Welcome back to our monthly blog posts, where we’ll be looking more in-depth into Season – and peek behind the curtain to see what inspires our team. We’ll be using this space to tell you more about our world, our characters and the talented team of individuals working on the game.
In this month’s instalment, we’ll be taking a first look at the protagonist of Season. You’ve seen her in our trailer, on our posts, and in our concept art. Let’s talk about how she looks and moves and how her appearance has grown over the development of Season.
She is your view into the world of Season. Here is where she started.
The Protagonist of Season
Season is a unique game that eschews action to explore the subtle power of lived experience.
The beauty of the art and the landscapes calls for a minimalist approach to the characters. In Season, we discover a few people still going on about their lives with quiet dignity, as if in denial that their way of life is about to be washed away. In these last moments of stillness, we witness their world untouched, as it has been for generations.
The tarot card of Death does not represent mortality, but rather it represents change. Each character we meet in our travels faces this card in their own way.
Our protagonist is a witness. She’s not there to save their world, but rather to record it, to preserve the memory of it. She is our avatar, through which we meet and learn about the people of the valley. However, she must also have a personality, emotions, and have her own agency. Will her curiosity and compassion for people help them face change with optimism?
Ideally, each character we meet will express a range of emotions. In addition to loss and grim acceptance, they might also have a sense of humour, opinions, passions, happy memories and hopes for the future.
For themselves, and for what little of their world they might be able to carry out with them.
Even in graveyards, flowers still bloom.
Senior Animator Alumni
In the beginning…
Back in those days, characters had weapons. We were maybe toying with the idea that we could reuse some combat mechanics from our previous title, The Darwin Project. We eventually got rid of most of the ideas from this period. Still, the blue hat character stayed with us because we liked her vibe.
You can even see that there still is a weapon present (though not for much longer!), and the bike has made its first appearance.
Refining “Blue Hat”
Sadly, we eventually got rid of the big hat because it covered too much of the character when seen from the back. The game is played from a third-person camera point of view, and the large hat ended up hiding too much of our character.
At this point of the pre-production, the story was also evolving, where we felt her jean jacket felt a bit too modern. We wanted to give her a slight redesign of her clothes to have a sense of fashion/elegance, but you couldn’t pinpoint precisely what period it would be from. It would be something that people in a reclusive community, who maybe create their own clothes, could be wearing. It would have style but also function.
All of this would lead up to the character we have now.
Giving breath to our protagonist
There are three main pillars to her animations:
Season is a game about subtle but meaningful actions. The gestures performed by a character will be shown sentimentally rather than physically, they are subdued and combine voice acting with smaller animations to convey emotion.
The goal is to make the audience understand what the character is feeling. Instead of accomplishing complex actions, the characters conduct their behaviour through empathy. Each action has purpose and weight to it.
In animation, contrast is exhibited in posing or timing. Contrast is key in creating believable characters. Season expresses its contrast with feelings. We add a dash of humour to a dramatic or emotional scene to achieve this contrast.
Our protagonist shows her emotions with composure. She has delicate and very agile gestures. She values true friendship and always acts respectfully towards tradition. She adopts a lower shoulders posture rather than a confident stance. She is cautious, polite, and inquisitive.
As always, you can add Season to your Steam wishlist now!
Don’t forget that we also have a newsletter that will share some different information you won’t get in our blog posts! In our following missive, we’ll be talking about how our protagonist interacts with the world and how she records her travels.
Be safe in your journeys, and never forget.