Papo & Yo, an intriguing PlayStation Network release, touches on dark, personal subject matter, but creative director Vander Caballero says you don’t have to engage with it if you don’t want to.
“I have always wanted to be honest about the inspiration behind the game, and we hint about that inspiration in the gameplay,” Caballero told MTV Multiplayer .
“But I don’t want the serious nature to be the only thing that everyone sees – the world of Papo & Yo is bright and colourful and the puzzles are fun. I hope that you can have a great experience whether or not you are aware of the inspiration.”
Although the developer doesn’t require you to engage with his personal story, Caballero did tweak the design to ensure he remained true to the initial vision.
“Papo & Yo is based on my very personal story, and I wanted to be as honest as possible in expressing it. After our first E3, my friend Nilo Rodis (a very skilled art director who worked on Star Wars and Pixar movies) asked me ‘do you see your father in that Monster design?’” he said.
“I had to admit I did not. My father was distant and scary but at the same time protective. The rhino monster did not express this. I’m really happy with the final version of Monster. He has all the elements that brought me close and made me afraid of my father at the same time.”
Interestingly, Caballero also said music inspired him to break out of triple-A development and pursue independent projects.
“There is a beautiful song by Luis Alverto Spinneta (one of the fathers of Argentian rock) called ‘Barro tal vez.’ The song talks about an artist that will die if he is not able to speak his heart out – that’s how I felt developing games with big corporations, that my soul was going to die if I kept making shooters,” he explained.
“So the concepts really originated from my desire to make a game that was meaningful to me, based on my childhood and my father.”
Papo & Yo launches via the PlayStation Network this week; it’s available for pre-order, and there’s a lunch trailer, too.