Spinning Ideas

Dear Insane Children, 

Two quick sketch replies to your previous comments on Dorothy ideas. 

First up (main image, top) is from Omri. Of this he says… 

I took Jen’s design and merged in half way with mine. Less serious and a bit more fantastic. i thought to drop her age to 15, giving her some more volume in the dress but not too much. having too much volume is for me too Anime. and i want to stay away from that. i want it “wearable” and still modern.

YES to puffy hair, but keeping it southern, unlike Aloy which her hair is more “viking”

The staff can be for witchcraft and melee, overall i tried to give her more stylized proportions, but i’m keeping the legs for now, i just really like them. Less heels, more platforms. like something she can stand in Easily so it will make it seem legit for fighting.

I think that the direction we ought to go towards is more a Fantastical “unfortunate series of events” the series. but not overboard her with elements from everyone else, we need to know who SHE is. Not who she’s trying to be, if it’s copying scarecrow or any other character. we need to base HER as a person, not as an element of gameplay. she has a lot of personality, we ought to use it. Pipboy optional.

Jen turned in a quick sketch based on my narrative prompt (Dorothy washed up on shore missing some limbs)…

And Jen adds a few notes along with this sketch: 

I think the older Dorothy is probably better. The final book of Oz before Baum died has Dorothy trying to prevent a war and instead being imprisoned on an underwater island made of glass.  Princess Ozma was the ruler of Oz during that time, but maybe Dorothy was supposed to take over at 18-21 and instead she left the island abandoning her responsibility? And on her way back a war happened outside the island, and her family happens to be victim of an attack, and she ends up washed ashore on Oz with confused memories about the timeline. Her abandonment of Oz meant it was invaded by outsiders and turned into a sick theme park for rich people ? 

To all of this, I replied… 

These are great – I really like the Beached Dorothy concept. Feels like the start of an epic adventure to me. Stranded on a mysterious island. Wounded. But kept alive by some strange force. So, off to explore and discover… and gradually learn, overcome, and transform into a hero. 

Omri’s sketch seemed to be the crowd favorite in the last round of comments. I couldn’t really see it…and still struggling a bit with this latest version. But it’s closer to something I could imagine being our hero. 

We’ll post these and see what sort of feedback is generated.  We might want to pause on this stuff for a few days, think about it, then come back to it. 

Meanwhile, Omri has produced a Final version of the Chess Dress… 

And he says of this… 

HEY! this is the finished version. American i have merged in the symbol, in a more abstract way but it’s there. fopr me this represents the chaos and the harmony this realm is. Keeping it chess but keeping it not looking stupid.

Also meanwhile, Yan is working on design notes to the Plushie Dreadfuls. For example, she’s asked the workshop to make the “Angry Rabbit” more clearly angry by switching his highlight color to BLACK and emphasizing his stitching… 

Grrrrr. Isn’t he cute when he’s angry? 

Expect to see the workshop turn around another physical prototype in the next week or so. Can’t wait! 

Asylum Business Development & Narrative

Just a reminder that we have brought on board a Financial Advisor to take over the job of securing funding for Asylum development. This frees me up to spend more time on creative tasks – which is my preferred way to spend my time! Hence the extra cycles you see going into Oz. 

But Marc’s work can’t start in earnest until the parties on the other side of the negotiating table return from summer vacation. That means BD is on hold until mid-September. Our creative work and efforts towards the Design Bible will continue as usual… though we did “lose” Alex this week due to him moving house. 

It’s worth noting that I have opened up yet another avenue where we can pursue funding for Alice… in a round-about-way. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Can’t say more… 

 As they say, when one door closes, two more open… or something like that. 

I did mention previously that we’d taken two steps forward, one step back (or one step forward, two back) – AND I REALLY WISH I COULD SAY MORE – but now that the dust has settled it’s resulted in more progress than we’d been making previously. So… 

And as a result of that… and how it would emphasize certain aspects of storytelling… I’ve had to revisit some of the foundation elements of our narrative. 

What I’ve come up with is something that better frames the story for telling in linear media (book, film, TV) while at the same time leaving intact all the work we’ve done so far towards the game design. 

I’ll share that soon. Along with the progress we make on this new avenue. 

And, oddly, this narrative reframing came about because of the thinking I was doing around “Oz.” 

Feeling good about the progress we’re making these days. 

As usual, please give the team feedback in the Comments below!

From Shanghai with Love, 


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