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It's the Little Things that Kill...

Note: some of the following images have been resized and/or cropped for blog purposes.

"Appearance: Lean, athletic build, modest bust, tanned olive complexion, short and messy dark blond hair, greenish gold eyes. Tends to wear clothes that would be considered too cold for current weather. Always seen wearing restraint mask(think Hannibal Lecter)"

That right there is an excerpt from my character proposal for Lena Forst, written up all the way back in mid-January. Lena was the most developed of my proposed characters(more on that in a later blog post), so I had a pretty good idea what she should look like.

image by imperial.standard

Based on my description, however poorly articulated, imperial.standard pretty much nailed it right away with his concept art. There were some alternative mask designs that were proposed, but in the end, we stuck with something Lecter-inspired. (For more information on the origins of the original SOTL mask, click here.)

With the basic design out of the way, we set about pairing prospective sprite artists with characters. Each artist would do test sketches of the girls, and would be assigned characters based on the results. Seemed simple enough; the writers knew what their girls were supposed to look like, so it was just a test to see which artist was best for the job. What I didn't realize was that opening Lena up for try-outs resulted in a period of doubt and questions concerning one of her most distinctive visual traits.

No. Not her mask.

Her boobs.

image by mikeinel

It all started when mikeinel posted up his sketch test. In addition to adding some nice details to the mask, he added boobs. Not what I had in mind, but I could live with that.

Lena x Jeanne. image by naso4. Note the alternate mask design.

Then came Naso's test. Lena went from "modest bust" to curvy amazon. By this point, I was thinking "hmm, Lena doesn't look too bad with a bust. Not bad at all..."

image by sho-N-D.

Here's sho's illustration of Lena wearing bodypaint and a collar. While I felt that Lena as a character would be most appropriate with a DFC, I had to appreciate the possibility of boobs. Because boobs.

Lena x Isolda. image by Yune
Yune kept the flat chest, but went for significantly longer hair.

image by myuto.
Following Yune's lead, Myuto went for longer hair as well. Also, he went for boots instead of sneakers, and a variant of the uniform jacket.

Flat-Lena was closer to my original plan, and made more sense for the character. Busty-Lena, on the other hand, had boobs. At the moment, the two options seemed equally viable. I was pretty torn, so I opened up a poll in the dev section for the forums. I asked my colleagues to consider what fits the character best, what looks good, and how either option best fits with the variety of body types the other heroines have.

The final results were 8 in favor of a flat chest, 4 for curves, and 3 for something in between.
At first, the results were tied, but after some discussion, several of the devs changed their votes. All this just in time for Lena's introductory blog post.

And that was that. With Lena's figure now set in stone, it was clear that Myuto was a perfect stylistic match for her.


Later on, outfit sketches proved that there was some benefit to letting sprite artists have some creative freedoms. The casual outfits I planned for Lena made her look like a wannabe cholo with a thing for ironic tee shirts. Fortunately, Myuto came up with several outfit designs of his own, and Lena is now the best-dressed path girl.

Second to the Twins, Lena has gone through the most noticeable visual changes during her development. Yet, even with all she's gone through, Lena's really only gained some longer hair and a better wardrobe. I suppose there's a lesson here about compromising between differing artistic visions, but I really just wanted to do a blog post mostly about Lena's boobs.

Fun fact: Since Lena is flat, Jeanne is the bustiest of the path girls. far.

image by Myuto

See ya next time...