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