Defy Reality. Own the Planet.
Here is the final edition in the SSX Character Inspiration Blog Series written by Producer Sean Smillie, focusing on Elise and Kaori.
When it came to Elise we were very aware that she was one of the most popular and identifiable characters in the SSX universe. Decisions on her look, her bio and her involvement with the new SSX were not taken lightly as she was one of the first characters we tackled because what we did with her was going to influence the rest of the cast in a big way.
Elise represents everything I love about SSX: brimming with confidence, larger than life and meeting every challenge head-on without hesitation. In past designs, Elise’s look has obviously been presented as a bombshell. We decided to take her look and target a vibe that was based a bit more in reality to see if it would work with the new SSX we were creating.
What was great about the process within this team is the different aspects of production we go through. For our characters we spend a lot of time on crafting their bios - what the characters were doing over the years, what parts of their original personalities should be called out and this really helped to shape Elise.
Elise’s bio was based around her involvement with Hollywood productions after taking a break from competitive snowboarding. But Elise wasn’t an actress, we saw here as a stunt woman! She was someone who used her talent for conquering mountains to now blow minds at the box office. With this background and the SSX mainstay that she was an 'amazon snowboard goddess' we started looking at female athletes. It was important to nail a physique that was both sexy and powerful. Her outfit was also key in establishing her new look. Out of all the characters we've been showcasing I personally find Elise's clothing the most instantly recognizable - love the color and texture of her 'flight-suit'. The 'new' Elise still retains the main aspects of her personality that have made her such a favorite with fans (and developers) and her look has her as a standout amongst the cast. It's been a great experience getting to revisit such an iconic EA character.
I knew from the start that designing Kaori was going to be something that fans would be very vocal about. She's cute and bubbly, always giggling and literally the happiest character in SSX. But as I mentioned in an earlier blog, characters are always influenced by gameplay and story. Our game hits some of the most iconic and impressive mountain ranges in the world; there's a lot going on in the new SSX that the riders have to deal with. Their gear and clothing has to look like it can deal with punishment and still represent who they are. The past looks of Kaori gave us a challenging starting point.
Rees and I had good momentum on who Kaori was in her bio: a world-class DJ, a little more grown up, still fun at heart but evolving as a character. Yet, it was a series of visuals that came our way that really solidified who she was to become.
The best part of the job for me is some of the people I get to collaborate with. One of those people was Charles Guan, my favorite concept artist who I have had the pleasure of working with for years on multiple projects. To those who know him Charles is one of those unique artists that brings so much extra to his work that you know you're going to get more than what you asked for.
Working with our Art Director Ron Bignell, Charles surprised us with the new look for Kaori and it instantly felt right. I think she's got a funky and fun sci-fi vibe to her, she looks fresh and interesting and immediately Rees and I adjusted the bio to compliment the visuals. I know the fans are vocal on what we've done with Kaori, but we'd like to think that we've done right by them and people are looking forward to taking her riding in the new SSX universe.
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Previously by This Author
Ride Mt. Eddie with your favorite Classic SSX Characters today!
The Mt. Eddie & Classic Characters Pack is available today on Xbox LIVE® and the PlayStation®Network – check out the Launch Trailer above, then click below for info on how to download.Read More
SSX Music DLC Announcement
With your feedback in mind, the SSX dev team worked hard on the upcoming Mt. Eddie & Classic Characters DLC to bring back the classic SSX experience. They wanted the DLC to have the same feel as classic SSX titles – hence, Mt. Eddie was born; an SSX TRICKY inspired mountain with billboards and fireworks and more.Read More
The Ladies of Mt. Eddie
Elise, Kaori and Zoe. These are not just the names of some of the most beloved women in SSX history, but some of the most popular characters we’ve had in the game full stop. These ladies have proven to be able to carve up the mountain as good as any of the men and they’ve shredded their way into our hearts.Read More