Initial character exploration for the character 'Freyja' in my personal IP 'Beowulf: The Forgotten Saga'.
'Beowulf: The Forgotten Saga' is a fantasy open-world RPG which follows Beowulf's younger years prior to the setting of the Old English tale 'Beowulf', as he develops his fame and renown as a great warrior by fighting a mysterious curse that has blanketed the land.
This is not a finished 'game ready' concept but instead my initial exploration and visual development.
When exploring the character 'Freyja' I first looked to the Old Norse tales of the goddess.
Freyja (Old Norse for ‘Lady’, ‘Woman’, or ‘Mistress’) is the best-known and most important goddess in Norse mythology. Beautiful and many-functioned, she features heavily as a fertility goddess stemming from her place in the Vanir family of the gods (the other and main one is the Æsir family) along with her twin brother Freyr and father Njord, and stars in many myths recorded in Old Norse literature as lover or object of lust. She lives in Fólkvangr (‘Field of the People’), rides a carriage drawn by cats, and is connected not just with love and lust but also with wealth, magic, as well as hand-picking half of all fallen warriors on battlefields to go into Odin's hall of Valhalla – the other half being selected by Odin himself. - Ancient History Encyclopedia, Emma Groeneveld.
Although the Norse tales provide a fairly vivid picture of the goddess, I wanted to explore my own version of the character in the setting of my IP. Inspired by Pre-Raphaelite artwork I wanted to reflect her as a symbol of fertility by having her wearing no clothing and holding a new born baby at her front. Her overall designed is heavily influenced by gold and the allure of gold (not unlike the story of Midas), mostly inspired by the tale of the Brisingamen necklace and how far she was willing to go for this item.
In the game-world, Freyja is found on an old battlefield scavenging the field of the dead and sending them on their way to Valhalla. I wanted to juxtapose Freyja's raw beauty, softness and light with the darkness and harshness of the battlefield, the bones, sharp weapons and blocky armour that litters the floor, so that she really jumps out from her environment. The player is able to interact with her as part of an over-arching quest which will lead to a large scale boss battle with the goddess. Therefore, I wanted to show two sides to the character, her natural form and the form she inhabits when afflicted by the curse (I will explore her other form at a later date).