Tembo The Badass Elephant hits PS4 tomorrow, watch the launch trailer

A new mascot platformer from the creators of Pokémon

Tembo The Badass Elephant – out tomorrow, 21st July, on PS4 – is the type of game I’ve always wanted to make. As a kid growing up in England in the ’90s, I would play a lot of platform games on the SNES and Mega Drive, and then come up with my own characters and game ideas, sketching them out in colour pencil.

I never really grew out of it, and ended up working in the games industry, in London at first, moving to Japan later, eventually joining Game Freak about five years ago.

Game Freak are most famous as the creators of Pokémon, but they have a history of making great action games too, like Pulseman for the Mega Drive, or Drill Dozer for the Game Boy Advance.

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I pitched the company my idea for a new mascot character game; Tembo The Badass Elephant, they liked it, and after we made a demo version, they greenlit the project for production.

The starting point for the game was the character of Tembo himself, a big and powerful elephant commando who can bulldoze almost anything in his path.

Tembo comes from the jungle island of Tuskland, where he fought in a human war alongside a colonel named Krenman. Many years after that war, Krenman is back in his native Shell City, when it’s invaded by an evil army known as PHANTOM.

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Krenman, realising he needs some serious wrecking power, calls upon his old friend Tembo to destroy the nefarious PHANTOM and save the city.

A really important element of this game is the way that Tembo controls. We spent a lot of time of making him feel heavy and strong yet speedy and precise. You can stampede through enemies and objects, racking up combos as you go, then spring into a jump and butt stomp through meters of concrete in one satisfying chain of action.

We wanted enemies to provide a good challenge for the badass Tembo, so the PHANTOM army will throw some heavy duty characters at you, from tanks and helicopters to massive mechanical bosses. Towards the end of the game the screen is pretty much full of enemies trying to destroy you with missiles, bombs, and body blows.


To realise this kind of frenetic, physics based action, we needed to use the power of the current generation of hardware.

Working on the PS4 was a great experience. The artists could fill the screen with high resolution textures and environmental effects, and the level designers could fill levels with objects and enemies to destroy.

One thing I personally like about the PS4 is the controller. For this game, the directional pad works well, and I like its placement and the way it feels. The vibration of the PS4 controller feels particularly good, and works nicely when you’re smashing up in-game scenery.

It’s a new and exciting experience for Game Freak to be releasing a game for the PlayStation 4.

I hope you’re excited to play the game!



0 Author replies
RedMustang72 20 July, 2015 @ 15:13

I like it, put a smile on my face. Part commando, all elephant!…hahaha, brilliant. Nice art style & animations, I’ll be picking this one up. :D

AnimatoonStudio 20 July, 2015 @ 15:17

Don’t you dare to step against this part commando, all elephant! :D
We like Tembo already!

MoistGeorge 20 July, 2015 @ 15:31

Looks like this will be a ton of fun! Awesome!

Not sure when to pick it up though, still so busy with Rocket League and Elder Scrolls Online…

Also this seems like a great title to have on Vita, has there been any talk about that James Turner? :D

supersmith2500 20 July, 2015 @ 15:35

Would love to see Pulseman being re-released anytime soon in both remaster and classic form. A another forgotten gem only released in Japan which later got a Virtual Console release in the west. : )


The animations are particularly impressive, and I love the colourful vibe. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to play a side-scroller, but the obvious amount of effort that has been put into the visuals is alluring to say the least.

Good work James! :)

zalwelgoedgaan 20 July, 2015 @ 15:41

Oh my, Pokemons get rude names nowadays.



It’s Game Freak, it has to be good.


What happened to Journey? Is that still coming out tomorrow? Still can’t pre-order it on the store, same for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.


Best to ask that on a related blog post. This developer isn’t going to know the answer.

PS_TrophyHunter 21 July, 2015 @ 02:31

It’s out now on the UK store ;)


Be prepared for another wait, I bought journey for the ps3 day one but because the store added a trial version it doesn’t recognise my purchase and wants me to pay for it.


Love the art style! Kinda Funny Games Let’s Play got my attention so… tomorrow you will have my money so you can make more of these :D

PS_TrophyHunter 21 July, 2015 @ 02:30

Same here otherwise this game would of passed me by if it wasn’t for Greg, Colin, Tim and Nick ;)

madmanwithabox12 20 July, 2015 @ 16:22

Surely the good folks at SEGA can you help you put this on Vita?

spacedelete2 20 July, 2015 @ 16:26

this is strange seeing a Nintendo developer making games for PS4 and even more ironic its published by Sega.


A Gamefreak game on PlayStation?

How about slipping a new Pokemon game our way? ;)

You won’t have the restrictions of Nintendo consoles and go full fledge on a 3D open-world RPG.


Elephant games is the most underrated genre in video games.


Why Namco don’t add “Tekken Tag HD” on Psn for PS3 as single game?!


The developer isn’t going to know that. Keep on topic.


Since when did you become a moderator? ARGJEN88BZ can ask what the Hell he wants, no matter how “off topic” it is. Has absolutely nothing to do with you, at all.


And his question has absolutely nothing to do with the developer.

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It reminds me of Wario world on the Gamecube… which is a good thing.


Oh man, this looks both gorgeous and a whole ton o’fun! Would definitely prefer to play it on Vita though! Maybe even iPad too :-)


Not exactly the place to say it but….

Judging by the positive comments here this type of game seems to be what people like, fair enough but seeing the avalanche of cartoon-like and retro games flooding onto the PS4 just makes me like my PS3 even more. Seems like Sony have become like Nintendo, releasing games on their console aimed at a younger audience with very little for us older gamers to enjoy.

The progress and promise that games showed on the PS3 seems to have been well and truly stopped in it’s tracks by what is on offer today. Shame really, but as long as i can get my hands on a working PS3 i can always revisit and enjoy what i believe to have been the Golden Age of Sony.

Hopefully i will be proved wrong….


Replace PS4/PS3 with PS3/PS2 and this will be typical comment from 2008.



I totally disagree with you there. From PS1 to PS3 there was without doubt progress and innovation. Also look at the sales figures of some of the games released on the PS3, they broke all sales records due to a increased widespread acceptance of games with both genders and all ages.

With very few (if any) exceptions i personally believe that is not happening with the PS4.

infernalmonkey1 21 July, 2015 @ 12:00

Did you literally just scroll past the screenshots before going on this bizarre rant? This game isn’t even developed or published by Sony. The PS3 had colourful third party platformers too, shock!

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Shapeshifter_dan 21 July, 2015 @ 00:01

More 2D garbage that could be played on the Mega Drive.

Generic platformer, no creativity, no innovation whatsoever, dreadful “art”-style.

What’s this trash doing in a HD console like the PS4?

I weep for the state of gaming…


It may not be your type of art-style, but i’m pretty sure vector-based artwork would not work on a Mega Drive.
Go and learn what vector and pixel art is. Quite a difference.


well..its running in HD…
So whats your problem?


“No creativity” could be levelled at all of the yearly “proper” games- COD, Fifa (and all the other sports titles), Assassins Creed, Far Cry, all Third Person cover and shoot games (Last of Us, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, the Order etc)- all of which could be considered “generic” to a non gamer or non fan of the genre looking at them from the outside.

The state of gaming that you weep for is currently at a point of constant supply- the indie market is not instead of the supposed AAA titles, it is alongside them. Big studios tend to wait until the most profitable time to release games, hence most titles coming out between mid-september and christmas. Like the movie business it makes sense to release your big budget title when it will get the most attention, it doesn’t mean that indie films are preventing Miramax or Paramount from releasing the latest blockbuster.

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Hi James! The game is looking very good. Any chances of a Vita version?

PS_TrophyHunter 21 July, 2015 @ 02:27

Downloading now. Looks fun :)


Finished the first couple of areas tonight and found myself smiling the entire time. Plays great, looks great, sounds great, and the price is great. What more can an old gamer ask for? (That’s rhetorical)

HomessaHomem 21 July, 2015 @ 09:02


Day 1 purchase, looks absolutely amazing.

Looks like a cool game, but the “high resolution” 3D stuff actually appears pretty rough…
Gonna check out the demo :)

Flipside666 22 July, 2015 @ 18:14

That’s more like it, more games like this please!


Looks like a perfect fit for the vita

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