Posted 21 August

Diggs Nightcrawler Brings Stylish Detective Noir To Wonderbook

Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler

While Book of Spells led off our Wonderbook announcement at E3 earlier this year, there are plenty more projects in the works for the forthcoming PlayStation 3 augmented reality peripheral, including Walking With Dinosaurs from the BBC, and an exciting partnership with Disney Interactive Studios. Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler is a little different, however – unlike Book of Spells and Dinosaurs, it’s a brand new IP, promising quirky detective noir with style to spare.

Less than 24 hours after the game’s new trailer debuted during the Sony press conference at gamescom last week, we sat down with Adam Volker from Oscar-winning animation studio turned game developer Moonbot to find out what it has in store.

“So, Diggs is a detective bookworm and he’s really good at what he does,” he explained.

“He works for the godfather of Library City, Humpty Dumpty. And you know his story – someone pushed him off the wall, someone bumped him off – and the cops think it’s Diggs. So when you start the game he’s framed for the murder of his old buddy. The story unfolds from there, with you attempting to clear Diggs’ name and find out who actually committed the crime.”

So how exactly does this eccentric set-up translate into gameplay?

“Because Wonderbook is new, we’re still figuring out a lot of specifics about what the gameplay is,” said Volker, who lists stints at EA and BioWare on his CV.

“We’re trying to make the characters in the game self-aware that they are in fact in a book. The mechanics of Wonderbook are all very physical and we want to encourage players to actually pick up the book, turn it around, hold it upside down – so the game will focus on that a lot.

“We designed the IP to be a book about books, so that the characters can help the player. We give Diggs the user interface stuff, so he says ‘turn the page!’ when it’s time to turn the page, he says ‘Go back, you missed something’ when it’s appropriate to backtrack.

“Wonderbook is celebrating the really old and beautiful interface of the book,” he continues. “People know how to use a book, so we want to monopolise on that. It’s definitely celebrating the medium.”

Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler

While the game is certainly aimed at a younger audience, Volker insisted that there should be something here for everyone to enjoy, especially those who appreciate classic adventure games. And although some onlookers might express surprise that Moonbot has moved away from animation – a medium it’s clearly very, very good at – and decided to try its hand at game design, Volker believes its a natural progression for the Louisiana-based studio.

“It’s the creative challenge that Wonderbook represents. The uniqueness of the interface is really exciting and getting to pave that road is a real creative challenge,” he enthused.

“I’ve always had a passion for gaming. Moonbot, as a company, is about storytelling and about characters. We like to be media agnostic and gaming is just another avenue to tell a story.”

Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler is due out some time in 2013 – we’ll have much more on the title over the coming months.

Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler

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chrisboers 21 August, 2012 @ 2:13 pm   1

I’m very intrigued by Wonderbook since its E3 presentation, but I’m still very much in the dark on how it really works. Does the wonderbook itself show any images, like all the promotional vids (including this one) suggest, or is it simply like eyepets, where everything happens on-screen, and the wonderbook is just lying there?

It it’s the latter, I’m going to dial my enthusiasm meter down a couple of notches, as I can’t see my 2-year old son playing with that for the next few years. Is there any footage on how this Wonderbook actually plays, without all the marketing hype and added cgi?

 

Will their be a new ps eye camera soon? Becuase the one right now sucks. The camera qualty is not as good as on does pictures.

 
AoNekoAmaru 21 August, 2012 @ 2:29 pm   3

@chrisboers Everything happens on the TV/monitor but overlays content on the book’s pages, which gives quite a nice “mirror” result but probably a bit too hard to grasp for a 2-year old. You can see in-game footage of the Book of Spells content on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOC8a0_cHuk

 
chrisboers 21 August, 2012 @ 2:48 pm   4

#3 Thanks! seems like he’ll have to wait another couple of years… :-)

 
Project2insanity 21 August, 2012 @ 3:13 pm   5

What kind a villain would bump Hump the Dump!?!?

 

@chrisboers The videos are misleading and only on the tv screen comes the book allive. As you probably know from Eyepet it works very awkward and my nephews and I never where able to have fun with it.
I’m looking for a demo to try this first but I guess they are not handing out books to us to try it.

 
Stonesthrow 21 August, 2012 @ 4:10 pm   7

This was actually an interesting announcement for Wonderbook. Not that I’ll get it just for this, but if it had more games like this and not just games for kids, who knows..

 
Skydancerx 21 August, 2012 @ 8:19 pm   8

I like the Idea, specially for my Kids.
But the main reason for me to wait that the Game is going Budget, is the terrible PSEye. Why does Sony not a new one with better Resolution??????? WHY?

 
Prem-aka-Prince 23 August, 2012 @ 12:59 am   9

Looks interesting, but I’m not buying a wonderbook just for it. And no I don’t want the JK Rowling kid’s thing.
Though this may also be a kid’s thing. The setting just seems too good to waste. Haven’t seen a good film noir scene in videogames since TimeSplitters 2 (and don’t you try and count LA Noire… sigh).

 
Alexsutton 25 August, 2012 @ 4:50 pm   10

The reason the PS Eye has such a low resolution is to give the shortest delay between you moving the book (for example) and that movement appearing on screen. The higher the resolution, the more time it takes to process. Worth bearing in mind, the PS Eye has exactly the same resolution as the Kinect camera.