Dragon's Crown artist explains exaggerated art style

Dragon's Crown artist George Kamitani talks about his motivations behind the art direction, amid criticism for the way he portrays female characters.

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Dragon's Crown recently announced a release date of August 6, and along with it came a new trailer. But the video reignited a simmering undercurrent of talk about the character art, and in particular the way it portrays its female characters. It's come to a boil, to the point that artist George Kamitani has opened up about the art direction. After reacting to criticism in a way that some deemed homophobic, Kamitani apologized and called the whole thing "a light-hearted joke." But that didn't quiet the general din around his bombastically-proportioned female characters. Kamitani has now written an e-mail to Kotaku explaining his motivations. In the letter, he says he chose to exaggerate his character designs so they would stand out from the general fantasy motifs of Dungeons & Dragons and J.R.R. Tolkien. "I exaggerated the silhouettes of all the masculine features in the male characters, the feminine features in female characters, and the monster-like features in the monsters from many different angles until each had a unique feel to them," he said. "I apologize to those who were made uncomfortable by the art's appearance, and did not see the same light-hearted fantasy in my designs."

Dragon's Crown

He also said he appreciates the critiques, and while he is not sure if he'll implement that feedback into future work, he did note that he will "definitely keep in mind that these opinions are out there and affect people on a personal level." Finally, he ends with a note that asks users not to punish the game or Atlus for his joke. "It's okay if it was just me who was criticized, but it is not my intention to cause problems for Dragon’s Crown publisher (ATLUS) and all the other people who are involved in this project. From now on, I will limit myself about transmitting something personal out in the public." It all sounds very reasonable when he talks about it. But then again...
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  • reply
    April 26, 2013 11:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Dragon's Crown artist explains exaggerated art style.

    Dragon's Crown artist George Kamitani talks about his motivations behind the art direction, amid criticism for the way he portrays female characters.

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      April 26, 2013 11:30 AM

      ...wtf?

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      April 26, 2013 11:32 AM

      Japanese == Oh... I get it now.

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      April 26, 2013 11:38 AM

      http://i.imgur.com/pnDlVIn.gif

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      April 26, 2013 11:42 AM

      omg those titties literally killed my family

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        April 26, 2013 12:17 PM

        yeah yeah yeah! gime them big tity honkers!!! XL boyyyy damn gettin a lil 2 horned up if u feel me

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          April 26, 2013 12:19 PM

          cool just be drunk in the middle of the day you faggot

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            April 26, 2013 12:25 PM

            hope u get launched out of this website permanently Vitriol Man, uncalled for toxic response to my rebranding strategy. no sympathy for Trolls here.

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      April 26, 2013 11:45 AM

      Love the art style. The exaggeration can get old but the amount of bitching over it is stupid.

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        April 26, 2013 11:46 AM

        Kotaku is on a feminist streak right now. That being said, I'm kind of over the masculine/feminine super exaggeration that this style is parodying.

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        April 26, 2013 2:02 PM

        People asking an artist to change his style or work is hilarious to me.

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      April 26, 2013 11:49 AM

      why does that embarrass anyone? if your girl can't take corny Japanese sight gags about busty women then time to find another girl. (and to be fair if you actually have the hots for cartoons that's sad. I just find it silly but well within their artistic license to do whatever.)

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      April 26, 2013 11:50 AM

      The boob physics linked to in the article are pretty great: http://abload.de/img/dragonscrowne1xo9.gif

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        April 26, 2013 5:58 PM

        That video had me laughing. Love it!

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        April 27, 2013 5:20 AM

        Her hair's blowing back too. That magic staff must have a serious shock wave every time it fires.

        WIZAAAAAAAAAARD!! SORCERESSSSSSSSSSSS!!

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      April 26, 2013 11:57 AM

      Wow she just burned, froze then killed those like 50 guy then raised their dead corpses to kill soHOLY SHIT LOOK AT THOSE TITTIES WHAT AN OUTRAGE.

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      April 26, 2013 12:04 PM

      This is Vanillaware's first true HD game. That is all that needs to be known.

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        April 26, 2013 12:09 PM

        Wait wait, this is from the guys who did Muramasa?

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          April 26, 2013 12:12 PM

          Can't you tell? Outside of the parody it's very much so them.

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            April 26, 2013 12:19 PM

            I haven't really looked at this game, but now I'm intrigued. Muramasa was fucking awesome.

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        April 26, 2013 12:19 PM

        A huge part of why I pay attention to everything Vanillaware does is because of how they do things. I didn't know much about the company before Odin Sphere, but as soon as I saw it I knew that I was a huge fan of their art direction. Even after playing the game and finding the gameplay a bit lacking in certain areas, I still look forward to everything they put out.

        I was initially put off by the female characters when I got my first look at the game, but still excited for it. What was incredibly disappointing to me was what Kamitani did in response to the Kotaku article. I'm sure that I'll eventually get around to playing the game, but it sucks when you see that type of behavior come out of a company that you liked for idealized reasons.

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          April 26, 2013 2:30 PM

          I don't think they did much besides VNs and AVNs before Odin Sphere, anyway.

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      April 26, 2013 12:09 PM

      I love it. It's retardedly over the top and like he says, gives the game a unique look, even if it is playing to an age-old trope

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      April 26, 2013 12:13 PM

      sexual elements should not be portrayed at all, especially if its women. please hide feminine sexuality because its wrong. im a femenist

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        April 26, 2013 12:16 PM

        they should make a heavenly blade game where the main character is wearing a burkha and sweatpants

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        April 26, 2013 12:56 PM

        yeah but it's embarrassing to play something like this with anyone else in the room. Which is why i'll skip this one, it's a bit too ridiculous.

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          April 26, 2013 5:42 PM

          Any less ridiculous than grown men playing videogames? There was another controversy about Bioshock Infinite's "embarrassing" violence awhile back too....

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          April 26, 2013 6:50 PM

          This reminds me of other Shackers at a recent Shackmeet telling me that they wouldn't be able to play Bayonetta because of their significant other having to see it. My reaction was, "Well, it's not that bad, but... uh... Oh." I hadn't really thought about it that way, because I was single when I played through it, and no one else was in the room to react negatively to it.

          Now that I'm seeing someone, I decided to see what her reaction to Bayonetta was. It was just the booklet of the soundtrack, but it wasn't a negative reaction. That doesn't sound too bad. :-)

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        April 26, 2013 2:24 PM

        Yes, because sex = evil. and nobody should ever think about, look at, partake of, or have anything to do with sex.

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      April 26, 2013 12:29 PM

      They made a great response to some SJ journalist turd (I believe it was from Kotaku, who are pretty terrible in general) by posting a picture they felt would be 'more to his liking'. Three juiced up warriors massaging each other with oil. Aw yis.

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        April 26, 2013 12:30 PM

        What I was trying to say, is that as a homo, I completely approve of their joke. I'm willing to bet the people who complained weren't actually gay.

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        April 26, 2013 2:09 PM

        haha I saw that.

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        April 26, 2013 2:41 PM

        Penny Arcade hit it out of the park with that one. That gigantic penis dragging on the ground sums up the perfect counterpoint better than words ever could.

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          April 26, 2013 11:19 PM

          I'd still buy the game, even with the big dragging penis guy, I just wouldn't play him.

          • ArB legacy 10 years
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            April 26, 2013 11:55 PM

            I'd play as him. That's funny stuff.

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      April 26, 2013 12:54 PM

      lol he's the Rob Liefeld of video game concept art

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      April 26, 2013 2:14 PM

      The art style is too distinctive and weird to really trigger my 'gross sexism' gag reflex.

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        April 26, 2013 2:25 PM

        agreed. It's more parody than anything.

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      April 26, 2013 2:35 PM

      I think it looks awesome and I love a good side-scrolling beat um up. The sad thing is that this would probably look even better and appeal to a lot more people if they just dialed it back a bit.

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        April 26, 2013 2:42 PM

        The game looks awesome, makes me wish I had a Sony system.

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      April 26, 2013 2:41 PM

      Kind of off topic but... are those sprites or 3d models? It's kind of hard to tell.

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        April 26, 2013 6:22 PM

        If it follows suit, sprites like the previous games.

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        April 27, 2013 11:23 AM

        They're hand-drawn sprites. It's a VanillaWare signature.

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      April 26, 2013 11:29 PM

      I love how the discussion here hasn't COMPLETELY devolved into a ridiculous discussion about sexism in videogames. I personally don't have a problem with the art style, and I'm a happily married man and not afraid of being seen playing this game, especially not by my wife (she wrote me off as a man-child long ago anyway and is happy as long as she can play Just Dance 4). Everyone has the freedom to criticize the game if they wish, freedom of speech and all that, but the game has every right to exist under the same principle. I'll be buying the game day one, and I would buy it even without the jiggling breasts and the thunder-thighed barbarian. Anyone who has seen any of Vanillaware's past games and enjoyed them already know Mr. Kamitami's style and how consistent it is with their past works. Power to Mr. Kamitami for sticking to his guns and making a bold game that HE wanted to make, rather than what some critic at Kotaku thinks he should make.

    • ArB legacy 10 years
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      April 27, 2013 5:22 AM

      the characters are hideous in that game. it's not just the females.

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      April 29, 2013 10:31 AM

      it's an over the top exaggerated guy, neat.
      It's floating boobies on an unreal and deformed woman? SEXIST!

      People are morons.

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        April 29, 2013 1:17 PM

        If that is a measure of sexism, Soul Calibur has gotten away with this. FIVE times.

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      May 2, 2013 10:58 AM

      Interesting choice not to mention that Jason of Kotaku threw the first inappropriate stone. I'm not sure that 'insults' are exactly the same as 'criticism' surely.

      Not particularly impressed with the depth of reporting this article is demonstrating.

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