MMORPG.com: The images for Dragon Eternity are really amazing, what was it like to bring the artwork into the game?
Leo Hao: Dragon Eternity takes place in the world of Adan. It was originally conceived as a living world with lots of characters who have their own distinctive features, habits, and professions. Therefore, the task that was given to me as an artist was to give individuality to each of these characters. As a result, every single character, every last portrait, is tied directly to the game's background story.
I also like to pay a lot of attention to detail. I created characters wearing complicated outfits covered in small details--things like buckles, straps, and so on. I gave characters distinctive hairstyles. And their facial expressions are important too.
Battle visuals also have their own specific characteristics. Dragons, monsters, wildlife – we also thought about all these things, and treated each of them like separate characters with their own ego. Life is a chain, and details are its links. You can't remove a link without breaking the chain.
MMORPG.com: Everyone has an image of the perfect dragon. What was your biggest source for inspiration when designing the dragons?
Leo Hao: As much brutality as possible. Massive jaws, powerful claws, and each dragon has its own unique tail. In general, the tails of our dragons are like fingerprints. There are no two identical tails. We deliberately avoided adding any resemblance to real-life lizards. It's a completely different species. Therefore, you won't see the usual scales on these dragons. Instead, our game's dragons have horned plates and spikes--like living battle armor.
MMORPG.com: There are dragons of different elements in the game. Has these features been reflected in their appearance?
Leo Hao: Well, first of all, they are different in color. In general, each elemental dragon has special markings to indicate its breed. For example, the earth dragon has earth fibers and colors that resemble moss and tree roots. The chaos dragon has black streaks between its armored plates--streaks that run into an infinite void. Every dragon has its own distinctive markings. Plus, the morphology of head and bodies look totally different among the different dragons.
MMORPG.com: You have a very high fantasy barbaric look you’re bringing to the title. Can you tell us about how you create the style of the characters?
Leo Hao: Frank Frazetta gave me dynamics and morphology. Peter Jackson taught me to work with minute details. James Cameron taught me to use all this knowledge in a creative way. To me, it's all about expanding on all these elements--characters, dragons, and so on, and make each one an integral part of the world. My goal is to make each of these disparate elements work harmoniously in the same. So that’s how everything came together holistically.
MMORPG.com: When creating the designs for the game how important was the in game combat and movement aspects of Dragon Eternity?
Leo Hao: Obviously, armor shouldn't just be designed as a vanity piece that looks good on a mannequin, but doesn't make any practical sense. Real armor should be able to move with the wearer without obstructing movement. Many artists design really cool armor, but they don't seem to consider that the wearers need to bend their legs or raise their arms. For Dragon Eternity, we wanted to create working, moving, and breathing things. Every little thing has its place. Our armor is strong and flexible, beautiful and functional! Our armor and weapon designs are a very important for the combat system.