Let's Analyze The Art Behind The Newest Dragon's Crown Trailer

A long-lived forest race who are often much older than they appear to human eyes. While slight of body, they are deadly masters of the bow and arrow, using their superior athleticism to fight nimbly and fearlessly from a distance

Another week, another beyoootiful Dragon's Crown trailer! Now what information can we tease from this short clip? You may have noticed something floating above the Elf in-game:


An arrow counter! George Kamitani (the director/producer/designer/artist of Dragon's Crown, and founder of Vanillaware) has this to say about the Elf's gameplay mechanics:

I’d like to balance out the characters while ensuring each one retains their own personality. For example, elves are unique — they’re a strong class if they attack from long range with arrows, but they have a limited amount, so you always have to think about your supply as you fight. However, you can retrieve arrows by touching enemies that you defeated with arrows, so if you play well enough, you can go all-out without running out of arrows. That’s the sort of character I’d like it to be, at least; we’re still experimenting and fine-tuning the details.

Hmmm, makes me want to try out an all-Elf party... now let's get on to my favorite part, the art:


The Elf's animations are strikingly similar to a certain Capcom Dungeons & Dragons arcade brawler, which makes sense considering Kamitani worked on Shadow over Mystara and Tower of Doom (check 'em out on Steam, Playstation Network, and Xbox live).

She's dressed in a medieval European style, pretty obvious, right? But here's the specifics:

The thigh-high boot may seem like the latest in modern fashion, but tall boots were also worn by medieval horsemen and hunters. The square cut trim on her cloak and shirt is called a 'dagged hem', an image strongly associated with Robin Hood (whose woodsman archer imagery has influenced many fantasy elf depictions).


Inluding Capcom's arcade game King of Dragons, a direct inspiration to Dragon's Crown


Comparing Dragon's Crown's Elf to depictions of Elves in modern fantasy you can see she's very much of the 'old school' style, her outfit fits in more with 28mm tall lead miniatures dungeon crawling over kitchen tables, than as the DPS to a World of Warcraft raid.


The introduction of anime and japanese videogames to the western world had a huge impact on design, but that's talk for another article...

The previous Dragon's Crown trailer featured the Dwarf:

Stocky fighters whose uscular frames permit them to wield a weapon in each hand. Their strength lets them pick up and throw anything in sight, even heavy foes.


To the left are actual Norse artifacts from Scandinavia depicting Thor's Hammer 'Mjolnir', a motif used in many protective amulets. You can see it's a short hammer, a norse blacksmith's hammer. You can also see how this dwarf's hammer resembles famous fictional depictions of Mjolnir:


Thor's Battle Against the Jötnar (1872) byMårten Eskil Winge

We've also seen Vanillaware use Thor imagery in their previous work, Odin Sphere:


quite squat and dwarfy to begin with!

The Dragon's Crown Dwarf carries on that Viking Blacksmith motif of Thor. I really enjoy the artistry that Vanillaware puts into their games and you can really see it in Dragon's Crown. If you'd like to check out more art analysis of Dragon's Crown (and other games), check out my (brother and I's) blog at www.art-eater.com


Renaissance painters, Disney movies, and more!

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