Masakazu Yamashiro, the designer for SCARLET NEXUS’ Others, the cruel brain-craving monsters, has created an amazing collection of deranged mutants that have captivated the imagination of gamers around the world.
In this special spotlight, Yamashiro-san gives us a sneak-peek at his mindset and process to create the terrifyingly beautiful collection of monsters in SCARLET NEXUS. PLUS, you'll learn how you can play the new story demo for free!
As the Others are cruel brain-craving monsters that are impossible for humans to communicate with or tell what they are thinking, I designed them to have the looks of lacking any high-level emotions and thoughts. However, simply having them attack mindlessly would be dull; I added some "absurdity" and unique habits to every one of them as a counterpoint to their "frightening" nature. Also, as they are designed to be enemies in an action game, I created unique “habits” for each of them so that they are fun to fight and portray this “absurdity” perspective in their designs. You can check them out in the descriptions in the Enemy Compendium.
SCARLET NEXUS’ world is inspired by the prospective “near future” of our modern world, and the Art Director, Mr. Ochiai, came up with the theme "foreignness" while deciding on the enemies of this world. Of course, this “foreignness” theme is not just applicable to the enemies but also to the world perspective, world locations, characters, etc., so I felt very confident and reassured that I could fully utilize my uniqueness and characteristics as an artist.
Initially, the enemies were planned to be created to be more colorful and anime-styled so that they would blend into the surroundings of the world but based on the theme of “foreignness” and the fact that humans and Others are completely hostile entities, we decided to emphasize on its current surreal and artistic looks for visual impact.
I believe that the reason why the Others, which exhibited the purity of my creativity, was able to "coexist" with SCARLET NEXUS' world settings is because of Mr. Ochiai’s sense of "beauty and ugliness" was very close to that of mine. Even if we created the world and the Others on entirely separate processes, I still think they would coexist together.
On the other hand, as the Others are enemy characters in the game, there are often specific requests on their movements and backgrounds from the devs. That means there are some limitations on how the Others could be designed; however, they always tell me to "feel free to do whatever you want with the design." so that I feel not largely limited while creating them. Also, they are extremely good at translating my designs into fightable enemies in-game, which I am very impressed with.
Vase Paws is the Other I designed before I worked on Buddy Rummy, and it was designed to look like a non-living creature, so I made a turn on the design direction to differentiate the two from each other.
The design direction I took is that "it would familiarize with its surroundings" and "something that seems like it could be found anywhere" that’s why it kind of resulted in being an animal-themed Other.
Above that, the animal I decided to use was a human, and in order to add “foreignness” to the design, I decided to eliminate its knee joints. The result was spectacular because no matter how it moved around, it had to move awkwardly and is perfect as an Other.
Name Origins for Buddy Rummy
Buddy represents the habit of this Other of shaking hands with others of its kind but eventually ripping them off.
Rummy represents its unsteady walking with its legs without knee joints.
The first-ever Other I designed. When I first joined the project, this was one of the first artwork I was requested to create, and it was created as a very solid artwork instead of a draft to show the devs what I had in hand.
The combination of having “organic” and “non-organic” components in the definition of the Others matches my art styles very closely, so it is kind of a compilation of the tastes of all my illustrations and artworks.
Initially, I assumed that liquid would constantly leak from the faucet on its face, forming damage-inflicting puddles, and it would walk with its fingers to avoid touching the puddles. Although, ultimately, the leaking was changed to the enemy directly spraying liquid around and onto the player, its “habit” of being a “clean freak” is still to be found in its 3D motions.
Name Origins for Winery Chinery
Winery represents the outflowing liquid from the monster’s faucet that resembles wine.
Chinery represents the “chine” that connects its head and lower body.
It was created as a normal enemy with various elements of the Chinery-type Others. Chinery-type Others have humanly hands and legs of the horse, and Vase Paws has both in its lower body.
Also, the “plants” on the head of the Chinery were scaled down and used as the upper half of this Other. On top of that, to add some elements of the culture of humankind and “absurdity” into its design as an Other, I decided to let it wear heels.
This is also an Other created at the start of the project, so they have similar atmospheres but are further modified in size and attack movements according to the requests from the devs.
Name Origins for Vase Paws
Vase represents the body part that resembles a vase
Paws represents the huge and unique legs of the Other
The first design draft for this Other was actually the only one denied by the Art Director, Mr. Ochiai. I attempted to differentiate this Other from other normal enemies, which made its design far apart from the intended design direction for the Others. It also lacked my own unique artwork styles, so I was actually happy that he was sincere on that, and we could finalize the current design we are satisfied with.
The design is based on the request for playability from the devs, which they wanted the player to destroy its water tank to achieve the Soaked ailment. That’s why its design is based on a mop and a fish tank, with hands and a head added into the mix. To incorporate the “emotionless” Other characteristic, you can also see that I have designed its head to have the looks of having zero emotions.
Name Origins for Dispen Fisher
Dispense represents the spraying of water from its hoses
Fisher represents its resemblance to a fish dealer, while carrying a fish tank on its back
This Other was designed to have an animal theme. It resembles a crocodile, so its head greatly shows this characteristic. However, as they are Others rather than ordinary monsters, I needed to make sure that we incorporate the “non-organic” design theme; that’s why it currently has a metal mask on its head.
The game design documents defined it as an Other which liquefies the ground in order to bury itself in, and I thought it was a little bit too surreal and fantasy-like. I decided to give it the ability to liquefy itself as well so that it makes more sense in terms of its background settings.
You can see a lot of light bulb-shaped parts on its arms. They are added to clearly indicate its weaknesses as many different elements are mixed into its design.
The light emitted by the light bulbs was used as one basis while designing the brain crush organ of Others.
Name Origins for Brawn Yawn
Brawn represents its bulky arms
Yawn represents its huge mouth resembling yawns
I gave him the “Santa” name at first sight when I knew that it would be throwing things around. As I also needed to design its habits, I first came up with some irrational ideas in terms of gameplay and development difficulty, such as destroying things around or interfering with other enemies. Ultimately, to be more realistic, it ended up being an enemy entity with two of its kind. Its box-like body part and sleight of hand movements are designed with “humor” in mind.
Name Origins for Barrista Santa
Barrista an original word created to represent its throwing actions and the two Others facing each other, which resembles “ballista” and “barista”
Santa represents its object-throwing habit
It was one of the drafted designs at the start of the project. It had a glass casing body, wings, and human body, but its parts were later adjusted to suit its playability. The inspiration for this Other came from a video I watched about headstands.
Although it had a human-like upper body and a human head, I needed to eliminate its looks of emotions and thoughts, so I clipped the upper half of its head and replaced it with a pincushion.
While it looks like a bird or flying animal when looked at from afar, the player would suddenly notice that it looks like a human. This acts as a surprise element for the players and should be fun to notice in-game.
Name Origins for Bandeau Pendu
Bandeau represents the strap surrounding its body which resembles a garment
Pendu represents its looks of being hung upside-down
There actually was one particular Other that was created by the dev team in Bandai Namco Studios before I joined the team. That means this Other was the only one created in “collaboration” between the team and me.
It was initially called a “Goat-type” Other, had hay-like hair, and wore a corset. It gradually transformed to have metal scraps as its limbs and a cloche as armor to protect its weakness.
The Sabbat-type Others have very straightforward designs like the Rummy-type ones, so players could probably tell their difference from others just by looking in detail.
Name Origins for Wither Sabbat
Sabbat represents the head that resembles the demon/spirit Leonard, which has an alias of the “Sabbatic Goat”
Wither represents its hair which resembles grass withering away
* Spoiler Alert *
The lower body pedaling a unicycle is its main body part. It spins around in the “ground” and is completely unfair as the player can’t interfere with it in any way.
It is the ultimate and strongest Other in the game, so I designed it to have the looks of inanimate objects and icons (religious) instead of some kind of living entity. Of course, the “absurdity” element is also fully incorporated into its design.
Regarding the balance of its “frightening nature” and “absurdity,” I have pushed the limits for the latter as this is the final Other boss, and I needed to promote further its “foreignness” and “seriousness” of the story at that point.
Name Origins for Dominus Circus
Dominus represents its existence on top of all Others .
Circus represents its body parts which resemble circus-like elements such as elephants, unicycles, and such.