Asura: Cute But Definitely Not Stupid

September 12, 2011

Like many others keeping up with news on the AAA MMOs currently in development, I’ve had my eye on Guild Wars 2, and I’m so excited that it’s finally Asura week!

While I follow all the gaming news websites and relevant Twitter accounts, I also rely heavily on Hunter’s Insight blog to make sure I won’t miss a single thing on GW2. In fact, for as long as he’s used it, it was actually his blog banner that first sparked my interest in this peculiar race of floppy-eared, diminutive geniuses:

I can’t help it; I have a weakness for anything that adorable. And yes, I do realize I shouldn’t say that too loud, lest I want my throat crushed by a golem.

That’s why I really enjoyed reading today’s dev post by Matt Barrett on Asura design, though admittedly I find any commentary to do with concept art and design fascinating in general. It did remind me of a time when the Asura weren’t so cute, and instead looked like something you wouldn’t hesitate to roundhouse kick through the window if you woke up face-to-face with one in the middle of the night. I liked seeing the evolution of a design for an original race, because while tiny tinkering creatures like gnomes and goblins abound in the lore of other intellectual properties, it was really cool to witness a soup of ideas and concepts like “ambition”, “complexity”, and “underestimated” on paper gradually take shape and come to life in the form of an actual creature on a canvas.

I very much love developer posts like this, especially on subjects dealing with the “art” side of things (need more artist commentary videos!) and also because in my heart I’ve already chosen the Asura to be my race of choice. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually find myself attracted to the small, punt-able races, but there’s just something about these little guys and I have to make an exception. And not just because they’re cute as hell. Though they really are.


  1. The asura and the sylvari grab me like no other race really has in an MMO. Maybe its just my familiarity with the lore and fanhood of gw but I do think there is something more to both races than just me being a gw2 fanboy.

    • It’s the original design that captures me, and while those two races are somewhat derivative of other MMO races (sylvari are almost like elves, and the asura are like goblins/gnomes) they both have very unique background stories and lore that set them apart. A lot of that also gives them their unique look and character, as highlighted in the concept artist’s commentary.

  2. Adorable? Really?

    I find them totally creepy… like they make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I imagine they’ve come from the bowels of hell to torment us.

    I might have to play one. 🙂

    • Adorable! Really!

      Okay, the males may be hit or miss, but look at the female asuras!

  3. I was discussing the upcoming MMO releases with a friend the other day, and he said wasn’t interested in GW2 because he didn’t play the original. I figure if they plan to attract new players they have to make the game accessible to people who’ve never heard of Guild Wars, much less played it.

    I certainly am interested.

    • Tell your friend he still has time to play the original. 🙂

    • I’ve played the original and have made several characters but never made it all that far with any of them. I never really got into the game, probably because it’s not really an MMO, but I’m nonetheless really excited for GW2.

  4. GW2 been on my MMO must play list since beginning of year. I’m probably more looking forward to this much more than SWTOR.

    • I’m looking forward to both immensely. My interest is probably higher for SWTOR though, but only because I was already a huge Star Wars fan and I am much more familiar with the lore than with GW.

  5. Two words: Asura Rogue

    • Roguish classes always suit the diminutive races 🙂

  6. Anyone else think the top picture of one looks a lot like a blue version of the alien squid/baby thing Will Smith helped deliver in Men In Black? Minus the tentacles, of course, but the face looks quite similar in an uncanny and smooth sorta way. Maybe with a dash of the fawn from Pan’s Labyrinth, too.

    @rowan Is that bud of yours holding out for another game or something? I never touched the original GW but I’m quite interested in 2, and all I needed to see was the combat in action. The market overall has been far, far too long stuck in the MMO rut of slow-paced combat. Adding more twitch-based gameplay definitely has my vote. Terse skill bars, everyone can heal and revive, organized PvP, and nice single/multiplayer questing options and interaction. Don’t need no knowledge o’ the original to appreciate any of that.

    • LOL can’t say I saw it in the picture, but then again I’ve always thought that squid baby thing in MIB looked more like the Nautolan race from Star Wars 😛

      Anyway, while GW2 will maintain some of its roots from GW, I have to say some of the changes that will get away from the original game appeal to me more.

      • I just looked them up and you’re right, they do! I just thought that was the male version of the uh… twi’leks or something? The ‘jabba slave girls’. Ha, it is spelled twi’leks, score!

        What is GW2 changing from the first one? I read about action potions and them getting rid of them in favor of a new stamina bar or something. Stuff like that? Was there anything combat related that they are changing that you liked better in the original?

  7. The top one looks anime cute. The one drawn in the video captures what the designer is talking about perfectly. A new race that neither knows nor cares what effect their technology will have on the surface world. Disdainful of all that are beneath their scientific prowess.

    • Judging from some screenshots I’ve seen, the Asura in game look like a mix of the two, with variations based on individual customizations of course. That said, if they ever follow up the Charr plush with an Asura plush, I hope they base it on the design of the top one.

  8. is it just me, or does the “drawn” Asure look a lot more serious and grumpy than the cute kitten at the top of your post?

    • Very different. Both of them are concepts, I’m sure, but the drawn one definitely shows off more of the Asura’s character and temperament that the artist was talking about in his post.

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