Detroit: Become Human X Yuko Kuzui
To celebrate the third anniversary of Detroit: Become Human, initially released on May 25, 2018, on PlayStation 4, we created an Anniversary Art Print dedicated to the main characters of this great adventure. After a review of many independent artists, it was the fantastic Chibi Artist Yuko Kuzui from Japan who captured the eye of our jury. Her beautiful creation is now available in our official shop in a limited and numbered edition art print, and it made us want to learn a little more about her!
QD : Hi Yuko! We are very excited to be working with you on this Detroit: Become Human Anniversary Print project! First, could you please introduce yourself?
Yuko : Hello, my name is Yuko Kuzui. I am an illustrator and I live in Japan. After working for a long time as a graphic designer for a video game company in Nagano, I switched to illustration. I live with my husband and 3 children in Tokyo. I grew up in Japan and Japanese culture naturally has an influence on my work, but I have loved foreign cartoons since I was a little girl and I think it also has an impact on my style. I remember in particular the slightly retro Quick & Flupke cartoons that used to be shown on cable TV in Japan a long time ago. The simplicity and beauty of the lines and colours, which are very different from the Japanese style, had a big impact on me! I also love video games! I play all the games in The Elder Scrolls and Far Cry series when they come out.
QD : How did you discover Detroit: Become Human and what did you think of it?
Yuko: A designer friend of mine told me about it and described it as “a wonderful game, with an elaborate storyline and lots of twists”. He also told me not to read anything and to act as I wanted to. I started the game and was hooked from the prologue. Having seen fan art before, I thought Connor and Hank would get along quite naturally, but Connor tries to act like an android and by the time I realised this their antagonism was complete and I couldn’t do anything about it. Naturally, I restarted the game as many times as it took to get them to hug each other! ?
One of the strengths of the game is that its ending is entirely dependent on our own decisions and their implications. It becomes “our story.” As we have to take responsibility for the choices we make and there is no “right” one, we are much more involved, surprised and moved than with many other games.
QD : Which is your favourite character in the game and why?
Yuko: There are so many great characters in this game! But if I had to pick one it would be Connor. His trajectory is particularly interesting, and since he’s an android and acts as such, obeying the rules with rationality and logic, the player’s choices can create a dilemma for him between his own feelings and the orders he receives from Amanda. But in the end, he gets justice!
I also like the way Connor and Hank’s relationship evolves through their exchanges, and how their trust in each other as partners is gradually built up over the course of the game.
The illustration I did of them for this Anniversary Art Print is a scene from their daily lives that I imagined taking place after the whole thing. I’m sure they’re still solving cases together, joking around and being reminded not to drink too much! ?
QD : How is Detroit: Become Human seen in Japan?
Yuko: Detroit: Become Human is a very popular game in Japan too! I remember that among Quantic Dream’s productions, the release of “Heavy Rain” on PS3 had made a lot of talk here for its finely chiseled scenario and its outstanding interactivity. But I often heard about Detroit: Become Human in many specialized media as a game that went even further, and many Japanese fans set up their own strategy discussion sites and forums.
Even now, three years after its release, there is a lot of Detroit: Become Human fan art, and it remains one of the most popular games in the world. I’m very honoured to have been asked to create an official illustration!
QD : What was your work process for creating this Anniversary Print?
Yuko : I felt a lot of pressure at the beginning, and I needed time to get myself together. First, I asked myself how to make my graphic universe coexist with the characters of Detroit; I decided to start with the links between the characters and then I focused on their looks and actions. I made several sketches based on passages from the game, and what took me the longest was undoubtedly the pencil drawing. Once the corrections were made to the sketch, I did it all in one go. And thanks to the support of Mike, the Art Director who supervised my work, I managed to complete this challenge. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
QD : What does you perfect Friday night in Tokyo looks like?
Yuko : I have three young children at home, so I don’t have much time for myself these days and it’s hard for me to imagine an ideal weekend, but if I had the freedom to do what I wanted to do… I’d play the games I like and read, with a good beer, while eating good food! When I was working in a company, I liked to go to the “izakaya” [Editor’s note: a Japanese style tapas bar] on Friday nights after work to chat and have a drink with my colleagues. One of these bars served excellent fish and we often went there with my friends. Just thinking about it… Ah… it was so good! Nowadays, a good weekend is more about watching my children grow.
QD : Let’s not forget the most important question of all: France and Japan are both known for their unique culinary cultures; what would be your perfect menu?
Yuko : I was raised in a country surrounded by the sea, so I love fish. Both sashimi and sushi! I still eat it often in restaurants. I like all types of sushi, from the cheapest ones you can get on a conveyor belt to the ones you can get at more luxurious counters. My favourite sushi is the “umekyu,” a sushi that is wrapped in cucumber and pickled plum! I really recommend you try it if you ever visit Japan. By the way, my first student job was in a sushi restaurant and all the money I earned there went into a PlayStation and games.
QD : Thank you for giving us a bit of your time Yuko, and welcome to the Detroit: Become Human team! We’re very proud to have you on board!
Yuko : I’m very honoured to be part of this great project too! I hope to have the opportunity to express myself again in the Detroit: Become Human universe and to draw the characters that I couldn’t do this time!