Character spotlight – Jackin

As a concept, Death of Magic has been evolving since 2014. There have been shifts in focus over that time, but some of the most obvious changes have been in character design. Characters have changed race, age, and gender as various story elements have been updated and rearranged. One of the most obvious shifts has been Jackin.

In her initial, elementary incarnation, Jackin was far more of a blank slate. We knew she was an elf, was young, and we knew she had a prosthetic arm (even if we weren’t sure why). On the cusp of adulthood, she was fresh faced and impressionable, responding to events in the story impulsively, very much at the mercy of forces around her.

jack-portrait43capture2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After several iterations of the script, it was clear that this innocent Jackin no longer made sense. Her environment is harsh, and although she is young she’s been through significant trauma (finally, her prosthetic arm got a backstory). Gradually she grew older, more cynical, more wary. She’s a young woman who’s known hunger, who’s lost family and friends, and who knows that if something seems too good to be true than it probably is.

These changes in her character are reflected in her appearance. Her face is lined, her hair tangled, her shoulders broad from hard work. There are aesthetic changes too – her nose is broader and more feline, her skin darker, and there’s (although you can’t see it in these pictures) a tail. As the appearance of other races such as dwarves became more animalistic, elves had to as well.

As the player character, Jackin will go on changing and evolving according to decisions made throughout the story. She may grow more hopeful, more trusting of new opportunities. Or she may grow more cynical, placing faith only in herself and her allies. It’s up to you.

Creating a character who can believably develop in multiple directions has been a challenge, but a fascinating one.

jack

 

2 thoughts on “Character spotlight – Jackin

  1. Interesting choices. You say that the fact that as other races got more animalistic, so the Elves had to as well, so what caused this stylistic shift? It’s a very interesting question as to how you would place humanoidish species on a spectrum running from almost indistinguishably human to almost completely animal looking. Of course appearance is not the only consideration – I still remember my shock as a child when I worked out the class lines running through Wind in the Willows.

    I would be interested in hearing more about the choices you made and the considerations behind them.

  2. Our interest in animalistic races came from a frustration with Tolkeinesque fantasy races essentially being variations on humans; elves are like humans but delicate and beautiful, dwarves are like humans but short and strong. This is all well and good, but we wanted to do something different.

    In this game every race is inspired by a different animal. Dwarves are something like badgers, goblins are like ferrets or weasels, centaurs have horselike faces rather than human ones. The initial cat-like design of elves seemed to work, but when early builds had Jackin talking to other characters she looked pretty much human in comparison. As such her nose is now more leonine, her ears more fluffy. The animated character model will also emphasise the front of her face as more muzzle-like.

    Elves are still obviously the most human-looking race, which is partly a commercial decision. It’s important that players can recognise and empathise with Jackin’s emotions and expressions, which is easier to achieve if her features are familiar. Keeping her human-ish also helps to avoid the game being pidgeonholed as just for the furry crowd.

Leave a comment