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Darkest Dungeon Enemy Design

Character Concept

Reanimated Hydra


TOOLS: Medibang Paint Pro

"Reanimated Hydra" is a concept of an enemy I designed for a semester-wide project of Sheridan's Character Development course. It was made in conjunction with The Eye Collector and created to fit within the grim setting of Darkest Dungeon (a video game produced by Red Hook Studios).

Design Process

In order to create an enemy that matches the world depicted by the game, I narrowed down the location that I wanted my character to be from. This was one of the most important steps when planning because figuring out the location determines the common enemy types of that place, which then determines the common mechanics that the player would have to deal with while they were exploring that area. I decided that I would create an enemy from the 'Weald', a dark forest home to fungal infestations and malicious beasts.

From rabid hounds to fungal witches, the Weald's enemies had a few central mechanics and themes that helped me quickly come up with an enemy design:


  • Status effects (Bleed and Blight)

  • High evasion

  • Most diverse enemy pool compared to other locations


  • Infestation

  • Hostile wildlife

  • Hunting and Stealth

  • Scavenging


Examples of some enemies from Darkest Dungeon

From these points, I knew I wanted an aggressive beast that was capable of hunting huge animals, taking them down with powerful venom or forcing them to bleed out. As Darkest Dungeon has themes of otherworldly beings incorporated into a large portion of their enemy designs, I also looked to add that idea into my character concept.


Quick 5 minute sketch developed into full concept idea

Modular Variants

Using the locational-based design philosophy, I was able to create two variants of the Hydra that worked in tandem with two other dungeons of the game: the 'Crimson Court' (filled with bloody insect-borne foes) and the 'Farmstead' (a farm struck by a crystalline comet).

Similar to the original design, the variant Hydras were created with their respective location mechanics/themes in mind. This enabled me to iterate through them very quickly while keeping all three designs consistent and their silhouettes easily distinguishable.


Character Rotation


The character rotation assignment was a great way for me to learn how to stay consistent when designing multiple views of the same character, which I found a lot more difficult than I originally believed. As a result, I spent a lot more time referencing real life mosquitos and leeches than I had hoped.

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