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As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
16,408 backers pledged $701,010 to help bring this project to life.

Dressing an Empress

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Hi backers,

Before we begin, please make sure you load images for this update or the text will be rather meaningless...

Today we have a couple of things we wanted to cover. First of all we reached 1600 shares on our Kickstarter page which means we hit another social stretch goal. The mp3 for The Mandate thriller theme has been uploaded and we decided to throw in a second wallpaper pack to celebrate almost 5500 backers. Both 1920x1200 and 1920x1080 versions are available and you can download from the link above. Keep sharing our Kickstarter page on Facebook by clicking the share button right below our Kickstarter video to unlock new free stuff! The "retro version" of the music from our text adventure Scourge of The Mandate is also available from the same page in case you cannot get enough of it!

Secondly, several of our backers have asked us to do an AMA (ask me anything). We are planning an AMA for next week and will get back to you with more details soon. Garret (art director), Ole (exec producer & lead designer) and Michael (community manager) will be on hand to answer questions.

In response to backer feedback, today we are doing a special “behind the scenes” update called “Dressing an Empress”. We understand that some backers may find this update a bit on the “soft” side and would rather know more about gameplay mechanics and features, but rest assured we have plenty of these lined up for the next few weeks as well.

Today our focus will be on Empress Anastasia Romanova, by the Grace of God holder of the Mandate, Empress of the United Colonies, Captain-Queen of the Romanov etc: When work on Anastasia's character design began, we did not have her biography written. However, we did have some clear goals in mind for her personality and we discussed five guiding principles that helped shape her visuals and dress:

  • regal presence with clear authority but also young and inexperienced
  • dress should be practical: utilitarian, efficient, robust
  • dress must represent The Mandate more than House of Romanov
  • grace and intelligence over sex appeal
  • tech elements should hint at sci-fi setting while dress still has traditional cut

Initially we had this bit of text to guide us for Anastasia (Her bio has since been heavily modified to make her more sympathetic): “She`d have to be pretty ruthless - she runs a galactic empire and everyone`s out to get her - with a hint of a child who had to grow up very, very fast and who responds well to straight talk. Going with the storyline (that the player is released from prison to captain a ship loyal to her) she`d be very much `You and I are in the same position, if I die you die`along with `Everything is for duty and the Mandate.' She's underestimated by her enemies (and allies) within the Mandate, but she's not an ice-cool superwoman or sassier-than-life Joss Whedon character. And you're never going to know her name or see her crack a smile.”

First we started by doing research into 18th century court dress for Imperial Russia (Empress Catherine the Great comes to mind) as well as looking into modern day galla, court and coronation dresses for Queens and Princesses. Just around this time there was a royal coronation in the Netherlands and we really liked the blue dress that Queen Maxima wore for the coronation ceremony. So with these references and especially this last one in mind, the first concept for Anastasia was born:

Immediately we saw that she felt a bit too old and haunted for her age. The shoes added to the age factor and the dress felt too short. We were not too happy with this first attempt and began to investigate additional references and also took a closer look at old photos of the last Grand Duchesses of Imperial Russia. We decided to switch from blue to another colour, partially because the Order of St Andrew has a blue ribbon and blue on blue was a bit… well blue. Another reason was simply that we had come across a really cool red empress dress.This resulted in three new dresses where the first red one is most closely related to the first blue dress. 

These three dresses go in different directions and one is borderline fairy tale or space princess territory. So we returned to our five guiding principles mention earlier and started to mix and match details from the three dresses as well as adding sci-fi tech to Anastasia’s arms. Some backers have speculated that these are cybernetic implants but they are in fact jewelry. This jewelry also serves to augment Anastasia’s natural abilities and also allows her to project holo images. Finally, they provide her with a means to access and “push the red button” similar to the briefcase that supposedly accompanies the US president when out travelling. In The Mandate pushing the red button would not initiate a nuclear attack but something very different… 

We decided to continue with the first two dresses and mix elements from all three together into these as well as do a few colour tests. Also, we toned down how much skin is shown and played around with the tiaras as well. This lead to the final dress:

After we were happy with the dress, we shifted our attention to hairstyle and facial features. Anastasia’s facial features felt a bit generic caucasian rather than somebody of Russian ancestry. So we started to look at various pictures of both Russian and Ukranian models and came across a few celebrities as well. The final version includes various tweaks to Anastasia's facial features. This was an interesting process with everybody having strong opinions. We got input from several native Russians about which facial shape and hairstyle they identified the most with.The final face structure for Anastasia is a mix of several currently living celebrities. Can you guess who?

For our backstory trailer we also wanted Anastasia’s coronation picture to be more extravagant than her "day to day" court dress. As such we went for a very opulent dress and also a more traditional braided Russian hair style. We had numerous movie and picture references for the coronation gown Anastasia would be wearing. You may also make out the details on the top of her scepter, which is the 8-pointed Star of St Andrew.

After we landed the final version Garret did a promotional poster for Anastasia. One of the visitors commented that the poster gave off a vibe of “heavy is the head that wears the crown” which is exactly the message we wanted to convey.

This concludes our segment “Dressing an Empress”. We hope you found it interesting and promise to return soon with “proper” design updates.

Finally, cross promotion is important, and so far merely mentioning other games has earned us several hundred new backers. We understand that not everyone will enjoy the games that we note, but it really is necessary to boost the amount of pledges. We have some guys who are talking to these developers, ensuring their design philosophies and community spirit matches our own. We have gotten a lot of suggestions from you guys, and today we are noting an anime style RPG called You Are Not The Hero.

You Are Not The Hero is a 2D Action Platform RPG that ditches the battle system to focus on richer RPG gameplay elements. Instead of playing a traditional hero that saves the world, you're playing a bystander swept into the affairs of heroes and villains alike. Those heroes have broken into houses and been a nuisance for far too long, it's time to get some payback!

Next week will feature multiple design updates, new dev log(s), the AMA, interviews with major press sites and other cool stuff!

Your friends at Perihelion Interactive

Devil Khan, Zerodime, and 42 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Rolan Storm on November 12, 2013

      *astonished silence*

      Okay where was that 'rise pledge' button?

      :)

      Thank you for elaboration. I am really looking forward to this game.

    2. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on November 11, 2013

      @Rolan: We will support 1-6 players. Each player has his/her own sandbox universe and can invite other players either just to help out with a tricky combat, or to play together for a longer period of time and explore together. The universes will not be exact copies as well, so it may make sense to switch which sandbox you are playing in. You will be able to take any rewards or resources that you acquire back to your own sandbox universe.

    3. Rolan Storm on November 11, 2013

      Great job. And poster is impressive. As a Russian player it is fascinating to see how you are going with the story. Quite unusual, too (most of the time game's Russians are evil NPC (: ).

      I've got question (sorry if it was asked already): with everyone going online any chance we get multiplayer or something similar? Shared galaxy, perhaps (something akin to Diablo 3)?

    4. Missing avatar

      Alexander Kihl on November 10, 2013

      Must say, I really loved the dress. It just looks, with risk for sounding cliché, fabulous! Give my regards to the artist for that one. If he/she tires of the video gaming industry he/she could always try for fashion :P

    5. Daniel Berke on November 10, 2013

      I for one really enjoyed this little update. The first time I saw the picture of Empress Anastasia on the sidebar of your website I thought "She looks nice. I hope she shows up in the game and isn't just some promotional art." So I was pleased to discover that she'll probably have a big role in many playthroughs.

    6. TanC on November 10, 2013

      An update is an update, whether it's "proper" or not. I love this update...it details the thought processes of the team and how much you all want it to fit in with everything: in short, every tiny detail is thought out and that is reassuring to me. Keep up the good work!

    7. Helena on November 10, 2013

      TBH, I find this kind of thing far more interesting than ship design ;-D It's fascinating to see how much thought goes into all the little details. Keep it up!

    8. Joshua P. on November 10, 2013

      I actually like the two off the shoulder dresses, and the #2 shoulder and sleeve. While I hope to see the other options appear at different points in the game, the chosen gown appears more business like, which makes sense, especially for what will be, for many people, her first appearance.

      In the game context, practical clothing makes me think the gowns must have shield generators in the shoulders, and that the skirt must be hiding an armor/shield piercing, rapid fire pistol.

    9. J.L. on November 10, 2013

      Before all this I had seen the images of her, on your website, and my instant reaction was that the red one was indeed the regal one. Very interesting to see the reasoning, which I wholeheartedly agree with. (c:

    10. Conclavidor
      Superbacker
      on November 10, 2013

      Pfft, "proper" design updates. It's true that new feature talk is more exciting to read and gets the most buzz, but it's stuff like this that truly makes me fall in love with projects. It proves you care about what you're doing, that you care more about design than just the gameplay "features", and makes me look a little closer at everything.

    11. JJ on November 9, 2013

      Great update. I pretty much agree with the final design decision, and please do keep to the poster version face, which seems more angular and has a stronger nose.

    12. Canyon
      Superbacker
      on November 9, 2013

      Loved this update. I think Empress Ana is a very interesting character and you achieved all of the goals you were going for with her design. The "Do I have your loyalty, Captain?" image is my favorite and I hope it features prominently in the actual game. My favorite dress is the one to the right in the image with the three dress colors in it. I think it shows sex appeal in addition to grace and intelligence - and she seems to have all three.

    13. Derek Still on November 9, 2013

      Personally as much as I like learning more about gameplay mechanics, I prefer updates like this. When I play a game like The Mandate, I want to be immersed in the world. As long as you space out the updates for us, lore/world building updates will to more to increase the hype ( for me at least).

    14. Justin L Smith on November 9, 2013

      It is interesting to see that every little detail has to be thought out, reviewed, reworked and reviewed again. Though I am sure not everyone cares about all this but I find it quite interesting the amount of time and effort to try and make things as realistic and plausible as possible. Great job, people!

    15. Missing avatar

      Kazeite on November 9, 2013

      Personally, I'd prefer a white dress with red coat (1.2), but then again, I'm not the Empress :)

    16. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on November 9, 2013

      Nice to see what iterations the dress went through ^^