Given that Colbjorn and Estrella each received a proper press release and debut demonstration at PAX West and PSX16 respectively, I was a little sad that Malaclypse the Bard missed the debut announcement boat. Some time ago I mentioned this to our concept artist, Nick, and suggested we do a blog post detailing the design process for the character. Nick agreed and then proceeded to pester me about the timing of the blog over the next couple of months, despite the fact that I was clearly distracted with complicated matters like trying to figure out how to fit a thousand HoF2 buttons and magnets into my carry-on luggage ahead of an international flight.
Eventually, my schedule opened up, so I walked over to his desk to conduct an interview. Clearly, there was a story here. Why else would he keep bugging me? This was going to be one of those amazing creative journeys full of branching paths and interesting dead ends. I was excited.
NICK: They told me he was a wizard pretending to be a bard, so I just drew these. They liked this body and this hat, so I drew a new one combining the two. Then I did the finished one.
ME: That’s it. That’s the whole creative adventure. You nailed it first go, everyone was happy, so they made a 3D model of it and put it in the game.
NICK: What do you want, man? I’m very good at my job.
Damn that man.
Anyway, that’s Malaclypse. He’s a mage disguised as a minstrel, and he doesn’t mind using his gifts, both natural and supernatural, to part fools from their money. In battle, he provides the player with enchanted shields while peppering his foes with magic missiles. On the board, he grants a free respin on the Wheel of Fate, one of HoF2’s new chance minigames. He’s street-smart and world-weary, and his chapters of the story tend to reflect this.
Apparently, he was very easy to design.
Fun fact: during my first week in the office, our audio engineer asked me to provide scratch dialogue for Malaclypse (Scratch dialogue is a placeholder asset used internally by the dev team to work out action timings). To this day my hilariously nasal bard remains in the game, shaming me every time we test a build. I’m not saying this was definitely a hazing ritual… but it was definitely a hazing ritual and the games industry is populated entirely by black-hearted monsters.