Karakter is a German studio who have done a lot of design work on Game of Thrones over the years. So when it came time for Horizon Zero Dawn to be populated with gruff and furry-clothed people, Guerrilla knew exactly where to turn.
To be clear, Karakter didn’t conceptualize the entire game; Guerilla has its own internal staff of very talented artists. But they did help, in their own words, “develop much of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind its human cultures.”
“Over the course of three years, we helped Guerrilla to create the visual design of the Nora as well as the rationale behind it”, they say. “Led by our intrinsic ideation process, the goal was to create a culture with a clear identity, unlike any other ever seen before.”
Karakter was also asked to imagine how US landmarks and small towns would look 1000 years into the future.
“Our research informed us that only few of the products we surround ourselves with today would actually survive 900 years of decay and sanding-up. Realism had to be counter-balanced with recognizability, if our designs were to evoke the desired emotional response.”
They also worked on the game’s human enemies, the Bandits.
“To prevent our heroine Aloy to come off as a soulless serial manslayer, the Bandits had to be painted in sinister, truly evil colors. In spite of this one-dimensional characterization, we took great care that even these baddies received a meaningful design treatment that makes them an integral part of the Horizon world.”
You can see more of Karakter’s art at their studio page.