What were your design goals for Kuronami?

 With Kuronami we wanted the players to feel like trained assassins who have mastered the power of elements. Design wise we imagined how ninjas of the ancient times would create weapons with the materials available in the modern day. Above all we wanted the weapons to feel sharp, clean, stealthy, edgy and deadly. 

Are there any notable concepts or inspirations you wanted to convey with Kuronami?

We took inspiration from multiple sources during the ideation process. Shen from the League IP, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from GI Joe, Scorpion and Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. Naruto for references of water based magic. The VALORANT Reaver skinline for the dark/edgy vibe. 

Any unexpected challenges or novelty stories you’d like to share when designing Kuronami?

The process of designing the guns was more challenging than expected. Ninjas and water elemental magic are usually associated with the ancient era. As we wanted to modernize the thematic we found ourselves going against what is expected. It took a while to get it right and we’re really happy where we landed!

Another challenge was achieving the materialization effect that you see during the pullout animation. The gun appears from nowhere, transitions to water then to physical. This required heavy collaboration between art, technical art and visual effects to achieve a smooth transition that does not break competitive integrity. 

Lastly animation was a huge challenge due to the amount of new animations introduced in this skinline. The melee has an entirely new set of animation. We implemented an easter egg in the inspect logic to allow the player to speed up the animation by spamming the inspect button. All the gun pullout and reload animation are completely different from the base weapons. Whenever we have such drastic changes in animation there is a lot of work to make sure the gameplay rhythm and beats are maintained so that the weapons still feel familiar from a gameplay standpoint.

Kerwin Atienza, Art Direction Senior Manager
Gabriel Joliat-Belanger, Technical Art Manager
Yuanhao He, Visual Effects Senior Manager
Cyrus Lam, Animation Senior Manager

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