Viola is my new personal project. It's a 2D platformer/RPG hybrid, the RPG where every NPC can join your party. A set of mods for Skyrim inspired me to take this angle: one where you can ask anyone to be your follower, and one where you can have multiple followers. This turned Skyrim into a sort of JRPG, except with a lot less character depth. Still, Skyrim had a few fun characters, and it was a lot of fun to customize them with gear, battle tactics, and so on.
I tend to focus on character-based stories. Characters and dialogue are simply the most fun for me to think about, or to write, or to draw. It's no surprise that the first thing I did for the project was to conceptualize the main character, Viola herself.
Why start with Viola?
It's sort of how my brain works. The character comes first, then the environments and their challenge. It happens in pretty rapid succession: a character is nothing without a story, after all.
I wanted the following things to happen in the story:
With that in mind, I started to draw.
Her look was based off a character I came up with for a potential project for GameHouse, called Merilyn. I initially named Viola "Merry", after that very character, but I ended up changing it to separate the two characters.
After drawing, I decided I wanted to convert this design to a smaller design suitable for sprites.
This was the initial sprite. I based it off the style seen in Rivals of Aether: something that was clear and easy to animate. There's just one problem with this sprite: it's ugly.
So instead, I decided to emulate a game that I admired for its visuals: Owlboy, and I made the following sprite instead.
I decided to name her Viola after the instrument I want her to play in the game: a violin. Since I'm awful with titles for games, I decided to rename the whole project "Viola".