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They Came as Angels of Light...

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E4 was born during a very special time in my life. I was on vacation with my parents in early 2003, and one day while walking through the halls of the hotel, I saw my shadow on the wall with messy hair. That's right. It was sticking up in the back... and that was all I needed. That alone provided the spark for a new character, and a new installment. Previously, I was satisfied with Elements as a trilogy, but in that moment I thought, "Whoa... Elements Four?" Yes indeed. I got right to conceiving more characters, sketching them on one of the hotel's little courtesy notepads. I still have one crumpled page from it.

Originally, the plot consisted only of Kai's story, with his little sister Shelly, best friend Drake, and admirer Rita. The planned class system filled the lack of additional character customization. I wanted the tone to be lighter than E3, and it was. But over the years, I perceived that E4 lacked something, and slowly added the other characters and their stories. Ezra and the Reverend Luther, for example, was added as late as 2011. Gradually, the tone of this installment shifted as well, and what began as a bright-happy children's adventure insidiously morphed into one of, if not the darkest stories in the series. But it's good, oh, so good.

One reason I find E4 so interesting is that there's especial emphasis on the main villain. Usually I prioritize the heroes, but in E4 I paid special attention to Asur, and giving him compelling motives as well as relatable flaws. He just might be the most tragic figure in the entire series... even more tragic than Cugei in E1. Such that my dad coined the term, "Elements Tragedy". Revisiting E4 after years of absence, I was quite surprised and very pleased by what I was able to accomplish, the depth it had attained given its humble beginnings.

Perhaps one small disclaimer should be stipulated: E4 was created (and mostly worked on) at the time when I first began drawing on the computer a lot more. As such, much of the artwork is of primitive quality compared to other installments, and there isn't as much of it. E4 was quickly overshadowed by the installments that followed it, not to mention the stellar E3 that came before... yet it retains its place as one of the most unique entries in the series, that could only have come out of the specific window of time in which it was conceived.

So come on, shine your light and brave the darkness. Because the Illumination, referenced by this page's header, are anything but angelic...

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