In celebration of the release of Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy, Playstation Blog published an interview with character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, who discussed his work on the game and the origins of the various Chocobo designs it features.
Itahana was responsible for the art direction and additional design work for Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy. He credited Koichi Ishii, creator of the Mana Series and former developer at Square Enix for designing the original Chocobo for Final Fantasy II. That said, the version of the Chocobo in Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon was specifically designed for a rogue-like spinoff.
Chocobo is a character that was contrived and designed by Koichi Ishii when Final Fantasy II was being developed. The one that appears in Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon is a version that was stylized specifically for a Final Fantasy spin-off with a rogue-like system. I designed it when I was temporarily assigned to work at Square Soft while I was a designer at my previous company, a toy manufacturer. At the time, I explored various designs including chocobos with a sharper beak that appeared more like a dinosaur as well as those that appeared more like a chick.
Itahana also added that the designs Chocobos in Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon were made to be simple, but still marketable and easy to identify, which was a daunting task considering the number of different jobs Chocobos have in the game.
I took care in developing designs that still look appealing, even after simplifying them by paring down the details. Simply put, I aimed to create designs that would be easy for even children to copy and draw.
There are numerous jobs in this title so it was quite a task to differentiate the designs.
For any character, we need to ensure the job is easily identifiable through the colors used as well as the silhouette…a Chocobo is unable to carry anything by hand, so I try to draw designs that make the job easily identifiable with few colors and a simple silhouette.
…these stylized designs are relatively easy to transform into plush and merchandise, so I have a lot of fun drawing these as I’m also conscious about creating designs that would retain its appeal, even when they’re made into merchandise.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy, is out now for the Nintendo Switch.
What do you think? Which Chocobo design from the games is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.