Happy New Year, Blitzers! Can you believe 2020 is over? Neither can we! We thought there’d be another month, like Jantember or something. But here we are in January 2021! To kick off the new year, let’s do another Emoji Highlight! We’re trying something new for our first new Emoji Villain of the year in Disney Emoji Blitz. New year, new beginnings after all! Allow us to introduce…Snake Jafar!
Remember this guy? Near the end of Aladdin, Jafar has Jasmine trapped in a sand timer. He turns into a snake to constrict Aladdin. Shortly after, Aladdin has the brilliant idea to take advantage of Jafar’s power hungry mindset. He tricks him into wishing to be a genie. Jafar transforms into a genie and gets sucked into the lamp! Aladdin’s wits save the day. Brains over brawn, right? The pen is mightier than the sword? OK, I think you get the point.
Snake Jafar is a new Story Emoji that can be added to your Emoji Collection today! Just play through our Snake Jafar Villain Event going on in-game through January 12. As I mentioned before, Snake Jafar is very new and very unique in a couple ways. Hence, I asked Andy, our Senior Game Designer, to spill the beans on what we did behind the scenes! (I rhymed that naturally…I hope you all are proud of me. 😜)
What is unique about the Snake Jafar Emoji?
So what’s extra awesome about our Emoji version of Snake Jafar is two things:
- Since this comes from a specific story moment, Snake Jafar is the first Villain that, when collected, is a Story Emoji instead of a Villain Emoji!
- Snake Jafar is the first Villain that has two phases to his power — you have to hit a wiggling Snake Jafar first to make him transform into Genie Jafar, and then hit Genie Jafar again to get him sucked into the lamp!
Why did we choose to make the Snake Jafar Emoji?
Well, we knew we wanted to explore Aladdin again, because who doesn’t love Aladdin? (It’s definitely one of MY favorites. I had the audio cassette tape! True story.) But the normal Jafar Villain has been around for a few years, so we thought, “How can we spice this up?” Since the advent of Story Emojis, we’ve wanted to do a Story Villain somehow. Then we thought, that Snake Jafar moment in the film is pretty spectacular! So this felt like an exciting way to explore that.
What came to mind when brainstorming the power for the Snake Jafar Emoji?
Here are some thoughts we had when brainstorming his power:
- Snake Jafar constricts a bunch of Emojis so they’re blocked from matching.
- His fire goes around the board and part of it turns into a snake.
- Each time he activates, he eats Emojis and gets 1 length longer for blocking.
- A sand timer on the board blocks Emojis and holds a crafted power-up inside. If you can break the sand timer, you get the power-up.
It’s always tough deciding on the direction for Villain designs because, when designing their power, we also have to consider the Player version of their power. An ideal Villain power is one whose visuals and animation can be applied to the Player version without having to change the game effect too much. The Villain power will always be an obstacle and the Player power will always benefit the player. However, we try to avoid making Villain and Player powers that are too different. It could create an inconsistent experience for the Player with that Emoji.
What did our team land on as the final power?
Two things that helped decide our direction were these important pieces from the film that really stuck out in our brainstorm:
- Snake Jafar is huge!
- Genie Jafar looks so cool, especially when he gets sucked into the lamp!
Since we try to make our character powers as iconic as possible, those two notes felt key to designing this character in the game! Seeing that we wanted to do essentially two characters in one, we knew his power had to be simple, both for development sake and so he is intuitive to play against. We landed on the following:
- Since Snake Jafar would be BIG, it felt like the right choice to have him and Genie Jafar visually block Emojis on the board.
- They would require getting hit by crafted power-ups or matches to transform and get sucked into the lamp.
- As you get further in the event, both forms take additional hits to go away, and they last longer on the board.
- As a reward for this nuisance, the lamp also sucks in Emojis when Genie Jafar is gobbled up! Pretty nifty for a Villain.
- Once we had this design in place, we knew it felt right for the Player version to show both new Jafar forms as well and suck Emojis into the lamp.
- We added a little bonus Rainbow Star to the Player version after the lamp leaves to show what a star he is for getting rid of pesky Snake Jafar! 😜
Any final thoughts you would like to share?
I think that is all I have on our favorite new constrictor. I would throw in a pun or two, but Emoji Jenny might throw a hisssy fit. 😜 Join me in shedding 2020, and snake it easy this year, Blitzers!
By the way, if you want more information on what Story or Villain Emojis are, check out my previous blog on the Emoji Collection here!