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The Dota 2 development team has created some fantastic looking characters over the years. However, the process of designing a character is long and full of terrible mistakes.
Last summer, Dota 2 players were allowed to vote for a character redesign. They picked Darkterror the Faceless Void for the makeover. At first, Valve tried some radical remakes of the character. For example, they turned him into a blond elf with a six-pack before deciding he was too handsome:
The development team also went through an animal phase, grafting Faceless Void's head onto a lobster and dinosaur as well as a hybrid monstrosity:
They even tried to make him into a walking face. That's the horrifying picture, dubbed "Facefull Void," that you see at the top of the article.
While I'm sure that the artists had a lot of fun with creating these mock-ups, none of them were used for the actual redesign of Faceless Void. Instead, they went with something more subtle that wouldn't piss off the player base.
"After exploring a number of different directions, we ultimately weren’t confident that the community would be happy with a significant redesign, since it seemed like a lot of people enjoyed the general idea of the existing model," Valve said. "When we turned to the community, we learned that for the most part people were not looking for drastic design changes."
The redesign turned out to be fairly similar to Faceless Void's old look. Valve upgraded his textures and also made some tweaks to his model. The changes might be a little too understated at this point, in fact. I can barely spot the differences in this side-by-side comparison video (via PCGamesN):
The character redesign was one of the community rewards for the 2014 Compendium, a digital guide to The International. Each purchase raised the total prize pool of the world championship. The redesign was earned by the community bumping the prize pool to $8 million from its starting point of $1.6 million. After spending all that money and waiting all that time, I hope the community's happy with Faceless Void's new appearance.
Dota 2 is available for free for PC, Mac and Linux through Steam. Be prepared for a rough start if you're new to MOBAs, though.