Gamescom 2012: Puppeteer Preview
Developer: Sony Japan Studio / Publisher: SCEA / Platform: PS3
Sony’s Japan Studio has created some of the most creative and visually striking games in the last handful of years (Patapon and Gravity Rush come to mind). So when Puppeteer was announced as the newest Sony Japan title at their Gamescom press conference, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that the game was a beautiful, fantastical platformer set in a puppet theater environment. Game Director Gavin Moore was very passionate about the inspiration for the game (recapturing his son’s imagination) and that passion is incredibly palpable when you get to see the game played in front of you, like I did today.
Moore wasn’t shy about sharing his history of early gaming on his ZX Spectrum, playing text-based adventure games which required a lot of imagination to make come alive. It was in that spirit he set about creating Puppeteer, a game about a boy who is turned into a wooden puppet, and then gets his head eaten by the Moon Bear King. With no head, you’ll be able to collect different objects to place on top of your torso, and each head will grant special abilities. For example, when the boy (named Kutaro) puts a hamburger on his head, he can turn objects in the environment (the “play”) into hamburgers, which then boost his jumping ability.
If that sounds incredibly odd, it’s because Moore admitted he’s been a huge fan of both Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam his whole life, and Puppeteer is sort of his homage to their stylings. Both dark and whimsical, the story seems like it will please kids and grown gamers alike, and do it with beautiful visuals. In addition to completely custom, hand-worked animation for all the characters, the game is utilizing a lighting engine that features 140 different light sources, which makes the dazzling color palette pop in every scene.
I was even more surprised when it was announced that Puppeteer would be a full Blu-Ray Disc retail release. Moore promised tons of content: many different levels, tons of collectible heads that would access secret areas throughout the game, and much more about the story in the near future. I for one can’t wait; Puppeteer looks to be one of the most original, joyful, unique experiences for the PS3 in its lifetime.