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Dance Central Sketchbook 3: Meet MacCoy and Taye

What’s new Dance Central crew? It’s time for the third installment of our new sketchbook series dedicated to Dance Central. As you know by now, this series is all about introducing you to the process behind crafting, and voicing, your favorite Dance Central characters. HMXcj and Thrasher sat down with “Perly” (Matt Perlot) the lead character artist for the game as well as our Senior Writer, HMXHellion, to highlight the next personalities in the series, Taye and MacCoy.

MacCoy & Taye Character Profiles

MacCoy: The "Real" Deal

Name: MacCoy Hobbies: Mad skillz on the dance floor, that super fresh toprock style, always driving the ladies wild. Interests: Funky, old-skool American beats and getting the name “DJ MacCoy” out on the streets. Favorite Movie: Fallen Angels 7: Return to Reform School Favorite Food: Grandma’s homemade zalyvne – you got to try this! Blood Type: B-. Hey, it’s better than C+, you heard?

If you’ve interacted with MacCoy in-game you’ve come to know that despite his off-kilter appearance, he’s got genuine skills. “We see him as having this encyclopedic knowledge of hip hop and B-Boy culture,” Hellion told us. Perly added, “He’s the one willing to go all the way there, despite the fact that he grew up outside of this world.” For those of you just catching up, his name is inspired by the expression, “the real MacCoy.”

“In the end, MacCoy is actually far less creepy than I’d envisioned him,” Perly joked. He elaborated by detailing how MacCoy’s original concepts had used an odd mix of costuming to really emphasize that MacCoy was an outsider. In the end though, Perly and Hellion pointed out that, most of the rest of the team didn’t really see him that way. While MacCoy may still come off as an outsider in the world of dance and hip hop, he’s finalized in-game, as an endearing, comic, and genuine character.

For the Dance Central team, developing a cast of characters who really prove that there is no one “dance look” or aesthetic was as important as representing the cornucopia of moves and styles in the game. MacCoy’s preppier ensemble drives home the idea that there is no single look that represents dance or hip hop. “He’s got a strangeness to his style, for sure,” Perly noted, “he’s very, very serious about dancing and he’s very old school.” MacCoy’s crazy mishmashes of sporting gear and sportswear play with the idea of his serious attitude towards being physical as a dancer and also are an homage to the old school lines that he delivers with his adorable cadence.

Taye: Attitude Is Everything!

Name: Taye Hobbies: Chillin’ with my home girls and making up routines. Used to take tap lessons, but that’s over with. Interests: Going to the movies, block parties, and making cookies with the nieces and nephews. What? Gotta keep family close! Favorite Movie: La Cosa Nostra from 1976. Biggest Pet Peeve: When your take-out order gets screwed up and you’re already back home before you figure it out. Enough to drive a person crazy. Blood Type: What kind of question is that? Waste of time…

Like Aubrey, Taye went through a few revisions before materializing as the fiery, self-assured character that fans have come to love. (Dance Central Facebook fans love to post “Taye Taye all the way from New York, to LA!” when she’s featured on the page). “I had envisioned her as like a very early high school-aged girl. I drew her with an oversized letterman’s jacket on as if she had borrowed it from her boyfriend,” Perly told us. As the team refined her design the jacket shrunk to become a piece of clothing that was obviously Taye’s own. “She’s got her own style, and is very much her own person,” Perly commented. As Taye’s in-game style of dancing (and snapshot above) hint, she’s also got a bit of a secret, in terms of her dance background. “We actually thought about putting tap shoes on her, as if her mom made her take lessons,” Perly and Hellion told us.

When it came time to voicing Taye in-game there were some varying opinions about how she would sound. “I actually really wanted her to have this smooth, laid-back, voice,” Hellion said. “I was thinking she would maybe sound a little like Missy Elliot.” The rest of the team, however, wanted Taye’s voice to really relate that despite her small size, she’s got a big personality. When Chanel, one of the Dance Central choreographers, first met with the team, many of them drew an instant connection between her and the DC character. “We really felt like Taye would probably be very much like Chanel, so when we went into casting we actually looked for an actor that reminded us of her.”

Want to learn more about the rest of the Dance Central cast? Keep posted for more character snapshots and sketchbook pieces! Up next, Dare and Oblio!

About Perly Matt “Perly” Perlot graduated from Massachusetts College of Art & Design in 2004 with a BFA in illustration/animation. He just celebrated five years working at Harmonix, having started as a concept artist designing characters for Guitar Hero II. He says his best ideas come to him while on the subway.

About HMXHellion HMXHellion is the Senior Writer at Harmonix. Before entering the game industry, HMXHellion worked as a dog walker and telephone actress. When not playing with her band Tijuana Sweetheart, HMXHellion enjoys uncomfortable footwear, clam juice-infused cocktails, and yelling at strangers.