The Sensei of Squishy
The non-fungible token (NFT) space has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent months, developing quickly from unique collectibles to a whole host of games leveraging competitive platforms and even incorporating other nex-gen technologies. Some of these are really paving blockchain’s mission to capture the imagination and affection of the mainstream public. At the forefront of that journey is Axie Infinity.
Axie’s check all the boxes when it comes to a legitimate collectible game and not just another short-lived use case nor a superficial CryptoKitties clone – beautifully animated, contains deep mechanics, and has a vibrant community. After our initial interview with the Axie team, we had a chance to play ‘20 Questions’ with Axie Infinity’s art director to dive deep into the creative mind of Masamune.
1- Describe Axie’s art style in 3 words or less
Cute and simple.
2- How did you come up with the general design concept for Axies?
My motivation was to create cute little organisms that contain a variety of animal characteristics. I ended up with round bodies and added parts. I originally wanted them to be more circular, but hand-drawing is not my strong suit so I ended up with a more potato shape and decided to run with it.
3- How did you, Masamune, get into the world of illustrating and onto the Axie Team?
I liked to draw from a young age and kept it going as a passionate hobby. I even made card games at a young age, which went “viral” in grade school. I worked previously as a UI/UX for mobile designer then moved to Axie for illustration. I’ve always wanted to create a game, now we have Axies!
4- What’s your favorite Axie?
My favorite Axie is Kotaro!
5- Why do Axies fight? Can’t they use words and express feelings?
They cannot talk and must show hierarchy by fighting physically for glory and to protect themselves.
6- What song or artist do you listen to most when creating Axies?
Orchestral Music, OST Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
7- What’s the most fearsome/scariest Axie trait to you?
Not yet released, scary ones are coming!
8- What program do you use to design these Axies?
I initially use paper and pen, then put them into Adobe Illustrator for the Axies and Terrariums.
9- How do you know when 2 Axies are meant for each other? When 2 have fallen in love?
They rub each other affectionately.
10- Are there any specific Easter Eggs or parts of an Axie that are inspired by other games/cartoons/manga?
Fav manga – Namek planet in Dragon ball – blue color
League of Legends – Champion Yasuo, Hasagi = body part, samurai hair
11- What’s the number 1 thing Axies think about most?
They typically think about eating, and their preferred type of food depends on their class type.
12- Are there any plans for physical versions of the Axies? Like stuffed animals, sculptures, etc.?
We’re exploring figurines and how to connect physical things to the blockchain.
13- What games do Axies like most (other than fighting)?
They race each other, and sometimes even play video games.
14- Are we going to see FancyCat-equivalent Axies? Celebrity Axies?
Currently, we have the Agamogenesis Axies and our mascots, more on the way.
15- How big would Axies be in real life as animals?
40cm long, and grow bigger in the future.
16- Which real-life person looks the most similar to an Axie?
One of the Axie mouth parts, “Handsome Lam” is named for my cousin. He’s known for his luscious lips and they somehow made it into the game! We also have a nice Trump Axie…
17- Will adult Axies ever evolve into a next form? Like Pikachu to Raichu?
Axie parts can evolve into later stages. Axie parts are currently only on their 1st level with 4 levels total.
18- What do Axies do when no one is around?
Sleep a lot like me.
19- What’s the story behind “Stella?”
It will be revealed in story mode, she is the first Axie with legendary part, a level 4 “spirit crown.”
20- And finally, what sound does an Axie make when you squeeze it?
You should try it, I know how you would sound when they bite you back.
Masamune, thanks for sitting down for this first round of 20 questions! If you’d like to learn more about Axie Infinity, be sure to check out our original showcase of the game here. Happy hunting!
Article imagery courtesy of Axie Infinity