Though at some point I realized that I could not simply “fix” my art over and over again every time I went through a creative paradigm shift, I could not be okay with the previous character art as it was.
I asked for Metapharsical's help with isometric perspective (since he was the one mocking my art the most!) and he created some 3D models that I could base new character poses on. The results weren't perfect — note Ysabel's massive pile of blonde hair and how she's crosseyed, for instance — but we had to keep moving!
(Amusingly, the Casimir design used above was created for a character known merely as “the train conductor”, entirely separate from his current personality. Boris wasn't intended to be more than a background NPC, possibly a merchant.)
So we kept at it. We hadn't even started doing animation yet, but I wanted to get the basic character designs put together before we plunged into that. I was, of course, working on fleshing out the dialogue as well amidst all this.
I finished a draft of the script for the “first installment” of the game in September of 2006. It was, in large part, a heavily compressed version of Chapters 1 and 2 of World's End, starting with Ivan meeting Tevoran and Ysabel, and ending with the party's escape through the Voronese sewers.
Shifting the comedic elements of the story to the forefront meant that the dialogue actually grew increasingly fun to write. It was still a serious plot at its core, however, and reading some of the more melodramatic parts truly makes me shudder.
Meanwhile, Metapharsical persisted with his 3D map designs in Maya. I remember being particularly impressed with the Zofia fortress map, and it set the bar for what sort of visual quality I thought we should aim for in background art. I did worry about the visual disparity between the style of the maps and my crude, cartoony characters, but I couldn't let that concern me right then.
One last thing I must mention before we skip ahead to 2007: it was at this time that I changed Aizu's gender. I think I was trying to experiment with the character's rather bland design, and wondered how a female version of him might look.
After sketching a new design, it occurred to me how much more sense Aizu made as a girl, considering the character's personality, back story, and many other factors. Much like with the excised element of Tevoran's self-sacrifice, male Aizu seems bizarre to me now, and it's strange to consider that this was ever the case.
To punish you for reading along this far, allow me to include this non-bonus image. Here's the final instance of male Aizu, sitting amidst a silly sketch I did of a rather dopey-looking and awkwardly posed Tevoran and Company in the luxury car on the train to Vorona.