Although development didn’t officially start until January, much of the art in Chained had existed since mid-2017. I was kicking around some new ideas and trying to find a style for my next project, but I was getting really frustrated. I had a page full of sprites and characters I didn’t like, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I started taking another look at my color pallet, and knew it needed a big overhaul. After 3 days of studying other pixel artists online, I finally narrowed down my pallet to just 20 colors. Applying them to the existing art helped a little, but with so few colors things ran together a little when they were combined into a scene.
Around that time a friend at work had purchased a PS4, and I was looking through my game library to see if I could lend him anything he might like. I gave him my copy of the Borderlands collection since he hadn’t played any of them before, and told him that it’s cell-shade style was something everyone should enjoy at least once while blasting through a wasteland. It made me wonder if I could apply something similar to what I had created so far, so I threw it on some objects and fell in love with it right away. I really think it helps the distinct pallet stand out, and as a bonus I can use bright colors without washing out a scene. The only thing that’s been a pain so far is adding it to characters with 20+ unique frames of animation. If I use this style again in the future, I’m definitely going to setup a shader in photoshop to do this for me.