Hooked Gamers: Thanks so much for sitting down with us here today to talk about Naughty Bear. So let’s get started, how would you categorize Naughty Bear and can you tell us a bit about the story line?
Ash: Naughty Bear is all about a deeply misunderstood character who lives on this island called Perfection. All around him are other bears that seemly live a beautiful Utopian life but as we dig under the surface we discover that they are trying to kill and remove Naughty Bear from the island.
Oz: Also, it’s categorized as a 3rd person action adventure.
Hooked Gamers: Where did the idea for Naughty Bear come from and were there any distinct horror influences?
Oz: Well there are many places that it came from. Even though A2N is based here in Quebec Ash and I are both English. Certainly the mood and overall tone of the game we were going for was similar to BBC kids programs that Ash and I grew up watching in the 70s and that kind of wholesome world with narrators telling the kids what they are gonna learn today mixed with a kinda juxtaposition of a hatred of cutesy toys. There are lots of horror influences but we also use the movie Falling Down as an influence.
Hooked Gamers: Okay so to now move on to more gameplay questions. Can you tell us about the level and points system and can you use points to upgrade items?
Ash: The whole game is set on Perfection Island. It’s one area we open and close based on where we want the player to go and what we want them to do. You play in what we like to call mini-sandbox areas and you need to use points to unlock new parts of the island. The points system is simple but has a good deal of depth to it which is basically the naughtier you are the more points you will raise. There are over 250 ways of being naughty all over the island and as you raise points you will be able to move to different areas.
Oz: The core economy of the game is the score on each level. That’s the thing that you are gonna be going against your mates with. It’s important that the next mates’ score that’s higher than yours is always at the corner of the screen.
Hooked Gamers: Does Naughty only use weapons to kill or can he use his paws?
Ash: He can fight bare paw, we don’t advise it though. He can also use melee weapons he finds around or he can use 3rd person shooting as well. That is just the beginning, every single other interactive item in the game - of which there is 70 - each one of those can be used to kill bears. Really it’s more important to find new ways to kill. If you wanna get a good score that’s the way you’re gonna do it.
Hooked Gamers: Could you discuss traps and all the wild and terrifying things players will find in the game?
Ash: We have a policy that whatever the others bears can do Naughty Bear can do too. We have a very free AI that can keep formulated plans all the time and try to keep themselves alive. There are lots and lots of situations that present themselves throughout the course of the game. For example you might come across a particular type of bear that is very cowardly and he might flee away from you, which is very different from most games. He might hide in a closet and at which point the player can kill or scare them in the closet and you get different points and reactions for different things. Once you do that you’ll find you can now go in the closet too and use that to kill and scare bears.
Ash: About the intimidation, it is really a massive part of the game. It’s not just about what you do in the environment that is actually just a small fraction of the intimidation. Sure you can crash stuff, you can break vehicles and hit stuff but the majority of the points you earn come from the other bears witnessing you being naughty. As we say it’s always naughty to kill a bear but to get 5 other bears to witness you kill a bear; that is 5 times naughtier.
Oz: Like ash mentioned you can smash things. But u can also disable them so that when they come across them they become a little confused and that is pretty naughty as well. You can wait for them to repair it or jump up and kill them. It’s just as important for us to have a button in the game that lets you go boom as there is one that lets you hit them.
Ash: It goes even deeper than that. You know when a bear is fleeing cause they might wanna leave the level they might run to their car where they find that it is broken. That is something that can freak them out and they will start to trip and fall when they are freaked out. There are an awful lot of things for players to discover.The AI is very complex. We built it ourselves for Naughty Bear and all other games moving forward. The other bears will work together in teams. They might have one bear guarding a door, while another searches for weapon and the third goes for help. They will team up to defeat Naughty Bear.
Hooked Gamers: In trailers it is mentioned that there are leaderboards to allow players to compete with each other. Can you discuss what we can expect as far as multiplayer and any co-op?
Ash: The leaderboard interrogation is very essential to the game it’s all about competing with each other as a basic starting point. We also have multiplayer which very much takes all the humor from single player games and jams it in 4 different multiplayer modes. We don’t have co-op per say but we do have a few mp modes which are co-op orientated for instance ‘Jelly Wars’. Where 3 bears have to find jellies hidden in the environment and Naughty Bear has to find those bears and kill them before they can retrieve all the jellies. It’s quite interesting because it really encourages players to work together. But we do have other mp modes that are free for all. There are different aspects to our multiplayer that aren’t just death match if you know what I mean
Hooked Gamers: It’s our tradition to give developers the chance to say something about their game they would desperately like to reveal. Is there anything you would like to tell us about Naughty Bear?
Ash: Actually we are really quite the opposite because we are really over the moon with how good the marketing is going and the interest we have had from all of you guys. We want the fans to experience the game for themselves.
Hooked Gamers: So a sort of learn it on your own eh?
Oz: Yeah (laughs) exactly.
Ash: Yeah, the thing we wanted to push as we made Naughty Bear is we wanted a game that makes you laugh, even if it is kinda guilty sometimes. And that is really the focus of what we want to do. We wanna make the player smile.
Hooked Gamers: Well considering Naughty Bear is a game about a twisted stuffed teddy bear trying to exact his horrific revenge on his fellow bears I would say you will certainly achieve that goal. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Naughty Bear is out June 29th for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Be sure to stay tuned to Hooked Gamers for the review of this teddy bear massacre very soon.