While in the early stages of brainstorming a story, you have a lot of things to consider. Who are your characters? What kind of personalities do they have? What is their back-story? What strengths and weaknesses do they exhibit? What relationships do they have? What is the universe in which they live like? What rules exist in their society? Does it match ours? Does it differ? How does this affect the characters? You might think you have a good idea, but once you start asking yourself these questions, the real creative work can be overwhelming. When I began designing Pole Force One a year ago, I realized I needed a good starting point for my characters & story; a solid foundation to build upon and answer these questions. That’s where The Powerpuff Girls came in to save the day!
“Wait, so you’re telling me that you somehow went from three cute little girls in a children’s cartoon to a game concept about super-hero strippers!? You must be one sick bastard!” NO! I swear I’m not, allow me to explain. I can’t remember exactly where or how I came up with the idea of creating super hero strippers, but I do remember that the original inception was relatively weak. The characters didn’t really have much personality, there wasn’t much cohesion aside from the general theme and overall it felt weak.
I knew I wanted a 3-person team but I wanted them to be a strong, cohesive unit, while retaining clear individualistic qualities. I started looking for references for trios in storytelling. The three wise men, the three stooges, Alvin & the chipmunks, three musketeers, order of the triad… there were plenty to choose from, but it wasn’t until I thought of The PowerPuff Girls that everything clicked. Here were three girls, with distinct characteristics and a world with it’s own unique qualities. The show was very popular for a time, so they must have done something right!
I started to break things apart and analyse the characters. Blossom (red) is the leader of the group, the most level headed of the three and is the most socially conscious, always trying to do what is right. Bubbles (blue) is the sweet, kind and un-assuming one of the three but can flip into an extreme rage in order to fight along side the others. Buttercup (green) is the tom-boy, tough and ready to fight all the time without a second thought. Additionally there is the professor (man, lab-coat), who is both their father, adviser and emotional support. The characters work well together, perfectly complementing each others strengths and weaknesses. I decided that I would use this exact structure as inspiration while creating my own characters.
Roxie is the leader of the group, strong, intelligent, conscious and empathetic to those around her. Kiko is the wacky, fun loving, hedonist who sees the world through rose colored glasses and a wild imagination. Monique is the dark, pain-loving dominatrix who seeks out confrontation whenever possible. And finally, Rufus, is the club DJ who provides the girls with strategic intelligence and technological support. Of course, there’s a lot more that could be said about each character, but I’ll leave that for another day. Suffice to say, when coming up with your own characters, story, art, whatever… it’s always valuable to take a look at examples that already exist and analyse them, you never know what you might learn and can adapt for your own use. Reference work is worth it’s weight in gold, which I guess is nothing because it’s intangible… but you should still make sure to do your research. It helps you take something from just okay to something great!
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