Sunday, 9 November 2014

How to Make A Character: Francesca Takahashi

Part of a series of how I actually went about redesigning leftover character concepts. Expect explanations on my design principles behind the Lion Twins and Herakaris in the coming weeks.

Original Incarnation.
There's not much given about Francesca Takahashi in Artix Entertainment's HeroSmash. No surprise, as the character who inspired her was called Demolicious. The original character was a guardian of a powerful artifact, Pandora's Malachite.

The NPC in question.
The official art style of the game made her appear slender, but I found this inaccurate considering she was shown throwing her wrecking ball with great force. She seemed stoic but broke down when she was defeated in her storyline.

All she wanted to do at that point was help her ill father, but she never got the chance. It seemed that she had no mother, possibly because she was never mentioned at all. The consensus among players was that Demolicious' mother was dead, though I believed that her mother had run away.

How She Got Her Name.
Unfortunately, I can't take credit for naming this character Francesca, even though I gave her the surname Takahashi. It was another HeroSmash player who suggested that. Why? The reason has been lost to time. I do find that this name gives an image of someone who's of noble ancestry.

Back when she was a side character in my old HeroSmash story American Lions, her civilian name was Toriko* Takahashi.

*Bird-child, badly translated on purpose.

In My Hands.
It seemed straightforward enough for a non-player character in a fanfic, being a side character who didn't have much of a role. As I continued to expand her backstory along with the other characters', I felt that she had a bigger hand in the mythos of the game, if only Artix and co. would explain it. They never did, for the game was suddenly abandoned in late 2011, never to be officially continued again.

Regardless, I stuck to two major ideas in Francesca's appearance: corpse-like and stout. In this regard, my fanart depicted her with these two ideas. As she had gotten injured by a robot in my old story American Lions, she also had a huge scar on her right thigh.


The original game never explained why Francesca's eyes were glowing, so I made the assumption that overexposure to the Malachite blanched her eyes while keeping her eyesight. Her hair was a different story, as an offhand remark by the ex-designer Yergen made it clear she dyed her brown hair purple.

At first, I thought I was the only person who thought Francesca had a vintage curve to her frame. It was another person's piece of fanart that implied that out there, someone else thought of her as a voluptuous woman.

I had my doubts that HeroSmash would be continued ever again. It didn't help that Artix Entertainment wouldn't save the idea of a filial daughter who happened to be a stout superhuman with a fragile heart, and nobody else seemed to be interested in continuing her story. I continued it, but never actually posted it anywhere as it was contained in Sims 3.

Things got out of hand in my personal stories. It culminated in Francesca being taken away by a horrible deity loosely based on mythological monsters. She was lost in her misery, or so I thought. Even though I tried to resolve this mess by having her non-canonical daughter chase her down, I could not think of a way to save the story short of rebooting everything.

When I Redid The Universe.
Sims 4 was an opportunity for me to reboot the stories involving HeroSmash characters. So I did. I intentionally kept Francesca's stout frame, chestnut hair, and pallid skin; but I gave her black eyes instead of pale corpse-like eyes as Pandora's Malachite never existed in this version.

It was also a chance to explore this new version's likes and dislikes, which weren't elaborated on in her previous incarnation. Since she didn't have to worry about being squashed by supervillains and left to rot, she had the time to find some hobbies. She turned out to have a taste for the Goth subculture, a fondness for writing, and heavy metal music.

As her mother remained with the family in my redone version of the 'verse, Francesca couldn't go out and dye her hair a bright purple, but she rebelled by wearing heavier makeup and unladylike (read: boyish) clothes.She has a mild Peter Pan complex, not wanting to grow up completely, but just enough to get away from her parents' authority.

"What? Get out of my sight!"
This time around, she willingly left home with her cousins, the Lion Twins, and their friend Herakaris; joining them on a long trip to seek their fortunes. You can read up on her tale in The Four Stars, which is found on this blog as well.

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