The lights are on
Foertsch: This was a cool one, because he has such a simple original design, so it required us to do a lot of back and forth about “What does he do?” What do we want him to do?” This is probably one of the more written up characters in the game.
Solomon: He’s enigmatic. Even in the original game. Sure he’s a little disc, but he always struck me as this very enigmatic enemy, because he doesn’t display a lot of his outward character and he doesn’t make a lot of sound. We wanted to push that a little – this character is a bit of an enigma.
Foertsch: One of the things that we wanted to do with him is defy reality. He has so much stuff jam-packed inside that there is no possible way that it fits, but it somehow does. When he opens up – when he goes to attack you – he unravels. He becomes fairly menacing, and he’s fairly large. You can see the scale size on this shot. When he opens up you can see the more organic side of him and he’s more vulnerable.
Solomon: Design-wise these two forms have gameplay benefits. When he’s bottled up in his UFO form he’s very difficult to score hits on, but he has to unfold to attack and that’s when he becomes vulnerable to attack. But he’s still a very strong alien. He has ways of healing himself, and he’s this big tank-like enemy.
Solomon: This is a new character in the XCOM universe, and he comes from a lot of different things. The idea that monsters are among us is probably one of the oldest ideas, but it also fits that UFO lore – that they’re with us and they’re watching us. They have infiltrators. At the same time, we kind of did a play on Men in Black. The Thin Man is very tall. He’s unnaturally tall, unnaturally slender, but if he was in a crowd your eyes might pass by, but you might feel a little unnerved. He’s close – they tried to get him close – but he’s not perfectly human.
Solomon: He doesn’t move naturally, you’d think he has a few too many joints, which give him some very interesting characteristics. He’s one of our favorites.
Foertsch: His animations are very different, and you can see some of that here. He’s very reserved, but when he uncorks his animations are really cool. Some of these are early drawings, which were key when the animators started working with him. Again this is when I was watching Aeon Flux and we were talking about these elongated figures.
Solomon: He’s about as covered up as he can be, but you see those little hints, like in the wrists, where there’s some discoloration. You don’t ever want him to take off his glasses, because again he’s not a perfect copy. Design-wise we wanted to play off the fact that he’s unnerving. He can leap up multiple stories, which can be very disconcerting, but is also tactically useful for him. He also uses poison as a weapon. He has this move where he unhinges his jaw and then vomits forth poison, so you can tell that what is inside doesn’t match what is going on outside.
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