Hello! It’s Ricky here from Hollow Ponds, to give you some inside info about our new game Loot Rascals, which hits PlayStation 4 today, March the 7th.
Loot Rascals is a game which looks like a silly space cartoon, as a way of disguising the fact that it’s actually a brutally hard, deeply strategic roguelike ;)
You’re on a mission to rescue Big Barry – your huge robot head pal – from a space theme park that’s been invaded by The Thing Below – a horrid, tentacled pan-dimensional beast.
You’ll explore an alien planet, beat a menagerie of strange baddies and win Loot Cards which give you special abilities. Choosing which to equip requires strategic thinking – the way you lay them out is crucial, and some must be sacrificed because cards are also the precious resources you need to heal and use powerful abilities.
Here’s our launch trailer:
I wanted to use this space to talk a little about the antagonist in the game – The Thing Below, which very few people outside of the development team have seen.
When we started working on this game – back when it existed only as a set of cardboard hexagons on a pub table – we were talking to our artist and collaborator David Ferguson about some of our influences. We knew we wanted to make a silly space game, inspired by the science fiction tv shows, movies and toys of our youth, but felt it would be good to have the main baddy in the game be something more sinister, as a way to counterbalance the overt humour elsewhere in the game.
Our inspiration for ‘something sinister’ was partly from HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu – the idea of an ancient, tentacled all-powerful monster is so prevalent in popular culture, and it felt right here. The idea that it would form an alliance with the player worked well too – providing a solid explanation for how the player is being reincarnated over and over again. And there was only one person we thought of when it came to doing the concept art for a nasty wobbly tentacle beast – our old friend Jon Boam, who worked with us on a Vita game called Frobisher Says. No-one draws space slime like Jon!
We started off with pencil sketches, and gradually worked it to the point where we had a fair idea of what we wanted – whereupon Jon gave us a full ‘kit’ of pieces, to allow us to stitch the final forms of the Thing Below together however we wanted.
Here’s some of the concept art which shows how the Thing Below came together:
Here are some of the parts of the Thing Below ‘Kit’:
Check the top of the page for a teaser shot of the Thing Below in the game – when it’s infested Big Barry. To see what it looks like when you actually do battle with it, you’re going to have to get good enough to get there yourself, I’m afraid!
Loot Rascals lands on PlayStation 4 today! We’re really happy with it – hope you all have fun trying to escape intact!