COMCEPT CONCEPT WEDNESDAYS: Three New Characters & Our Mascot Plushie!
(｀_´)ゞ(｀_´)ゞSPREAD THE WORD: KEIJI INAFUNE WILL BE ANSWERING QUESTIONS AS PART OF A REDDIT AMA (ASK ME ANYTHING) TONIGHT, WED SEPT 25TH FROM 6 - 8PM PST! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE! (｀_´)ゞ(｀_´)ゞ
Aloha, Mighty Beckers!
Welcome to our very last, but very special Comcept Concept Wednesday! This week we have a dual dose of behind-the-screens goodness: first, our progress developing three key Mighty No. 9 characters (the people responsible for the creation of Beck and the Mighty Numbers as well as the xel technology that drives them), and second, a peek at the xels themselves -- the mascots of Mighty No. 9, if you will -- complete with early design sketches of the mascot plushie we’re offering at the $175 and up reward tiers!
Our narrator, once again -- director Koji Imaeda. Take it away, Koji!
WHAT’S UP, DOCS?
Imaeda: In our updates so far, we've talked about Beck, we’ve talked about a few of the bosses and footsoldier enemies, and we’ve even showed some tentative heroine designs, but hmm… Aren't we forgetting something? Wait, that's right -- we haven’t talked about the doctors who created all of the above! Specifically:
- Dr. White: The independent robotics researcher who created Beck and all the other Mighty Numbers. (If you were at our PAX panel and received one of the limited Mighty No. 9 t-shirts we gave out, you may have already seen this name!)
- Dr. Blackwell: The inventor of "xel" technology, which revolutionized the robotics industry and forms the basis of the world of Mighty No. 9.
- Dr. Sanda: A specialist in humanoid robotics whose work makes extensive use of xel technology.
So! Each of our three doctors is a genius in his own right, and each is supposed to have his own unique look...
(above) Inti Creates designer Yuji Natsume (left) and Comcept art director Shinsuke Komaki (right) diligently discuss dozens of different doctor designs.
...But that doesn't mean it'll be easy! We need designs for not just one, but three separate eccentric geniuses. How can we express this similarity they all share, and yet keep them all distinct from each other? Trial and error! We come up with new ideas, again and again, and Inafune sends them back for revisions, again and again... Slowly but surely, we make progress...
(above) Believe it or not, this is only a fraction of the idea sketches we’ve created! If you look closely, you can get a feel for the variety of experimentation going on, with designs ranging from traditional Japanese and American comic book-styles, to highly stylized caricatures. At the top there...could those be suggestions for additional characters besides the doctors and Call…?
Imaeda: With Mighty No. 9, Inafune and the team are trying to fuse the best qualities of Japanese and Western comics and animation, while at the same time giving the game its own unique look. Easier said than done! What kind of character designs and in-game visuals will we ultimately end up with? All we can say for now is that our artists and designers are all working together as a team, sharing in both the struggles and the excitement of these long days of trial and error...
(above) Even as we were meeting, Natsume was sketching out new ideas and alterations on the fly.
Imaeda: We hope you enjoyed this little window into character development, even if we don’t have any set designs for the doctors to show you just yet. Bear in mind that everything in Mighty No.9, from Beck to the bosses to the smallest of enemies -- even the backgrounds -- goes through this process!
ANATOMY OF A XEL
Next -- because YOU asked for it -- the first real design sketches of our “xel”-based mascot character! This design will be the basis of our mascot plushie!
For a little background, let’s turn it back over to director Imaeda-san:
Imaeda: These are two concept illustrations I asked Inafune to draw for a mascot character for Mighty No. 9. It’s a basic form, composed of eight xels that have linked together to form a block-like character -- a mega-xel, if you will. (Editor’s note: mega-xel will not be this character’s final name, but we will use it now for the sake of clarity.)
Imaeda: This mega-xel can link up with similar mega-xels to grow bigger, or it can split apart into smaller xel blocks, ultimately leading to many different robot shapes and functionalities.
Imaeda: Come to think of it, we haven’t really explained this whole "xel" thing yet, have we? It’s pretty important! The xel concept is the cornerstone of the world of Mighty No. 9. The word “xel” (pronounced “cell”) actually stems from the word “pixel” -- each individual xel is a tiny cube-shaped robot (kind of like a pixel!), and receives its orders from a central unit known as a “core.” Xels can link together with each other to change shape and form an endless variety of robots; Beck, Call, the other Mighty Numbers, even ordinary enemies -- every single robot in Mighty No. 9 is composed of xels, just as all the graphics in games of the past were composed of pixels!
(above) The completed character design for our as-yet-unnamed xel-based mascot. If you pledge at the $175 level or above, this little guy will be yours, in plushie form!
Imaeda: Xels can reach out their hands and join together with other xels; they can change their surface pigment to color the robots they form; they can respond to commands to generate heat or discharge electricity… Every action that a robot performs is ultimately made possible by the work of xels!
In a nutshell, xels are to robots what cells are to human beings. With that in mind, isn’t it only natural that they’d become the mascot character for Mighty No. 9?
So what do you think? Did we xel you on our e-xel-ent new mascot, or what? Quick, give us feedback or we shall shower you with more bad puns! @MightyNo9 on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments here -- we are watching them all, and with just 6 days left in our Kickstarter campaign, we need all the posts and support you can muster, to every corner of the internet! Thanks so much for your time, and we’ll see you again tomorrow