Designing Romulan Republic Uniforms
By Jeremy Mattson - May 03, 2013
Romulans! And Romulan fashion! What’s not to love? A few things immediately come to mind for me when I think about Romulan fashion: first are big square shoulders! Those Romulans from the 24th century (otherwise referred to as the 1980’s) loved them some shoulder pads. Then, back in the 23rd century, the go-go dress with thigh-high boots and, of course, the awesome metal skull caps were all the rage. Last, but not least, there is of course… the Eddie Munster bowl-cut hairstyle.
With all of that as inspiration, I have to admit that I was equal parts perplexed, intimidated and excited for the Star Trek Online Art Team to get started on the design of the new Romulan Republic uniforms. But we did what we always do – we started watching episodes (I know it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!). We were taking notes, looking at source material and gathering reference. We were looking for things that would help make these new and different uniforms look Romulan, without resorting to bigger shoulders, shorter dresses, or taller boots. (Although, now that I think about it, that’s probably not a bad idea… expect to see that one in the C-Store soon! :P)
For the Romulan Republic, we wanted uniforms that were recognizable and borrowed from familiar Romulan design cues, but felt appropriate to who the Romulans are in 2409. While these are a people with a rich, proud history, they are now refugees that have been scattered throughout space. They are seeking out a new living and building a life wherever they can, including old space stations, farm colonies like the one on Virinat, dark scary places like Crateris or in makeshift flotillas drifting among the stars. There’s a wide range of stories, but they all have something in common: it ain’t easy being a Romulan these days. They lead tougher lives and their clothing needs to reflect that.
We felt their uniforms needed to be more like what you’d see in a militia than something you’d expect from the vast and powerful empire they once were. The Wild West kept coming to mind, and inspiration came from several different places: current fashion trends, TV shows like Firefly and Revolution, the U.S. Civil War era, just about anything a younger Harrison Ford would have worn in a movie, and, of course, Star Trek. The challenge was finding the balance between the hardscrabble feeling we wanted to evoke and the preexisting styles Trekkies and Trekkers have come to know.
B’lend It U’p!
So we took our thoughts and inspirations and began blending them with what we pulled from Romulan design – geometric shapes, square shoulders, straps, Romanesque sashes – and we made sure that each uniform had that signature random check pattern. Josh, our concept artist, spent weeks drawing Romulan clothing. He did iteration after iteration until we finally had what we were looking for: a few designs that infuse the past into a uniform built for the Romulan of 2409 – a rugged space explorer and a refugee in search of a new home.
I have to say that this is definitely some of the best work our team has ever done, and that really goes for all of Legacy of Romulus. As someone who’s been involved with the project from very early on, it’s been a great experience to design what in many ways feels like a whole new game. There’s a new storyline, new characters, new environments, new powers and new ships. The list goes on and on and these uniforms are just a small part of it. Oh, and if you prefer your Romulans in metallic go-go getups and helmets, we’ve got you covered there too. Hope you like ‘em. (Also get down to the Engineering deck and check out that singularity drive… doooood it’s awesome!)
I look forward to seeing you all in your Romulan Republic uniforms next month when Legacy of Romulus launches. See you in-game!
Star Trek Online
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