BlazBlue character blowout

Tons of character art, design sketches, and exclusive behind-the-scenes details from the creator of BlazBlue

You don’t need us to tell you that Street Fighter IV is still awesome or that King of Fighters XII looks great. The fighting game genre is kicking and punching its way through a revival, and we’ve been playing and previewing some of the best sequels of all time. And that’s what concerns us, because lately, we’ve also been playing a lot of BlazBlue.

With unique characters, gorgeous backgrounds, complex gameplay mechanics, and a lengthy story mode, BlazBlue is hands down one of the best original fighting games we’ve played in a long time. But as its June 30th release date draws nearer, we’re worried that BlazBlue may suffer from the it’s-not-Street-Fighter-IV syndrome and will wind up being lost in the shuffle of shoryu-ken spamming Kens and hype for King of Fighters XII, Tekken 6, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and others.

Above: BlazBlue is shaping up to be a solid fighter. But it may be lost in the shuffle of big sequels

That’s why we bugged the hell out of Mori Toshimichi, the director and creator of BlazBlue, to bring you some exclusive character art, design sketches, and behind-the-scenes details on the crazy cast of fighters in his latest game.

Arakune

GamesRadar: Why did you want to create this character?

Mori Toshimichi:
There are two main reasons behind his creation:

1. I wanted to make a formless, bizarre, and eerie character.
2. When I was a child, I once saw a character with a mask similar to Arakune's and it was TERRIFYING. I wanted to recreate that feeling.

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT:Arakune has probably come the closest to finding out the secrets of this world, but only in exchange for everything that made him human. However, in gaining knowledge, he has become a key to understanding the mysteries of the BlazBlue universe. In other words, if you can figure out WHY Arakune became what he became, then you will hold all the secrets to the world of BlazBlue.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT:Given the nature of his being, I wanted this character to be able to morph into almost anything imaginable. His curse? Well, that helps add to his scariness, don't you think?

Above: Arakune’s movements are never normal. He’s always contorting his body into eerie shapes as he moves about the screen

Noel Vermillion

GR:Why did you want to create this character?

MT:I packed almost everything I like about a character into this one. I would even be willing to call it the "soul" of all my knowledge.

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT:Noel is the character who must keep order in this world; nonetheless, she hesitates in almost everything she does. I tried to bring those conflicting expressions to life, and Noel is what I ended up with.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT:I watched a certain movie, and was heavily influenced by the fighting scenes within it... Let’s just leave it at that.

Rachel Alucard

GR:Why did you want to create this character?

MT:Well, every Japanese anime and/or game is required to have the obligatory gothic-loli character. In Rachel's case, however, I wanted her to seem omnipotent but leave some childish qualities behind. I guess that's what Rachel is...

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: Rachel has lived longer than any of us can even imagine, and I'm sure she has seen the human race from almost every angle - even the loathsome and unsightly ones. Nonetheless, Rachel fights alongside and against these unpleasant creatures to find a shred of hope that might change something. That's the kind of character she is.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: Rachel is a hard character to learn and master, but I feel that once you can get past a certain threshold, the possibilities with her fighting style become endless. One of the reasons she can control the wind is to expand her possibilities.

Ragna the Bloodedge

GR: Why did you want to create this character?

MT: Frankly, I really didn't think too deeply about Ragna. I figured a protagonist was necessary for any story, and tried to draw what might look like one in the BlazBlue universe.

GR:Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT:For some reason, in my mind, I just got the idea that red represents rebellion and blue represents order, which is why Ragna's attire is, well, very red.

GR:Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT:I wanted to give Ragna a fighting style that would mirror his somewhat "immature" and reckless personality. Likewise, his Drive attacks are high-risk, high-reward, since they can either leave him wide open, or consume the opponent's life. His HP also leaves much to be desired.

In terms of his techniques, he is equipped with a relatively run-of-the-mill set of commands that every fighting gamer would recognize, and beginners can pick up with ease.

Jin Kisaragi

GR:Why did you want to create this character?

MT: Jin is Ragna's arch rival so I wanted to make him Ragna's opposite in almost every way possible - from his silhouette to his personality, to his color.

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: He is the "Hero" of the BlazBlue universe, so I drew him like the statue of a heroic monument - or at least what I thought one might look like. Heroes are always lonely creatures by nature. They give off this aura, so people find it hard to approach them and understand the world through their eyes.

GR:Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT:Like Ragna, I gave him a set of moves familiar to anyone who has played fighting games before, since he is the protagonist’s arch rival, and is the other character that the cursor defaults to. Jin's Drive attack stems from his cold and heartless personality, so I found it appropriate to give him the ability to freeze his opponents in their tracks.

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