At the end of last year, we shared details of some exciting things in the pipeline that we would work on in 2021. Now that 2021 is coming to a close, we have some updates to share on our progress with two major projects – the Dark Riders and updated characters!
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On the top of your mind are, of course, updated characters!
This is a very big and very important project, and we understand that people hoped this would be out in 2021. We hoped so too when we spoke about it at the end of 2020, but we realized along the way that our plans needed to change – not such an uncommon occurrence in game development!
Behind the scenes, we have been hard at work and big things are already happening, with a growing team led by a great producer who is working hard on answering important questions (For example: Can our clothing and animations adjust to different body shapes? Will all character types fit on all horses? How can we implement new hairstyles and make-up in a way that won’t affect game performance?). We want to push the look and feel of our characters forward, with inclusivity and diversity leading the way!
While there is still work to do, we are excited to share a sneak peek at some of our concept work. Please keep in mind that what we’re sharing is from our earlier exploration process, nothing is final and there are still many questions and requirements to explore. What you see is subject to change based on additional findings.
We hope to share even more details of the work in the coming months, so keep your eyes open for that. And as soon as we are ready with a release date, we will share that as well because we are just as excited as you are to see our new characters in action, in the game!
The Horse and Character Team’s NPC’s (non-player characters) focus in 2021 has primarily been on the Dark Riders, with a couple of other interesting updates and additions thrown into the mix! (A certain *ahem* distinguished lady deserves a new look for her freshly completed racetrack, right?)
I won’t spoil too many details about their personalities or their stories, but here’s where we are with their progress right now
Many of you saw a sneaky peek of Sabine – fierce and honorable (in her own way, of course). Sabine is the first Dark Rider to be entirely completed! This means she has been through the entire creation process – concepting, modeling (3D art), rigging, skinning, animating, and being implemented into the game itself. Her companion horse, Khaan, is still in need of some personalized animations to let his intimidating nature shine through.
You may be familiar with Jessica, but allow me to introduce her now as Jay – the Dark Rider who makes everything she does look effortless. We’ll be starting her animations in January, with her companion horse, Acerbus, receiving animation work early next year as well.
The haunting creature I’m proud to share with you next is Katja. Her animations are currently in progress, while her companion horse, Mortifa, is wrapped up and ready to go. Our music team is especially excited about this character!
Finally, this deceptively cute addition is Chiyo! She is ready for her animations to begin after the holiday break. Her horse, Nihili, is quite unique (with more than meets the eye) and will be one of the last of the group to receive animations. That is also planned for the first half of next year.
Anne received a few small adjustments this year, as her story will indeed continue early next year. We also realized we need another new character…one you’ve definitely caught a glimpse of if you follow us on other channels! Concepting for that new character is ongoing now and we hope to share her progress with you in the near future.
Even though the Dark Riders are wrapping up, it might take some time before we reach their parts of the story within the game. There are exciting plans in place, but we don’t want to rush to get there without making it a meaningful experience.
While we’re getting ready to slow down and take a break for the holidays, the entire Star Stable Online team is optimistic about what 2022 will bring. With that, stay tuned for more updates about what we’re working on in the next year!