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Klonoa was the result of a “character design contest” and was thought to be “a new mascot character”

Klonoa character design

Klonoa series director Tsuyoshi Kobayashi has recently spoken about the character design of Klonoa in a new interview with digital design magazine, Lost in Cult. Klonoa’s design came about as the company was working on a game based around a known IP, which he refused to name. It eventually turned out that the team could not use the particular IP, so Kobayashi and the team needed their own character to fit into the world they had designed. Namco ran an internal character design competition and Yoshihiko Arai’s design was chosen and became the Klonoa we know and love. Mr. Kobayashi also revealed that there was also an importance of having a company mascot at the time with SEGA’s Sonic and Nintendo’s Mario dominating the scene. The team felt as though they had managed to hit that brief with the adorable Klonoa.

“There is a story about how Klonoa’s concept came about. I can’t say which IP but we [were working on] a game around a certain IP. As it turned out, we couldn’t use this particular IP, so we had an internal design competition to create a new character for this new game that we had created, but needed to replace the characters. [Yoshihiko] Arai’s character design won that contest and that was the birth of the Klonoa series. But, at the time, [we weren’t thinking about] Mario or Sonic, much less developing Klonoa to be the mascot of the PlayStation system. If anything, we were [just trying to create] a new mascot character for Namco.”

Klonoa series director Tsuyoshi Kobayashi 

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Thanks to GreatSong1 for sending in the news tip!

12 thoughts on “Klonoa was the result of a “character design contest” and was thought to be “a new mascot character””

        1. “All I can tell you is the Donkey Kong game with Klonoa eventually released as what we now know as Star Fox 64”
          “Read my comment above. Klonoa was almost the new Diddy Kong Racing main character.”

          What the heck are you even talking about?-_-‘
          Actually, forget I asked. I have a feeling this argument would just be a WoT for both of us.

  1. Um…”famous platforming IP”? Kobayashi doesn’t say ANYTHING about ‘famous’ or, more importanly, ‘platform’. He literally said “a certain IP”, and according to the Wikipedia article of the first Klonoa game, that certain IP was the 1989 sci-fi manga Spriggan.

    Please don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions like that the next time you write an article.

    1. Apologies, I have changed the wording of that. My thoughts on the way “certain” was used implied to me that it is well known, hence why I wrote famous, i.e “known about by many people.” Spriggan is awesome though and I didn’t know that was the IP 😊

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