[Dev Notes] 6/27 Epic Seven Festa Interview
This is Super Creative.
After the announcement of the June update at the Epic Festa, we had the opportunity to explain the art concepts and background/scenarios about the newly revealed continent, Cidonia through an interview. Contents manager, Ji-Hoon Lee, background design manager, Jong Min Kim and the art director, Hankyung Ryu(AD), were able to take part in this interview.
Here is some of the information presented at the Epic Seven Festa!
You might be curious why the Archdemon tried to conquer only Ritania. It’s because of what lies in the Sanctum of Ritania, which determines the fate of not only Aethra but the whole universe.
To tell you in advance, Episode 1 is only the beginning of our story and the war. The true conflict between Diche and Ilyros and the darkness threatening Aethra will be revealed while adventuring through Cidonia in Episode 2.
Chapter 1. Jerdun Borderlands
Scenario: The Jerdun Borderlands, the first chapter of Episode 2, is one of the few places that has a sea route between Ritania and Cidonia. Ras first lands in Cidonia to carry out the request seen in Destina’s Side Story.
The area used to be a pit-stop for travelers and merchants, but as communications between cities decreases, it became an abandoned wasteland.
Background: The Jerdun area feels as if Ritania and Cidonia were combined. While it is mainly a wasteland, it has a bit of Cidonian color, vegetation and lava filled lands, due to its location between the two continents.
AD: The images that are displayed above are Gnolls and Scorpions. You will be able to spot different wild animals while adventuring in the Jerdun Borderlands. When designing Episode 1, we mainly focused on adequately leveled monsters to control the difficulty, however, in Episode 2, you will meet monsters with unique regional characteristics.
AD: Additionally, we have also added some new Unknowns. They still share the characteristics of current Unknowns, but we tried to make them look even more bizarre than the previous ones.
AD: An Unknown boss was also added. If you clear Episode 2, you will encounter different Unknowns from the outer world. This image here is one version.
Chapter 2. Meldrec
Scenario: A long time ago, Muhr, native to Cidonia, built a great city named Shandra on the fertile land in the southeast. This city later became known as the Shandra Empire. The Shandra established a religion which worshiped Stars after seeing a comet that came crashing down on their continent, which is currently the Eurekan province. However, there was a revolt and a faction moved to the far west until they reached a volcanic area, Meldrec.
Background: Meldrec is the first lava region shown in Epic Seven. As we stated earlier, they came from Shandra. We tried to design these characters based on ’how they would have changed if they were living in a volcanic, lava filled region’. The idea of a lava region must surely be a familiar concept to fantasy fans.
We were initially worried about the lack of originality with this and tried to think of a way to make a bigger impression. Finally though, we decided to just follow our motto of ‘Unparalleled Quality’ to deliver the best designs possible, even if the concept may not be new. You can see this from Meldrec’s vibrant background animations of fire and lava.
AD: This are images of the Muhr fighters in Meldrec. Meldrec’s background is based on an intense distrust between 3 tribes. You’ll see human type enemies like the fighters you see above.
AD: Meldrec’s fighters, shamans, and even monsters are skilled at using fire and we tried to show this visually. So
the design and visual effect work took more time and effort than before.
Scenario: Prior Ezera, some noble families moved to Cidonia from Solayu for political reasons. Initially, this group stayed in the Jerdun Borderlands before splintering off to Aakhen, Perland, and Witchaven.
Even though Aahken has the roughest environment, there’s been a constant conflict for that land due to the presence of a precious mine located nearby. The inhabitants of Aahken are extremely dexterous blacksmiths.
Background: Aakhen was designed as a fortress city for the mine. Other cities were built horizontally wide, but Aakhen was built vertically high. Scenery from the mining city located high above the mountain will provide players with a breathtaking view equal to or superior to other 3D games.
AD: When the design plan was first handed over to us, we thought of dwarves or hobbits since it was a fortress city surrounded by steel towers, filled with the best blacksmiths among all the countries in Cidonia.
We had researched and developed these initial images of soldiers in heavy armor, which you can see now. These images are part of the animation production guide used for Aahken soldiers and cannons.
We attached this for players who might be curious to see these images.
Hero introduction. Luluca
Scenario: Luluca is a main heroine of Episode 2.
She is from Rekos, a faraway planet of another galaxy. She came all the way to take a revenge on Straze who destroyed her world.
Luluca is an active, cheerful character full of energy. She faced a tragedy of losing everything she valued, but instead of getting discouraged, moves forward to find a way to restore her planet and to take vengeance on Straze.
AD: We tried to make her feel unique since her concept was a shaman from Rekos.
Designer worked hard to deliver her concepts well, a mysterious girl from outer space.
AD: I’ve heard that many players are curious about the process involved in creating heroes, so I’d like to take this time to briefly explain this process to you.
If you see below, this is an early sketch of Luluca’s design.
Of course there were many more drafts than just this, but I’ve organized these ones in particular to show to you. Once all of the previous ideas have been combined, the designer will put the final touches on the character until it resembles what you see in the final version.
AD: Once the design has been completed, the Storyboard Team and the Technical Arts teams will prepare for their tasks.
The image you see above is a resource Atlas for animation.
AD: And the image you see above is what the Animation team and the Effect team produce.
In the image above, we see how the animation team and the effect team create a character. To get as close to the desired result as possible, everything is drawn frame by frame. Once that is completed it is then sent to the next team. It's a complicated process, but we decided to create characters this way to reduce any possible communication failure and to avoid having to redo any steps in the process.
During the skill animation, we have the close-up on the characters, which we call a "cut". We can say that we improved the process and quality of producing the cuts for skill animations when creating Episode 2.
The entire process involved is very detailed, so for ease, I will break the process down to three different section in order to briefly explain this process
First, we have greatly increased the number of frames for the cuts we produced. Then the image quality has been improved thanks to the rendering technology made by our technical support team. Finally, we made it possible to add backgrounds. You may have noticed the backgrounds in the cuts from Dizzy and Baiken’s skills from our collaboration with Guilty Gear. These improved cuts let us show more of the story.
AD: After we deliver the script, like the one you just saw, to the partner company, they finish drawing and coloring the cut-ins and then send them back to us. Some of the cut-ins are made by us and others by the partner.
AD: Finally, we add in the background and other effects to the cut!
AD: What you are looking at now is called an Effect Atlas, which is used to create Hero Skills. We heard that the skill displayed in Epic Seven were extremely similar to those used in Guilty Gear. The reason for this is because our team intently studied the 3D effects in Guilty Gear, worked incredibly hard so that they could reproduce these skill effects in 2D for all of you.
AD: After this long process, we are able to create the skills for the heroes that you’ve seen in our game. I hope that I was able to answer some of your questions regarding the process of making heroes.
Hero Introduction 2. Kawerik
Kawerik was a character that was introduced in Episode 1.
Kawerik did not make his appearance in Epic Seven during the main story, however, he did appear in the side story, “Eulogy for a Saint” as well as in the Three Sisters' Diary reputation story where he was able to show his dark nature. Additionally, he was briefly mentioned in Charles’ side story, The Meaning of Justice which was a tale of devotion, betrayal and revenge.
Kawerik is suffering from the after-effects of experiments conducted by Enhanced Magicians and know that he only has a short time left to live.
He eventually exacted his revenge on the one who ruined his life, but he was still left empty. It’s a tragic story of a character who is hiding behind his aggression and cynicism.
AD: Kawerik character design is one of a stylish man.
In order to give him this stylish look, we designed him with modern clothes that resemble a suit or a military uniform rather than fantastical clothing.
Early designs of Kawerik were mainly designed with dark colors and unidentifiable characteristics. However, later on our designers suggested that a bright, clean uniform would look better. We have included both designs above so you can more easily see the change in design.
AD: We are happy to share with you an internal cut-in of Kawerik in appreciation of all of our Heirs.
Hero Introduction 3. Lilibet
Lilibet is a mercenary from the planet Rekos, who will play the role of Straze’s right hand.
She employs two unique swords which are shaped like a pair of scissors, as her family has been tailors for generations.
If she had not lost her parents, life might have been different for Lilibet and she might have instead cut cloth with these scissors.
If Luluca, as I mentioned earlier, loses everything because of Straze, Lilibet is the opposite.
As Straze sought to tear the world of Rekos and its religious institutions apart, Lilibet gained not only a chance to exact her revenge, but also a reason to carry on living.
AD: The keywords for Lilbet are violent scissors. We had the idea that the tailors of Rekos were those who used large scissors for their work and we wanted to portray a little girl who is small in stature violently wielding these large scissors.
AD: In the storyboard animation above, you can easily see that Lilibet is violent and angry, but she also still wants to appear cute and innocent. This can be seen in the camping sprite of Lilibet below.
Scenario: Players will be able to see these two sides of Lilibet and appreciate her more when her side story is revealed.
Final Hero Introduction. Straze
The Black Knight is the main antagonist of Episode 2.
Once a promising Sacred Knight serving the Deity of Rekos, he allowed himself to become tempted by another, evil god. Under this god’s influence he killed Rekos and destroyed the world.
Though he may appear more powerful and free than anyone, he is trapped within himself, with his ruthless determination masking a constant agonizing over life, death, and facing retribution for his deeds.
With nobody able to stand in his way, it would seem like everything he could want is his for the taking, yet he has no desire to take any of it. And so he leaves only ruins in his wake. This is the tragedy of Straze.
The title of Episode 2, Godkiller, is one of multiple meanings.
Straze himself is a very mysterious, daunting as well as frightening and one of the first meanings for Episode 2’s title, GodKiller, is that it is the nickname for Straze.
In Episode 1 of the Phantom Reputation story, Straze made a brief appearance. He was originally inspired by Vildred’s design. However, because the story needed a whole new person, Straze was totally redesigned.
AD: The keyword for Straze is transcendence. Straze has an overwhelming presence and I think that “charisma” is very important. To that end, I researched what physical characteristics could accentuate a characters presence and also help them to be more charismatic/charming.
If you look below, you can see some early design concepts created by our R&D team.
AD: Finally, we came to our decision on Straze. We wanted him to be a slim figure, but to also have an undeniable presence. Everything on Straze is either black or white, except for the color of his hair, his eyes and his glowing red breastplate.
Additionally, we also took time to research hairstyles. Finally, the hairstyle you see now is one of bright, gray wavy hair that exudes an unusual charm. The other unique aspect about Straze involves his cape. We feel that his cape is one of the key points necessary in order to display Straze’s personality. It was designed specifically for Straze’s personality, for the one who killed the God of Rekos and ruled the outer universe. Faustus’s soul is inside the Magic Sword. We made the design so that this sword can be summoned from the space inside the cape.
And this concludes the interview with the Epic Seven Art Director held at the Epic Seven Festa on June 9th, 2019. I hope that Epic Seven’s development process was clearly explained to all of our fans and that you all found it to be interesting!
We also want to thank all of our heirs for their continued support!