Dev Diary #8 - Global Content and Characters
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Welcome to our ongoing series of Developer Diaries for THE ALCHEMIST CODE—the global version of 誰ガ為のアルケミスト (otherwise known as “For Whom The Alchemist Exists”)—the most widely sought-after mobile Strategy RPG in Japan!
In this series, our development team for THE ALCHEMIST CODE will delve deeper into the vast and rich universe of the game and share behind-the-scenes details on the making of THE ALCHEMIST CODE.
For this edition of Developer Diary, we’ll be breaking down the creation process that team took to create our first Global Exclusive Character, Siegfried. Joining us for this Developer’s Diary is Samuel, the Global Content Game Designer. He will introduce the process on how we create global content for the global audience.
The main goal of Global Content is to provide a whole new story experience to accompany global players alongside the usual content. That includes a brand new cast of characters created from the ground up, character skins, gears and epic stories.
When the team was given the opportunity to create global content for THE ALCHEMIST CODE, every one of us in the development team had plenty of ideas we want to implement. So I asked myself and the team, How do we approach this?
To illustrate our creative process, I’ll be using Siegfried’s character creation as an example.
The first step we took was to gather the team and bounce ideas around. We brainstormed and discussed different types of characters we, and the community, would love. We knew that we needed a cool and mysterious character. In the end, we unanimously agreed that a Wandering Hero type would be our best choice.
Next, we took a look at different famous fictional wandering heroes from all mediums of entertainment. For us, our aim was to mix both western and eastern influences yet still preserve THE ALCHEMIST CODE’s artistic flair. We took notes from characters like Vash The Stampede from Trigun and Himura Kenshin from Samurai X to The Man with No Name from the Dollars trilogy Clint Eastwood movies just to name a few.
Siegfried’s First Concept Sketch
To align ourselves to our original goal of creating something totally new, we took bits and parts of the characters we researched, and weaved all of it into a character befitting to our original overall story. With the help of Babel’s rich historical setting as the backdrop, we managed to create characters that are larger-than-life yet relatable.
To summarize the concepts we had for Siegfried, it is “someone who does their part in their own way to improve the world that they live in” and “a character who seems to live from moment to moment but in fact they are in a long journey of self-discovery“
Once we were done with the rough outline of Siegfried, we started to construct Siegfried’s internal and external personalities, or simply, his true self versus the “mask” he wears. Additionally, we wanted Siegfried to have valid and realistic (in THE ALCHEMIST CODE way) motivations and flaws so players would want to cheer and support him. Therefore, we constantly asked questions like “Who is Siegfried?”, “How is Siegfried?” and “Why is Siegfried?” to guide us in creating this character’s depth.
Another core trait that is important for a wandering hero, we wanted Siegfried to embody “a carefree and easy-going guy but carries and air of mystery to him where people might not be able to determine his motives easily”. To drive this point home, Siegfried speaks to those around him informally, but not to the point of being rude or immature. It helps to hide his true nature and motivations by misdirecting those that come in contact with him. In fact, this attitude creates a “barrier” so people around him would not be attached to him. And most importantly, this fits the wanderer image perfectly - a person who doesn’t stay in one place (or relationship) for too long.
Subsequently, we have created a complex narrative that intertwines the character’s origins and their current motivations, and how these elements impacts the overall narrative. As for Seigfried, we created a backstory (that you’ll find out soon) to why he wanders, and the reason why he acts in such a way in the story.
Unfortunately, I won't delve into the story details as the best kind of stories are the ones you experienced yourself. However, I can tell you the gist of his story: He travels around Babel searching for a deeper understanding of Alchemy and he wishes to protects the land against the misuse and danger of it.
So look forward to Siegfried’s future story quests to find out more.
We agreed that Siegfried looks cooler with a hat
Creating the Character Art
The suave look of Siegfried was the brainchild of our Creative Director, Emiko. When we pitched the idea of Siegfried to her and her art team, all of us immediately agreed on two iconic things: A hat and a long coat.
The art team used a blue and white motif for Siegfried due to the Alchemist's color guide and based on the region that he is from. Light beige was chosen as the main color because white is considered a special color in Japanese color rules, and it is often used for important cool characters. Since Siegfried is our first global exclusive character, it was fitting that we used white as a main color for him, but as a Wanderer, white would have been too clean so light beige was used to give Siegfried a rugged look.
To match with THE ALCHEMIST CODE’'s design rules, we usually add many decorations or accessories to fill in the character details. But since Siegfried is not the flamboyant type, we used patterns instead of decorations to add in the details to keep the design less “noisy”, and to better show his character personality.
The final sketch for Seigfried
Gameplay and Style
While the art team was busy with the character art, the game design team was busy creating a playstyle (e.g. Jobs) that fits Siegfried as a character and as a playable combat unit. Furthermore, we want players know the playstyle of a character just by looking at the character’s visual cues. For example, if we created a character that looks like a mage but plays like a berserker, it sounds great on paper but that will not help players in the long run.
We wanted Siegfried to be someone who’s fast with his attacks and his wits. And the one of the jobs that fit this criteria is an Agile Swordsman - this job has the the ability to take down tough opponents with deadly precision. A unit that is great to have as an ally, but worst as an enemy.
Refining and Finalizing
Once we finalized the concept and the art design, we began refining Siegfried into the character that you’ll eventually get to play. During this phase, we added and removed details that didn’t fit with Siegfried’s profile and the overall story. Details such as relationships between characters and character abilities have an impact on the overall design, and we want that to be reflected in the character and their stories.
This was the time for us to fill up and, sometimes, purposely create gaps in the design, story, and art. Ultimately, we do not want Siegfried’s or the other characters future in THE ALCHEMIST CODE to be rigid from the start. By creating deliberate gaps in those places, we are giving ourselves the opportunity for expansion and growth. Of which, we might need some help from the community to help us fill in these gaps.
I hope this has given you an insight into our creative process the team used in creating global content for THE ALCHEMIST CODE. It was a long and arduous journey from inspiration to creation, but it was a journey worth taking.
So without further ado, here it is, the official artwork of Siegfried:
Siegfried’s Official Artwork
Thank you Samuel for going through the Global Content development process. I hope you had a better insight on how we create, design and write characters like Siegfried. Siegfried is an impressive fighting unit and we believe he’ll be a great addition to your A-team. Get Siegfried in your team once he is released!
On the next Developer’s Diary, join us as we unravel the story behind the Main Questline of The Global Content.
Until then, be seeing you at the Door of Truth, Alchemists.
- THE ALCHEMIST CODE Team