[Ed. note: For the second issue of high-end independent game magazine A Profound Waste of Time, illustrator Doug John Miller, editor Caspian Whistler, and game designer Keita Takahashi put together a fold-out cover packed with references to Takahashi’s career, featuring games like Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy, and Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure.
We loved the art, so we asked Whistler to provide the full image and dig through it to point out some of the best Easter eggs, which you can find below. A Profound Waste of Time is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund reprints of its first two issues.]
The cover of APWOT’s second issue is the result of months of work and preparation, and it takes a lot of back and forth to get it right. It is full of references to Takahashi’s work and the world, but instead of detailing each one (I will let you discover them for yourself), I want you to look behind the scenes at a few key areas that we pay special attention to.
Prince-a pea-sized princeling
Can you see him? We played a lot of proportions in this picture, but for everyone involved, the prince is still very small, especially when compared to other characters. This is very important. It’s actually easy to miss him completely now. Making him smaller not only makes the original material feel real, but also means that we can provide more space for scenery and other characters on the main face of the cover. A lot of things have happened in the image, so it’s really useful to be able to integrate it in this accessible way.
In terms of finalizing the size, we just want to make sure that his proportions next to the King of the Universe are correct.He needs to be small enough to stand comfortably on his father’s palm, just like he did in the original Katamari Damacy When a level is completed. The prince has such an iconic design, it is almost a shame that it is difficult to see him, but we made sure to show his cute face up close in the illustrations in the magazine.
Nobi Nobi Boy -The longest boy
We really want to ensure that Keita’s famous “Big Three” game—— Slice circle, Watam, with Noby Noby Boy— All are represented in the main “face” of the image in some way (magazine readers will see it before opening the question).Speaking of Boy, from the wonderful PlayStation 3 game of 2009 Noby Noby boy, I feel that this is a good opportunity to do something creative.
The cover has folding and panoramic art, which means we really want to do some interesting things with these elements. The boy actually stretched the entire width of the cover from one fold to another, and the distance between his head and the lower half was up to 600 mm. It is very satisfying to follow his body throughout the image, and I am glad that we have enough canvas space to show him correctly! In this way, he is technically at the forefront of publications, but only part of him. Hopefully, when people see his rainbow-like body stretching, they will be encouraged to really unfold the magazine and show him in full.
He is a great character, and working with him, we can surround him with text in the corners and inside pages, and have a lot of fun from it. We can even ask him to eat some Keita’s interview text, because he can interact with the letter in a similar way in the original version.
If you walk along the body of the boy on the cover to the end, you can of course also find the boy’s house in his lower part, which is another reference to the original game. Most of the buildings in the image are very realistic relative to the characters, so it feels good to have a bit of surreal and playful architecture there.
Buildings from all over
Speaking of architecture, this is a major theme of this cover. The artist Doug John Miller responsible for this behemoth teaches at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London. His practice means that he is good at 3D modeling. In fact, he uses the traditionally used 3D software (Rhino 3D) to render the entire cover, and then draws line art on it by hand. Here, you can see the cover image of the earlier version in August 2019 when we were still working on the issue. If you look closely, you will find that the king of the universe was initially much larger than it is now.
We are considering a world that Keita is in charge of, and what a city designed by him would look like. We also brainstormed our vision for the future around utopia and solar punk. Therefore, we decided that the urban landscape should not only be optimistic and lush, but also a mix of the architectural and visual influences of Keita’s Japanese hometown and the place where he currently lives in San Francisco. Watam It’s a game that places great emphasis on fusing the world together, so it feels appropriate to reflect Keita’s point of view in this way.
Keita herself insisted that a lot of vegetation is needed in the city. One of the first feedback he wrote with these renderings in the early days was simple: “Oh it looks cool. But Keita needs more trees haha. “
Royal gift-cosmic gift
Having so many dense buildings means it is easy to hide many interesting little actions in them.There are four hidden royal gifts on the whole cover, please refer to how you can unlock various cosmetics in the original version Slice circle. Finding them all can be tricky.
Of course, hidden in this work of art is not only a gift, but also a reference to Keita’s work. Slice circle, Nobi Nobi Boy, And more than 50 Watam The characters are scattered!
Crankin is a character in a game that has not yet been fully released (for the upcoming Playdate console), Crankin’s time travel adventureWe thought it would be interesting to simulate Playdate’s screen by having him reduce the fidelity in some way. Doug decided to render him completely on a 2D plane, and the result was very good.
If you look closely, you may also find a small cube with a face.This character is a reference world, Keita uses Funomena to make AR games for Tango technology. You can actually use this friendly cube character to scan your surroundings and turn it into an interactive AR playground.
I know I said that we will surpass the “main” console game, but I also want to give a special shout out to my family from the original version Katamari Damacy, Who climbed this huge skyscraper to admire the beauty, but was blinded.
As far as the work done for this cover is concerned, I just scratched the surface here. I can continue speaking for a long time, but I think my nonsense about an article is more than enough.
This is a difficult task, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bandai Namco, Keita Takahashi, Funomena, Doug John Miller and everyone who made this possible. I don’t know if we can work as ambitious and detailed as this picture again, but I am very proud of the final result and thank you for this opportunity.