The Flavor of Innistrad

Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 by GoodGamery
More articles by ,
Posted in card, food, mtg

It’s no surprise that Hasbro’s recent unveiled publishing deal with General Mills had a big effect on the top-down design of Innistrad. In week two of the Innistrad previews, Mark Rosewater talks about the influence that the five monster cereal tribes had on the set’s development.

Remember that the set was always going to have a lot of creature types that only showed up in ones and twos. We just had to figure out which one we could blow up into another major race. In the end, I was swung by breakfast cereal. In 1975, General Mills put out five monster-themed cereals: Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Fruit Brute, and Yummy Mummy. Obviously, General Mills was trying to go with the most popular monsters. Vampires, zombies, and werewolves were all represented.

Breakfast cereals have actually had a big impact on M:TG for years – I am sure you all remember Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, and Trix (famous decks), as well as Lucky Charms (a nickname for the Demon’s Horn cycle). For Innistrad it was pretty clear that Wizards of the Coast had decided to invest themselves fully in the breakfast cereal industry, but it ended up not working out for some reason. Normally you wouldn’t be able to see fully-rendered test cards like these, but our expert hackers were able to extract the following 5 tribal Planeswalkers from deep within WotC’s developer databases, along with some juicy developer comments:

TL: Innistrad’s spirits are blue and white, without any real mechanical identity. This fits in well with what we usually try to do with planeswalkers: Having them make no flavor sense whatsoever. This is a home run in that department.

TL: The main aspect of Innistrad zombies is that they say “Zombie” a lot on the cards, because market research showed that our most zombie-centric demographics would often forget what kind of card it was by the time they finished reading it. Someone designed this planeswalker, and then we threw that word in each ability and moved it around at random until the sentence made grammatical sense zombie.

TL: Blah blah blah, something something, here’s a planeswalker that costs six.

TL: Rawwwrrr! Werewolves! Yeah, I don’t know either, but creative called us like “hey can you make a planeswalker that regenerates werewolves” and we were like “what that’s stupid, regeneration sucks” and they were like “well you suck” and we were like “well no YOU suck” and then they said that if we don’t make one that they’ll stop Catherine from bringing in cake on Fridays and those cakes are really good and sometimes she’ll write a message to us in the frosting like “thanks for all the hard work guys!” and generally she’s just really sweet to us when she comes by with the cake (last week it was chocolate) so we said okay. Regeneration matters now, people! Really!

TL: Rules change with Innistrad at FNM level and below: If a player targets a creature for the sole purpose of gaining life, no one is allowed to respond to that ability. I mean, come on. That would just be mean. The lil fella’s just trying to gain some life, would y’all chill out a bit? It’s pretty adorable.

…and that’s the end of it. I wonder if we’ll end up seeing these unique new Planeswalker personalities in any upcoming sets?