Puppeteer: Blending The Best Of East And West
In last week’s behind the scenes Puppeteer interview, we talked to creator Gavin Moore about the origins of the title and got some lovely insight into what makes a great kids game really sing. In the second part of the interview, Gavin touched on the game’s size, its roots in classic platformers of yesteryear and what the development team’s vibrant cultural mix brings to the project.
Read on for more on Sony Japan Studio‘s tantalising platformer, and look out for a new update on development next week penned by Gavin himself.
So, is Puppeteer a Japanese game or a Western game?
Gavin Moore: It’s really interesting actually. I’ve seen people have arguments in the office about this – ‘it’s Western’, ‘no, it’s Japanese’ and so on. The Western people tend to say it’s Japanese, and the Japanese people tend to say it’s Western. It’s a game, guys – it doesn’t matter!
But I’d say it’s in the middle. Most of the team are Japanese – probably 95%. But obviously, as the director, the guy in charge, with all that Englishness in me – pushing all that weird stuff into their culture, and grabbing all their culture – which I love – and mixing it up, we’ve made this thing that sits in the middle.
I think it will definitely resonate in the West but I think it will have some die-hard, hardcore fans in Japan who will really get it.
A common criticism levelled at platformers is that they don’t present as much value for money as full 3D adventures. How big is Puppeteer?
Gavin Moore: If you were to run through it, it’s going to take you 15 hours, plus. And that’s charging through it without searching for any of the secret stuff, or finding all the heads.
How many heads to find are there in total?
Gavin Moore: A lot! Pick a three-figured number and go from there.
Do you have a favourite?
Gavin Moore: Hmmm… yes, two actually. I like the Rocket Head and I like the Revolver Head.
You don’t see too many big-budget side-scrolling platformers these days. Why did you decide to go with that genre?
Gavin Moore: It’s an artform that we’ve kind of lost as game creators. I’ve loved them and played them ever since I was a kid. As soon as we made the jump to 3D with PS1, everyone wanted to have characters that ran into the screen. We pushed 2D aside.
If you love gaming you should be trying to get your hands on everything and trying everything. I know people don’t have a lot of money at the minute, but if it’s your hobby you shouldn’t be blinkered – you should try everything. We’ll have a demo out there so you’ll be able to download that and see if it’s something you’ll enjoy.
Which vintage platformers most directly influence the game?
Gavin Moore: Everybody picked up on Dynamite Heddy. Big Mario fan from the beginning – I wasted my life as a kid on those. And I loved 2D side-scrolling shoot ‘em ups. Do you remember Parodius by Konami? Those weird characters? You could be a surfer on a surfboard firing syringes at can-can girls, and pirate cats and penguin boats, or whatever. That and Dynamite Heddy are kind of what Puppeteer is. Merge those two together and Puppeteer is what you’re going to get, I hope.