The nar­ra­tive and func­tion of a Leg­ends hero is determined be­fore the artists begin designing them. “We need a good mix of abil­i­ties within the char­ac­ters,” says art direc­tor Tuite, “so we’ve got a healthy spread of Will users, Strength and Skill users. Es­sen­tially, it will be, ‘We need this type of char­ac­ter,’ and then the de­sign and art [teams] will start brain­storm­ing. From my point of view, I want to get a good bal­ance of male and fe­male char­ac­ters and [dis­tinc­tive] sil­hou­ettes, so we’ll think about dif­fer­ent heights and sizes as well.”

This is im­por­tant, Tuite says, be­cause none of the playable he­roes are generic, all-pur­pose pro­tag­o­nists. “In ef­fect, in this Fa­ble you’re get­ting to play the more in­ter­est­ing side char­ac­ters you met in the pre­vi­ous games. This time, you’re less of a ci­pher and a dress-up doll – you’ll ef­fec­tively get to play [he­roes such as] Ham­mer in this game.”

“We have a tem­plat­ing sys­tem for size and shape that we work with,” he says. “There are spe­cific meth­ods for the way we do arms, mus­cles, fin­gers and noses. There’s a sculp­tural shape to all the char­ac­ters, and it’s the same thing for hair, so we look at sculp­ture for the char­ac­ter shape more than the tra­di­tional [meth­ods].”

Fan­tasy games usu­ally re­flect re­al­world cul­tures, and Tuite’s keen to en­sure Leg­ends’ he­roes have a dis­tinctly Bri­tish feel. “That doesn’t mean we don’t look at other games, but whether it’s Korean, Ja­panese or Amer­i­can fan­tasy, they all have a par­tic­u­lar look to them and there are things in there we will [con­sciously] avoid. There will be no chain­mail biki­nis in our game!”

There’s lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween the orig­i­nal art for the he­roes and crea­tures and the way that they look in-game. The way th­ese char­ac­ters will move is equally im­por­tant to the stu­dio: rather than build a sin­gle an­i­ma­tion tree and re­fine it for generic avatars, Lion­head has treated each hero as its own in­di­vid­ual project. “We’ve given our­selves an aw­ful lot of work,” says Tuite

The time shift makes it eas­ier to bring out Al­bion’s fairy­tale feel. “We’re pulling it back into the wild wood­lands and sat­u­rat­ing it with magic,” Tuite ex­plains

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