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5 Inspirations Behind Costume Quest, Coming to PS3 October 19th

Tasha Harris's Avatar Posted by

Project Lead, Double Fine Productions

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.

Costume Quest for PS3

Homemade costumes

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.

Costume Quest for PS3


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.

Costume Quest for PS3

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.

Costume Quest for PS3

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.

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SuperSailorMoon said:

October 6th, 4:04 pm

This actually looks really cute, and I like the inspiration list. Should be really interesting :).

syk1288 said:

October 6th, 4:09 pm

Bad idea to come out on the day Naruto comes out. I’ll purchase this in the future.

zekececil14 said:

October 6th, 4:10 pm

This looks oddly familiar to the last post about Sideway New York. Except this is like halloween in an urban town, and it doesn’t have bunnies vomiting up baby bunnies. (yes, i’m serious about the bunny thing)

JesseHaysFL said:

October 6th, 4:11 pm

Double Fine is awesome. Must purchase this game. I even got to play against Tim Shaffer in Brutal Legend and it was one of the best gaming things I have done. And I lost in case you were wondering.

WFMMK said:

October 6th, 4:12 pm

Any chance of special Sony character costumes? Like Kratos, Jak, Ratchet, etc.? It could also be some nice DLC, keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to seeing what Tim and Ron can think up now that they’re back together!

supvic said:

October 6th, 4:13 pm


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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 5:58 pm

    Yep, there will be a free demo available the same day the full game comes out.

Berae said:

October 6th, 4:16 pm

It looks nice, i love halloween. Can you post a video of gameplay, i mean this video doesn’t show much of how it works

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    Sid Shuman said:

    October 6th, 4:44 pm

    More to come here soon — Rey’s working on a video as we speak…

lightyear8 said:

October 6th, 4:24 pm

Looks great! I hope a demo is available at launch…

xektor17 said:

October 6th, 4:24 pm

Looks like it’ll be a fun game. I’m getting it!

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    Sid Shuman said:

    October 6th, 4:28 pm

    Glad to hear it! BTW, if you’re seeing a duped video window on the homepage, we know about it and are trying to get it fixed. Pardon our dust! (^_^)

Neil said:

October 6th, 4:30 pm

I just wanted to thank Double Fine for creating a Halloween themed game. Will buy day 1.

DIGGY305 said:

October 6th, 4:30 pm

would be awesome if it had Home Rewards

Mortae3 said:

October 6th, 4:31 pm

The simple fact that you used Earthbound as an inspiration was enough to get my attention. That is one game that didn’t get it’s deserved attention. I still play it to this day.

This looks pretty cool. I like the costume idea!

plaztiksyke said:

October 6th, 4:32 pm

Looking great, Tasha! A few questions:

1. what’s the native resolution the game renders in on PS3? 1080p?

2. why don’t the pumpkins and candle-bags act as lighting sources? are these old screenshots, or is such detail not part of the game? seeing long, exaggerated shadows of the pumpkin’s carved features would really add to the creepiness!

3. are the music assets shipping in the PS3 version 24-bit HD quality? if not, what is the format/bitrate?

4. who’s doing the music? what are the inspirations behind the music written for the game? will the soundtrack be available for purchase?

5. any plans for DLC? would be cool to dress up as a Psychonaut, Eddie Riggs, or Kenny from South Park :)

6. are there any plans to bring Psychonauts to PSN in an “HD” revamp? All the cool kids are doing it!

7. I’m fine with the $15 price point, but does the game include a platinum trophy to help sweeten the deal?

my husband and I loved Grabbed by the Ghoulies, and this is the first game I’ve seen that appears to capture a similar aesthetic. this is a first day purchase for me, keep up the awesome work!

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:04 pm

    thanks for the compliments :D here are some answers for you!
    1. 720p
    2. art is hard.
    4. Peter McConnell – he also did the music for Psychonauts, Brutal Legend’s original score, and most of Tim’s other games. I think he did a fantastic job!
    6. If you know someone with some money to give us to make it please let us know :D

FearMonkey said:

October 6th, 4:34 pm

A game all about getting costumes and solving puzzles and fighting monsters using the costume’s special abilities?

Have I died and gone to heaven?

Random Fact: I have also never finished Wind Waker because of the horrible boat. :p

MewMix said:

October 6th, 4:35 pm

I have been watching this game for a bit and I am, without a doubt, gonna buy it day one. This looks like the perfect thing to set the mood for Cavity Day.

Kirkpad said:

October 6th, 4:41 pm

@2 But, Naruto sucks. Tim Schaffer doesn’t. Therefore, get Costume Quest.

ExcelKnight said:

October 6th, 4:41 pm

Awesome writeup and great inspirations, too!

By the by, there’s an extra M lying around at the end of the Wind Waker title.

Kirkpad said:

October 6th, 4:42 pm

Oh god yes, I wish they would make a Psychonauts Remake… or even a sequel. Who owns that franchise? Majesco?

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:12 pm

    Double Fine owns the IP.

longmeat said:

October 6th, 4:42 pm

Looks really good, I’ll keep my eye on it.

Apotheosize said:

October 6th, 4:47 pm

I love how you described the game as “looking through old photos”! I can totally relate to that. Im very excited for the game, to be honest I always wondered why there wasnt a Halloween themed RPG. You guys should do more holiday seasons like Christmas. Anyways always loved Halloween, I’ll definitely be playing this on that day!

EverlastingXIII said:

October 6th, 4:47 pm

Double Fine Presents Legend of Onnet: David Bowe’s Crotch Waker?
Do want. First day buy confirmed.

Thrasher20 said:

October 6th, 4:49 pm

Niiiice it looks sweet!

Blkant said:

October 6th, 4:54 pm

Trippy, actually looks pretty neat.

MLZ911 said:

October 6th, 5:11 pm

WOW that trailer was super cool. This is the first time I actually payed attention to this game. It looks amazing. Call me a sucker but that trailer alone will justify a first day purchase for me!

UltimaChocochu said:

October 6th, 5:20 pm

Finally a Halloween game me and my brother can play possibly every Halloween, can’t wait.

WFMMK said:

October 6th, 5:25 pm

Can’t wait till it comes out day 1 for sure. But I’d love it if the store would update a few hours earlier!

DigitalDevilSaga said:

October 6th, 5:25 pm

All of the unique and original things that inspired this game are also identical to my inspirations, that’s why when Costume Quest is relased, I am purchasing it without a doubt. Even though your inspirations for the design are drawn from different worlds, they fit perfectly, as those are ALL inspirations to me as well =)

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:22 pm

    haha hopefully there are 1 million more Hallorinthyzakiwakerboundians out there.

DeadCell34 said:

October 6th, 5:33 pm

LOL at the comment about it being a mistake releasing this game on the day that Naruto comes out. Naruto = sucky series, same for the game. You people and your anime………..

This looks cool, not sure if I’ll buy it day one but I’ll get it eventually.

WFMMK said:

October 6th, 6:02 pm

Will there be a special first week offer?

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:27 pm

    i have no idea but THQ has a bunch of cool stuff planned for the game leading up to the release.

JohnnySasaki said:

October 6th, 6:06 pm

Exciting! PSN RPGs are always welcome in my library, especially one made by Double Fine :D

I love plaztiksyke’s idea for a Psychonauts costume! That would be amazing…

shazbot-finubus said:

October 6th, 6:13 pm

I’ve been following news about this game, it looks really fun – you know, fun in the sort of way that has been missing in recent years.

I also enjoy learning about the influences of creative folks, you have great taste, Tasha!

WFMMK said:

October 6th, 6:16 pm

Can we get a Double Fine mascot costume too?

plaztiksyke said:

October 6th, 6:22 pm

so, is that a “no” on the platinum trophy? :)

a soundtrack and dynamic theme pack like the Shatter devs did would be really awesome. it was great to buy/hear their fantastic music in better-than-iTunes quality!

are there any Home tie-ins? it would be cool to buy a cartoon knight’s helmet for my avatar to wear!

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:30 pm

    i probably can’t say anything about the trophies except that we will announce the list soon :)

zetsuie said:

October 6th, 6:24 pm

Is Joe Kowalski working on the game?

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:29 pm

    yep Joe is our UI designer.

Curtisio said:

October 6th, 6:29 pm

My only comment is how this blog post messes up the other posts on my IE. Chrome works – which is good because not all is lost.

Anyway, peace!

banok said:

October 6th, 6:46 pm

ooh! just saw the tweet from tina sanchez, I can’t wait for this game! looks pretty cool! Will buy it day 1. And can I have a free candy Tasha?

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 6th, 6:50 pm

    i think there was a typo in her post. she meant to say “Send Tasha free candy, especially Twix.”

stlthriot said:

October 6th, 6:58 pm

Looks fun and reminds me a lot of Pyschonauts which is a great thing! :)

DNAgent said:

October 6th, 7:05 pm

I’ve never played Psychonauts or Brutal Legend but I plan on buying this game. More RPGs are always a good thing. I was sold on this game after watching one of the previews from giantbomb.

banok said:

October 6th, 7:09 pm

Fine, Tasha I’ll buy you Twix at the nearest store. That’s IF, you’re in San Francisco!

PullusPardusUS said:

October 6th, 7:56 pm

i loved Earthbound (wish they make another one) and windwaker (but Majora’s Mask is the best!) , so i’ll look forward to this

PullusPardusUS said:

October 6th, 7:57 pm

eh, i mean’t to say Best of its time >_>; Twilight Princess is the best overall.

A-Bomb96 said:

October 6th, 8:26 pm

Oh……, yeah not very smart releasing this the exact date of Fallout: New Vegas………

Permafry_42 said:

October 6th, 8:46 pm

looks intriguing, but with both fallout new vegas AND naruto coming out on the same day, i’ll be waiting on the game. Though i would enjoy a playstation plus exclusive early download to help me make up my mind on when i’ll get it. And if possible PLEASE release some dlc for the game later on the road that has more costumes in it like dinosaurs or a super hero or maybe some psn exclusive costumes like a sackboy costume.

also for those graphics fanboys out there, grow up. Graphics aren’t what games are all about. They’re about having fun. Just look at games like Fat Princess or Super Mario Galaxy 2 or any other gameplay-focused game. I’m glad that there are some people developing for ps3 that are focusing more on making a fun games then making a graphically impressive game.

Einhander138 said:

October 6th, 8:56 pm

I’m genuinely interested in this, but the fact it’s digital download only precludes me from purchasing it.

Put it on a disc, and I’ll buy it.

Frostquake said:

October 6th, 9:04 pm

I am buying this on Both Consoles…Yeppers, I love Halloween That Much Baby!!

Thank You DF for Rocking Halloween…My Favorite Holiday, and I am an Old Dude like Tim!

Richlando said:

October 6th, 9:42 pm

Very nice, sold! I hope this borrows ALOT from Earthbound..I love that game.

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 7th, 11:08 am

    the 2nd level of CQ is a mall – remember the mall level of Earthbound? :)

Rezillo said:

October 6th, 10:02 pm

Hey Tasha, can we expect cameos from Snoopy and Mr. Peterson?

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    Tasha Harris said:

    October 7th, 11:05 am

    well, black cats are a well known symbol of Halloween :)

KushalaFang said:

October 6th, 11:01 pm

This looks awesome keep them coming Double Fine.

HarveyX said:

October 6th, 11:02 pm

This game looks fun. I’ll purchase it just to get in the Halloween spirit ;)

D-Squad3 said:

October 6th, 11:12 pm

Yes it’s actually coming to the PS3!!!

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