Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 22, 2017
arrowPress Releases






If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


The careful design considerations behind  Shovel Knight 's alternate-gender sprites

The careful design considerations behind Shovel Knight's alternate-gender sprites

February 28, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

February 28, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon
Comments
    Post A Comment
More: Indie, Art, Design



"The female cast in [Mega Man and Super Mario 3] consists of either token additions or damsels in distress. We wanted to do something to better address this oversight..."

- Yacht Club Games details how the era of games that inspired Shovel Knight also inspired the decision to design per-character gender options.

One of the stretch goals for Shovel Knight’s initial Kickstarter campaign way back in 2013 stated that creator Yacht Club Games would eventually include both male and female versions of major characters found within the game. 

In a recent blog, the developer detailed the different considerations taken by the team while drafting the sprites and features for what they called body swap mode. The full read over at Polygon contains some solid lessons for developers on what to keep in mind when redesigning or even initially creating the look of male and female characters within a game. 

In Yacht Club Games’ case, some of the challenges faced were creating designs that avoided tropes, stayed true to each character’s personality, and matched the hitbox of the original sprite.

The team also tried its best to keep inclusivity in mind by allowing for players to individually select a masculine or feminine appearance, and separately assign pronouns to each character. To a similar tune, the feature was originally pitched as a gender swap, but was renamed body swap during development. 

The full post over at Polygon runs through the design process for alternate versions of King Knight, Shovel Knight, Shield Knight, Black Knight, and Enchantress and contains both production art and further explanations the self-imposed rules Yacht Club Games kept in mind when workshopping each redesign.



Related Jobs

Substrate Games, LLC
Substrate Games, LLC — Des Moines, Iowa, United States
[09.21.17]

Software Engineer
Infinity Ward / Activision
Infinity Ward / Activision — woodland hills, California, United States
[09.21.17]

Senior Visual Effects Artist
Pixelberry Studios
Pixelberry Studios — Mountain View, California, United States
[09.20.17]

Senior Game Writer
Iron Galaxy Studios
Iron Galaxy Studios — Chicago, Illinois, United States
[09.20.17]

Design Director









Loading Comments

loader image