TideTurn wouldn’t be complete without the Defenders. After Humans decimated the oceans with nuclear testing, mining, overfishing, and horrific pollution, Atlantians could no longer remain silent.
Having transformed into water beings many ages ago, they are now returning to land en masse, attacking coastal cities in an attempt to take back the earth and restore its oceans. With a story like that, it’s critical that the character design of each Defender allow players to understand what they are fighting for — and how they’ll do it.
Kaan Soufuoglu is Stanion Studio’s Character Artist, tasked with making the extensive ocean-based lore of TideTurn come to life for the founders’ release later this year. Soufuoglu has a traditional art background but always had a fascination with technology. These two passions led him to CGI.
What is your background in character design?
I graduated with a BS in Art & Design. Following university, I moved to London to learn from gaming industry veterans and I never left. I’ve worked with a number of talented people and award-winning CGI studios throughout my career. This experience led me to TideTurn. Everyone’s been great since I joined and I’m really happy to be a part of this team.
What is the team’s character design process?
I first prepare concepts for the characters with the other members of the team. Once they are finalized, I am responsible for the 3D models and optimizing them for the game engine. After that, I move to the texturing stage. My final task is making the 3D characters ready for the rigging stage.
What is the importance of 3D character design in TideTurn?
The characters are the first thing the player meets when starting a new game. TideTurn’s world is brought to life through these unique characters so I think making sure they are well executed is an essential part.
What’s your favorite part about designing characters?
There are so many things about my job that I love but I think I would have to choose sculpting. Sculpting organic models is definitely something I enjoy a lot.
Is there anything people may not realize about creating video game characters?
I think often people don’t quite understand the technical side of creating characters. Understandably, people don’t realize that video games are half art, half science.
How do you come up with a Defender’s appearance?
Before anything else, I discuss the character’s background and personal story with the rest of the creative team. These details help us get a sense of who the character is, often giving us ideas on how they could look.
Following these conversations, I sculpt some examples. These often go back and forth until every single person is fully satisfied with the Defender’s final look. After that, I move on to the modeling stage. Critique is very important at this stage.
How did you come up with the design for Doug? What were some aspects that had to be included or influenced the final look?
Because of his skills, Doug needed to be masculine and trustworthy. He also needed to be a bit charming. As a frontline Defender character during the attack on La Playa, we had to give him a distinct look — a thicker appearance and a more handsome facial structure. He was a firefighter in his past, so we implemented those colors on his jacket.
What’s a part of a Defender’s design that’s very important but may surprise players?
Eyebrows are really important about expressions. They can easily change the entire look or expression of a character. When it comes to eyebrows, hair, mouths, and ears, the entire character art team discusses these ideas and sees what fits best and what’s possible for each Defender. It’s all about teamwork.
Who was your favorite Defender to create?
[Defender name redacted by D.R.I. — classified]. Their story completely changed so it was quite exciting to work on their new look. But I must admit I am quite attached to all of them.
What about TideTurn’s story inspires you?
The Atlantians of course! They make the game entirely unique from other video games and it’s a true joy for me to help create the TideTurn world.
Olivia “y05h1eggz” Richman //
Stanion Studios Marketing Copyeditor