When Sony's Tsutomu Kouno first saw the PSP, it was its possibilities for simplicity, not complexity, that stood out to him and inspired the design of LocoRoco
As part of a new Gamasutra feature interview
, he explains: "When the PSP was first announced, it seemed to me like everyone was gearing up to make these complicated games for it, like sequels to games that had been on the PS2. I wanted to break that mold and make a game that really seemed at home on the PSP."
Part of Kouno's aim in developing the game's simple L and R-button control scheme was invention and freshness. "It's like, if you don't make something new these days, gamers are likely to complain that your game is 'just another sequel,' or that it borrows from something else," he said.
"I know I've often felt this way as a gamer, myself. So as a developer, I felt that pressure to make something new."
With uniqueness in mind, Kouno deliberately aimed opposite the styles that have become standard. "Polygons, complex character models, realistic shadows and lighting have become the standard for games today," he explains. "I wanted to go the other way, and use a simple, effective 2D approach that would make even non-gamers say, 'Hey, that's cute, I'd play that.'"
He also rejected the common standard of direct character control. "This isn't the case in LocoRoco
," he says. "The LocoRocos
themselves often don't do what you want them to. It was sort of an experiment, looking back, but my hope was to create something that if done well, would introduce a new way to enjoy playing games."
In the full Gamasutra feature
, Kouno shares more thoughtful insights on LocoRoco
's design -- including the initial sketches that inspired its simple gameplay (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).