I'm Emmy "enmi" Wahlbäck, artsy hyperactive noobcake of Coffee Stain Studios. I want to share some notes about the art style of Sanctum 2 and how we've been working on making it look as friggin' neat as possible. To start off, let's focus on the characters because thats my favorite part! When Sanctum 2 was in its planning stages we had already decided that we wanted four unique characters. I'll talk you through thoughts about character design one character at a time. But not the fourth one. The fourth one is top secret. TOP SECRET!
The game takes place a few years after Sanctum so it felt natural to upgrade Skye a bit. She's grown older, more battle hardened and scarred. We went through a whole bunch of ideas for her outfit and hair. It felt important to keep the essence of Skye as this streamlined, quick but brutal badass. When designing game characters, even in fantasy or sci-fi settings I like to gather inspiration from a lot of different sources instead of just looking at other games or movies within those genres. I spent a lot of time gathering references from street fashion, haute couture as well as functional military gear. Skye decided to shave half her hair off after she got hit across the head by a really annoying lume. It died horribly of course, but left a nasty scar on the side of Skye's head. Her old headband was replaced by an earpiece connected to the rest of her tech which has all been slimmed down to give her a more agile appearance. To enhance her authority I designed shoulder armor with strong hard edges as well as marks of her status. In Sanctum 2 she has been promoted to the highest ranked Core Guardian. The correctness of the uniform is supposed to stand in contrast to the raw attitude of her scars and wild hair. The art direction for Sanctum 2 aims to be sharp, crisp and clean. We amped up the whiteness of Elysion One and its technology and added darker areas as well as more variety in materials. Skyes blue jumpsuit got an upgrade with black and a richer shade of dark turquoise. If she ever gets bored in between fights she sometimes occupies herself with carving her kill-count into her armor. Only counting the really big enemies of course. If she included every pathetic little runner she massacred she'd have no time left to actually keep killing!
Haigen Hawkins was kind of tricky to figure out. We knew we wanted a male character and we knew he and Skye were supposed to loathe each other. During the concept stages we just called him "Douche" since that's probably what Skye would have called him. His armor was quite difficult to design too since we wanted him to be really tall and lanky but still function as a close combat brawler. How to dress a tech-nerd so that he'll be able to withstand brutal lume bashing while tearing their limbs off with a shotgun? Well, the main inspiration came from the sort of protective gear that is used by crazy people who disarm bombs for a living. Blast protection around the neck, helmet with a shield for the face, some big headphones for chill music and several layers of protective gear over his chest and ribcage, that should do the trick! To be able to carry all his tools and gadgets he's got massive bags attatched to his belt. Silhouette is a vital part of character design and to make his shape dynamic and balanced I designed a pair of reeeally baggy pants for him to go along with his heavy chestplate. The idea is to bring out the difference between his skinny body and the brawler armor that was probably made to fit way sturdier Core Guardians than Haigen.
The idea of Sweet Autumn was being tossed around long before we even knew if there was going to be a Sanctum 2. There are hints of her existance in the first game and there was a clear vision of who she was before the design was made. As a concept artist I think it's kind of rare to get an assignment where you get a chance to design a character that is so close to your own personal taste. I felt like a happy kid in a candy shop while doodling different sweet designs. Her style is a combination of Harajuku street fasion, functional snowboard gear all mixed up with the armor tech of Elysion One. Because of her speedy and childish personality it was natural to have her modify and customize the Core Guardian uniform to make it less boring and more personal. I experimented with other colour variations on her jumpsuit but we ended up deciding to keep the turquoise and black suit closest to the body and add other colours on top of that. She's tied her own orange overalls around her hips, painted graffiti all over her exo skeleton and glove. There are some crazy cute stickers on there too. Her hair is streaked in pink and blue but that's probably temporary since Sweet is the kind of girl who changes her looks according to her moods. We wanted to make Sweet look sweet of course but it's been really important to us that her sweetness isn't her main feature as a character. All that bubblegum cuteness is what might strike you at first glance but there is more to her than that. You'll just have to dig through the game to figure her out. Haah, I bet you're all curious now, aren't ya!Next time I get a chance to talk to you you'll probably get to know more about enemies and environments. We'll have to see!
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Take care and eat ice cream.