This is Ed of Team Popo and I’ve been handling all of the graphics in Noah’s Nightmare. We thought it might be fun to talk a little bit about the enemies in the game.
Firstly, I’ve really relished the chance to create the enemies for this game. I’ve been working professionally in the games industry for twenty years and most of the games I’ve worked on have been fully 3d, with 3d model characters. 3d characters require a lot of set-up for their animation rigs, skinning and so on, which means it’s usually more time- and cost-effective to create characters that can share their rigs and therefore animations. It’s also quicker and easier to motion capture your initial animation set, all of which means that a lot of the enemies in games (at least that I’ve worked on) have had a large emphasis on humanoid enemies.
(I’d like to point out that no motion capture goes straight from the shoot into a final game – there are a lot of very talented animators who have to do a great deal of work on the raw data before it is usable!)
Therefore, the first thing I knew I wanted to do on Noah’s Nightmare was to have creatures that weren’t bound by such restrictions – in 2d, I can draw anything I like! Secondly, considering the background material of Noah, that he’s building his ark to protect the animals of the world from the flood, we knew we wanted our enemies to be unrecognisable monsters, to not look like animals, as that would make people wonder why Noah wasn’t saving them as well.
As a solution to make monsters that weren’t simply amalgams of bits of real animals (e.g. lizard + bat = dragon), we decided to make the creatures resemble oil. That gave them all a unified and distinctive visual identity and still allowed us to make a wide variety of wacky creatures.
You could also say that oil might remind you of oil spills in the ocean, devastating disasters that harm lots of animals – another thing Noah wants to save them from.
Oily creatures also gave me great freedom to animate them in unusual ways. For example, the “spitter” enemy is effectively a gun turret, that spits a glob of oil whenever Noah gets too close. When the turret is required to turn, I was able to separate its “head” from its “body”, having it leap up and around before reattaching.
Another enemy is able to spontaneously generate tentacles, so as it swings from the ceiling it can shoot out a new tentacle to grab onto the roof before releasing and reabsorbing the previous tentacle it was hanging from.
As for what the enemies actually are – maybe they’re demons? Maybe they’re pure evil? Perhaps they are simply the stuff of Nightmares…
Hopefully we’ve created some really interesting and different enemies for Noah to tackle in his quest to build the ark!