A lot of characters you know and love in Pirate101 didn't start out how you see them in-game now. The concept art process took an idea and presented it several ways, and there are a few interesting variations of favorite characters. Let's look at two from Mooshu.
Don't Be a Troll
Alright, so technically, Friar Sand isn't a troll or an ogre, but he's pretty close, and that's how he's portrayed by artist Billy George.
Friar Sand: Celestial Ogre
This has to be one of our all-time favorite bosses to farm, whether it be for his unique totem, his weapon, or just for gold. Many a Friar Sand farming part occurred before the Nefarious Tower update, and this Mooshu enemy was also one of the most interesting to fight. Invincible while in or above water, Friar is a holder of one of Turtle Balls to be collected to summon the island of Maruzame. Monkey King shines here with his water-turned-ice pearl trick.
If you look at the first version of Friar Sand, he's definitely more of an ogre. He's red and angry, but follows the same general outline with his gourd and sandals. The second version, however, swaps his skin color with his outfit's, and adds in the weapon. While this appears to be the concept for the final version of Friar, he does look a tad lighter... both compared to his in-game model and the earlier concept.
Master of Deception
Friar Sand isn't the only cool enemy we fight in Mooshu. We might a few appropriately-placed dragons, as well. Though at some point we receive an opportunity to meet the Dragon King, it's the Prince who's a little bit more fun.
A Nefarious Trick
For his Turtle Ball, the Dragon Prince sends us on a mission to steal ancient relics from an innocent village atop several hills. It is only after doing so that we realize this was a trick. Instead, it's Lo Pan in disguise. Lo Pan has turned the real Dragon Prince into a Kirin on another island in Mooshu.
The Dragon Makeover
Dragon Prince, for as cool as he looks, wasn't always that way. Artist Dave Greco drew more than one variation, and the original didn't look quite look quite the same. The first Dragon Prince was like Dragon Prince before he gets ready in the morning... rougher hair, whiskers, and horns that are almost closer to antlers. This might have been meant to match his Kirin form.
Moral of the Story?
While I do recommend avoiding the red skin and crazy horns, I'm hoping, more than anything else, that the takeaway is this: concept art tells a story all its own, and it's often a fascinating one. What we see in-game started out as somebody's idea, and getting that down on paper (or canvas) can mean changes in the development process. Awesome work, artists!
Which versions of the characters would you have chosen?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: The awesome artwork was done by Billy George and Dave Greco. Please check out tons of their other art by following the link on their names.