The "unibody" prototype helped to push us toward our eventual designs -- by pushing us away from this, toward something else.
The texture style for our prototype was too flat and unrefined. However, it had the basic principles we wanted: a combination of simplified shapes with inked line work, and comic book-style gradient coloring.
These ideas would survive into our further work, and evolve into something more visually appealing.
The simplified shapes and angular stylization of features at this phase were too simplified, but we felt the general idea was worth pursuing and could be improved upon.
The primary issue for all of us was that the basic proportions for the male characters didn't feel heroic, and the females didn't look feminine. The heavy stylization of the characters overshadowed this.
Once we all realized that we would need at least two body meshes (a male and female) to make this work, the jump to three meshes was not so daunting. It was about this time that we had settled upon the idea of doing a single player version of the game prior to the MMO version.
The decision to present three defined classes in the single player emerged and it dovetailed into our character design problems perfectly. The team decided to create three completely unique characters to represent our three classes, and defer a highly customizable playable character setup until the MMO.
Coming to this decision early on was vital. When we were stuck in the "unibody" mindset, morale dipped, as some felt art was being sacrificed for schedules, and that we were trying to shoehorn in a solution. Once we made the call for unique characters, the mood changed considerably and we were back on track.
Similar principles, but with a more heroic structure