Guild Wars 2 character artist talks costume design

One of the most prominent features of Guild Wars has always been its beautiful art style. That reputation carried over seamlessly as information about Guild Wars 2 began surfacing last year -- it was clear that the Tyria of the future would be just as gorgeous as the one we know today.

One of the members of the talented team of artists at ArenaNet is Kristen Perry, the Guild Wars 2 character artist. Even if you don't know it, you're familiar with her work which she began for ArenaNet with Factions armor design, creating the majority of the Kurzick NPC clothing as well as some Ritualist and Assassin armor. In Nightfall, she designed all of the Elementalist armor as well as the most of the armor for the other professions. She's also responsible for all of Gwen's armor -- even the outfit in the Bonus Mission Pack, and her handiwork can even be seen throughout the game in the character models themselves.

Kristen's no stranger to Tyria, and designing for Guild Wars 2 opened the door for a brand new series of challenges and opportunities to design something completely new. In the latest entry in the ArenaNet blog, she tells all about her latest project. Follow along after the jump to see what she had to say.
"We sure keep busy around here!"

Kristen's statement is probably better described as an understatement. So many little details combine to make up the finished product that her work goes way beyond drawing a cool female Elementalist and slapping some armor on it. There are five different races to consider now, with appropriate clothing for each profession, NPCs for their cities, coloring, and on and on.

Before specific designs can even be considered, there's the overall look to figure out and get a feel for. Tyria's changed a lot in 250 years, and the overall look of clothing and armor changed right along with it. The chance to look at a race or town as a whole gave Kristen the opportunity to plan the overall look of the inhabitants: "This allowed me to draw a block of designs at once and see them all together. Doing that gives insight into how the NPCs work as a crowd, spreading out interesting silhouettes and shapes that make them simultaneously a good backdrop for the players as well as appealing individually."

This provided a starting point for more detailed costumes for different roles and positions within society, a job made even more fun by the availability of tools that weren't around back in the days of Factions.

"...we had to completely reinvent ourselves"

The challenge of making the most of the tools she has was a familiar one to Kristen: "Even in GW I loved the OCD challenge of trying to squeeze more out of my texture pittance." Having more advanced tools these days means an even bigger challenge -- she's got the ability now to do some truly impressive textures and detail, and is making the most of it. "Of course, all the new GW2 techniques add decent extra time to the final process compared to GW, but I hope the amount of new detail we can squeeze out will make the fine folks out there happy."

"...this is 250 odd years later, and a lot has changed in the world."

While we can expect to see a few "nods" to current Guild Wars styles, the overall look of modern Tyria is completely new. The citizens of Tyria have undergone some sweeping changes and traumatic events, not to mention the simple passing of time and changing of fashions. They are a different people than we currently know, so the total change in style makes sense -- after all, how much fashion sense do we in the real world share with those people running around in 1760? Just as in real life, the culture has changed. It's also been forcibly relocated by huge dragons, which is bound to have an affect on every facet of life.

Kristen's interview concludes with a dangerous question about her favorite Guild Wars 2 design so far -- the equivalent of asking someone to choose their favorite child. The debate of all the wonderful characteristics of each one can be never-ending.

The Fashion of Guild Wars 2 provides us our first detailed look into what we can expect to see in the way of design -- style, texture, detail -- and provides five brand new screenshots as well. Check it out below and we'll keep our eyes peeled for the next dose of new information.

This article was originally published on Massively.