Ibutho was originally made as a submission to GameCareerGuide’s “Game Design Challenge: Hero“. Though my concept didn’t make it all the way in to the winning submissions, the awesume concept drawing made by my partner Fatih “bb0x” Gürdal made it to the art showcasing. Peter “Podcod” Kan also accompanied me in this challenge though with less time at hand, thus assissting with a somewhat quicker mock-up earlier in the design-process.

Quick analysis of the assignment:
The “CEO” wants me to create a new popular hero worthy of an original IP.
The hero should not just be ‘a cool guy’, but should also be shaped to fit perfectly into the game that will accomodate his special traits and abilities.
Brief mental notes about the concept of a “hero”:

  • A hero does not necessarily have to be the protagonist of the story you want to tell; though probably should be.
  • A hero is commonly defined as someone who makes sacrifices for the good of others.
    Everyone dreams of being a hero, without the burden of self-sacrifice that comes with it.
  • A good hero is not necessarily someone you’d enjoy an insightful conversation with, but someone you’d love to have/be around.

Our Hero – Ibutho


A young warrior without a purpose blindly follows his younger brother, literally so. He is not blind by definition, but he has vowed never to lift his eyelids for others than those who’s lives are about to end. He speaks only when he has to, but seeing as his brother is an eager converser without much of a vocabulary, his tongue never gets the rest it longs for.


Eyes closed, his face gloomy, though still capable of braking his lips into a smile when seeing his younger brother, Aoki, in utter euphoria.
Dark shoulder-long hair, decorated with seashells and whatever else has got itself stuck there.
Normal height and the physics one would expect of a manual worker, but nothing resembling a weathered warrior.
Worn fisherman’s clothes; vest, short pants, straw sandals and a headband.
On a stick shaped to his own shoulders he carries food, fishing gear and extra clothes. With reinforced knobs at both ends, his “carrying device” can quickly take the form of an excellent combat staff in one sweeping motion.


During the late Azuchi-Momoyama period, in the prospering fisherman’s village Dalion, Ibutho was brought up to be a provider and protector of the inhabitants. Showing dislike to what he considered ‘the dull life’ out on the fishingboats, Ibutho was taught the way of the hunter. Knowledge-hungry as he was, the boy could never resist a peek into the insides of his downed prey, earning an adept insight of anatomy at early age. He soon learned to apply his studies to other disciplines, combat first and foremost. In friendly skirmishes he would cause amazement to any spectators, and his opponents alike. Focusing on the vital points of the body, Ibutho would defeat his unsuspecting opponent in a single maiming strike.

Having existed for centuries under the good will of the gods, Dalion met its end in a tsunami. Ibutho and his brother survived miraculously under the wreckage of a fisherboat. Ibutho’s memory is dazed with a single image remaining: The knife he had held so tightly in his hand just moments ago, having found its way into a living man’s throat; a scavenging bandit. Ibutho would never open his eyes to the living again.

Mentality and Values

Brought up in a very traditional village, Ibutho’s perspective on the world is old-fashioned and narrow-minded to say the least. The incidents of his past has rendered him without a goal in life. He is filled with hatred yet without a physical enemy to direct it towards. Without Aoki to look after, Ibutho’s life would hold no meaning. He cares only for what Aoki wants; if he was asked to bring him the moon he would never stop reaching for it.

Abilities and Weapons


His weapon of choice is his own-made staff with special knobs at each end, accommodating his unique maiming technique. A stick always proves useful as a non-lethal weapon, and is easily replaceable, even in the heat of battle. He learns every move of his opponent as he fights, preparing for his final strike as if he was playing a game of shogi. The opponent will always be given an opening to surrender, yet when the offer is not taken, mercy is no longer a factor.

When the final strike is due, Ibutho opens his eyes, gazing straight at the enemy standing before him, measuring his adversary, mapping out his weaknesses, analyzing his stance. Gaze meets gaze and the realization of defeat is evident just moments before Ibutho has made his leap forward, making for a lethal blow without exception.


The younger brother; a sidekick, companion & goal-giver.

While in good physical shape, Aoki’s mind is a simple one. He is an excellent judge of character, but can only speak in single words. Though an able fighter, he prefers avoiding any oncoming aussaults with his slick motions rather than fighting back, a style he was taught by his older brother. Ignoring the fact that their parents were in all probability washed away by the great tsunami years ago, Aoki has his mind set on finding their parents, wandering about following vague clues leading to constant side-tracks in their journey without any interference whatsoever from his older brother.

Associated Gameplay

Character Growth

The beauty of playing this character would be the part you take in watching how Ibutho goes from being a soulless, dreamless being useful only in the heat of battle, to a caring, loving, grown man, suddenly fighting for reasons beyond his obligation of old. Their clouded goal would also take shape in good time.


During travel, you control the younger brother Aoki. Ibutho has his hand on his brother’s shoulder, and so you can lead him wherever you’d like. During travel, the world will look completely normal, seen from a top-down view with a discreet angle.


There would be two types of combat, depending on the type of encounter:

Attackers against Ibutho:
During combat, the screen would go into an odd dark style, making for a sort of hybrid turn-based combat system, challenging the player’s reflexes and ability to spot small indicators and read patterns on the screen.

Attackers against Aoki:
The player would maintain control of Aoki in the same view as in travel-mode. Aoki’s challenge would be to avoid his enemies while luring them into ideal positions for Ibutho (now computer-controlled) to agress and take down the enemies one-by-one.

Inspirational/Reference Material

http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/heroes/ – Quotations
http://www.yourdictionary.com/hero – Definitions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmam – Marman technique.
http://mag.awn.com/issue8.03/8.03images/houdini01_daredevil_shadoww.jpg – Blind Combat
http://www.manwithoutfear.com/movie/shadowworld5.jpg – Blind Combat #2

Weaponry Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otta_(weapon) – Otta Staff
http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article_nc.php?id=59 – Otta Staff #2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_martial_arts_weapons#Short_staff_or_stick_weapons – Staff & Stick Weapons




One thought on “Ibutho

Comments are closed.