Two Halves Development Sketches
I've been kind of pondering another game idea (yes, I know) with a friend. I then have ended up drawing just excessive amounts of concepts for it. This is my best effort to organise it all in one place as of this date. For the sake of providing some context and clarity, I've included some notes on the characters or design choices.
Denzil McGregor - the main protagonist. Can be hot-headed, but will defend his friends come what may. However he wasn't always like this - several times over his life he has gone through drastic personality changes. He's not aware is happening, and sometimes the cases are severe enough to have resulted in memory loss.
In truth, Denzil's design is heavily based on my internet persona before I went completely furry. He's definitely not me, but it's hard to not see the design at times my teenage past, but drawn with more competence. And a lot of square shapes. I have been experimenting with his colour palette, so it'll remain to be seen how much that still sticks.
Sho Serizawa is the foil to the main protagonist and part of a trio of friends, Sho is the quiet and intelligent type. He can come off as a know-it-all, but does his best to not get on the nerves of those close to him. After the events of the prologue, he goes missing, sparking Denzil and his other friend Elisa to go looking for him.
As a kid, he's a lot more passionate and quick to anger and spontaneity, though perhaps that's to be expected of young kids...
Elisa Linton, the final member of the trio of heroes, Elisa has a similar intellectual streak to Sho, but is more reserved and formal about it, japes only for keeping her two friends in check. She's something of the Team Mum, though she would never say she's comfortable with the title.
Ron Meadows is the youngest of the teen protagonists, and a lot peppier than his seniors. A self-centred, self-styled hero - he spends much of his time taking nothing seriously once awakened to his powers. His escapism from the world around him is not one of ignorance, but belief his positivity benefits those around him.
Cole Green is an agent from a secret organisation assigned to monitor the other characters and their powers. He behaves something like a worn-out parent going through the motions, but he does want to do good for both the kids and his superiors alike.
Ambrosine Africani, a new-age con-artist. She sells tat, services, and other magical woo to people gullible enough to look for such things as beneficial to their lives. She doesn't personally believe in magical stuff, instead seeing such things as useful for peace of mind. If she can earn money from giving things that help people in some manner, legitimate or not, she sees nothing wrong with it.
Moira Courtois is the homeroom teacher of Denzil and his friends. While a nice enough person and looks out for her students, after the manifestation of their powers and that they forgo school to look for their friend, she reveals a fatalist side that believes her students are doomed to harm and she has no way to stop them from doing what they want.
Amor Miles was the subject of scientific experimentation. She has robotic limbs and implants to see how they affect synchronisation with her powers. Aggressively determined and competitive, she views her body more as a vehicle, which results in not putting much care in the safety of herself or others around her.
Hakor is a mysterious being that begins turning up in places around the city, while the protagonists investigate strange events in their search for Sho. Hakor finds the party somewhat of a curiosity, but is more invested in his own machinations, which he refuses to divulge with the protagonists. The party continues to pursue him into mental worlds, finding him in the midst of the disasters unfolding.
Oops, plot twist - this is a Persona fan-game idea. The characters all, as a result, have guardian spirit-type creatures they summon to do battle for them, each embodying elements of their psyche. This story I want to explore the relationship between the humans and these elements of themselves, with the main conflict being between the party and those that have had their personas forcefully - and incorrectly - awakened.
As Denzil's initial persona and representative of The Fool, Phoenix embodies the eternal cycling of the self through rebirth and reincarnation. The fire of the phoenix also serves to represent Denzil's protagonist-brand hotheadedness, and liability to burn himself in his recklessness.
My goal with Denzil as The Fool I hope is less the usual "infinite potential" reading, and more a direct "foolish" person. The reckless adventurer who does not notice the cliff he's heading towards. Falling enough times, perhaps he'll learn to use those flaming wings.
Sho's persona as a teenager as a representative of Temperance, Faust is a character from German legend. The researcher Faust comes to make a deal with the Devil in exchange for great worldly knowledge, at the cost of selling his soul. Something of a reversed reading of Temperance, Faust represents Sho's imbalance, Faust fearing the loss of his soul that is trying to escape him.
Sho's persona as a kid. Prometheus breaks the pattern of European-themed myths and stories for the main personas, but holds some parallels to Faust in that he holds great power - the fire of the gods - in exchange for damnation. Prometheus as a balloon mid-explosion embodies the child Sho's more reactive nature, as well as the element of whimsy that comes with age.
For Elisa, there's the persona of The Nurturer arcana (from the Numinous deck), Leona. Also known as Nadja, she is a character from a French surrealist novel by André Breton of the same name. In the novel, the narrator meets a woman shrouded in mystery who, through further interaction in attempt to demystify her, only ends with her being obscured further still.
Here, Leona's own appearance is a wooden ball-jointed doll - an object of study and fascination, and her face completely devolved into glitches. She wields a giant question mark in reference to one such illustration of Nadja.
The archetypal warrior-queen, Ambrosine's persona of The Moon is Maeve - also known as Queen Mab, or Medb, an Irish mythological figure. In this concept, I tried taking the concept of a "warrior queen" in a modern direction. Maeve is the persona of the powerful personalities and those confident in their own appearance. She is, in essence, a "girlboss". Despite her investment in worldly things with a phone and the alcoholic mead, she also holds weapons ready to do harm.
This design is probably my favourite of this set. It captures enough small ideas at once to give a good overall conceptual feeling.
The persona of Ron and representative of The Star, the Spriggan is a creature from Cornish (Cornwall, England) mythology. Spriggans are described as withered, ugly old men with large child-like heads. They were said to be able to grow to mighty sizes, and did great mischief to those that upset them.
Here, the Spriggan retains some of its withered form, but its head is a large, eternally smiling, inflatable face that covers/smothers one underneath. This serves to mirror Ron as The Star and his blind optimism, and ways it could be doing harm back on himself.
Honestly this design is the one I'm least happy with of the bunch. It's the one I did first, so after this one I guess I got a better feel for things.
It was really hard to get started on designing the personas because I had no clue how to evoke an element of creature-ness or beings that aren't strictly "living". That is to say, they don't need to follow the logic of a creature that has a species, that has its own life and growth, and so on, because they're more manifestations of ideas and feelings. Moreover, I wanted to make sure they all felt like they belonged together as part of the same theme.
As is, I have the current patterns I want the main cast's personas to follow:
- European mythologies. This can be pretty fuzzy, as Phoenix appears in all sorts of myths, and some personas already come less from mythology and more from literature. Then again, what is mythology but really old literature?
- Their faces should all be in some way obscured. I feel I've managed to follow this pattern very well, though Prometheus' current design doesn't match this. It's possible as Kid Sho is something of a special case in other areas I could get away with it.
- Avoid human-like designs. This was very difficult to capture with Leona, even with designing her like an artist's mannequin and the lack of face. Adding a rat tail helped to some extent, but she may be pushing the rule a bit.
I have some other thoughts on the designs choices I've made, but unfortunately that gets into spoilers. Which is a shame, because who doesn't like gushing about secret story knowledge?