Video games have come a long way over the last 50 years, to the point where they can rival films in terms of their quality, story, direction and CG. And with the sheer number of video games in the works and already out there, there’s a genre of game for everyone. One of the popular video game genres in recent years is multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. There are many examples of MOBA games out there from Overwatch to League of Legends, to Smite. For this project, I chose to design a new, original character for my favourite MOBA game, Paladins: Champions of the Realm.

To do so, I needed a strong understanding of Paladins’ unique take on the MOBA genre so that I could design a character for the game that would actually work in the game. This required research into the game’s design, mechanics, and gameplay. Through online breakdowns of the game and playing it myself, I was able to analyse the different aspects of Paladins that my character design would need to take into account – for example the available character classes in the game, the number and types of abilities that characters have, and the art style of the game. I used this research to develop a pitch for my character, which detailed all the elements including a name and backstory, design elements, mood board, class outline, abilities, and play style of the character.

After completing the pitch, I could then move onto the character development. I began with a number of silhouette sketches, taking into account everything from the pitch and using the mood board for inspiration. After establishing several rough variations in the silhouettes, I moved on to further development. Again referring to the mood board and the pitch, I added details to the best silhouettes and explored the design of specific elements (like the arm bands and headdress). Using this as a base I developed a draft of the final character concept, which included 3 variations.

I took the top variation of these and began colour testing next, trying to match the saturated pop colour style in Paladins. After receiving feedback, I selected a final colour scheme and created a turnaround for my character, Anukra: Priestess of the Dead, so that she could be accurately modelled by a 3D artist and put into the game.

In the final concepting stage, I created concept art showcasing each of Anukra’s abilities so that these could recreated in-game. I also included a first person view to illustrate what players would see when playing as Anukra so that riggers and animators could create and pose the character accordingly.

In Paladins (and many other multipayer games) a player’s chosen character is showcased using large splash art screens before a game begins, so, after finishing the concepting, the last stage was to create a highly-detailed splash art image for Anukra. This process was a long one, and involved many aspects including initial composition concepting, consideration of lighting and mood, colour scheme, movement, pose, and the setting, while also ensuring the style matched that of the other Paladins character splash art.