Hi everyone! I’m the project lead for Double Fine’s newest downloadable PSN game, Costume Quest. If you haven’t already heard about it, I’ll give you a quick summary: Costume Quest is a Halloween-themed RPG in which you trick-or-treat through neighborhoods as a group of monster-fighting kids who can transform into super-awesome versions of their costumes.
If you’ve seen any of the latest online previews in the past few days and, you probably already have a basic idea about Costume Quest’s gameplay. Today I’m going to tell you a little more about some of the inspirations behind the game.
One of the main influences of Costume Quest was my own love for Halloween growing up, and the fantastic costumes that my mom would make for my younger sister and I – magicians and devils for me, princesses and brides for my sister. A couple of the real-life costumes that ended up making it into the final game were the Unicorn and Space Warrior.
This 1986 film starring David Bowie’s crotch was one of my favorites as a kid. The Goblins (designed by Brian Froud) were a great reference for the enemy designs in Costume Quest, and the goblin city in the film provided inspiration for the monsters’ home world of Repugia.
The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
Ever since seeing “My Neighbor Totoro” while studying animation in college, I have been a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. His studio’s animation has a lot of beauty and subtlety to it – kids behave like real kids, rather than a caricature of children. When developing the look of Costume Quest, with its painterly backgrounds and cel-shaded characters, we often used Studio Ghibli’s films as reference.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
I hate to admit that I’ve never completely finished Wind Waker – hey, blame the long sailing sections – but this is one of the coolest looking games I’ve ever seen. Its cartoony style has helped it hold up very well despite being made over 7 years ago. Even with their simple designs and lack of voice-over, the game’s characters are remarkably appealing and expressive.
Throughout the years there have been a few select games that keep me going back for replays. EarthBound, a Japanese developed, turn-based RPG released for the SNES in 1995, is one of those games. When planning Costume Quest’s neighborhood layouts, we studied maps of Onett (EarthBound’s opening village) and how they positioned their buildings and roadways for the locked isometric camera angle.
The unique, modern settings and quirky humor are what set EarthBound apart from other RPGs (enemies you face in the game are “Ramblin’ Evil Mushroom” and “Extra Cranky Lady”). Whenever I go back and replay EarthBound, I get a warm, nostalgic feeling, and I hope gamers will end up feeling the same way about Costume Quest.
Well, thanks for reading! Tim and I visited the PlayStation HQ recently to demo the game and that video should be going live on the PlayStation.Blog soon. Also, I’ll be sticking around after this post to answer any questions you have about the game.
Costume Quest will be available on PlayStation Network on October 19th for $15.