Cited Progress

Progress has been slow on the Cited project. I have been attempting to design some characters for a hypothetical game based on this idea of the internet and how it can be very intrusive.

I’ve found myself getting a little disinterested in it and even though I can kind of figure out the overall direction it could go, I just haven’t been doing much.

Admittedly this blog post is way way over due and the work I’m showing was done from late December but hopefully it should sufficiently show the kind of thing I was looking at. I also have a lot of references that I was looking at which I will also include.

I had also attempted to make some models but they went really badly and so I threw them out.

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These were my first drawings. I managed to figure out fairly quickly that I liked this kind of ancient Japan aesthetic coupled with things that make them more advanced. I wanted the internet references to be there without being over bearing. I thought that maybe this was a more interesting take on the idea. I liked the idea of doing masks because it made the characters anonymous and bland. The more visually interesting things would come from the clothing elements. The idea was that you would have something artificial and homogenous masquerading as an individual, a person with a life in something. That was where dressing them in clothes and armour inspired by ancient Japan came into it because clothing can tell you what clan you belonged to, your class, your role in society etc. Clothing always tells stories wether that’s intentional or not.
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The aesthetic of the mask was inspired by three main sources. Bioshock (specifically Bioshock: Infinite although all three games were interesting to look at), Nier: Automata and The Last Guardian. I did also include references to the ‘men’ which is the helmet worn by Kendoka (practitioners of Kendo (the way of the sword) which was adapted from Kenjutsu) and also the ‘dō’ which is the stomach armour.
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When thinking about the influences I wanted to draw from one of my initial thoughts after samurai was the Boys of Silence from Bioshock: Infinite. I wanted to make my character kind of creepy and so I looked at this reference image because it kind of embodied the sort of feeling I was going for, as do a lot of the characters from Bioshock. One of the things I really appreciate about 2K (the team behind the series) is that they leave the annotations around their artwork which is very helpful in understanding the choices that they made. For example on this piece, I see the word ‘heavy’ repeated a lot. This clues me into the mannerisms and the feeling of this design. I know that they want the character to be incredibly laboured and clumsy to give a sense of this thing fumbling around trying to find the player’s character. It’s pretty creepy. You know that even if this character can’t see you’re still in a lot of trouble if you encounter one. I think you get that impression even without knowing exactly what the Boys of Silence are capable of.
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This is a Motorised Patriot, also from Bioshock: Infinite. I wanted to reference this design because of the attention to detail that makes it what it is. I think that looking at characters from this series will help me think better about what decisions I want to make with my own character.
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This is artwork from Nier: Automata. I was interested in it mostly because I liked how they covered up some of the character’s faces. It creates a level of ambiguity whilst revealing enough that they’re easy to relate to as human characters. In this sense they contrast strikingly to the Bioshock characters because they aren’t fully covered and they feel easier to read whereas the Motorised Patriot and Boys of Silence give very little in terms of expression and intention thus making them far more unsettling and creepy.
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An initial drawing of a more finalised idea for the character. I gave it antennae like the ones that you get on internet routers to hint at the internet themes and to add to the visual interest. It also helped link it to the old Japanese references I was looking at. I thought it made the mask element feel a little like a Kabuto which is the samurai’s helmet. The face is obscured because I want it to be kind of creepy and obscured like everything online is obscured and not as it seems. I also gave it this long reaching neck to make it intimidating and looming.
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This is just a cleaner version of the drawing.
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This is an ink drawing that I did.
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