We’re back again with another Developer Workshop! Today we’re taking a look at Kara, the fourth and final in our series of playable Heroes in our upcoming campaign, The Songweave Tapestry. Step into the shadows as we explore the design process for this adventurer with a dark past.
Our first ideas for Kara’s portrait had her adventuring through a dark, cavernous space, bearing a torch that illuminates her and the vague shape of a black ship behind her. We wanted to convey the sense that Kara’s wanderlust and adventuring spirit is always propelling her away from dark memories of the past–more specifically, memories of the traumatizing weeks she spent trapped aboard a plague ship before it floated into harbour in the lowlands of Summit.
This concept was intriguing, but the cavernous darkness didn’t give the artist much to work with, and was maybe a little too on the nose. We began mocking up poses that amped up the adventure aspect a little more, depicting Kara as an intrepid explorer forging into new territory, but with the ragged sails of the plague ship looming behind her.
We found a concept we liked and started to refine the posing, anatomy, and finer scene details.
STRIKING A POSE
Kara’s design process was shorter than that of the other heroes for Songweave. The clear juxtaposition of light and darkness both in terms of her setting and personality made for easy development by our art team. The biggest challenge our team had with this piece was getting Kara into an appropriate pose.
Kara is the oldest playable character in EMBERWIND so far, and we wanted her age and experience to be evident in her features and expression, even as she radiates a certain youthful exuberance through her sense of adventure. We felt that her initial pose came across as somewhat stereotypical for an adventurous character and even brought out unwanted portrayals of her personality. We tested some other iterations before finally settling on one that fit both her setting and personality. Her final pose balances a sense of forging onward, with an alertness and caution that sets her apart from the younger characters in the story.
DRESSING THE PART
Every adventurer needs their gear, and Kara is no exception. In this case, we wanted to ensure that we designed her look to suit not just her profession as an adventurer, but also the location where the reader encounters her. We meet her surrounded by trees with a decrepit ship looming in the background. The foreground scenery around her features organic shapes and colours, and so to make Kara stand out, our team designed an outfit made of more solid, blocky shapes.
Kara’s gear needed to be designed with two principles in mind: functionality and minimalism. Rather than a bulky pack, our team decided to design her kit such to be light and portable, hence the small pack on her hip. Likewise, our team opted to give her a smaller weapon that could be easily carried and concealed, so we decided a dagger would be best.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Kara’s design and hope you’ll continue her story in the upcoming campaign The Songweave Tapestry! If you’d like to learn more about her now, you can learn about her background in her Archive story, Ship of Death, Ship of Life.