Anatomy Of A Character: Monkey From Enslaved

by Ben Reeves on Sep 13, 2010 at 09:00 AM

A lot of work goes into birthing a new character for a video game. Famed actor Andy Serkis (Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films) may have lent his voice and movements to Enslaved’s hero, Monkey, but the team at Ninja Theory spent a lot of time envisioning what that character would look like in the game world. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is actually based off of a centuries-old Chinese legend, and a lot of details from that fable shaped the design of Ninja Theory’s protagonist. Let’s break down what sets Monkey apart from some of video games' other action grunts.

1. Headband – This is the slave headband that Trip modifies to enslave Monkey. It causes him extreme pain if he does not follow her commands. Guess that's why the game is called Enslaved.

2. Face Paint – Enslaved is based off of an ancient Chinese novel titled Journey to the West. Monkey’s face paint is an homage to that original story, in which the main character is a playful yet cunning monkey king whose face paint was a prominent feature. It also serves to reflect the tribal nature of the original Chinese legend.

3. Scars – Monkey's body shows the branding marks that have been made from his countless battles with the mechs. We think it just gives him more sex appeal.

4. Muscles – Monkey's strong muscular physique has been honed from many years of clambering and combat. Ninja Theory brought in an expert in anatomical structure to ensure the muscles were as accurately portrayed as possible.

5. Sash – In the original Chinese tale the main character was a kind of monkey god and actually had a monkey’s tail. Ninja Theory’s version has a cloth sash to represent the tail.

6. Gloves – Fighting tough metal mechs can be brutal on the knuckles, so Monkey has fashioned these gauntlets to protect himself while punishing his alloy enemies. These gloves are also capable of generating a shield, which protects Monkey from gunfire.

7. Staff – Monkey's weapon of choice. He uses this telescopic staff primarily in hand-to-hand combat, but it is also capable of firing energy-based projectiles to disable enemies at long range.