn’t that different. Maybe the largest difference is the wings. If this was a game character, you can show the movement of the wings opening and closing. With a figure, you need to figure out where to place the parts to make that mechanic work when someone is looking at it.


Can you tell us about the back story for the Batman figure?


We haven’t announced details yet. We’re figuring out how to announce those.


There are a lot of Square Enix figures based on your characters. Which figure is your favorite and what characters did you make that you want to see figures of?


I’d love to have figures of the three lead characters from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.


And, hmm… it hasn’t been released as a figure yet, but it would probably be Batman. For other characters I would just look at a 2D image to review it. For this figure, I worked with the sculptor directly so I have a soft spot for it.

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  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Nomura… no love for Alkaiser? ;_;


    Although really, it would be cool to get figures of Terra, Aqua and Ven (armored would be cool). Haven’t played the Birth by Sleep yet though, might as well wait for II.5 ReMix.

    Another cool interview, thanks ;D

    • Ferrick

      this bats looks kinda like a combo of alkaiser and ratman

      also, hi

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        Ratman! I should go finish that, I was really close.

        • Ferrick

          it’s finished?

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            Actually, I’m not sure. I put it off for so long I kind of thought it would be done by now lol

          • hng qtr

            It is. Not completly scanlated yet though.

          • John Diamond

            i stopped like last christmas really so imma wait a bit more

    • Princess_Eevee9

      Whoa that’s badass!

    • Seizui

      Oh man, SaGa Frontier. I remember that!! Alkaiser was pretty sweet. …I miss the Alkaiser story. Too bad SaGa Frontier had the swiss-cheese style plot holes with each story. e_e

  • NyaBoy

    Stop making figurines and finish FFXV !

    • Why are people acting like anything SE does is hurting XV development?

      • NyaBoy

        Cause they have made too much spin-off in these past few years ?
        Or maybe i am juste tired of waiting that game since 2006 ?
        I dont know really myself…

        • LightZero

          The FFXV team=/=the entire SE company

          They have different teams working on other things.

    • ishyg

      Like those figurine makers can code. I mean, they might know how, but I’m sure they’re not a bit involved with the FFXV team.

  • Göran Isacson

    Ha ha, Cyborg Catwoman could be cool. Also, I am not surprised that the armor-inspirations were kind of Batman-like, I too thought that when I saw Terras armor with the pointy “ears”.

  • maelxich

    I was completely thrown off by the wee instead of week spelling error

  • Namuro

    Nice to hear about the origin of that awesome figure.

    Loads of people on Kotaku were giving crap about how Nomura just want to force a Kingdom Hearts design onto Batman, and ruin everyone’s childhood, etc.

    I’d love to see the game that character was meant to be in, though! Too bad…

    • Suzaku

      Yeah, and those people also don’t get that it’s keeping in the style of this particular toy line.

      It’s also not as if Batman isn’t toyetic. There have been dozens of weird alternate Batman figures. I own several, including a French fencing Batman, a futuristic Batman with a rocket pack, and a samurai Batman. One of my friends had a bright yellow scuba Batman.

      It’s totally par for the course.

      • Namuro

        This one? LOL

        I think I used to have a…skiing Batman, or something? I kinda remember that he has sort of a black & white thunderbolt pattern on his clothes.

  • David García Abril

    Wow! They asked Nomura to rehash a scrapped design he made over 10 years ago for a Batman figure?

    Talk about good memory!

  • Stephen Mc Devitt

    Will this be DLC for Arkham Knight?

    • Morningstar

      Depends on if Square is willing to collaborate with the Arkham game’s designers.

      Those games were made by Ubisoft right?

      • Stephen Mc Devitt

        Nope. Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

        • Morningstar

          Ah. I think its possible provided WB is willing to compromist. Having batman look like something out of SE’s partnetship with Disney, WB’s rival would raise soem eyebrows at beat, and provoke antitrust paranoia at worst. Also disney’s marvel buyout may have made the rivalry more black and white (As in, there is one less independent side now.)

  • Martian Wong

    I hope this is not the only interview for Nomura. What about FF15?

    • The Watcher

      Now you are asking for way too much. lol

      • Martian Wong

        I am sorry if I asked too much. It is not like a little bit over a year is a long time

    • Aaron K Stone

      We have nothing to say now. We thank you for your patience.

  • http://semna25.webs.com/DC_CG_Model_Nero_7.jpg

    Oh my Nero, You done the cowl quite well!

    • Snorlaxation

      Favorite one from that game.

      Not sure if Bondage victim, or Fashion victim, fits him more though…

      • ishyg

        Is that a Nomura design? I mean, DEM belts… /jk

    • ネオフォトン ~ Neo

      Is that a jock strap on his face?

  • Captain Levi

    So… Bahamutman-Z ? (Batman + Bahamut + Zetman)

  • ShinGundam

    Cyberpunk Batman?

  • Aaron K Stone

    Just because it’s dark and brooding doesn’t make it good. Remember that Nomura.

    • ShinGundam

      I kinda wish JRPGs were more dark and brooding but that is largely because i am sick of cutesy and perv-y JRPGs.

      • Captain Levi

        Well said.

  • Xmas Lopez

    I didn’t recognize it as Batman at all. There’s too much stuff going on, you know? It’s not a bad design, it would make a good archdemon or villain final form design, but it barely looks like Batman.

    • AndyLC

      Batman’s worn power armor before

  • DrakeClawfang

    so does this mean everything Xehanort has been planning was set up by Batman and he’s actually the mastermind of it all? Because I would believe that considering the two of them.

  • Vinny hawj

    Loves the design.
    Any of you don’t likes this design, you knows nothing about art and don’t pretend to try to act likes you do.
    In reality, you’re upset about FFXV information.

    • Snorlaxation

      No need to be antagonistic now…

      But yeah, this design is scary cool. Original Batman freaks people out. This Batman, makes them shit their pants.

      • AndyLC

        Nomura Batman- “I never kill!”
        *Villain dies of fright*

  • Simon

    So is this available to buy/preorder at SDCC or is this on display only?
    I really do want one of these.

  • Chaos_Knight

    With that helmet design, he looks like a Kamen Rider.

  • ギャビン

    I think a Batman RPG would be pretty fresh, they should bring this back. Let him do it after he is done with his main projects.

  • Eder García

    still better than Ben Affleck

  • Kornelious

    That looks Amazing, and this “Canceled” game peaks my interest….

  • Yan Zhao

    I would buy this figure if it was on sale.

    • ishyg

      It’s a prototype, so it’ll probably go on sale on a later date. I think there’s enough positive reception for them to produce it.

  • Michael Cortorreal

    That figurine looks like Aqua, Ventus and the other guy in their armor form.

    • Ric Vazquez

      My thoughts exactly, I see a resemblance of Terra’s armor.

  • Paul Rodriguez

    I saw this a few days ago and I must say I love this design. Kind of reminds me of Batman Beyond meets Kingdom Hearts. Now that we know this came from a cancelled project I want to see what could have been.

  • DanielGearSolid

    I don’t really like it, too over the top IMO. But I’d love a Batman game from him.

    I’d love to see a solid snake inspired Batman design by Kojima

    • Ash_Riot

      You mean by Yoji Shinkawa? Kojima isn’t an artist.

      • DanielGearSolid

        You’re right, I actually meant to say Kojima Productions. I thought I read somewhere or watched an interview on how they all have input on snakes design, not just the artist

    • Brion Valkerion

      its up there in being over the top but still in line more or less with the crazy stuff they come up with for suit/batman variants. If anything this looks like a Nightmare/Beyond hybrid batman. Every time I look at it, it looks more tame to be honest. Reminds me of Iron Spider Spiderman costume with the seemingly robotic limbs.

  • Looks weird

  • Raging Rasta

    “Batman’s cape reminds me of wings.”


    • Brion Valkerion

      Yeah I saw that too… maybe it was one of those literal translations/artist explaining it too much things.

      • Raging Rasta

        Eh, I hope that’s the case.

    • Bobby Jennings


  • Seven of The Scions

    It’s not Batman, it’s BAHAMUTMAN!!!

    • Kroz

      okay….that idea gave me chills

  • icup ✔️

    don’t be fooled by the name, it’s still Guts underneath it.

  • TheSoullesOne

    I am extremely curious about that cancelled project the fact that it influenced Kingdom Hearts makes it interesting enough i wish he could speak more of it though

  • Rabbit

    Holy bat-nibblits! That’s beautiful! Make it a skin! I don’t care what game! >:C

  • biskmater

    It vaguely reminds me of the Gore Magala.

  • Adrian Duran

    well the idea behind the Bat design was to scare crooks

  • Nice Boat Quatro

    I am the night. I am the chaos. I am…. the DARKNESS!

  • Ultima-X

    Looks like someone is trying too hard to be cool.

    • Not enough belts, that CAN’T be his design XD

      Or is it Big Damn Shoes now XD

  • Guest

    Looks kinda: http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090414223730/finalfantasy/images/3/31/Winged_Judge.png

    Fan fiction based on Tetsuya Nomura’s Batman:


    • ishyg

      “Perhaps if you aimed for their chest, sir.” LOL

  • Vash bane

    looks cool lol I was wondering why I saw some BBS in this

  • Dianatos

    Looks like Batman reclassed into a Dragoon.

  • Doronjo x Batman

  • I don’t really like it that much. Its so overly complicated and intricate. If it wasn’t for the ears I wouldn’t think it was Batman.

  • 07thCrow

    With all that armor, I bet he would have to be the slowest moving Batman…

    • Sardorim

      Not if underneath it has things that enhance his human abilities as well as the armor being extremely lightweight due to COMIC BOOK LOGIC~!

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