Blackwood Crossing is a story-driven first-person adventure game. An intriguing and emotive tale exploring the fragile relationship between orphaned siblings, Scarlett and Finn. When their paths cross with a mysterious figure, an ordinary train ride evolves into a magical story of life, love and loss.
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February 22

Finessing Finn

Read this on the Blackwood Crossing Developer Blog for full dev images and concept art, or check out our previous Scarlett blog here.



Now we’ve checked out Scarlett in more detail we can turn our attention to her little brother Finn.

Ten-year-old Finn is the player’s driving force through the Blackwood Crossing adventure. It’s safe to say he plays a pivotal role 🙂

INTRODUCTION

So, alongside Scarlett, we had considered a few different options for him – a show off; a mad scientist; a recluse. Once Scarlett was established we could use her as a yardstick by which to measure Finn.

We quickly realised that the character of a recluse doesn’t give you much to work with and would, in all likelihood, make for a pretty boring gaming experience!

We settled on a cross between a vaudevillian show-off (outspoken, confident and just on the right side of arrogant) with a smattering of artistic scientist thrown into the mix to balance things out.

Because if Scarlett’s unflappable, then Finn needs to be a challenge to play off that.

DEVELOPMENT PHASES

The board below brought these ideas together for the start of the concepting phase. Working once again with Concept artist, Gilles Ketting.

(view on full blog here)

FINN’S STYLING

We wanted Finn’s quirkiness to come through in his styling. With a hint of old-fashioned influences from his grandfather from his braces; and theatrics in the form of his cape.

The cape that would create a few technical problems along the way 🙂

CHARACTER INSIGHTS

Finn’s parents died when he was very young, so he’s essentially been brought up by his grandparents.

He’s had free-reign of their farm – a playground for his own amusement. While his grandmother dotes on him and his sister, his grandfather is of the age where children are not to be molly-coddled, and he has a lot more freedom than some of the other kids at school.

This time and space has nurtured his inventiveness, and we see it throughout the game. He can spend hours up in the treehouse making plans and testing out his crazy ideas.

As Scarlett remarks when up in the planetarium, “he’s a proper genius when he puts his mind to it!”.

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February 14

Developer Blog: Bringing Scarlett to Life

Read this on the Blackwood Crossing Developer Blog for full dev images and concept art!



Bringing Scarlett to Life

It’s time to dig deeper into Blackwood Crossing’s main protagonists, Scarlett and Finn.

Firstly to Scarlett, who our players control throughout. We’ll look at what we knew about Scarlett from the beginning, and how her personality and her in-game look developed over time.


WHAT WE KNEW

Getting the game’s two main characters into our world took time – we knew that to rush the personalities, around which the entire narrative was going to hang, was reckless. We wanted to explore the many different aspects of Scarlett’s personality, and how those fine details would influence her behaviour and reactions throughout the game.

Our starting point for Scarlett was that she was a teenage girl, 14 years old. She had spent the latter half of her childhood growing up on her grandparents’ farm, following the sudden death of her parents aged seven. She still felt the loss of her parents and the wrench of leaving her old life, and has always felt slightly out of place.

A square peg in a round hole…

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

We explored a few different high level personality types – an emotionally-charged artist; a punk; a tomboy; a rebel; even a preppy ‘It Girl’! Each of them had traits that we thought fitted with Scarlett’s character, but none of them were quite right. It was a bit of a Goldilocks situation.

We eventually settled on her being a thoughtful, artistic hippy with just a touch of misfit rebel to reflect her difficult upbringing.

We all agreed. Tonally, this felt right. She ‘grew up’. She became less tomboyish and more artistic and centred. And that was important, because with what Scarlett is going to see and deal with in the course of this story, she needed to be someone who could face the unimaginable with a coolly raised eyebrow.


SCARLETT’S BACKSTORY

Part of the process of coming to this decision was digging into Scarlett’s backstory and her character.

At school, she’s a gifted but not outstanding student. Her deliberate, purposeful nature means she absorbs information that might sometimes be lost on her more distracted peers.

Outside of classes, she’s drawn to solitary pursuits such as painting and sculpture over team sports or group activities. She’s slow to trust and build relationships, and this also extends to her interests and fashion. She has little time for the fickle, rapidly changing fads of popular culture, instead seeking out things with which she feels a deeper, more personal and lasting connection.

Socially, she moves on the fringes of a number of circles, having not arrived with a ready-made clique like the girls from primary school. She’s mates with everyone but especially close to no-one in particular. Her grades are a little too good and her fashion not archetypal ‘cool’, but her looks and her confidence in her own being places her beyond derision.

As the girl she was starts to give way to the woman she will become, Scarlett feels increasingly constrained by life and her position in it. She feels out of place and this is developing into an angst to push back, to break out of the ill-fitting world she has tolerated for so long.

This growing voice is searching for outlets.


BRINGING SCARLETT TO LIFE

Starting out, we concepted different silhouettes, different styles. This was an early exercise and helped ask and answer questions as her character developed.

But as her personality was more refined so was our visual reference, and we worked with a local concept artist, Gilles Ketting, to develop her final look.

We liked the idea of a spirited, independent redhead, and of her fashion sense having a root in the style of the day (the game is set in the 1990s) but with a nod to a more mature aesthetic.

Looking back, one of the only changes we made to this original board was that her nail varnish went from aqua to black, and was chipped in the final texture!


SCARLETT CHARACTER AND CLOTHING

Using the boards, the final piece of concept art that would drive the modelling and texturing work, came together quickly.

“PAST SCARLETT"

We also needed a version of Scarlett from the past, who could help tell some of the story. Again, the choices of clothing help to convey that Scarlett has a sense of her own identity; her own style, as she grows into her teen years.

Matt, our fantastic character artist, did an amazing job of translating Gilles’ concept drawings into 3D.


We’ll explore the technical side of the development process in the future, but for now we hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about who Scarlett is.

Buy for now, from us, and Scarlett!

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About This Game

"Blackwood Crossing is a story-driven first-person adventure game. A haunting tale of intrigue and mystery.
You play as Scarlett, a teenager finding her way in the world. You wake up, disorientated, to find yourself and your younger brother, Finn, inexplicably travelling on a moving train.
But when a mysterious figure appears, it’s clear that this is no ordinary train ride. It’s the beginning of a magical voyage, steeped in life, love and loss.
Navigating this powerful drama - where the world, and your abilities develop in extraordinary ways - you are forced to examine your relationship with Finn. You are orphans, and your relationship has always been strong. However, adolescence has opened the door to new interests, and you’ve been growing apart.
As you gradually uncover the depths of Finn’s anguish, the consequences of your remoteness become shockingly clear."

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 or later
    • Processor: Core i3-550 2.5ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 460 or higher with 1GB of Memory
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
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