Gameplanet: Can you tell us a little about the Charr’s background?
Ree Soesbee: Charr society is savage and based on a structure of four High Legions, each headed by a cunning and powerful leader. The strength of each Charr legion rests on their savagery, their fortitude, and their strict military hierarchy. Once, these four legions were unified under a single authority known as the Khan-Ur. Beneath that rulership, the Charr spread through the northern reaches of Tyria, down to the lands east of the Shiverpeak Mountains; however, when the Khan-Ur was assassinated by humans, the four legions (Ash, Blood, Flame and Iron) broke their alliance and made war upon one another over the empty throne. The ancient Charr homeland of Ascalon was lost because of this strife and the humans claimed conquest over many of the lands once ruled by Charr.
After this defeat, the Flame Legion swore themselves to new gods, converting or destroying any Charr who stood in their path. One by one, the other High Legions fell beneath the control of these 'gods' and bowed to the power of the Flame Legion shamans. As a unified nation, the Charr reclaimed Ascalon – but at a great cost of lives and pride. The subjugated legions broke out in rebellion, overthrew the Flame Legion, and cast down both the shamans and their false gods. From that day, the Flame Legion has been an enemy to the other legions, struggling to regain their lost power. The Blood, Ash, and Iron legions are staunchly free, relying on their armies, their strength, and their ingenuity to create massive, war machines.
Even as the Charr people reclaimed both their ancient homeland of Ascalon and their independence from the tyrannical shamans of the Flame Legion, the last human king of Ascalon cast a mighty curse upon the land. With dark magic, he enslaved the souls of his people, forcing their ghosts to defend the land even beyond death. Today, the Charr struggle to purge Ascalon of these echoes of its past, even as they seek an uneasy truce with their human enemy.
Gameplanet: Why have you chosen the Charr as a playable race?
Eric Flannum: When we decided to have different playable races in Guild Wars 2 we knew that the Charr were one of the most iconic races for our franchise. In addition to the Charr being a staple of the Guild Wars games we also thought that they offered a lot of possibility to build a race that was very different from what people usually think of when they think of the stereotypical fantasy “beast” race.
Gameplanet: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced designing the female Charr?
Kristen Perry: When you have a monster cat race, the question becomes more about finding ways to make her immediately recognizable as a female. In mammals, mother nature usually has the female smaller and less imposing, but this will not do if you need a warrior. The biggest challenge in designing the female Charr was definitely in keeping her fierce but feminine. Subtle cues denoting this femininity must be applied carefully to preserve the battle factor, but we have made her recognizable as female from every angle.
Gameplanet: What are the design influences for the female Charr?
Kristen Perry: The male of the race is overly masculine: hulking muscles, huge teeth, large sabre-like claws. To apply this ferocity to the female, we need to keep some of the build but sleek her down considerably. This put the importance of the design into conveying graceful lines from nose to tail, even with varying fur length. The sweeping angles of everything from her brow to the long tail fur were very intentionally placed to support her design. However, just because she's sleek doesn't mean she is not also strong. Her claws are just as big as any male's! And she certainly knows how to use them.
Gameplanet: Beyond their appearance, what distinguishes the Charr from the other races?
Jon Peters: Charr have their own racial skills, including Elites and Utility skills. One Charr elite skill is Warband Support which temporarily summons allies from your warband to fight alongside you. The Charr also have a different set of biography questions during character creation and through level 30 get to experience a completely different personal story than the other races. At level 30, the five races come together and the various racial personal stories start to weave together.