| Those eyes aren’t just amiable. They’re key to delivering the range of emotional expressions that Codsworth conveys in the game. For starters, the eyes are big, which makes them less threatening. “Bigger doe eyes give you the sense of something more cute,” Mejillones says. “The smaller the eyes, the scarier things tend to be, especially with machinery. It’s very predatory.”
But it’s not just the size of the orbs that matter. Along with all kinds of geometric elements that can be found in the ocular orbs, Mejillones also added an iris to each eye. “The moment it started opening and closing and focusing on you, it immediately added all this character,” he says. This was especially important because Codsworth doesn’t have an actual mouth, so the eyes have to do a lot of the work when it comes to expressing emotions. “He can do a cocked-head kind of thing, via the lens, and it reads really well,” Mejillones says. The animation team also fiddled with the individual pods, moving one forward, or having the other pods bobble around to enhance that friendly feeling. “It’s all in the eyes,” Mejillones says. “It really gives him life.”
From the Outside InBeyond the eyes, Codsworth also benefits from his body shape. “He’s a ball,” Mejillones says. “As a kid you play with a ball. Everybody likes that!” Even the dangerous elements in Mister Handy’s design are built to be as unthreatening as possible. The flamethrower canisters, for example, are brightly colored – a family-friendly warning that further endears Codsworth to the player.
While he may be cute on the outside, Codsworth can also be quite menacing if you antagonize him. “One of the big things for robots in general is that they’re built from the outside in, design-wise,” Mejillones says. In the case of Mister Handy, he looks one way with his armor panels on – sleek and shiny, with cheerfully rounded edges. But once you strip away that armor, he takes on a different tone. “The silhouette totally changes. It goes from a ball to sharp angles. It’s got all these wires and cables,” Mejillones says. “It reminds you that this is a raw, ruthless machine.”