The folks at BioWare have added another entry to their Mass Effect blog on IGN, this time talking about E3 and the villainous Saren.
It's a lot of fun creating a villain like this, but you definitely have to put a lot of work into it. For Saren, we did six full stages of concepting to come up with his look. It started with the concept for his species, the Turians. They're a bird-like race, but in the aggressive sense, like falcons or eagles. The first concept painting for the Turians nailed the idea perfectly. But it doesn't always go that smoothly. Our first concept for the Selkath water-people from (KOTOR) was literally a shark's head on a man's body. It actually looked really cool, but eventually we realized it just couldn't be done without comedic effect.
Knowing what the Turians were going to look like, we started concepting Saren himself. Some concepts had him in elaborate robes or hoods. At one point he was going to have a special cane that he walked with, that focused his dark energy powers. But ultimately he's an elite soldier like your character in the game so he needed armor and a weapon.