Behind Samurai Armor Design (Project Apidom)

Behind Samurai Armor Design (Project Apidom)


We are excited to share the design process behind the well-received samurai armor set from Project Apidom! The set is a faithful recreation of the traditional samurai armor worn by the warriors of Japan. It has been carefully designed to both be aesthetically pleasing and provide function while also paying tribute to the original looks of the samurai culture. 

Inspiration of samurais

One of the things that stood out to us as the most important was to avoid misrepresenting the original looks of samurai armor. Japanese culture often suffers from stereotypes that either praise or stigmatize the country‘s culture. It is usually due to differences in West and East perceptions of the world. With this in mind, our design team decided to look into existing real samurai armor sets instead of creating one from the ground up and possibly getting it wrong. 

One of the pivotal moments in Japanese history was the Battle of Okehazama, fought in 1560 between the forces of Oda Nobunaga and Imagawa Yoshimoto. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Nobunaga and his army of 2500 were able to use the terrain to their advantage and launch a surprise attack on 25000 enemy warriors, ultimately emerging victorious and solidifying Nobunaga’s position as a major player in Japanese politics. Being both well-documented and an important historical event, we chose this battle as the main source of information on samurai armor design. 

Statues of the warriors at Battle Of Okehazama
image via

Yet as the Project Apidom game‘s world is set in the future, new technologies have emerged since such simple, passive armor was created. The rarity of the item is not only used to determine its scarcity but also to tell how advanced it is technologies-wise. Being of epic rarity, this samurai armor set has received many revisions and upgrades over the years – it is just faintly reminiscent of the original one. 

Face mask

As the Apidom, the character of the player does not have a proper face (at least, some of them), thus we decided to include an additional mask in the armor set to give some kind of emotion and a more jarring look to the player. The first version of the mask might have been just fine, but it looked too artificial for our taste. Slight readjustment of the teeth, completely changing the eyes, and making the nose look more realistic helped the mask to have a more natural, organic look to it. Though the first mask version was later used as a buckle for the belt, giving the armor unsettling and more scary look.

Various samurai armor mask versions and sketches

The first version

The first version of the armor we made was, to say it lightly, nothing too extraordinary. We wanted to create a less sophisticated version at first to see, how it could be upgraded and improved by adding various equipment. It does not have any clothing underneath the armor plates, the chest plate looks uncomfortable to wear, and horns on the shoulders and shoes are definitely unnecessary. 

Samurai armor first version

Our main takeaways from this design were: 

  • Increasing wearing comfort by adding more flexible, cloth parts 
  • Removing unnecessary armor that could be replaced by modular one
  • Adding hardware upgrades to make the armor lighter and less clunky to wear 
  • Improving the overall aesthetic and completing the set to look more coherent 

The final version

Samurai armor final version

  • Removed horns from shoulders and calves – they were unnecessary for combat and could have been used to hook and remove the armor plates 
  • Added proper hand sleeves and gloves that use flexible armor that hardens on impact 
  • Added a belt and buckle of the mask that was used  
  • Reworked shoes to be more comfortable to wear and added flexible armor around the calves 
  • Added more clothing, especially for legs and shoulders 
  • Reworked chest plates and replaced simple armor plates with flexible ones that harden on impact. This makes wearing them much more comfortable than the hard ones without losing the protective capabilities 
  • Reworked the helmet to cover the back of the neck 
  • Updated the bottom legs armor to better fit the other parts 
  • Added more details to the whole armor set 
  • Created an additional chest plate for the female body Apidoms

Various chest plates of samurai armor
From left to right: first version’s armor chest plate – final version chest plate – final version chest plate for female Apidom model


Taking on a highly popular and well-known samurai aesthetic was indeed a challenge to us. Not only following the looks of the original armor but also improving them according to the world of Project Apidom was definitely an interesting experience and we are glad we decided to go through it.

Project Apidom Samurai Armor set

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