The History of Nefarious

The History of Nefarious

Nefarious has been through a lot of iterations dating back from the time the idea was first conceived. It was the late 2000′s. The aughts! 2007 I believe. When a younger me was goofing off at work and playing a fun little flash game about controlling a mouse cursor and making your way through a dungeon.


It was fun! But I couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like with better graphics and expanded gameplay. That’s when I cooked up the very first concepts for a cool looking game that combined this medieval aesthetic with modern technology. Originally Crow was the villain. The actual villain, and the player took on the role of Mack. The typical hero.

You can see a lot of elements of Crow 1.0 in this early illustration that make it to the final version. He lost his cape, sword and long black hair along the way.

Also pictured above is the first Becky sketch. It seems in both iterations she was destined to be the players majordomo.

The game was originally going to be 3d, top down. With you controlling various Mack’s as they run around doing their thing. You would be avoiding enemies, pressing buttons, triggering traps and over all just cooperating with your recordings.

These were the very first Crow minions. Back when he primarily employed robots to do his bidding. This was eventually changed when Crow became the villain protagonist. We thought the idea of a human hench force had more potential for humor.

Evolved Style

A lot of work went into the early development stages of Nefarious, back when the working title was Macro. 3d models were made, environments crafted. Here you can see an early Becky model. (Back then we used the name Vivi as a place holder.)

As you can see, in comparison to her original illustration, Becky is beginning to show her trademark deadpan personality.

And then I produced this sketch.

It began as a thought exercise. There are games about being a villain, but very few that really effect the gameplay. It’s usually a story device. So what would a game about inverting the rescue the princess trope be like? How does being a villain inform game mechanics? That’s where we arrived at the idea of kidnapping a princess every level as the primary objective and the different ways that the princesses altered the game.

Though we were still finding our footing and playing around with styles. As seen below we have our early check point system. A kindly coffee kiosk (dark roast, of course) That would replenish your health and save your progress.

This is a lot closer to the modern day Nefarious. However, the illustrated style being applied to characters ended up being prohibitively long to produce. Which is what lead us to eventually going to a more Saturday morning cartoon style of toon shaded characters, on illustrated backdrops.

Above we have the last stop.  An illustrated backdrop and the last incarnation of Crow before he would go through one more design change.

And finally we arrived at Nefarious as it appears today in 2016.

Well that should wrap this particular chapter of the history of Nefarious. In future updates I may go over the more recent developments such as how we design reverse boss fights or the aesthetic evolution of each princess.

Stay tuned for more!

-Josh H.

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