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The Face Of Just Cause 3: The Evolution Of Rico

by Ben Reeves on Nov 24, 2014 at 08:00 AM

Fictional characters never emerge into the world fully formed; it takes time and a lot of iteration to create a person out of nothing – even if they aren't real. Using original concept art and in game art, we take a look back at Just Cause's protagonist.

Born on the Mediterranean island of Medici, Rico Rodriguez was recruited by a covert arm of the CIA – simply called The Agency – when he was only 18-years-old. While with the The Agency, Rico ran a series of black ops to support Guerrilla revolutionaries and overthrow evil dictators around the world. As you can see in one of the first concept sketches (below), Rico's origins were quite a bit different from his final form in the first Just Cause.

"The character started out kind of goofy," says art director Zach Schlappi. "I was thinking he's like a panther, he's graceful, he's sleek, he's strong. In JC 1, my crazy interpretation of him is that he's like a romanticized Che Guevara with a mariachi outfit – almost like Desperado. There is this romance of a Mexican revolution, so I wanted to borrow some of those ideas for the next game."

In Just Cause 2, Rico became a little sleeker. Rico's nickname is the Scorpion, and everything from the red scorpion painted on his back to the spiked grappling hook helped accentuate that fact.

For Just Cause 3, Rico has left The Agency and is no longer in a uniform. Since Rico is walking the same streets as his family and childhood friends, he looks a bit more approachable. In the character breakdown below, you can see that Rico is wearing jeans and work boots.

"Crank with Jason Statham was a big influence in helping us create his zipper top," says Schlappi. "His equipment is more real life too. For example, the harness is based off a telephone pole operators harness, and the grappling hook is a slight modernization. We asked ourselves, "If Jony Ive was doing weapon design what would that look like?" We [wanted] just a touch of that James Bond agency feel without going too far into the goofy and outlandish like Triple X staring Vin Diesel."

For a deeper dive into Rico's current look, check out this detailed breakdown of Rico's equipment below.

(Click on the image to expand the photo)


For more details on Avalanche's upcoming open world title be sure to check out our cover hub, which is filled with exclusive content such as hands-on impressions and a video tour of the studio.