You might say there’s something fishy about Derrick, but we can assure you everything is going swimmingly well with Gordon Midwood, the head of fresh produce at Different Tuna. We asked him a few things about his upcoming game Derrick the Deathfin.
PSM: Derrick could be the lovechild of Ecco the Dolphin and Sonic the Hedgehog, but we’re hoping it’s not. What are the inspirations behind Derrick?
Gordon: He’s not really their lovechild no, I just repeat that line quite often in order to get people to pay attention. Their influences are there though – sorry! Joe Danger has been a big influence on the game too, as I think they got the whole PSN arcade download game thing down just about perfectly. There might be a bit of Katamari Damacy in there too, in the sense that things end up upside down a lot. I played Mario Galaxy 2 a little bit every evening when I was designing the levels too, hopefully some of that mystical magic has rubbed off! In all honesty though Derrick was never meant to be directly inspired by or a homage to anything, but rather an original arcade game in its own right.
Clearly though nothing exists in isolation. Unless it’s in an isolation chamber.
PSM: Everybody loves papercraft, it’s sort of an universal language that everyone can master, perhaps not without cutting a few fingers off in the process, but I digress. However, modelling and animating 3D papercraft sounds like a daunting project, how big is your team and did you collaborate with any other studios?
Gordon: It would be a daunting prospect for me too, but thankfully the super talented Ronzo took care of all the character and environment designs and building the actual papercraft. Ronzo and myself make up Different Tuna so we are full time on the project.
The 3D modelling & animating was handled by the geniuses at Ten24, they did a great job of translating Ronzo’s designs into 3D and animated everything perfectly to give it that rigid papery feel. In addition to them Pitstop did a superb job with the audio & Tuna Tech were brilliant in helping us out with initial tech side.
So basically there are 2 of us living and breathing the dream of Derrick with a range of contractors who were brought in for their expertise when they were needed. Our funding from Channel 4 and Screen Yorkshire gave us the opportunity to do it that way.
PSM: It looks like Derrick is all alone in the vast blue expanse. Will the game support multiplayer, for example co-op? If not, was this ever considered?
Gordon: Derrick’s loneliness after the death of his parents is an important factor in his psychological motivation to reek destruction. We felt that if we were to add multiplayer or co-op it would remove this feeling of isolation & could have a detrimental effect one of the key tenets of Derrick’s story. Plus we didn’t have the time or budget.
PSM: If you’re a fish of Olympic caliber (also assuming fish got their own Olympics), how long will it take to swim and eat your way through the game?
Gordon: Fish do not currently have their own Olympics. My understanding is that the idea was mooted by the International Subaquatic Committee in the early 80s but many of the competitors couldn’t work out how to get a decent grip on the javelin so the idea had to be abandoned.
Derrick the Deathfin is set over 32 levels in 4 continents & can be played through in around 3-4 hours if you are an elite athlete. There are many more hours gameplay to be had if you want to go for highscores, gold medals, collect all the diamonds, jump through all the flaming tyres in the sky and get all the trophies though. The game does get harder as you progress too, this is no underwater cake walk. I would expect many players will struggle to finish all the levels.
PSM: The game looks fit for a swim on the Vita, has the game ever been considered for the platform?
Gordon: Derrick is a PS3 exclusive for the foreseeable future. What happens after that is anybody’s guess.
Is that an evasive enough answer for you?
PSM: Fish are full of proteins. So are bugs. Did you encounter any fun unexpected bugs during development, and did any of them end up as features in the game?
Gordon: Very good question, there are loads of these actually. Upside down crabs, capsized penguins, collapsed surfers pushed over by birds, trapped traffic light fish, all manner of physics-based “bugs” have been kept in the game because we thought they were funny.
PSM: What is the most delicious or exotic thing Derrick will devour on his journey?
Gordon: This would probably have to be the Alienfish – he is the final boss. Btw I only recommend Googling “alienfish” on an empty stomach.
PSM: If you’ve watched Jaws a few times too many and developed a substantial case of selachophobia, will you still be able to enjoy the game?
Gordon: Definitely. Especially if, like me, you don’t know what selachophobia is.
PSM: Now that you got paper covered, what other materials do you see yourself working with in the future? May we suggest clay?
Gordon: You may, but that is unlikely to happen due to the large amount of clay games already out there. We would probably go for something a little more unusual, like butter.
PSM: Btw. Doesn’t paper get really soggy under water?
Gordon: Not if the water is made out of paper too.
Dive into the official Derrick the Deathfin site for more info.