Creating the Visual Identity of the Faahri: Deepdive with Midio
My name is Midio, Lead Artist on Wargroove 2! I had the pleasure of crafting the visual development and design of the Faahri Commanders and Units. Today, I’m going to dig into the process of creating the Faahri faction and characters you’ve all come to know and love since the release of Wargroove 2!
When I joined the team, Simon- our art director- already had in mind a “cave dwelling folk” faction, and flirted with the idea of them being dwarves and even monks at some point! As the conceptual exercise dove deeper, he suggested them being rodents and the team was completely in love with the idea of introducing a cute little mouse faction to the Wargroove universe. The essence of the Faahri Republic’s early lore from pre-production stayed almost intact throughout the development of Wargroove 2: a nation of mouse-folk from another land, who reside in sprawling underground networks.
I got to work developing the visual identity of the mice, blending Simon’s designs and Wargroove’s distinctive style. Wargroove’s armies often draw inspiration from a tapestry of global cultures, and the Faahri faction finds some of its inspiration in the Golden Age of Islam and the influence of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Arab world on the West. This period is well known for the discovery, assimilation and flourishing of complex math, science, cartography, new technologies, culture and education that would be carried onto western societies. One of the main themes around the Faahri are their geometric designs, a theme commonly seen in the islamic’s architecture and art, symbolizing the clarity and order these little mice pursue in their society.
Once the general aesthetic and colour scheme were defined, we moved along to developing the Commanders. The beginning of this process was also through geometry: Pistil was thought as a cylinder, Lytra as a small circle and Rhomb as a big square. Pistil was born almost as we see her in the final design. I thought she could embody some diversity with a prosthetic limb and a robotic eye (both super ornate, of course). Rhomb firstly wielded a huge axe, but ended up with two forms once we started exploring the depths of crystal technology and how the Faahri use it and its more sinister uses…
Lytra became the Commander who went through the most iterations. We loved each of her designs at every step, with some of her earliest designs making their way to other units and characters! Early on, Lytra wielded a fierce flamethrower, which eventually ended up being part of Nadia’s design! Our plan for Lytra had always been that she would be the misfit of the whole Faahri outfit. Our initial approach was to make her differences clear using her visuals by giving her a punk look with spiky, colourful hair – now used for the Faahri merfolk! Eventually, we decided that Lytra’s feelings of distance from her peers should be less outward to create nuance and make her character not so easy to define. We knew we wanted her to have a deeper connection with the magic of the world she inhabits and so we decided to give her oversized mage clothes and turned to music and experimented with instruments as a weapon.(Fun fact: Lytra once had a trombone!)
There it is, I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey down development-memory lane with me! I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the love you’ve had for the Faahri faction – I’m going to also leave you with a bit of an art-dump full of mine, Simon’s and Marion’s development sketches. We’ve loved bringing something completely new to Wargroove 2 and we’re happy to know you’ve all enjoyed getting to know Rhomb, Pisil, Lytra and their friends!
Until next time!