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Sketchbook: Record Run's Edie M aka Synthia $tar

We sat down with Gianna “Gigi” Ruggiero, lead artist on Record RunTM, to talk about how she developed the fun and varied cast of characters in the game. Gigi attended Ringling College of Art and Design for Computer Animation, and has a background in film animation as a concept artist and texture painter. You can see more of her work at: and Gigi joined Harmonix in 2012; in addition to Record Run, she has worked on concept art for Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved and character designs for another unannounced project. This week, we’re taking an in-depth look at…

Edie M aka Synthia $tar

Design for Record Run’s dance/pop representative began with concept sketches provided by development partner SuperVillain Studios. The character started out with a digital, futuristic theme. Gigi took those concepts and developed them further, adding some flavor of her own.

Edie M character painting

The skeleton of each character is built on either a male or female skeleton rig, which means each model needs to adhere to certain size and shape requirements to work in the game. In a twist, Gigi decided to model Edie M on the male rig: “I wanted her run to be more tomboyish,” says the artist. “I thought of this girl who is super high-energy – I thought about myself when I was in high school and I was this little skinny twig. I wanted to have this tiny, energetic character in the game.”

“When you see her, you know she’s listening to something poppy or electronic. Her style of dress is tied to the genre she listens to. She wears leggings that are really on-trend with a space theme and an ombre effect – I’m seeing that a lot in dance music culture.”

Early EDM Groove sketch

Gigi used the character’s everyday fashion as well as her Groove World alternative to highlight the character’s forward-looking style. “I liked the idea of a screen over her face, something futuristic,” she says of Edie’s visor, which transforms into a glowing “emoticon head” in Groove World. “I had considered more of a ringmaster look” for Edie’s Groove World state, says Gigi, but that didn’t end up working for the game. However, vestiges of this concept can still be found in her pixelated tailcoat and bow tie. Edie’s alternate Groove World identity is a glowing, electronic bunny – “an electronic suit from the future!” as Gigi describes it.

Bunny sketch

Having derived the character from her own background during the design process, it’s no surprise that Gigi has thought about hanging out with Edie in real life. “We’d go dancing a lot – we’d go to a Robyn concert!”

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This Record Run sketch diary is part of a series. Check out Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and stay tuned for the next installment! To learn more about the game, go to, follow us on Twitter @RecordRun, or visit us on Facebook.