The original Toki Tori 2 didn’t have any writing. We were very strict about that! While it made for a unique, non-verbal puzzle adventure, the game’s backstory remained hidden. Now that it’s coming to PS4 on 23rd February, we decided to go back in and lift a tip of the veil… using telepathic frogs!
Before I go into the frogs, let’s retrace a few steps. When we started developing a sequel to level-based egg collection puzzler Toki Tori at Two Tribes, we wanted it to be a completely different experience. To achieve this goal, we formulated a bunch of rather bold principles.
Starting off, we wanted a large, open world without any traditional puzzle items. Our chicken hero would have just two moves, whistle and stomp, and great complexity would arise from that simple core. To raise the stakes even further, everything in Toki Tori 2 would speak for itself, literally. There would be no written or spoken words at all. No opening crawl. No tutorial. No dialogue. Nothing!
For me as the story guy (I hesitate to use the word “writer'”), this meant I had to create a backstory that would only be implied to players. I had mixed feelings about this: those who’d fill in pieces of the story puzzle by themselves would feel more special… But there would also be players who wouldn’t pick up on any of it. And being understood is a basic human need!
So what happened next? The game came out, some people loved it, some didn’t get it, Two Tribes went through tough times, and, well, we softened up a little. Thus, following a looser interpretation of our principles, the PS4 version of Toki Tori 2+ will contain some writing, revealing more of what’s going on for the very first time.
The mysterious pollution that bubbles up everywhere, that Toki Tori has to stop? That was forewarned by five ancient frogs. But they were kicked out of the capital city. Now our hero has to find the frogs, restore the environment, and hope that his home world won’t fall from the sky in the process.
The ancient frogs were always essential to the game’s second half, but now they communicate with Toki Tori from the start. They do this collectively, telepathically, and a tad Yoda-like (making the game semi-verbal instead of non-verbal). Grumbling and begrudgingly, the frogs give you details of your quest via thought bubbles.
I don’t hesitate to say that the telepathic frogs make Toki Tori 2+ for PS4 the best version yet. It’s coming to the console through PlayStation Store and on disc (A first for this game!) on 23rd February. I look forward to hearing whether the game’s backstory makes sense to you this time around.