Chess Dressing Dorothy Dreadfuls

Dear Insane Children, 

Who knew we needed another Alice dress? Not I! But Omri thought that, based on the design work we’re doing for The Chess Realm, a new dress themed after that realm might make sense. So here we have (main image, above) a WIP concept for a Chess Dress. Interesting! 

I’ve written some backstory for this realm so that our artists have something to work with. Here’s a sample of that writing… 

The Chess Realm is a place within Depression but we don’t need to “theme” it entirely after the concept of “depression” as an emotional state. It’s got its own mood and character away from what you might typically think of when you think “depression.” Please keep that in mind.

As I have said before, The Chess Realm is a place where the inhabitants have learned to live in harmony with the notion of Chaos. This (harmony with Chaos) is one of the central requirements to resolution of Alice’s journey in this story. But when she’s first introduced to the notion she will resist it. 

The Queen of Hearts (Card Realm) and The Red Queen (Chess Realm) are engaged in a hot war against each other. The Queen of Hearts stands hard on the side of ORDER. But the Red Queen is NOT a pure proxy or representative of CHAOS… she’s occupying the middle ground between Order and Chaos. She represents a BALANCE between Chaos and Order. Though from the perspective of the Queen of Hearts, any allowance of Chaos is tantamount to the Slippery Slope towards complete Chaos. 

A fitting motto for The Queen of Hearts would be “You’re with us or against us.” Highly conservative. A fan of the 1% Doctrine (“if there’s even a 1% chance of Chaos taking over, we must root out and destroy all Chaos”).

A motto for The Red Queen might be “Live and let live.” Think “Libertarian” as opposed to completely liberal. A believer in the natural balance of things – in a open marketplace of ideas. 

Now… The Queen of Hearts knows that their “blade” of Wonderland (the version of reality in which they live) exists within the unchanging mind of Child Alice. If Alice’s mind were to merge with Adult Alice (to undergo transformation) then their reality would be destroyed. As such, The Queen of Hearts wants to keep Alice locked in stasis. Hence the Snow Globe, and keeping Alice busy in The Circus Realm (Denial). 

The Red Queen recognizes Alice’s role in the natural transformation of things. And is willing to accept Change as an unavoidable fact of existence. She knows Alice must change and that the result will be the destruction on this version of Wonderland. 

The Chaos is actively working to change Alice – to kick her out of the Snow Globe reality so that she can be reconnected with her adult self. 

Since the Chess Realm is divided into two sides (colors) we can explore the idea that Alice will encounter resistance (they’re trying to kill her) from one side. But she’ll get support and things of value (information) from the other side. There can be an internal war raging between the two sides of the chessboard over their stance on Alice and the situation of their world. This backdrop of internal politics and power struggle should provide some interesting narrative for The Chess Realm. 

Expect to see more concept artwork for the characters and locations in this realm as Dario and Omri continue their explorations of these themes. 

We’re also seeing some rough sketches done to define our “Dorothy” as a main character in a narrative based on Oz. Omri says of the “Lara Croft” version he’s rendered (first image, above)… 

I see her as a strong and deep character, not a victim like Alice. not only i think we ought to differentiate her from Alice i also think she really is an explorer, a strong female character. i’d even go as far to say a “hunter” she also becomes a “Princess of OZ” so she’s a leader in a sense. I also think she needs to reflect the “all american girl” i’m sketching out an idea on top of a conceptart of Lara Croft. i thought 70’s will work but honestly the clothes were too sexy and looked stupid. so this is the look i felt is initially correct. don’t love her but it’s an idea.

Meanwhile, Jen shared a quick doodle of her ideas (second image, above) and said…

I think we should take some notes from Elizabeth from Bioshock mixed with “pretty farm lady” @Omri @American McGee and maybe give her a prosthetic leg of some kind. Like she was the last iteration but suffered a problem from too much gene editing and it gave her a withered limb that they didn’t fix before everything fell apart?  

We have a number of threads going back and forth where there’s discussion around characters, setting, themes, and more. Of all this, I told the team… 

I see this stuff and am still digesting. This early in the exploration I try not to give too much feedback/direction for fear of messing up the brainstorming. That being said, we’re exploring the “tech” side of this concept… a theme park gone wrong. At some point you two might want to also explore the “magic” side of this… as in, if an Oz theme park existed… there’d be a huge number of kids (and people in general) going there for the Harry Potter-esque elements (wizards, witches, spells, magic) and dressing for that part. 

So… maybe also try a Dorothy character cast as The Wizard of Oz (or at least a Witch)? 

Again, expect to see more sketches and concepts flowing forth as we work to define the foundation elements of this story. 

And we’re also breeding rabbits! Lots of rabbits. 

These are the long-eared “heart stiched” rabbits. Very cute. 

And these are the long-eared “what the eff are you looking at do you want me to punch your nose in?!” rabbits. They’re a tiny bit angry. 

We did not ask the factory to produce “pink” versions of these, so I have no idea what they are doing that. But, hey, as we’ve said before, their mistakes are our Crowd Design content… so I guess I should be disappointed that these turned out so close to the original concept drawings!

Let us know in the comments below YOUR feedback on all this stuff. So much stuff!

I know the world is a crazy place right now but every day I wake up to find our team producing fun new content is a good one. Once again, I have to say THANK YOU to all of our Insane Children for providing the support required to make all this creativity a reality. Without you, the world would be a lot less creative, crazy, and fun. 

From Shanghai Waiting for Hagupit (that’s a typhoon), 


Leave a Reply