I’ve planned for three playable pilots since my earliest prototype.
The design goal is straightforward: approaching the same mission with different pilots who handle differently increases replay variety. It also acts as a difficulty handicap for casual or hardcore players to opt-into by choosing particular easy or challenging pilots for particular maps.
This week I was feeling ambitious and decided to flex my illustration muscles, and made a nice set of pilot-portrait key-art, as well as sketch concepts for their fighter craft. I really want to push the 80s mecha-anime space-opera creative direction.
My original fat-pixel lineup.
These are all still early concepts, and might change a lot. For their fighter craft, I tried to limit myself to things which can be modelled in the low-poly style, so I kept them sketchier. The one thing I didn’t do was choose names. It’s too hard!
“Wait, that was supposed to be a challenge?”
The Ace is the face for the game: a cocky protagonist with a fiery sense of justice who’s driven to protect civilians. Her primary flaw is her pride. I think of her as a mix of Kei, Judau Ashta, and Lufy.
If I were this cute, I’d be vain too.
Her search-and-rescue fighter craft is the balanced gameplay choice, and has a good mix of firepower and evasiveness. It’s special feature is the ability to transform between mecha and jet forms.
“The only real challenge to power is power itself.”
The Commander is the heel: an cold-hearted but charismatic authoritarian prone to pontificating on his political ideals. He’s the ace’s natural rival. I basically started with Char Aznable, and kept pressing the big button labelled “Sephiroth” until his design screamed “daddy!”
His attack mecha is the tank choice, with high armor and ammo-payload in exchange for limited maneuverability. It basically turns the game into a shooting gallery like Omega Boost. His special is an ultra-heavy charge-attack cannon.
“Who’s content to live in a fishbowl once you’ve ridden the sea of stars?”
The Pirate is the wildcard: a smuggler who delights in making her own way in the world through her own skill and wits, outside the law. But behind her hedonistic facade, lies a principled sense of honor. A total throwback to Captain Harlock.
This was actually the first model I made for this game.
Her fighter is the glass cannon choice, offering high-speed and dodge-maneuvers in exchange for lighter sniper-style firepower and no armor. More risk for more reward: her special increases the amount of loot you receive.