Right before E3 kicked off I had a chance to sit in on a roundtable for Naughty Bear, developed by Artificial Minds Movements and published by 505 Games. Needless to say, I was surprised by the potential nuance in an outwardly straightforward killathon, and the intricate, unscripted AI that turns the game into something much more than a fluff-stuffing bloodbath.
Can you introduce yourself, talk about your role on the project?
I’m David Osborne, creative director.
I’m Ash Pannell, lead game designer.
How did the idea for Naughty Bear come about? Could you talk about some of the back story a bit? What are the influences behind the game? Is it safe to say that one of the designers had a negative experience with the Care Bears at some point?
David Osborne: We wanted to make a game that was actually funny. A lot of developers set out to do that, but we wanted to focus on contrast in the juxtaposition of the cuteness of the bears and the things you do to exact your vengeance upon them. In terms of the actual style and presentation, a lot of that is based on the BBC programs we watched as kids back in the 70s and 80s.
What's the back story of the main character in the game? He seems to live in a fairy idyllic place yet turned into a bit of a rough, bitter character...how did that happen? How annoyingly happy are the rest of the characters going to be?
David: Well the thing you come to understand about the character and all the other bears that live on the island, is that Naughty Bear really, genuinely wants to live a life of peace and happiness. It really is the other bears that consistently provoke him into his extreme reactions.
So far all we've seen is vignette videos, can you talk about the gameplay a bit? What exactly will gamers be doing in Naughty Bear and how will they be doing it?
David: It’s very easy to interact with the items in the world, in fact it’s key to the core gameplay. There’s a lot of complexity to every single interactive item, and it really comes down to how you want to play the game and what state the bears are in. Every which way you move to interact with an item in the game, let’s say the cake mixer, and how the other bears react to that, depends so much on what you’ve done in the game. You could run up and break it and run away, and then it depends on the type of bear that witnesses it.
For example, some bears are more prone to fix things than others, so specific bears like robots would feel a need to approach to fix it. But other bears like zombies wouldn’t care at all, so getting the right bear in the right situation at the right time is really important. Then it depends on what you do when they get there. You could just kill them, or you could scare them and this is dependent on their state, whether they get scared or not or go insane. It all depends on the circumstances. A bear that wants to hunt you down will organize his friends and won’t be very interested in fixing anything, but a frightened bear that wants to call for help is extremely likely to repair a payphone. It’s a big balance of circumstances, nothing in this game is scripted.
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