The most interesting character in Infamous: Second Son wasn't Delsin Rowe (the protagonist), or Brooke Augustine (the antagonist), but rather Fetch, a quest giver/power conduit who stole the spotlight with her soulful story and down-to-earth demeanor. She rightfully became the lead in Infamous: First Light, a standalone origin story that fills in plot point gaps, and ultimately tells us what happened to her when she arrived in Seattle.

I talked to Sucker Punch Production's art director, Horia Dociu, about the process of creating a dynamic lead like Fetch. Her look changed and evolved throughout Second Son's development cycle, but several elements remained from the first sketch that Dociu drew of her.

Game Informer: How did Fetch come to be?
Horia: Right in the beginning, when we had discussions about some of the secondary characters that you’d be leeching powers from, we wanted to make sure that we had really interesting characters – not just random people. We wanted them to be special. We wanted them to have a back story just like Delsin does. Fetch is this runaway, homeless girl who tells a little bit of the back story of the InFamous world. She also has the neon power. There’s this Department of Unified Protection and it’s rounding up everybody that’s got superpowers and putting them in this jail called Curdun Cay, whether they did something wrong or not. They’re just like, “Better safe than sorry.” She runs away from home because her parents reported her. She’s this street rat drug addict that fell into drugs as an escape to get away from her parents betraying her. That was a rich image and I think it told a lot of back story about the world. Not just for this character, but the kind of things that happen in the InFamous universe. The idea of a girl that got betrayed by her parents was interesting, and I started sketching her right away in the meeting – sketches of this skinny girl with nylon and a big army jacket, a big warm coat. That idea came all the way to the end product. I think the design process is a bit of a conversation between, “Hey, what do we like? What does the story need? What does the gameplay need? What looks cool?” And so you’re kind of going back and forth and taking huge stabs at all the different variations of the character. Something that stuck all the way through was this idea that she has this rough exterior; she wears this coat almost like armor, yet on the inside she’s got a sheared t-shirt and ripped-up pantyhose. She’s basically this fragile girl that was betrayed by her parents and she’s got nowhere to go, but she puts up this rough exterior. That’s something that’s lasted from literally the first time we started talking about her all the way to what you see in the game. The furthering on those themes, on the jacket, are different from what she started with.

Horia Dociu's early sketches of Fetch

Did you build the remainder of Fetch's look around the jacket?
HD: It’s exploring the idea that she’s a street kid. She’s hiding in clear sight. She has to stay out of the way of the D.U.P. How do you hide in plain sight? That was an interesting question. She’s this sort of loitering teenager. I don’t know if you’re familiar with crust punk, but it’s this fashion style of having lots of patches on your jacket. Everything’s dirty. It’s cool to be grungy and have dreadlocks and all that stuff. Other people are actually homeless and choose a sort of vagabond lifestyle, but others do it to fit in. She’s actually homeless and so we thought, “Hey, let’s give her urban camouflage.” She’s spray painted on her jacket and she’s kind of grimy. She’s got this pink hair, but really it’s to blend in with being one of the people on streets that no one pays attention to. It worked out nicely because giving her that pink hair was deliberate to match her powers, and the skull t-shirt looks like it could be a rock and roll band or a punk band. Even though this is a realistic game, we wanted to harken back to super heroes. We don’t have tights and capes in Infamous and we never will, but the idea that everybody has a persona is really important. If you notice, all the characters have that. Delsin’s mainly dressed in black with a red cap and red shirt for accents. He’s got that star design that represents dual karma. Augustine is grey and yellow, just like her concrete powers. And there’s that bird icon, the DUP emblem. Even, Eugene the video conduit has that Heaven’s Hellfire logo emblazoned down his chest, and he wears blue like the color of his powers. It’s a way to really give them a visual identity and still fit into the very detailed back story.

Color and pencil sketches by Susan Luo

How much did the art influence the overall character? What about Laura Bailey, the actress that plays her?
The story of her being a runaway just felt very natural to the circumstances of the game. The fact that there’s this secret police that hunts down people. We thought, of course there’s going to be this person that’s going to be a runaway. The visuals were just like running downhill. Like I said, from the first sketches she looked pretty similar to what she ended up on. Getting to the final project was more sharpening up the visuals and making sure it’s cohesive and looks cool. I think that story never changed, that she’s a runaway. I think just to put yourself in that situation, where she’s had to survive on the street; naturally she had to be tough. So both for the writer, and also for the artists, it was a no-brainer that we had to make her this gruff character. That’s where, again, that jacket comes in, to give her that tough outer shell like she’s putting up armor to the world, but then she’s fragile inside. She has this secret about Brent, her brother, and the fact that she killed him on accident because of drugs and all that stuff. She’s very much a product of the story and the only way I think it helped really influence the character itself was in what Laura Bailey, our motion capture and performance actress, brought to it. We actually sent her these sketches along with the original script, so she got in her head, “Ok, this is what I look like.” She said that it was helpful to put herself in that mind frame. It’s sort of a tool for her to envision what she looks like because she is such a tough looking character in a way, as opposed to Laura who’s very sweet and dresses nice. It was good for her to have that picture in her head, even as she’s reading the lines for the first time in the audition process. It made her bring out this street roughness that Fetch has that people really latched on to.