Boochbeard used to be in Avery's Court for a limited edition testing event. Other than that and the tutorial, he doesn't make many appearances. But today, he and Gandry will play a vital role in decoding what a concept change means.
Seeing a concept change after it's release is extremely uncommon. In fact, I probably couldn't tell you one time we've seen it happen other than this one, which tells you that it's significant.
See, originally, the concept of Boochbeard and Gandry running through snakes and traps (used as a loading screen in-game) has Gandry shooting a green snake. There was clearly an explosion of gunpowder.
Of course, the actual hit is masked by the smoke of the shot.
Important of End GoalsI talk a lot about intentions. I firmly believe that even if something is conveyed incorrectly or doesn't work out right, the original goal is more important anyway.
KingsIsle has good intentions, regardless of the direction they're going. They pride themselves in being a game that can excite the whole family, but also be completely safe for children. That's why Pirate101 can't be perceived in any way as a game that could encourage shooting or first-person shooter games.
With this in mind, they needed to eliminate this snake being shot. Sparkthrowers - that's how guns work in the Spiral!
The above concept is the one currently in-game. As you can see, Gandry has the same gun with a burst of electricity rather than a propelled bullet. The snake was swapped to red and moved slightly, other areas covered, and the new concept put into action.
While the old one still exists in places, I assume it'll eventually go. KingsIsle has to maintain that kid-friendly feel. Even if that means changing things up a little... kind of like using a non-existent slingshot in a video instead of a gun. Their intentions are good.
A Burning Question... no pun intended. The change in this concept was pretty big. Like I said, there aren't very many times we see concept art release and the art itself changed. Sure, we sometimes see the in-game translation differ from the art, but not in this way.
It raises kind of a curious question - were sparkthrowers originally loaded guns? Pirate101 has been in the works for years and years. Did the original concept of a Musketeer involve actual and realistic guns, pistols, cannons, etc.? And at what point down the line did that idea change?
It's very possible. Even the developers admit that the target audience for this game is older than that of Wizard101. Perhaps a line was drawn, and bullets were cut in an effort to keep a certain level of kid-friendliness. What are the chances otherwise that a minor concept would be specifically altered for the game?
Concept CreditsI know that Nik did some of the newer loading screen, but I believe Dave Greco did these original ones. Dave is the Lead Concept Artist at KingsIsle Entertainment. You can read his blog HERE. Learn more about KingsIsle and their products at http://kingsisle.com/.
What do you think? Were Sparkthrowers originally regular guns?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!