PlayStation Mobile Developer Interview: ZooZooGo!
We are always on the look out for new PlayStation Moblie games to talk about. If you remember our post a few weeks back about “What Is Next For PSM” there were a few games listed that we knew were coming, but other than that we knew next to nothing about them. ZooZooGo! was one of those games. Dave Vout, Director at Big Head Games, reached out to us so we could let everyone know a little about ZooZooGo!
Q: What type of game is ZooZooGo!, and how do you play it?
Dave Vout: ZooZooGo! is a super cute game based on playing ‘casual’ games to collect animals. It’s got 3 game modes, initially you play Treasure Hunt and that’s match 3 with a slight twist, you play this to earn coins and treasure and when you’ve found the gold elephant head you can unlock Animahjong which is Mahjong, kinda simplified against the clock (my favourite) and once you’ve found another gold elephant head you can unlock Puzzle Quest which is a mix between a sliding block puzzle and one side of a Rubik’s cube! The overall goal is to find unlock all the animals for the ‘zoo’ and all the game modes.
We hope to update in the future with more game modes which will each in turn unlock a new game mode.
Q: How was the process involved with bringing Zoo Zoo Go! to PSM? Were Sony a good partner to work with for the service?
DV: We had the game part complete in our cross platform tech, we tend to start on PC/iOS and then if we think the game fits we can quickly bring it to PS3/Vita/Mac and even Android via our partners. In this case we had to put it on the back burner while we finished other projects, which was very frustrating because this game was my idea and ‘the game I want to play‘.
So a chance meeting with Sony about our other Sony titles allowed me to talk about it to Shahid Ahmad and he liked it and suggested we bring it to PSM, to be honest I’d not even looked at PSM at that point. So we did some R&D and it was obvious it was going to be easy to do and work really well on those devices, especially the Vita and what’s cool about PSM is we’d likely not have the budget to make this game as a standalone Vita title so going through PSM brings the game to Vita but without the pure Vita flaming tightrope!
Anyway we started ‘porting’ it and realised we’d got it wrong, it was portrait and the Vita was better off Landscape so we did a fair bit of reworking the screen layouts and bingo it’s 10 times the game it was… very, very pleased with it. The last time I felt like this was when I designed Elefunk on PSN, a sense of making a game I would buy and play.
Q: Where did the inspiration for the game’s art style come from?
DV: I wanted to make egg shaped characters, initially thinking 3D and having them roll about, was it Weebles the children’s toy? Wobble but they don’t fall down? Anyway that’s kind of still in the back of my mind as’ ZooZooGo Worlds’ but we decided to go 2D this time for the more casual gameplay you associate with companies like Popcap (my personal heroes). Jules our character designer (also designed the Elephants in Elefunk) just clicked into the style perfectly. I was then able to shout animals and themes across the room and he’d make them… very satisfying when this kind of project happens.
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Q: What is the target demographic for the game? Who do you see the game appealing to most?
DV: I’d like the say everyone and to a degree I see that it’s certainly the Popcap crowd, casual audience used to playing on mobile devices and flash games, the gameplay will be familiar to them.
Q: In earlier versions of the game, there were multiple puzzle types. Is this still the case in the PSM version of the game?
DV: Yes it started out as Puzzle Zoo, a Zoo filled with Puzzles and I guess that’s still the concept and the desire is to add more game types… for example I have an idea for a battle ships type of game with Monkeys and Snakes!
Q: When matching certain animals in the game, are there differences when matching up species? Effects and such.
DV: The animals depend on the theme, there is a Chameleon in all themes and he is key, match him with any pair of animals (he’s a chameleon of course) and he’ll give you the treasure you need. There’s other little bits like a bonus in the Ice levels is finding pieces of woolly mammoth frozen in ice cubes.
Q: Was it difficult to develop the game with multiple devices in mind?
DV: No PSM takes that issue away. We’re traditionally from console development and then mobile so we’re used to fragmentation, now iOS has become almost as big a minefield as old school java phones, trying to keep a game fitting into memory and running at a good fps on original iPhone and iPad1 but super beautiful on iPad3 and iPhone 5 is an art. Whilst there are performance issues on PSM devices it’s allot less difficult to manage. That’ll change as new devices come along I’m sure but right now it’s all pretty good.
Q: And finally, when is Zoo Zoo Go! coming out, and how much will it cost?
DV: October 24th! This is the first time I’ve mentioned it to anyone so that’s a bit of an exclusive. I’ve not set the final price I think about £1.99 but can’t be sure, we’re looking for a low iOS type of price point. We don’t want to treat this platform like traditional console.
We would like to thank Dave for taking the time to talk to us. You can find out more about ZooZooGo! right here on PSNStores in the build up to launch.