KitTeaCup here! You may be wondering what this Developer Spotlight is. This is the first in a series you’ll be seeing moving forward. We’ve asked Naddic, the developer of Closers, to be our first partner in working together to bring you, the players, insight into how the games you love are made! Our first Spotlight is a look into how Naddic starts, develops, and adds amazing characters into Closers. Enjoy!
With the upcoming arrival of the new gestalt character Seth, we thought this would be a great opportunity to give our players some more insight into how video game developers come up with new ideas and take them from the concept stage to the final release—starting with Closers.
Since we wanted to hear from the one person who knows the most about the entire process, we took a few minutes to talk to Byeonghwi Yu, from Naddic. As the producer for Closers, Byeonghwi is in charge of everything related to game development, which means, in his words, “I’m the one who makes suggestions, but I also take responsibility for how those suggestions are implemented.”
So, exactly how are new characters like Seth created?
Naddic starts by coming up with ideas for new characters, with suggestions from every team, on every aspect of the character—from the character’s look, to their skills, weapons, personality, how they fit into the team they’ll be joining…and of course, what Byeonghwi calls “the fun factor.”
“’Fun factor’ is all the undefinable stuff about a character that gives the character its charm and personality,” explains Byeonghwi. “It’s a combination of the character’s look, and their storyline, and their skills—all the things that win the players’ hearts and minds. Now, as the producer of Closers, I may be biased, but I feel like that’s one of the things we do better than anyone else. Everything we put into character development, over the entire design cycle, is done with the character’s fun factor foremost in our minds."
According to Byeonghwi, Naddic’s development team starts work on a character at least six months before the players get to see it. That’s six months of two to three meetings per week, with members of the Scenario team, Character Design team, Character Artwork team, 3D Character Design team, and the Animation team. All these teams, and all this time, are necessary to the process, he says, because the ground and aerial skills require more than 200 different types of all-new animations.
Curious about what part each of these teams plays in the development? Byeonghwi breaks it down:
- “The Scenario team develops the character’s concept, story, and all their dialogues.”
- “The Character Artwork team creates sketches to establish the character’s visual aspects—not just how the character looks, but how various costumes will look on the character. We then look at those sketches, and discuss how we can tweak it to really highlight the character’s charm. This step usually generates a lot of interesting material for the Scenario team to draw on, so they are heavily involved at this point.”
- “The 3D Character Design team does the modeling, and the Animation team creates the character’s motions and applies them to the model the 3D Character Design team created.”
- “Finally, the Character Design team develops all of the character’s skills, and ties all of the other teams’ work together to make the character come alive.”
Surprisingly, Byeonghwi reveals that assigning a character to a Closers team—the Black Lambs, Wildhüters, and so on—is one of the first things they do. They conceive characters with a specific team in mind, and the character has to fit the team’s “theme,” so that they mesh together. “For example,” he says, “the Black Lambs share the common theme of all being underage, and have a relatively positive outlook on life—but the Wolf Dogs are a variety of ages, and are generally less enthusiastic about their circumstances.”
Byeonghwi and his team get a lot of their inspiration for new characters from movies, including animated films and American dramas. He says he also reads a lot, and plays a lot of mobile games: “I need to stay up to date with new trends in gaming and pop culture.”
So how does all of that apply to the development of Seth specifically? Byeonghwi says that Seth was meant all along to be a counterpart to Bai, the same way Luna and Soma are counterparts to Wolfgang—a “student-and-mentor” relationship.
“Obviously, Bai is still pretty inexperienced herself,” he says, “but she’s still more emotionally mature than Seth, so we felt we could establish that kind of connection between them. And it helped that it really fit with the theme of the Wildhüter Closers—the theme where they learn something from the adults they interact with, and it helps them mature and overcome their personal issues.”
Byeonghwi says that part of their relationship comes from watching a popular Korean television show about raising and caring for children.
“This show was packed with a lot of emotion, particularly since a lot of us at Naddic have been raising children of our own. We wanted to instill some of that emotion into the character: the bittersweet feeling of a child learning to take responsibility, and discovering new things, and experiencing not just the pain of failure, but the pride of finally succeeding. So, we envisioned Seth as kind of a fretful child, just learning about the world, and growing up a little more each time she goes out.”
We tried to pry a little bit more out of Byeonghwi, about what new characters he and his team might have in the works—but he was too cagey for us. “Well, that’s obviously top-secret for now—but I can tell you that I’ve been reading and watching a lot of science fiction, medieval fantasy…and cowboy movies. Maybe we’ll see some combination of all that in an upcoming character!”
That’s our very first Developer Spotlight. I hope you found it interesting. I personally learned a lot from Byeonghwi and all the teams he works with. That’s a lot of stuff to manage in just 6 months! I’m definitely impressed. I got emotional by the end, poor Seth! I hope she grows up and overcomes the hardship that she’s been dealt; I think she’s strong enough to!
Don’t forget, this isn’t the last Developer Spotlight you’ll see, so if you have any thoughts, questions, or want to hear about another part of Naddic’s development process, please let us know! Thanks, and welcome to the team, Seth!