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?
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?