Soul Weaver is a gradutation project made by 5 artists, Mélanie Laurain, Yann Masson, Mathilde Bernard, Loïc Lefranc, Maria Angeles Maestre during our last year in New3dge. Inspired by indie games such as Little Nightmare, Inside, ECHO (by Ultra Ultra), The Last Guardian; we wanted to create our own unique universe.
In this Machinery of Life, your only power is to decide.
In many legends, we have been told that human’s fate were decided by three entities, three sisters who control the thread of life of every mortal.
The first one spuns the thread of life, the second measures it and the third one cuts it and chooses the death.
Soul Weaver is a third person platform/infiltration game about a small creature who tries to retake control of its own existence. You, as the player will be controlling and deciding the fate of this protagonist. Although, by escaping from the goddess grip, it was only the beginning of a long journey for the search of an impossible freedom.
The game environment can be split in 3 defined parts: each of them differ by their ambiance and their scale.
We begin in the main room where the player starts. This is where Nona resides, and where the minions and Mori collect her hair thanks to the machines that guide them all across the castle.
The purpose of our design is to accentuate the godlike look of the place; to do so we have chosen a mix between gothic and art nouveau.
The gothic part gives verticality and showcases the aesthetic of the curveline.
In the minions workshop, a safe area where Nona cannot enter, we have more time to look at the various assets designed for this area.
Once we enter the minion’s workshop, the gameplay will slow down for a bit, allowing us, as a player, to have more time to look around. Those workshops are more detailed because of the scale which is closer to the player size.
Finally comes the “Forest of Gears” , an animated part of the environment, where the mechanisms, still activated by the minions, spin and weave Nona’s hair.
For those mechanisms, our references are inspired by traditional devices to spin silk; for instance spinning wheel or weaving machine. To stick to our Art Direction, we have redesigned them with more Art Nouveau style.
There are 2 main characters in Soul Weaver: the Moirai, Nona, the playable character Mori and the minions who share the same design as Mori.
Their designs are based on the silkmoth, the Bombyx Mori, hence the color limitation: white, off-white, black, and brown.
Mori was heavily inspired from the traditional silk worker who historically used to be mostly really poor women and children, hence the damaged textile and its rough-looking material.
On the other hand, Nona is a delicate goddess who handles the thread of life with great care. Mostly inspired by Mucha’s poster and Art Nouveau jewellery, her design needed to translate how graceful and unique she was, by using really shining material and fine textile.
For the art direction, early in our research, we wanted to focus the aesthetic of our game on the theme of hair and thread. We decided to look into a diverse range of mythologies (mostly Greek, Nordic, Roman) with these themes. In the end, we chose the story about the Moirais, the 3 goddess sisters who weave the thread of Life.
From this point, we dug more around the theme of the "thread" and we took some inspiration from the traditional weaving techniques. For the characters, we also wanted to focus on the creature which produces the thread: the silkworm and silkmoth.
We also took the decision to choose the Art Nouveau and gothic architecture to emphasize the religious aspect as well as the elegant and graceful curves that comes from a goddess.
We tried to work a maximum in modular in order to quickly build and modify our environment, which allows us to construct a large environment both horizontally and vertically.
This project was made in 11 months with a group of 5 artists:
- Mélanie Laurain (Character artist/Hair specialist)
- Yann Masson (Environment artist)
- Mathilde Bernard (Environment/Texturing/Technical artist)
- Loïc Lefranc (Environment/Lighting artist)
- Maria Angeles Maestre (Environment/Texturing artist)
Without any game designer, level designer or programmer, we were still able to build a game with decent fps, although this prototype doesn't have any "core gameplay".
However, our main objectif was to make an interesting visual and mostly for us, as artists, to enjoy working on a really personnal project.
If you are curious about more breakdowns or looking at fancy pictures, we highly recommand you to check our website with much more detail about our pipeline: https://www.new3dge.com/soulweaver.