The more I thought about ideas for Pico 2, the more I wanted Pico to expand as a character. The Pico I created in 1999 had a lot of cute charm, but he was mainly the product of my artistic limitations.
When I started working on Pico 2, I was frustrated by the limitations of the old character design. I decided it was time to consider a Pico redesign.
One of the early ideas was to go with an anime-style Pico. This concept was by Ryan Wooffindin, who gave otaku Pico a try:
Ultimately, however, I decided that Pico should stick with the vacant little-orphan-Annie eyes. Having just wrapped up Disorderly with Zeebarf, I asked him if he could come up with some Pico ideas. After each idea I would give some feedback and Zeebarf would go back to the drawing board. Here are the results:
As awesome as Zeebarf's concepts were, and as much as I loved seeing different renditions of Pico, none of them were the one. It's tough to redesign a character that is loved by so many people - but Mickey Mouse and Mario have done it, so I knew that it was an acceptable progression. I just had to keep looking at different concepts until one of them truly grabbed me.
The next round of concepts came from Jose Ortiz, and they really started to grow on me. The style is reminiscent of the 3D cell-shading trend that is going on right now, except these are 2D characters. The thick black outlines make me think of the stylish Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast.
However, the characters were a little too big and looked too old. I was looking for a younger Pico, one who is much stumpier but still has enough legs for a running animation. Jose tried Pico with a more Calvin 'n Hobbes style. The results won me over:
Not only were the proportions good, but Jose really captured the innocence that Pico is meant to exude. I asked Jose remove the shading because it would have been more filesize and CPU intensive in the final game. The results still rocked. I hope everyone likes the new Pico as much as I do!
What do you think?
Posted November 25, 2001 by Tom Fulp