Craig Leigh, Creative Director at Titan Studios offers some ample and tasty information on action strategy title, Fat Princess - care for a slice?
Can you introduce Fat Princess and what it's about?
Fat Princess is a 32 player medieval battle royale, where two teams fight it out to rescue their beloved Princess from the enemy Castle. The gameplay combines elements of class based shooters, real time strategy games and action-packed slash 'em ups, which create a truly unique and hilarious gameplay experience.
Working as a team you must utilise your Workers, Rangers, Priests, Mages and Warriors to attack the enemy while collecting resources to upgrade your Castle. Will you build a Catapult and rain down on your enemy or upgrade the Worker Hat Machine to create powerful bombs and blow their doors to smithereens? The team strategy is up to you!
Where did the original idea for the game come from?
As a team we always wanted to create a Castle Siege game with a very unique and distinctive art style. We really wanted to create a fast and frantic multiplayer experience, where players worked together to achieve their goals. During conception we created a few battle scene illustrations, which instantly inspired ideas for Siege Weapons, classes and hat machines. Soon everything just snowballed and the design became the game you see today.
What were the non-game related influences on Fat Princess?
There are a lot of different influences which contributed to the design and style of Fat Princess. The gameplay mechanics are a culmination of the team's favourite games from the last 20 years, all put together with a little twist of originality and humour.
The art style has a strong anime influence, which creates very stylised and unique looking characters and environments. These elements combine to create an experience very different from anything you will have played before. We also love pop culture, and there are a handful of references sprinkled throughout the game. It's fun, wacky and irreverent and very, very addictive.
How big a part did comedy play in the development of Fat Princess?
We always wanted Fat Princess to be light-hearted and fun. Throughout development we have maintained this philosophy in the design and creation for all of the game assets, from the character design, environments and animations to the menu design, script, sound effects and music. The game is a lot of fun to play and watch. There is always something crazy going on, but that's to be expected when you combine 32 players, swords, cake and chickens.
How tricky was it to get so many players involved in the game without losing a sense of gameplay balance?
From the original concept we really wanted players to work together as a team. To reinforce this, all of the gameplay mechanics have been designed so that they can be completed alone, but are boosted when working together with teammates. For example the Warrior is a killing machine, but when he is healed by a teammate he can survive longer. Building upgrades can be completed by a single Worker, but when building with another Worker the object is constructed at an accelerated rate.
All of the gameplay mechanics combine to allow players to make their own little micro teams with different strategies, and trying out different battle plans is a lot of fun. "OK this time we'll take two Warriors, a Priest, two bombs and a Chicken Potion... charge!"
Were there any big changes you had to make to the game that were in the original plans?
The game has changed throughout development as different mechanics were tested and changed, or in some cases scrapped altogether. As we started to play the game more and more we discovered that any Siege Weapons that required too many players to co-ordinate or had a single function were less fun. This caused the implementation of the bombs and Chicken Potion, which have become very popular. The environments also changed throughout development and became more themed, with the introduction of the forest, mountain, island and lava levels, which added a lot of variety to the gameplay.
Was there anything you learned from the early feedback to the game?
We had a lot of great feedback early on, which allowed us to carefully and slowly balance all of the classes. We also had to increase the number of ways players could break into the enemy's castle to promote offence, and ensure it was not too easy for one team to simply play defensively and cause a stalemate. Feedback from the beta tests was also excellent, allowing us to make a few crucial and final tweaks to the gameplay and balance.
How did Fat Princess end up on PSN?
From the very first presentation, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. really liked the concept and loved the combination of the art style and the frantic gameplay. The company really latched onto the Princess feeding mechanic and kept referring to the game as "that Fat Princess game." SCEI has been an awesome supporter of the concept from day one and scooped up the game to be a PlayStation Network exclusive.
What makes Fat Princess the ideal PSN title?
As a developer we know that everyone who has the game has an online connection and the ability to jump in and play with their friends. This is perfect for Fat Princess as the 32 player battles are a core component of the game. PSN also allows us as a team to create something a little different and off the wall.
What are your highlights of the game?
I would have to say the juxtaposition of the art style and the gore, combined with the depth of gameplay. The battles are different every time we play, and we are still discovering crazy new strategies after playing for over a year.
As a team we are looking forward to releasing the final game and playing online with everyone. There are so many new things for everyone to check out. I am sure everyone is going to have a blast, and we just hope everyone loves playing the game as much as we do.