Trent Kaniuga, master of character redesigns, stopped playing video games for two weeks. A noble goal. Instead, he started watching other people play video games on YouTube in the background while he drew, which definitely sounds more productive than not drawing at all. One game in particular peaked his interest, Mega Man.
Inspired by all the details of this game that has spanned generations of consoles and hand-held devices (there are many, many iterations of Mega Man out there), Trent decided to apply his redesign skills to the Blue Bomber and see if he could redefine what made Mega Man as a character so iconic. As a fun project, he simply pretended that he was creating a modernized and streamlined model sheet for Capcom for the never-released Mega Man Legends 3, which was actually put into development with input from the community but ultimately scrapped by the company. In fact, yesterday was the 6th anniversary of the official cancellation of the game.
Trent fully admits there are going to be people who look at this redesign and say, “That’s not Mega Man… man.” But that, of course, is the point.
If he were hired by a company like Capcom (which he actually has worked for in the past), Trent knows he would have to provide sheet after sheet of designs to see what parts of Mega Man you should keep and what you might be able to modernize. Trent advises you tackle this kind of task just as if you were doing stand-up comedy or improv. Create a line-up with as many quick takes as you can. Most will end up failing, but you’ll get a wider variety of options with rapid-fire drawing.
Mega man looks like a human boy wearing a cyborg body, so he plays up the iconic weapon hand of Mega Man. He didn’t keep the ginormous feet that is typical of Mega Man art, and Trent fully admits there are going to be people who look at this redesign and say, “That’s not Mega Man… man.” But that, of course, is the point. It’s not Mega Man. It’s an alternate Mega Man — completely unique and completely his own.
In the video, Trent gives some great tips for how he works with game studios to create these kinds of character redesigns, how he deals with feedback in these situations, and how he makes sure modelers and animators will be able to use his designs effectively. As always, this is some great advice and detail from Trent about how to create better and more varied characters: