DEADCRAFT Developer Blog #6: Designing unique post-apocalyptic characters and environments

DEADCRAFT Developer Blog #6: Designing unique post-apocalyptic characters and environments

DEADCRAFT’s art direction was conceived by a team of four people: the director (Akira Kurochi, myself), the producer (Hisashi Fujii), the art lead, and the lead concept artist. In the early stages of development, we met face-to-face in conference rooms, but our meetings eventually shifted toward remote work due to COVID. Since we were not used to developing remotely, we encountered difficulties with miscommunication and conflicting ideas.

For the environment design, we strived to make the “Ark,” the last bastion of humanity inhabited by the villainous Nebron and his lackeys, exude the lively energy of the people residing there. At the same time, we wanted to convey an eeriness reflecting Nebron’s treatment of his subjects as little more than living resources. By featuring steel and fire heavily in the design, we were able to create a rich environment that feels unrestricted by conventional post-apocalyptic worldbuilding. It is a shame that we do not get a chance to see the whole Ark from a bird’s-eye view.

In contrast, Reid’s home—a partially destroyed house in the shadow of a crumbling cliff—serves as his base of operations and symbolizes starting from the very bottom. It would be too dangerous to live there in real life. You can utilize crafting to make wonderful improvements to the area around your house, so we hope you enjoy this fixer-upper.

In terms of character design, the game presents a unique spin on the genre by featuring half-zombies, frankies (home-grown zombie allies), and zombie crafting, so we knew we wanted character designs with a strong pop of color that eschewed the typical dark, violent designs of post-apocalyptic worlds.

For example, Brandon, an enemy who appears early in the game, is violent and brutal, but because he is sort of dimwitted, we tried giving him a slightly more likeable design. Since Brandon uses a flamethrower as his weapon, his hairstyle is also inspired by flames. Other characters also have fun designs that make them stand out in a post-apocalyptic world, and we hope you enjoy them.

In this game, you can create various items through crafting, and we wanted to differentiate the designs between normal crafting and zombie crafting as much as possible. Designs for normal craftable items are realistic, while designs for items made through zombie crafting are playful and fantastical. There are a variety of craftable items such as weapons, facilities, and food that you can see for yourself.

Akira Kurochi

*Screenshots captured from a game still in development.