The Orion Arm Empire
Published 5 years ago
Crafting an arch enemy and his minions
I hope you enjoyed the last post about the main character`s avatar portraits. Today I will be discussing Edlen`s arch nemesis and his minions.
According to the lore, Edlen was a High Admiral for the Orion Arm Empire under the command of Emperor Sanguine II. As they both were conquering more and more of the galaxy, the Emperor feared his High Admiral might turn against him and become a liability. To prevent that, he threw Edlen in a prison planet in a far away system for him to die and not mess with Sanguine`s plans. Little did he know that Halley Edlen would come back for blood.
Keeping that in mind, it was clear to me that the arch nemesis Sanguine would be another defining aspect to the beat and feel of the story throughout the game. Because I could give him specific characteristics both in ethnicity and gender, my job was considerably easier than the previous assignment. The scriptwriter was kind enough to provide me with a mood board with character images that he felt would give definition to Sanguine`s mood and feel as a character. This sped up my work considerably. You can see the material provided below.
From there, it was just a matter of sketching out what I felt was right. One of the advantages of working closely with your team is that they can watch me work and suggest changes on the run and not wait for me to produce iterations and then show them. This time I saved the layers for this painting, which you can see below:
We wanted him to be slightly old (not Dumbledore old though), kinda sassy and lively, like someone who seems nice but still something feels off about him/her. I personally wanted him to feel spoiled and kind of evil but not completely - which is why the analogous color scheme for this painting worked so well. It`s inviting, but the strong red rim light tells you to back off - it creates a visual paradox.
During his time under Sanguine`s orders, Edlen trained three apprentices: Edwin Kepler, Caroline S. Leavitt and Isaac Shapley. The making of of the three followed the same structure as shown above. As these characters have deep connections to Edlen`s fate on the lore, their visuals had to be really thought of. For example: Caroline S. Leavitt is brilliant Academy student and was the only one the beat “Halley`s Test of Fire”, the most difficult combat simulation ever made (created by Edlen, of course). She is a tough gal and I personally wanted her to be of dark skin for a couple of reasons. First, it adds visual interest and makes her stand out. Second, I feel that she went though bad things to get where she is and I wanted her to be a relatable character. The contrast of her black skin and the purple neons and the golden key light gives her a feeling of glory and honor. Here is her final look:
Next in line was Shapley, a very cunning and mischievous strategist. He is a very envious and dark character that likes to spread doubt and confusion among his peers - the classic “divide to conquer”. He got his place as Edlen`s apprentice because of the Emperor`s referral and because of that, he feels he is superior than the other two. For this character a complementary color scheme made sense: some purples and yellows would give off the feeling of uncertainty and mystery this character calls for. Here is his final look:
Finally, Edwin Kepler was one of the fun characters to draw. He is the tough military type, as loyal to the chain of command as they come, and I personally envisioned him as someone very gullible, to which lying does not come naturally. Because of that he had to have an expressive face (and scars to show he`s experienced in battle), but I had to strategically position the add-ons on the face in places where it would not mess up with his expression. One of the devs fell in love with the character ever since I drew it and ended up dubbing him in the Audiolog series we were making. Color wise, the mainly green tones contrast nicely with his peachy skin and neutral uniform. The green rim light does not take over the main feeling of “truthfulness” of this piece. Here is the final look:
I hope you enjoyed this text as well! Coming up I will be talking about shot designs and storytelling as a means to further immersion on this game. Hopefully there will be more GIFs!
Stay sharp,
Tamires Pará
Lead Concept Artist @ Young Mind Studio
Pedro Dalcin