In my last message to Joey regarding concept artwork I hinted at variations on the Cheshire Cat’s presentation. Perhaps a younger, less emaciated cat? One who is still working towards getting all his ink done?
I still don’t know if changing the Cat is even the right decision. Is he timeless? Does he age? Clearly he changes or Alice wouldn’t have remarked at the start of the first game on how he’d “gone mangy.” It’s this line in particular which spurred my thoughts towards how his appearance might be different in an earlier Wonderland era.
Here we have two variations on the Cat to consider – both younger in age, one more full in figure.
I think making him younger works. His famous silhouette is still recognizable – and that’s important. He’s cute. And I wouldn’t mind seeing him in this form being a bit more playful… less serious. Can our Cheshire Cat be anything but serious? That’s a serious question.
The fattened cat… doesn’t really do it for me. Mainly because his silhouette is destroyed and he’s less recognizable as “ours.” If we took away the tattoos… any remaining resemblance would be destroyed.
What are your thoughts? Take a moment to reflect on the original cat…
Some other things to consider while we discuss the Cat and his presentation…
- How would a new form change his behavior, movements, and presentation in-game?
- Does a new form lend itself well to cos-play, costumes, and make-up?
- Do we anger the “old audience” by making these sorts of changes? Do we attract a new audience with a gentler, more lovable cat?
- Here’s a fun question: Does it matter which side he wears his earring in? This was a hot topic when we first did his design (in San Francisco, circa 1998).
For now I’ll ask Joey to stop iterating on the Cat and start work on some environment illustrations. Both the Cat and Alice we have now will work fine as stand-ins for those scenes. And during the coming exploration we might discover ideas which help us re-shape our thinking about how both these critical characters are presented.
A Bit of Housekeeping
Again, I want express humbled (and a bit shocked) gratitude at the amount of support flowing into Patreon. I wasn’t sure using this platform was the right decision but it feels like a natural extension of the weekly live streams we’re doing on YouTube. And I am really thankful for the financial support. I’ve never liked asking for help or support and even struggle when we do Kickstarters to get my head around the nature of the model.
These sorts of things (crowdfunding, early access) put a knot in my stomach because they often create expectations and reactions that are difficult to manage.
I want to be very clear: The work I’m doing now may or may not result in a new Alice game. But it will result in stuff of value – concept artwork, illustration, story, and design. And those materials will be shared with you in full. So, at a minimum I hope everyone understands that all we may ever get from this is a beautiful collection of art and design. If I can assume you understand and accept that then I can sleep better at night.
That being said, I will do everything in my power to have these visions transformed into a final game product. And… I can’t say anything else on this topic… just that there are things going on behind the scenes which make me feel confident in pursuing this path. When I can say more than that you’ll be the first to know.
Lastly, all of this content is being made freely available to the public… but in order to give Patrons something special in exchange for their support I’ll be setting “Early Access” on 3 out of 4 posts (or some ratio roughly like that). That means 3 out of 4 posts will be time-locked for 3 days so Patrons have early access. Every 4th post will be posted publicly from the start. After an Early Access post has been up for 3 days it’ll automatically unlock so the public can see it.
Myself and Martin will also do our best to share all this content around various social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
I’m still learning the best way to engage with this model. If you have suggestions or ideas please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Hope all that makes sense.
Live Stream Tomorrow
We’ve scheduled our next live stream for tomorrow morning (09:30AM Hong Kong time on Tuesday). You can set a reminder and view the stream HERE.
During that stream we’ll answer your questions and read your comments. LOTS to discuss this week! Please join in the fun!