Before Namco Bandai confirmed Klonoa for North America a survey revealed concept art with a fearsome transition. After a media blitz and much fan outcry Klonoa 2000 was scrapped and classic Klonoa lives on. But, why did the development team feel the need to make a new Klonoa in the first place? I brought the question to Hideo Yoshizawa, Director of Klonoa.
“It has been 11 years since Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was released and I felt the original design was a bit old-fashioned,” Yoshizawa tells us. Klonoa made his first appearance in a PsOne game, which Yoshizawa also directed. Many members of the original Klonoa team returned to work on the Wii remake including Yoshihiko Arai who designed the cuddly Dream Traveler. “Since we wanted to make Klonoa more than just a simple remake, I asked the art director, Mr. Arai, to design Klonoa as he might look today and we ended up with the Klonoa we have now.”
In comparison to the PsOne box art, the revised Klonoa has smaller eyes and a new pair of shoes. The differences are subtle unlike the unused Klonoa design. “We had a chance to change Klonoa for a new generation of gamers for North America who might think of Klonoa as too cute. After the concept art was covered by the media we received a mountain of responses telling us not to change Klonoa,” Yoshizawa explains.
The Klonoa redesign was harshly criticized. Some developers may have been taken back by the reaction, but Yoshizawa is happy with it. “This show of support convinced us to keep the updated design that was used in the Japanese version. To tell you the truth, I was taken aback by the support from all the fans who have stuck with Klonoa after all these years. I remain eternally grateful to all of Klonoa’s fans.”