A while ago we created a few peasants to populate the villages and work the fields in Yaga. We thought they looked pretty good and fit the Eastern European theme.
However, some of our fellow gamedevs from Western Europe and US who were seeing the game for the first time and who were not familiar with the peasants from our part of the World, said that it looks too much like “standard Tolkien fantasy”, or too “western, celtic, etc”. Only when faced with a new perspective did we realize that, indeed, the peasants may not look “Slavic” enough. Even if they matched real life, we probably needed to push more in the direction of the idealized Slavic peasant: one that flaunts more colourful clothes (that are usually reserved for special occasions and festivities) and a more vibrant attitude!
Having already animated these characters, we had to find a solution that implied minimal changes to the sprites. So we took a second (and a third!) look over our references and tried to see where we went off track. Here are some of the more representative ones (for the “ideal peasant”, not the “actual real-life-like” one):
The first thing we had to do was to go through a few common elements of clothing, colors and design patterns, and then the second one was to come up with a few changes that fit the rest of the game.
After a few hours of tinkering with colors, textures and re-adjusting the sprites, here’s what we came up with:
Even though the differences are subtle we feel that the changes we’ve made capture the Slavic look and demeanor and that the new peasants will better express the charm and uniqueness of the Slavic village.