By Andy Na / April 8th, 2013
At Sunbreak Games, Jason Behr (the studio’s founder, former Senior Designer at Nintendo Software Technology Metroid Prime-series head designer, and Halo 4 Senior Mission Designer at 343 Studios) shares an unlikely new game called Buddy and Me.
The game is slated for iPhone and tablet release, and is the first game to be made by this studio.
Buddy and Me is a 2D runner thematically designed around friendship in a world of dreams, where a young boy is aided by a magical friend as he runs across large forests and scales unreachable platforms. It is set on three core principles: companionship, obsession with treehouses, and natural excitement of exploring the great outdoors.
The press release describes as follows:
As the boy falls asleep each night, a strange transformation takes place. A mysterious golden light appears outside, the bedroom shakes, and it feels like the entire house is being lifted upwards. Startled, he sits up and looks out the window, only to see a giant, familiar orange face looking in, with a wide-eyed friendly grin, beckoning him to come out and play. Smiling, the boy grabs his hoodie, opens the door, and steps into the light… he suddenly realizes his room is no longer in his home, but suspended high in the treetop canopy, the first of an endless series of treehouse platforms and bridges leading deep into the enchanted forest. Night after night, dream after dream, the boy returns to this enchanted place. It’s here that he meets and plays with his best friend, a magical flying creature named Buddy, a loyal companion that watches over him. Together they run, jump, glide, swing, bounce, and fly through the night, racing as far as they can before waking.
Treehouses and wildlife play a strong role in the visual style for Buddy and Me, as Sunbreak Game’s natural vicinity around the Northwest Pacific — rivers, lakes, ocean, mountains, forests, islands, and more — is inspirational to the blissful call for exploration and adventure, a likening element to Metroid Prime.
The cel-shaded animations are high-quality and are said to resemble animated films. They called it a “Landmark System” where players emerge from the deep forest and cross long bridges to grasp panoramic views to diverse and open landscapes. They beckon a world of timeless quality.
You can watch the teaser here to get a taste of what they mean:
Buddy and Me sets up a design mechanic in which the player is meant to have an ally of unconditional companionship. Sunbreak Games calls it a “Buddy System”, as Buddy can spot danger and help the boy by using his back as a platform, his belly as a trampoline, and his tail as a rope. The boy can also ride on his back at control and soar through the skies as if it were from select scenes in Neverending Story.
There are also ideas about Buddy hurling the boy like a cannon-ball, but that is decided on fan-feedback and internal affairs. The team wants to create a believable friendship between Buddy and the boy by subtle interactions between boy and beast, character and player. Buddy reacts strongly from the boy’s successes and failures, including the player’s results and choices when the game tallies up points.
The boy can find aid from other than Buddy by collecting an Angel Bunny, which can follow him in flocks behind the boy and Buddy to help them on their quest.
Currently at the Kickstarter page, Buddy and Me shares 244 followers, standing at $12,651 dollars within a $40,000 goal. There are 12 days to go, and if you want to support Jason Behr and Sunbreak Games for their new game, you can head on over to the Kickstarter for more details.
To learn more about Sunbreak Games, you can go HERE.
Also be sure to read this wonderful interview between Jason Behr and our friends at Nintendo Enthusiast!
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