At his Nordic Game Conference session, LocoRoco creator Tsutomu Kouno elaborated on the "simple, fun, and dynamic" design and musical objectives of his cult PSP title, and hinted at the new gameplay style of its forthcoming sequel.
Formerly a level designer on another beloved original Sony property, Ico, Tsutomo said the original concept for LocoRoco was born from humble PDA doodles he created during a train commute in the spring of 2004.
His three main objectives for the game were precise, it was to be simple, fun, and dynamic. They weren't so easy to greenlight, though -- Tsutomo said he twice pitched the concept and was rejected, which he blamed on his PowerPoint presentation. For his third-time-charm, he created a PC prototype and was given the funding.
In designing the visual style of the game, he said he went through revisions of clay, paper, and watercolor looks, but in the end favored the cartoony primary color scheme seen in the final product.
For his characters, he settled on a "silly and mysterious" design theme, basing some of the characters such as the Musukusu (pictured) on his own pet fish.
Tsutomo created style guides for his characters and prototyped their animations in Maya, which he used for the level designs as well, importing them from Adobe Illustrator originals.
Another of LocoRoco's touchstones is its original music, with which Tsutomo said he intended to create the atmosphere of a live musical. Each of the individual LocoRocos, when split apart from their coagulated whole, get separate vocal tracks, creating a harmony more complex than their singular character.
Tsutomo also hinted at his next project in the LocoRoco universe, which will continue the tradition of physics based gameplay, and will also focus on crowd AI, more use of music as a tool to draw the player in, expanded visual effects, and, intriguingly, "a new style of gameplay."