Black Panther has been an iconic character in the Marvel universe for over 50 years now, first debuting in the comics in 1966. With so much history in a single character, there were endless avenues our team could have gone down to create the Marvel’s Avengers version of Black Panther and his diverse collection of outfits. We’d like to take a moment to discuss creating T’Challa’s look and our thought-process behind it.
Iconic Outfit – Let’s begin with a Crystal Dynamics original design and the outfit you’ll start with in the Expansion. When creating this outfit, we combined the classic Black Panther visuals and silhouette with the full hood and armbands with the more modern and functional aspects of his look that many fans have grown accustomed to over the years. We used these two aspects of Black Panther’s history and put it through what we call the “Crystal Lens” in order to create a suit that could be more realistically made with materials and construction methods, but also still set in the fantastical where it is a one-of-a-kind creation just for T’Challa.
We took the classic armbands on his forearms and turned them into bracers that Black Panther can use to defend himself. We also wanted to include the crest in the center of his chest to denote that iconic feel that he is the Black Panther and to give him a visual ownership of that mantle. When it comes to the helmet, we were inspired to create a silhouette that was reminiscent of his first look in the comics, but with closer inspection, there is more structure to it; the eyes aren’t empty, they have a lens there that signifies he is looking at his own HUD to once again blend the classic with the modern.
We also included some fine detail into the outfit to make it more advanced and cutting edge by interlacing Vibranium throughout to reflect his ability to absorb energy. Our team built the mesh of the Iconic Outfit from scratch and used our material system to push how the lighting reflects off of the multiple surfaces in the outfit whether that’s the carbon fiber, hard plastic, or the original woven material. Players can zoom in closely to the Iconic Outfit and see just how much detail we put into the suit due to our material system.
A version of this Iconic Outfit that will be released is inspired by Black Panther’s secret guard, the Hatut Zeraze, who eventually became mercenaries that were loyal to Wakanda.
When our team was thinking of what other outfits to include with the War for Wakanda Expansion, we wanted to provide a variety from various points of Black Panther’s 50+ year comic history. We also wanted to make sure each of them had a signature look that could be instantly recognizable from a distance whether on a screen or in the game, so we went with bold choices that stand out.
Most Dangerous Man Outfit – Taken from the comics, this noir-style outfit was front and center when Kasper Cole, who first appeared in Black Panther #50 (2002), briefly took on the mantle of Black Panther in New York City. Kasper thought wearing the outfit would give him an edge, especially with the coat over it.
Damisa-Sarki Outfit – With “Introducing the Sensational Black Panther!” on the cover of the comic that showed how Black Panther was first envisioned by Jack Kirby, our team knew we had to do a reinterpretation of it. Meaning “The Panther” in Wakandan, the Damisa-Sarki Outfit shows Black Panther in a short cape and the same attention to detail when it comes to the materials of the outfit. Black Panther has worn a cape in many of his looks throughout comic history, which is reflected in this outfit.
Royal Legacy Outfit – This is an outfit taken from the iconic Black Panther comic series. We wanted to include an outfit that paid homage to ancient Wakandan culture. We worked with Marvel to ensure proper care was given to all of T’Challa’s outfits.
That’s it for now! We hope you enjoyed reading about our process on creating Black Panther’s many outfits and how inspired we were by his vast history. Our team put a lot of heart and soul into ensuring Black Panther and Wakanda had a visual identity that was instantly recognizable by Black Panther fans, but also one that we could add a Crystal Dynamics touch to. We’re always creating new outfits for Marvel’s Avengers and will continue to create more for Black Panther. Keep an eye out for them!