Hold on to your large feathered hats, young aspiring wizards; today I'm taking you on a trip back in time to February 2019 for a sneak peek behind the scenes of a hero design project at Legend Story Studios.
A wizard is always prepared, especially when it comes to a massive project like Flesh and Blood! After receiving the go-ahead from the Dev. team, Creatives take over. We spend countless hours poring through the details of each hero, scoping out their backstory, their art style and mood, ensuring that the art and lore complements the gameplay. Then, a master document is generated outlining everything we know about the hero, including initial sketches by our lead concept artist MJ, as the starting point of the hero's design.
Artist selection is incredibly important to capture the appropriate mood and feeling of any particular hero. We are very fortunate to have the support of close to a hundred talented artists from all around the world, with a wide range of styles that we can call upon. For Kano, we wanted someone with experience building fire FX effects using rough brushstrokes, and who also had an eye for designing devious & flamboyant characters. Having worked with Alexander Mokhov (click the link to check him out!) frequently in the past, we were confident he had what it took to capture the essence of Kano.
Concept and Refinement
A week later, we received the first sketch submissions exploring the general aesthetic of the character, focusing on variations in armour design. And would you look at that!
Some incredibly solid options right out the bat, but we are still a ways to go. From the four designs, we chose number four to use as the foundational structure of the character, and incorporated various elements of the other designs, while changing others entirely.
Once the design was generally confirmed, we moved on to looking at some different colourations.
The lavish use of golds and greens in the initial exploratory sketches didn't really feel very Volcor to us, so we scaled that back significantly, aiming for sleeker gold detailing rather than larger blocks. MJ, as always, jumped in with some fantastic armour explorations that would help define the colour palette of the hero.
Slight Detour: A Hairy Problem
It was decided early on that the Wizards of Volcor, being proud of their royal bloodline, would have extravagant robes and large hairpieces that would correlate to their rank within Volcor. How that idea came to be, no one knows; but by this point we were committed, and by the Emperor were we going to make it work.
As it turns out, large hairpieces presented various practical challenges. First is the shape, and getting it to feel both flamboyant and cocky, yet low-key (so as to not upstage the hero). For it to feel natural, yet outlandish to us earthlings... and on and on we go.
Many designs were scrapped in the process:
Moreover, the hairpiece is quite tall, and presented some significant challenges when considering other design assets that we had to create, one of which is the booster wrapper;
Fine Tuning & Touchups
After many rounds of back and forth, we had mostly confirmed the clothing, accessory, and colouration of Kano. All that is left is to tweak his appearance and physique to fully capture his personality. To this end, we stretched him out, narrowed his face, added a wry smile... and there you have it, the rough concept of Kano, Dracai of Aether:
The rest, as they say, is history.
Hope you found this Behind the Scenes interesting, and watch out for more Wizard card spoilers coming over the next few days.
Our second hero from Arcane Rising, "????, ???????? ??????????????", will be revealed next Monday. Keep your eyes peeled!