Metalix 87-With Venser's dead body still on Mirrodin / New Phyrexia, is there any chance we could see a Phyrexianized version of Venser in the future, possibly as the next "Father of Machines" (since Karn clearly has abandoned that post)?
I'm not a fan of raising dead characters, especially those whose deaths were meant to be meaningful, heroic, or otherwise significant. That said, I've learned never to say never, and yes, Venser's remains are on New Phyrexia. Knowing Phyrexians, though, they, uh, unceremoniously disassembled those remains shortly after his death.
Barinellos-In clarification to my question, basically, we know Edgar created vampirism on Innistrad.So... how did the other families happen? Did Edgar share his secrets or did the various others work them out on their own? Or were they victims of the Markovs that decided to make their own lineage? what the hell is Archon of the Triumvirate riding?
The origins of the other bloodlines *is* known, mostly (I wrote it myself), but the opportunity to detail that out never arose in Innistrad -- it was trumped by the importance of current events on the plane. It's possible that would be explored further if we revisit Innistrad.
Archon of the Triumvirate is riding a ... thingy. A winged creature native to Ravnica. (It hasn't been given a name or "ecology" yet.) IIRC Aleksi Briclot cooked it up as an early-in-the-process, nontraditional sphinx idea, and we repurposed it.
KeeperofManyNames-What ever happened to Rei Nakazawa? do you have a personal opinion on whether or not Gaia is a real entity or just an invented entity? What makes a legendary creature (or, hell, just a normal character in general) a good candidate to Ascend to 'Walkerhood in the storyline? What criteria would you look at( out of desire for an official answer from creative)? What sort of conventions do you do, Brady? Like, can we expect to see you at a fantasy art con, or sci fi/fantasy literary gatherings, or just the big gaming conventions?
(1) AFAIK Rei is still working as a game writer, although I don't know who his current employer and/or clients are. (2) I would never "word of God" the existence or nonexistence of Gaia; the published material stands on its own with regard to that issue. (3) Good question. I don't really think about it in those terms. Planebound legendary creatures need to embody the plane they come from in some way, or at least add a notable tile to its mosaic, so to speak. Planeswalker characters are iconoclasts and travelers, so their ethos and values need to give them a strong, defining set of starting traits and a reason to travel the Multiverse. (3) I'm an antisocial introvert and I'm crowd-averse, despite being able to give a decent presentation. I'm most likely to be found at PAX Prime or PAX East, if recent years are an indicator, although I can imagine a future year in which SDCC or even DragonCon is on the docket.
Valeazar-(in reaction to an earlier answer about the similarity of vedalken) [is] a Vedalken Planeswalker is out of the question ? Between Isperia and Niv-Mizzet, who's the most powerful ? Is there any relation between those two (like rivalry) ? I guess we'll probably have an answer with Gatecrash, but are the Simic still the same or is it a brand new version of the Combine ? Is it the same "biological" guild, or are they really more merfolk-y ?
(1) No. (2) Each is more powerful than the other in a different way. Overall Niv-Mizzet probably has an edge. (3) None known. (4) You do have an answer now! Yay for my procrastination! I wrote the Simic stuff myself, so I'm eager to hear what you think. Also, I'll be writing a another thing about the Simic for the website; you'll see it in early January, I think.
Skibo_the_first-The Conclave guild profile says: “Suniel the Woodwise, an elf woodshaper, was responsible for the restoration of Vitu-Ghazi after an assault by the mad Izzet magelord Zomaj Hauc.”; Was this suppose to be the damage from Rakdos or the damage that Savra inflicted? (or both?)
I didn't write that bit, but I believe it was meant to refer to Rakdos's. The writer might have mixed up Myc Zunich and Zomaj Hauc. All those Z's and U's and C's.
Dvincent-In the webcomics, we see the introduction of the mysterious character we all call the Raven Man. Can we expect to see him again, or has this portion of Liliana's storyline been dropped? In "Test of Metal" we see Tezzeret being controlled by Nicol Bolas via Doctor Jest. In the webcomics, it seems as though Tezz is annoyed into subservience by imps. Has Dr. Jest been thrown out of the storyline? Which is true in current MTG canon?
I can't reveal future story plans, but I can say we don't ever intend to just "drop" a storyline. It's all a matter of the limitations of how far out we can plan, combined with whether the needs of a given product can accommodate the story plans (if they can't -- if story seems shoehorned in -- we prefer to hold off and deploy that story later). I liked the Dr. Jest thing in Test of Metal, but he is difficult to communicate in card and visual media (what he is, how he works, etc.). So we backgrounded Dr. Jest for the purposes of getting Tezzeret to Mirrodin.
Its_Always_42-is there a rough estimate to the size of districts on Ravnica? As more card art for Return to Ravnica is revealed, I'm noticing a definite similarity in -- say, the new Azorius signet -- and older art depicting the Ravnican script, like Skyscribing . The question I wanted to as is if there's a ledger similar to (although obviously not as large as) the Phyrexian language files, or are these coincidental works of the various artists? Perhaps the basic script design is in the style guide that you guys use? Was one of the reasons Merfolk were not incorporated into Ravnica the first time around because they had fins instead of legs, and now that you've made that transition in them to have legs and be able to walk on land, they could be included in Ravnica's long list of creature types?
(1) No, they vary wildly in size. (2) We asked Wayne Reynolds to look at some of the older art when he was developing the Azorious runic script, but it's not codified, no. (3) More or less yes re: merfolk. We didn't feel vedalken could serve the needs of all races with blue mana in their identities, and we wanted even more racial diversity for our "metropolis plane."
Willpell-In the Ravnica block novels, the blood witch of Rakdos is referred to as Izolda, and the Azorius Sphinx as Hesperia. When they came out in card form, the "I" had moved to the sphinx and the other name had become Lyzolda. Why was this done? Was it an attempt to remove real-world references (to Tristan and Isolde and the Hesperides)? Or just a result of miscommunication between the card and novel departments?
(1) It was a plain ol' error that came from the cards and books being developed concurrently, and we did our best to deal with the error by establishing that "blood witch" was a Rakdos role or title, not a person.
Butterman-Aside from building worlds on our own and just posting them to forums, what is a good way to keep practicing and demonstrating the kind of creative chops you look for in your staff? What is a good public venue for someone interested in the Creative Team? Is there a process by which someone can apply to contribute flavor text and names?
(1) Running your own tabletop roleplaying game campaign is damn good practice. Reading mythology, folklore, fantasy, and science fiction, as well as seeing films and watching shows within those subjects/genres is good, too. (2) I don't know. Maybe there isn't one? Not sure. (3) Send us an email with your interest and a relevant writing sample. You can respond to any Creative Team column or feature, for example.
HairlessThoctar-Is there a threshold for how many walker characters you or creative or R&D will allow? How are those animated trailers made? (The entirety of post #695)? Mark Rosewater recently suggested on his blog that Liliana is meant to be Middle Eastern. Can you attest to this?
(1) There's a clear tension between keeping the roster small for storytelling and "iconic" reasons and expanding it for novelty and excitement reasons. At last count the number was over 25 (including characters you haven't seen yet). I do my best to strike a balance, and I favor fewer new characters than most. (2) We create a treatment that works with the art assets we already have (card illustrations and a few other things). Then we roughly storyboard that treatment, script it, and work with an external vendor/partner to do the animatic/motion-comic stuff, as well as music, SFX, and voiceover. (3) Character likenesses shift from illustrator to illustrator; the only way to avoid that is to work in a studio model with very strict stylesheets, etc. We like our diversity of look-feel, though, and we don't want to mash everything into one look, which is what would be required to get a given character to look identical in each representation of them. So instead we have to be willing to allow the representations to vary a bit. Then one illustrator riffs off another's work, and that movement can form trend lines. Liliana has gotten ever so slightly darker skinned than where we started with her, but (a) that wasn't intentional, and (b) I would hardly characterize her as a Latina or Middle Eastern woman.
mUrielw-How do Gorgons come to be? Curses? Reclusive male Gorgons? Parthenogenesis?
We haven't established that, which as you probably know by now is my professional-sounding way of saying, "We haven't made that up yet."
Dilleux_Lepaire-How many people are there on Ravnica? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? On that number, what proportion is guildless?
Very roughly estimating, I'd say millions, and over half guildless.
Agosto-Is there a flavor explanation for creatures that can't be countered or creatures that come into play from being discarded?
I mean, sort of, but it's so abstruse that the answer is basically "no." It has to do with spells that interact with the AEther differently than normal spells do. That sort of metamagical explanation is too opaque to be represented on cards, though.
5colors-Whats the flavor behind Forecast, Hellbent, Radiance and Transmute?
They're all abstractions of their guilds' values. Forecast represents the rewards of Azorius planning and foresight. Hellbent represents Rakdos bloodlust even in the bitter end, when no resources remain. Radiance represents Boros unity and its ability to deploy spellcraft in a similar way to how it deploys troops. Transmute is symbolic of Dimir's resourcefulness -- their ability to turn one commodity into another.
Singe-Has there been anything from the Eye of Judgment game that has made it into Magic?
Not that I know of, no, but accidental parallel evolution is common in game design. Do you see any direct parallels?
(I'll get to the remainder later this evening or tomorrow.)