Unreal Engine powers puzzler Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo is shaping up to be something a bit special, and the developers have the Unreal Engine to thank. The game might not be what you’d expect from the engine – an indie 3d platformer, but it’s already winning the hearts of critics around the globe, months before it hits the PS3 as a downloadable title in early 2012.

Joe Kreiner, North American territory manager of Epic Games is pleased to see how people are using the Engine:

‘Papo & Yo’ is excellent proof of what small teams can quickly produce with the UE3 toolset. There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you have a great creative vision and leverage Unreal Engine technology.

[img_big]center,8033,2011-06-03/papo4.jpg,Papo & Yo[/img_big]

Developer Minority explains that several team members had come to indie gaming after a successful AAA career, creating games like Army of Two, which also used the Unreal Engine. The success in using the technology for those projects – and the ability to find more people with a similar skillset – made the decision for them.

Julien Barnoin, Lead Engineer at Minority explains:

We knew UE3 would get us creating gameplay mechanics and levels very quickly. We wanted to quickly start building gameplay elements and puzzles and iterating on them. UE3’s material editor allowed us to get beautiful characters and environments without a lot of work. When artists or designers come to me asking for a new feature, I can often just point them to how to do it right in the editor, and can get back to coding the features that are really unique to our game.

[img_big]center,8033,2011-06-03/papo7.jpg,Papo & Yo[/img_big]

Barnoin also sings the praises of the UE3 community – the complex documentation and buzzing mailing lists are a “must” for anyone wishing to understand the system.

The resources available on UDN are always very advantageous. Even after years using the engine, there are always things for me to learn–either new features or useful little tools I’ve never known were there.

Papo & Yo is inspired by Vander Caballero’s “turbulent” relationship with his father. The Minority creative director has turned his childhood into the story of Quico, a young boy, whose best friend Monster is a “huge beast”, with a tendency to become violent after indulging in his addiction to poisonous frogs.

The sometimes-confronting storyline sees Quico on a quest to save Monster, playing to his emotions to search for a cure for his friend.

Described as “unabashedly honest” and soul-bearing, the game, packed with clever puzzles and jaw-dropping art design, has already been labelled one of the “most interesting” games of E3, and potentially a cult smash for 2012.

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