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The Witch's Chess

The Witch's Chess

Lorena Winkler
by Arcana on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hi ! This is my latest personal project. It's the visual development for a dark fantasy video game.

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The Witch's Chess

There were once two allied kingdoms, which traded freely, and benefited from each other's specialties. But during a witch hunt, they were cursed by one of them. Thirsting for revenge, the witch cast a dark curse that plunged the two kingdoms into an endless war, in the form of living chess pieces. Every human in the realms had been transformed into demons representing pieces of a chess board. The heroine is a survivor of the curse, she was only nine years old when the curse struck both kingdoms. Ten years later,  she decided to end this horror, her hatred being directed both towards humans and witches.

Evanora is the main character, the one the player embodies in the game. She is the Purifier, the one who will end the curse. The locket she wears around her neck is her mother's (a witch), and the gun she fights with is all she has left of her (human) father.  Katherine McNamarra was, in my opinion, the embodiment of the idea I had of the character before I even started the concepts, so it was natural that I chose her to lend her features to Evanora.

For the costume, the colors chosen correspond to various meanings: purple refers tohis loneliness and melancholy, but also brings a touch both distinguished and feminine. Red echoes her hatred and the blood she sheds. The black recalls her grief but brings a dark and elegant touch. Finally, the white corresponds to the part of purity which she has left. 

She wears a chain that sometimes helps her to immobilize her targets in order to purify them. Her gun, engraved with a special rune, allows her, with bullets made of silver and coated with sage, to purify demons.

The witch, Zaphara, once devoted her life to healing, but the slaughter of her fellow witches drove her mad with rage and she created a curse, with her own heart as the main ingredient. Despite the gaping hole in her chest, she manages to stay alive as long as the spell is protected. Her physical condition has deteriorated over the years, her thirst for revenge slowly eating away at her.

The two kingdoms are each derived from specific references. The black kingdom, whose specialty was medicine, is directly inspired by horror as we know it in certain works such as those of Lovecraft, or others such as Silent Hill. The white kingdom, known for its sumptuous shows and balls, is very inspired by the carnival of Venice, and harlequin costumes.

The White Queen is as if smothered by her own costume, while the Black Queen is a repulsive symbol of fertility.

For the White Knight, I had to do more graphic research to find the design that would fit the most to the theme. I explored different ideas for a horse costume.

To symbolize the curse and how it works, I made a sculpt in ZBrush, which I then polypainted and rendered in Photoshop.

I also wanted to show the atmosphere of the game through an illustration in which some of the characters are featured. 

Thank you for your attention, hope you enjoyed my project as much as I enjoyed creating it ! Have a nice day !

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