As was discussed in the previous article on the cultures in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, we used the historical nature and styles of the actual cultures surrounding the Romans to create the basis for the cultures in the game. In this installment, we continue with the four remaining primary cultures: Samnites, Gauls, Pirates and Telchines.
The Samnites were an aggressive and proud tribe, and were one of Rome's most ferocious enemies throughout much of her history. There are very few remaining historical artifacts from the Samnites, but some of their primary visual aspects were a use of polygonal (5 or 6 sided usually) angular shapes, triangular patterns, natural materials including bone and feathers and some pretty unusual and edgy looking armor. The Gladiators of Rome were often warriors from other cultures captured in battle, and the Samnites were the most famous, skilled and vicious of these warriors. The Samnites are defined by their angular designs (triangles, zig-zags, thin repeated lines), natural materials and aggressive nature.
The Gauls were a collection of somewhat more barbaric tribes from the North, and fought the Latins with success many times throughout history. The Gauls were famous for their red hair and plaid pants (I am actually convinced this was the origin of Punk style), along with their strength and brashness. The Gauls are defined by their primal strength, sturdy and rugged construction, spirals and simple linear decorations (not like the later Gaelic knotwork), brash warring nature, primitive but bold designs and their fancy pants.
The Pirates are a little different in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising than the general concept of Pirate in western culture (which is based on Colonial period pirates). The Pirates take most of their visual elements and design influence from the Persians of the time, and have more of a feel of rich exotic nomads. They use bright rich colors, Persian patterned fabrics, rich metals, clean and styled curving design elements with tapering points, and a good bit of showmanship. All of this is combined with temporary utilitarian structures due to their nomadic nature and gives them a very distinctive feel.
The Telchines are your ultimate enemy in the game. The actual Telchines are ancient sorcerers who fought with the Titans against the Olympians, but the people you fight in the game are followers and worshippers of these 'gods' and we refer to them as Telchine followers. Their appearance draws on much older cultures including both the Babylonians and the Sumerians. They are defined by several key elements of the visual designs of those cultures along with animalistic masks, spirals and elaborate ritualistic imagery.
There are a number of other smaller cultures in the game, but they are generally sub-cultures to these and utilize the visual vocabulary of their parent culture with some variation.
The thing that became incredibly evident during the process of defining these cultures visually was that the visual design during the times of Ancient Rome was varied and rich. It was a great resource to draw on for a game and has proven fascinating to learn about. The designs and core of each group had to be exaggerated significantly to make them stand apart more, but overall there was a lot of great material to work with. We hope you enjoy encountering the different characters and their environments as much as we have enjoyed developing them.