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Embark reveals the magic behind The Finals’ exquisite drip

Embark Studios reveals to The Loadout how The Finals Season 2 takes the acclaimed FPS game’s stylish cosmetics to even greater heights.

The Finals Season 2 cosmetics: An image of The Finals Season 2 battle pass cosmetics.

The Finals’ superb, best-in-class gameplay hooked me instantly, but I never thought I’d become infatuated with the game’s cosmetics. I truly believe that Embark Studios is creating some of the coolest in-game clothing you’ll see on PS5 and Xbox these days, but how does it pull it off? As The Finals Season 2 launches globally, game director Gustav Tilleby, senior environment artist Joakim Stiggson, and communication director Sven Grundberg tell me more about the creative process for cosmetics, crossovers, and much more.

For The Finals Season 2, Embark is calling back to the “origins of gaming” in its own unique way. Season 2’s cosmetics are a sharp injection of outfits that take you back to the days of 80s hits like The Karate Kid, Road House, and Miami Vice. Given The Finals is essentially a futuristic game show, these retro outfits should feel out of place, but they really don’t – they look awesome. Tilleby expresses that this stems from keeping the multiplayer game’s horizons broad: “The early vision of this game was creating a world where you could almost take any inspiration and make it work.”

When I loaded into The Finals Season 2 preview event, I spent much of my initial time gawking over the latest battle pass. I thought Season 1 was already a gorgeous medley of vibrant outfits to kit my contestant with, so much so that I wish that real The Finals merch existed for one the best FPS games around right now. While there isn’t any official merch to buy right now, that could change in the future. Stiggson tells me he thinks Embark should create The Finals merch, but it isn’t a priority right now.

The Finals Season 2 cosmetics: An image of The Finals Season 2 battle pass cosmetics.

“[For now] we start first with the in-game cosmetics, and then we can do some merch for ourselves and, you know, for the community as well,” Stiggson says.

I’ve always wondered though exactly how Embark manages to consistently create such varied yet excellent cosmetics. Season 1 showcased multiple aesthetics, and Season 2 kicks off with a big focus on that retro-wave vibe, so where do all these ideas stem from? I’m told by Grundberg that the creative process is like a “Pinterest board”, where members of the studio come together to throw their ideas into a melting pot of pop-culture iconography. From there, a few of their favorite themes are built upon with reference images, before being passed along to concept artists to help bring the ideas to life.

However, there are aspects missing from The Finals’ customization suite. I’d love to see a varied selection of hairstyles and shaders to play around with. Adding your desired color of choice to any hairstyle would be excellent, as would the addition of facial hair.

Although Tilleby suggests during our conversation that players should “keep your eyes peeled” for the latter, Embark has since confirmed on The Finals Discord that facial hair is officially in the works. Like the game’s clothing, hair and facial styles are also based on reference images. Grundberg points to himself and explains, “if you look at the buzz cut hairstyle, it’s actually modeled on this reference. Apparently, I have the best buzz cut [in the office].”

Before my time with Embark comes to a close, I have to know about a burning topic: crossovers. There’s definitely scope for The Finals to tap into movies and TV, providing it was an organic collaboration. I’d love to see The Finals Season 2 call back to the 80s even further. How awesome would a Tron or Terminator outfit and weapon bundle be? Turn the Throwing Knives into a Tron Identity Disc, and I’m there from day one. However, crossovers are on the back burner right now.

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“We’ve said that we were not going to do crossovers, but you know, the concept [of The Finals] itself allows it. So who knows what will happen in the future, but for now, we’re sticking to our own kind of designs that we develop here,” Tilleby says.

The Finals is doing well without any Fortnite-level collaborations, but if it can be done right, we’d be more than keen to see the game show take some interesting turns. For more news on Embark’s shooter, you can also check out our chat with the studio about Season 2’s awesome new weapons and the evolving meta.