Hairy Affairs

Today, I want to talk a little bit about character-design and they way that tech might influence the look of a game.  While the core-team came up with the main character's backstory, the character neither had a name (more on the naming at another time), nor a look. Only three things were already decided on: We wanted a plucky, female heroine.  She was supposed to wield a rapier as her primary weapon and we wanted her to have reddish-brown hair worn in a braid. We hired Maren Schildmeyer, a very talented character-artist, to nail down the design of the heroine. And as the braid was an important design-element, every illustration had a different kind of braid.

For many reasons - again, more on that later - we pretty early zeroed in on #4 - you can see already quite a few elements of our current Coria in that design, which was further iteraded from thereon.

But what about that braid? It was a pure technical necessity that made Coria get an all new haircut. You see, the Game Boy is not necessarily the most potent hardware around,  even when the system was new, it was not what you would call state of the art. The system has quite a few limits and the amounts of sprites it can show at any given time are one of these.

Coria alone is made up of several connected and overlaying sprites and adding that braid and its required animation would have taken up valuable resources needed for rather more things like enemies. So the braid had to go. Right away, Maren came up with some fantastic new designs which quickly ensured nobody in the team was too sad to see the braid go.

And that's how Coria got her current hairdo. And let's be honest here - a long braid would only be in the way in all that adventuring-business. Things can happen. Enemies can pull it mid-battle! Hungry fish might bite it! It might get stuck in the tree-branches of Miun Forest! And of course we got a beautiful scene for the animated trailer out of this decision.

What do you think about the designs?  Would you have maybe gone with a different hairstyle? Let us know in the comments!

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