Recently I did a test as part of a job application. The requirements – a Flash movie featuring two characters ( Zephir, an alien bounty hunter, and Zippy, his sidekick/mascot ) walking across a scrolling background, an action button which causes Zephir to fire his weapon, and a score counter for each time the weapon is fired.
Zephir went through many iterations. I wanted to give him a mercenary/authoritative look, so that it was obvious he was someone who could handle himself, but with a soft silliness so he wasn’t too scary.
At first I pictured him as a friendly alien who has honourable intentions with his bounty hunting, someone who is a little too independent to land a job as a space cop. An aspirational geek whose dream job is catching the bad guys , Zephir spends his spare time building new gadgets, collecting ideas from the planets he visits and helping out people who need him.
This version of the character could be an interesting twist, but it wasn’t really vibrant enough for a protagonist in an action based setting. Visually he was too bland, and looked more like a police cadet than bounty hunter.
To rectify this problem I gave him a power mullet and bandanna, instantly giving him attitude, and simplified his colour palette to make it more ‘heroic’.
The newer version of Zephir is more of a ‘bro’. He is confident and friendly, but isn’t afraid to be tough, and is good at thinking on his feet. He is a thrill seeker, and got into bounty hunting as an excuse to adventure. He loves the action of a good hunt- from space shark infested waters to the dizzying heights of the tallest buildings, Zephir shows no fear ( that’s Zippys job! ).
Zephir has more of a ‘bash it til it works’ approach to gadgets than his previous iterations passion for technology, but is aided by an ever so helpful Zippy, who can download new information when it becomes available- a possible game play element, as weapons could be upgraded with new and more powerful features when Zippy receives new knowledge about how to modify/use them. ( Not that that would stop Zephir from using an unsafe/unfamiliar weapon…)