OOBLETS

Also known as the cutest mon­sters we’ve ever seen Daniella Lu­cas

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START -

Pub­lisheR Dou­ble Fine Presents De­vel­oper Glum­ber­land For­mat Xbox One ETA Sum­mer 2018

Have you ever been com­pelled to doo­dle faces on ran­dom ob­jects? Eggs, fry­ing pans, cof­fee ta­bles, la­dles… it doesn’t mat­ter, it just needs a face. Be­fore you know it, you’ve also given them a funny voice and a cute per­son­al­ity, and you’re quickly com­pli­ment­ing your pizza cut­ter on be­ing good at wheel­ies.

Now, imag­ine ev­ery­thing you’ve given a face to some­how comes alive. Con­grat­u­la­tions, my friend, you’ve in­vented Ooblets! Or, well, you would have if de­vel­op­ers Re­becca Cord­ingly and Ben­jamin Wasser hadn’t beaten you to it. Sorry to get your hopes up.

In­spired by the likes of Poké­mon and last year’s indie hit Stardew

Val­ley, the won­drous land of Ooblets sees you mak­ing a life for your­self in the world of Oob by grow­ing and be­friend­ing all sorts of adorable, smi­ley munchkins with names such as Dooziedug and Flee­ble.

While a lot of the de­signs are in­spired by Ja­panese pop cul­ture and folk­lore, some­times the cutest ones orig­i­nate from some­thing far more prac­ti­cal. “Not ev­ery­thing I do is al­ways some pure artis­tic vi­sion, but more of­ten comes about from the lim­i­ta­tions of be­ing the only artist and pro­gram­mer,” Cord­ingly tells us. “Like ‘what sorta crea­ture can I cre­ate that has no knees or el­bows, so I can re­tar­get the an­i­ma­tions from that other crea­ture I made’ and stuff like that.”

And as for the names? “Usu­ally I just try to riff off what it looks like,” writer and de­signer Wasser tells us. “For ex­am­ple, Pantsabear looks like a bear wear­ing pants. I’m prob­a­bly not go­ing to win any awards for that one. Some of the names are from our lives, like Click­y­claws is named af­ter what we call it when our cat is hun­gry and taps at the kitchen counter.”

Get groovin’

As well as the Ooblets them­selves be­ing ut­terly adorable, the world and the hu­man char­ac­ters that in­habit it are all cut from the same cute cloth. The towns­folk of Oob al­ways seem happy to see you, wav­ing their arms about and prone to bouts of ran­dom danc­ing, and there’s only go­ing to be more of it com­ing. “We ac­tu­ally just bought our own mo­tion cap­ture rig, so hope­fully soon we’ll have our own ter­ri­ble dances and other an­i­ma­tions to add,” says Wasser.

With such a charm­ing world and goofy sense of hu­mor on the ta­ble, it’s no won­der so many Xbox gamers are ex­cited to get their hands on

Ooblets. The re­sponse has been ab­so­lutely huge, so how does such a small team deal with that kind of pres­sure? “The re­ac­tion peo­ple have had to Ooblets has re­ally de­fined our work on it,” says Wasser. “With­out such a huge pos­i­tive re­sponse, we never would have gone all in on such a big project. It’s easy to get com­pla­cent, but the en­cour­age­ment we get from fans has a ma­jor im­pact on our moods and pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

Sadly, we’ve still got a year to wait un­til we can frolic in the fields with our Rad­lads, Wig­glewips, and Dumbirbs, which we can’t help feel­ing sad about. The good thing is that progress is steadily be­ing made. “I would say we are about 40 per cent com­plete,” Cord­ingly tells us. “There are a few sys­tems left to work on, and then an aw­ful lot of con­tent.”

Bring on sum­mer 2018, we say! It might be a while un­til then, but you can keep up with the de­vel­op­ers on Twit­ter and con­sider draw­ing some smi­ley faces on radishes to make the time go a lit­tle quicker.

“We de­cided on the name Pantsabear be­cause it looks like a bear wear­ing pants”

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