When developers need more characters or enemies, instead of drawing up those new designs, they sometimes take an existing sprite, and give it completely different colors. This is a time saving technique that Fighting games and RPG's are especially guilty of.
In fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, the palette swap lets them increase their roster of fighters without having to draw new ones. It's left up to the programmers to make the fighters different, with moves & controls.
In RPGs like Final Fantasy, a palette swap is often used to not only create new monster species & save time, but to differentiate between elements. For example, a normal pig monster could be yellow, but a green pig monster would have a poisonous attack, and a red pig monster would have fire elemental attacks.
Notable Palette Swap CharactersEdit
- Luigi - Originally intended to be a clone of Mario.
- Sub-Zero - Mortal Kombat was notorious for their numerous palette swap characters, with Scorpion and Rain being exact counterparts to Sub-Zero.
- Koopa Troopa - With at least four main variations in colour, not including Paratroopas which also features two variants of palette swap.
- The male/female player controlled characters of Harvest Moon: Magical Melody can be palette swapped in multiplayer.
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