Nekochan on Character Design

Nekochan here yet again.

NoMoshing is otherwise occupied so yet again I step into the breach.

Since NoMoshing has been going into detail regarding how he designs quests and such, I thought I’d share some of the work I’ve been doing with the characters. Specifically their appearance. Much of what I’ve been working on lately is for HC2: Hero puts it in. Most of HC’s character designs are being handled by NoMoshing with sprite work by Chibi. This is mostly because of the demands my day job put on my time. I need looooots of lead time to have enough time to get art shit done. (Backers with the Player’s Guide will also note I’m usually about an update behind on quests included in the guide.) I’ve done rough drafts of about 5 of the new girls planned for HC and 1 of the returning girls. Can you guess which one? Elaiya!

When designing a new character, I’ve found the main challenge is the “blank slate”. NoMoshing provides some general outlines like, “battle-maid with bracers, no nonsense personality, modest bust” and then leaves the rest to me.

Returning characters present their own challenge though. Since there is a timeskip (about 2 years between the end of the events of HC1 and the start of HC2), it’s likely things have changed. A person may have changed their hair, gained weight, lost weight, changed occupations, or if they’re young enough, 2 years of growth could also impact height and appearance especially if they are pre-pubescent (looking at you Ino). Character development also has to be factored in since clothing is often a means of expression, even if it isn’t on a conscious level. So you’re looking at a new character who has to “feel” like the old one. Heck look at Kosmos from Xenosaga, she got an overhaul in each game of the series.

You mess up the design of a new character and people may let it go (“Let it gooooooo”). Mess up the design of returning character? You’ll have hell to pay for potentially “ruining” them.

When I thought about what Elaiya would look like in the sequel, my first thought was what her mindset was. After all, if you’ve finished her love quest, you’re aware that much of her drive that lead her to become a bounty hunter has been dealt with. She’s found some measure of peace. Hell, by HC2 it’s probably fair to say she’s not even a bounty hunter anymore. She’s sure as hell not taking on any more contracts and is one of the pillars of the hero’s core adventuring party. So how would that reflect in her appearance?

Elaiya HC2 rough concept

The first thing I thought was that she’d likely let her hair grow out a little. Her style in HC1 is on the shorter side. In fact, I personally imagine she cut the hair short when she chose to become a bounty hunter. Her jacket in HC1 is buttoned-up, with a shirt that has a high collar (which is funnily enough is hidden by her harem collar), indicating a withdrawn personality. By the second game she has probably relaxed a bit. Not entirely though, while she’s close to the hero and others in the harem, she’s still wary of new people. She still needs her guns and goggles, obviously. Don’t want to mess with her colour scheme too much, and she should be wearing something she can adventure and manoeuvre around in.

I also aimed not to make the design too complex. In the end, it has to be recognizable as a sprite.

It should be noted that this is concept art, and I’m likely to trash this and redo it at some point before final designs are required. (sorry it’s really sketchy, I try not to worry about making it clean when I’m working on a concept)

So, what do you think? Is it still Elaiya or have I ruined her?

15 Replies to “Nekochan on Character Design”

  1. Hey; what you’re doing with her looks great in my honest opinion. Even for a sketch you can see where you’re going with all the ideas (at least I think so) as far as what she’d look like in HC1 to HC2. Great job Neko~ I hope all goes well and hope you have a terrific day. C:

  2. Hi Nekochan:

    In general, I like the changes. Elaiya is (at least in the first game) a very reserved person, so it makes sense that her outfit remains on the conservative side (from my male point of view of course). One thing that I would like to see that is how her lethality has evolved since she is part of the harem. Maybe carrying on some bullets. Well, I’m pretty bad at this kind of thing.

    In any case, thanks for making me think about such matters.

    Greetings lostone2

  3. I have no problems with the new character design. It makes sense that it is still similar to the one of the first game, with some changes but no revolutions.
    In fact I think that having Elaiya grow out her hair a bit is really nice. It could represent her newfound personal confidence, her acceptance of her life.

    I can also empathise very much with the struggles of character design. It’s a really bothersome thing, I know from personal experience… In fact I can totally agree with the “start a lot of time earlier” approach. The sooner you start, the better. And as a devoted player of this game, it’s really nice to see that some work is already being put into the sequel.

    If I do have one complaint… it is that Elaiya is not one of my favorite girls, and so that I’d rather have others as recurring characters.
    Namely, for now, my favorite characters are Alina (I started to love her character once she started leaving gifts for the MC. It’s just too cute 🙂 ), Therese ( Hey, the holy paladin who is actually attracted to the MC, but it is against her faith / belief. A classic. Plus, she’s Alina’s sister too!) and Larelle (I love her interactions when she starts to become jealous, and wants the MC to say she’s the best girl he ever had). I really hope to see these three in the sequel!
    Florine is nice too, but not as essential XD

    1. Elaiya is just the first character I had an idea for. Other ladies from HC1 are planned to appear in HC2. After all the hero wants a harem of 151 ladies, so he’ll probably try to keep as many of them around as he can.

      1. I do hope the majority of the more unique girls, at least, make it through. Some of the more… I hesitate to say “filler”, but filler girls, like Penelope and Serade, they can take a backseat. Though all this does is make me rather burningly curious as to how HC1 ends off. Also… Does this mean it’ll be canon that every Love/Respect Quest was done in HC1, or just some?

        1. Some stuff I have said to the public in other places before:

          All party member characters from HC1 will return to the party in HC2.
          Non-party harem girls will cameo here and there, but won’t be a large part of gameplay. Expect 1 sex scene each, no relationship score and no real impact on plot.
          What will be canon from HC1 is about 98% of the game, including all love quests, all respect quests, all miscellaneous quests, all AG quests and all four primary plot arcs completed. The only things that will be missing are the bonus bosses (not they are big plot things- most of them are just random references and jokes). The handful of decisions that affect the game will be handled via conversation options a la Mass Effect 2 (ie, “Hey remember when we were attacked by those paladins? Whatever happened to the nuns we captured?”).
          Returning non-harem characters will include Brigandine, Lola, Brandt and Evanie.
          All this is subject to change for any reason, including my mercurial whim.

  4. Woaaah… That’s amazing. I especially like how she grows out her hair ^^.

    As for the returning girls, I hope Meline and Larelle, my two favorite characters, will be returning ^^. (They became my favorites because of their final spells which, when used in a combo, will wipe the screen of any sprites. All that timeturning paid off ^^)(and also because they’re cute XD)

    By the way, can you implement a job change for each sequel? Going two years without getting stronger is a bit… And you can use this as an excuse of why they reverted to level 1 XD

    And I had this briliant idea of a necromancer raising an undead army to fight an enemy army.

    Oh, one more thing, the moment I thought about how Ferdinand will change, Elsword’s Infinity Sword form came into my head. Hope it’ll become reality ^^.

    That’s all, and thank you for your hard work!

    1. The characters won’t be returning at level 1, and there will be a reason why they didn’t grow in power over two years. All party member characters will be returning as party members.

      As for everything else, I don’t know yet. ^^; Everything is still in initial planning stages- heck, I haven’t even finished the first game, right?

      1. I’mma throw out wild theories: Hero goes into a funk and feels no reason to leave for two years, Hero does nothing but fuck everybody for two years straight, Big Bad for HC2 did a thing to keep them locked up, the finale of HC1 leaves them sealed away somewhere, Big Bad burns down the mansion(s) and they have to flee and wind up in a remote place for two years (which would be the most convenient way for you to not have any significant number of new slaves)… And finally, Slendy does a thing. Or Mickele. Mickele turns out to be the Big Bad and has sent Slendy after you…. I need to get to sleep.

  5. Just dont remove my pretty necromancer i love her:) As for Elaya perhapd nee skills and such and better stats cos in HC1 she doesnt do so much dmg for a rouge type that has low deff high attack. She only has low deff and her high attack is a skill she gets after love quest…and she still needs a lot to use it. But chimei yaya and gendan are better dmg and deff wise.

    1. El was nerfed at some point. She used to be very overpowered, up to the point of having her in the party made it better to defend/buff while she charged up to use Barrage for almost every battle. She did get hit pretty hard with the nerf bat, but she still deals reasonable damage.

  6. On the regards of ELAYA i like the way its going, as mentioned above a bit more damage would be nice or another skill, and for girls i wish return in HC2 I VOTE for larelle, CHIMEI, and hmm im dying to see when we gonna get our hands in either kiry or dat asia chick who escapes on the quest to rescue kiry, só i would like vote in kiry for hc2 but almost sure not watsoever happening xD.

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