We thought it might be fun to walk through the evolution of a few of our characters. Today, we wanted to talk about Olivia, one of the Heroes and the game’s first playable character.
Olivia began her life in Legends of Callasia, our first strategy game. She was actually added to celebrate Chris’s new niece, Olivia. The real Olivia, who is now a precocious 5 years old, was born with a congenital hand issue (which has since been largely fixed), so Chris thought it might be fun to put her in the game as a hero with a special hand replacement. Thus, she got a cool hand-ax. And a badass afro.
When we started Last Regiment, Chris felt like Olivia never really got the love she deserved and decided to bring her over as one of the lead characters. In her new role, we turned her into an awesome swashbuckling pirate – uh, pirate hunter – explorer. The artists made a few adjustments to make her a bit less Callasian, and a bit more Kothian – and Olivia De Roza was born.
But like any cool protagonist, Olivia actually underwent a couple of changes before she settled into her absolutely-not-a-pirate outfit. Have a look at some of the early Olivias we made over development.
We also toyed with her skin color for a while. One interesting point about Olivia is that rendering good-looking black skin was a real challenge for our artists – most of whom are from the Philippines and have limited experience with drawing black people. It took us a bit to get it right, but we got there with enough time, effort, and plenty of references for how light looks on dark skin!
After plenty of iterations (we have at least six Olivias all labeled ‘done’), we finally found our Olivia de Roza.
It was an interesting discussion. Since obviously Last Regiment is set in a completely fantastical environment, we could have made her skin any shade we wanted. We felt, however, that it would have been good to have some varied skin tones in the game.
With that of course, comes a discussion about whether the color of one’s skin actually means anything in the world of Last Regiment. The quick answer: no. There is an obvious case, of course, in a game that touches on concepts of colonialism, etc. to make color-based race an issue… but in the end, we decided that this isn’t Earth, and the history of Last Regiment’s world need not be driven so directly by our own. If we want a world where one’s skin tone is no big deal, we can build one. That’s the joy of creating fiction.
So, in the end, we decided that black folk in our world come from the southern parts of the island chain of Portella, which is a massive archipelago in the Old World. But in a world that has goblins, orcs, elves, and goodness knows what other sorts of folk, we decided that the people of Portella weren’t really chuffed about human skin color.
Finally, Olivia ended up with this snazzy, definitely-not-a-pirate look, and cannot wait to lead your armies to victory when Last Regiment launches into Early Access this September 9!