Papo & Yo: The challenges of designing Monster

We first heard about Papo & Yo last year, but haven’t seen many signs of life from the indie 3D platformer since. That’s all changed in the leadup to GDC, as developer Vander Caballero shares a little more of his soul, and the processes behind the game.

Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo is a game with a much bigger story behind it – the singularly-named Monster represents Caballero’s father, a man he had a “difficult” relationship with.

To tell the story I wanted to tell – my story – I knew that this character had to show the positive aspects of the man I loved… and the negative aspects of the man I feared. This turned out to be challenging – I knew who Monster was, but not what he looked like.

Fortunately, as Caballero tells the PlayStation.Blog, he has friends in high places – people who’ve worked in animation for years, working on classic films and bringing concepts to life. After many sketches, many questions and many difficult decisions, Cabellero – and Minority colleague Nilo Rodis – has discovered his new-look Monster.

He’s scary, but there is something that attracts you to him – something that makes you want to play with him, help him, even though he’s a beast who could fly into a rage and kill you.

Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo

…the story of Papo & Yo sees a young boy – Quico – and Monster, his best friend. Unfortunately, the “huge beast” has a tendency to become violent after indulging in his addiction to poisonous frogs, drawing clear parallels to Caballero’s childhood.

Quico’s often-confronting adventures see him on a quest to save Monster, searching for a cure for his friend. No release date’s been hinted at as yet, but this Unreal Engine-powered game is still a little way off.

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