TJ COMBO: Killer Instinct Concept
I thought it would be cool this time to lay out my thought process breakdown for the design:
- US Flag Tank Top: It’s not TJ without this. I tried to design one that didn’t look as corny as just a flag on a shirt. Kind of proud of the Combo logo lol.
- Eye Patch: Because I fucking love eye patches. I always thought that was one of the coolest things about his design from KI2. He definitely needs this because.
- Flat Top: I always liked the silhouette this made in the old games. You could shave his head sure, but that’s no fun. Video games don’t need more bald dudes.
- Pants: Probably spent more time thinking about this than anything else lol. I feel like shorts (like his black one’s from KI1 and the new game’s design) make him look too much like a basketball player when combined with the tank top. You could make them shorter boxing shorts but then he starts to look too much like a Balrog knock off. Alternatively, his camo pants (from KI2) never really made sense to me and clash with his red, white, and blue shirt so in the end I met in the middle with black pants. I had toyed with the idea of sweat pants that I could put some more flag motifs on but decided to pull back and stick to jeans. I see TJ as a street fighter since he can’t box professionally anymore so I think his outfit should look like something he would just wear casually and he gets challenged on the street all the time. A full shirt and pants flag outfit doesn’t really fit with that since it starts to look like a corny uniform.
- Sneakers: Along those lines, that’s why I went with sneakers instead of boxing shoes which most people aren’t going to wear outside the ring.
- MMA Gloves: TJ was a boxer but let’s be real. One of this dude’s special moves is a tiger knee and he does grappling moves in the new one so I see him as a MMA fighter with a specialty in boxing. The MMA gloves then serve as a nod to KI1’s boxing gloves while not looking comical. The new design came to the same conclusion.
- Beard: Kind of stole this idea from the new game’s design. I think it does make sense to age him up a bit and some facial hair is a good way to do that. TJ has always been flashy though, so I think an overly manicured beard makes more sense than a straight goatee. Plus it gives him a little more character.
- Bionic Arms: I know I’m continuing the “cyborg black dude” cliche but fuck it. I like cyber arms. Since it’s something that’s always been hidden under his skin, I thought it would be cool if you just saw the circuitry glowing from under his skin. It’s funny because I thought this up independently before realizing the new design has more or less the same concept (except with scars). I imagine it working almost exactly the same where they’re mostly visible during special moves and glow/pulse more intensely during Instinct.