The initial idea for the boss character now known as “The Necromancer” or Nihteana was a low to mid ranked officer in Lord Valac’s army. The story was about a man who was commanding and fighting in the ranks and he was supposed to be fast and agile to teach the players some of the mechanics that Lord Valac has.
When starting up production again and I was getting ready to start creating concepts for him we discussed what kind of fighting style or weapons that he would use. Originally he was meant to be using a sword, but we felt that we wanted to create a contrast against Lord Valac and show more of the game mechanics and style in the demo that is currently under development. Therefore we decided to ditch the entire idea of melee and make him a spellcaster instead.
This lead me to thinking what kind of spellcaster he would be, in order for me to know what he would look like. Somewhere along the way we decided that he was supposed to be a necromancer, which got me to start working on the very first super fast sketches, trying to find something that I could develop further.
It was during this stage that I had the idea of making him a woman instead, we felt that it could be one thing that makes our version of a necromancer different from others as we all had just assumed that it would be a male. We also felt that this could further the contrast to Lord Valac and it led to the very first sketch, as you saw in the right corner, from which Nihteana was born. I based this sketch upon some requests of one of our programmers which I reworked into my own version and continued to develop. Both making her a spellcaster instead of a soldier and a woman also meant that I had to rewrite her entire character background to base her appearance on (which you can read about in the lore posts).
The areas that I was unsure of were mostly the top of the dress and the shoulder guards so I created some variations of that, just trying to explore different angles. It was a combination of these that the team decided that we liked best and I continued working on. I knew that we needed something that would tie her to Lord Valac, so that they would look like they actually belong together in the same level apart from both being dead. As his symbol is a distorted lion skull we considered using that on her to show loyalty, but in the end we went with her having her own animal symbol, still using skulls.
I also did a first colour test, based on the general lighting that the level was supposed to be. The aim was to test how the character would work in the lighting that we wanted and a first exploration of what colours to use. This painting was used as a base for the full coloured concept art later.
The next step was to create a turnaround of the character, drawing her from four different angles so that I would be able to model her. The design of the skirt layers were left quite loose at this stage as we felt that it would be better to leave some decisions to the 3D modeling in order to find what works in 3D and animation.
Finally we have the, still a work in progress, coloured action pose, or Concept Art painting, showing off our boss in action!