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Tetsuya Nomura Discussed Designing FFV Monsters in a New Interview

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Tetsuya Nomura Discussed His FFV Monster Designs in a New Final Fantasy Interview

The latest Final Fantasy XI We are Vana’diel interview is now online and in it Tetsuya Nomura and Akihiko Matsui talked about Nomura’s art and designs, particularly in regard to FFV. The interview talked about how Nomura got started with Square Enix. While things kicked off with an aside about his first day working on FFIV, it also went into his work on characters like Gilgamesh from FFV. A common theme that comes up is discussing how he’d make characters look “cool.”

This came up as an explanation for why Tetsuya Nomura’s monsters’ designs for FFV were too big. He mentioned getting “no guidance whatsoever” when getting started as a designer. He said the following.

I was less than half my current age and was just drawing illustrations without any professional knowledge. When I was drawing monsters for FFV, a senior colleague from the graphics team instructed me to make my designs smaller because they were larger than the specified size. I pouted, “Okay, but it looks cooler if it’s bigger,” which made them furious.

Matsui also brought up the thought of Tetsuya Nomura striving for “cool” designs when working on Final Fantasy games like FFV.

That aside, Tetsu’s illustrations had a profound influence on my ideas of the fantasy genre. Before that, I used to be more of a traditionalist when it came to fantasy. However, Tetsu’s attitude was like, “Anything goes, as long as it’s cool,” and he was always eager to incorporate innovative designs. For example, characters like Gilgamesh from FFV, or Setzer and Shadow from FFVI wouldn’t really belong in what’s considered high fantasy*, but they look really cool. Seeing them made me think, “So ‘fantasy’ can be like this too!” and altered my perception.

While Tetsuya Nomura got his start on FFIV and designing monsters for FFV, he’s since influenced characters’ looks in many Square Enix games. For example, he most recently worked on games like FFVII Remake, Kingdom Hearts III, NEO The World Ends with You, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.