Digitally Downloaded (DD): Firstly, can you please start off by introducing yourself to our readers?
Here at Digitally Downloaded, we recently got a chance to sit down with Different Tuna’s founder, Gordon, to talk about his charming indie title that recently made a splash on PSN, Derrick the Deathfin. We had ourselves a good ole time swimming around in the world’s very first underwater papercraft title and awarded it 4/5 Stars in our review. But inquisitive minds must know more and we’ve stirred up a few questions of our own for Different Tuna in the hopes to learn a little bit more about our toothy friend that lives under the sea.
Gordon:Certainly. My name is Gordon, and I am “Head of Fresh Produce” at Different Tuna. In comprehensible English that means that I am one half of the team that made Derrick the Deathfin for PS3. I am the non-artistic side of Different Tuna, so I do game design, level design, programming etc. Ronzo (http://ronzo.co.uk) is the artistic genius who forms the other half of the team.
DD: Derrick the Deathfin is the world’s very first “underwater papercraft videogame.” Can you elaborate on what this means?
Gordon: Sure. Almost every object in the game has been physically created with paper, photographed and then modelled in 3D before being brought into the game. This gives the game a very unique look in my objective and completely unbiased opinion. The setting for the game is a vibrant, colourful and wacky aquatic world. Hence the claim that Derrick the Deathfin is the world’s very first “underwater papercraft videogame.” I think we’re on safe ground with that claim to be honest!
Have a look at our making of video if you would like to see more of the process that goes into making the game: https://vimeo.com/channels/derrickthedeathfin
DD: It’s an art style that’s simply beautiful in motion and sets such a charming atmosphere for the game. Was this planned from the onset, or did the art style fall into place later into the development cycle?
Gordon: Thank-you very much for the kind words! The idea for the gameplay, and indeed the name for the game, came before the aesthetic actually. Originally I imagined Derrick would be realised in more of a pop-up paperbook style, so flat layers of 2D objects in a 3D environment if that makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense then no matter because it didn’t happen!
The real look for the game arose as soon as street artist Ronzo came on board the project, he was the one who came up with the idea of real 3D papercraft. Also he is the one with oodles of artistic and character design talent so it should come as no surprise that all the good stuff comes from him!
DD: Let’s not forget the title’s loveable hero, Derrick the Deathfin. How did Mr Derrick come to be? Was his name always going to be “Derrick”?
Gordon: It was indeed. I came up with the name and the gameplay basics before anything else on the project. I was fully expecting somebody to tell me at some stage that the name was patently ridiculous and it simply must be changed. Nobody ever did.
DD: When playing the game for review, we felt that inspiration for it might have been drawn from the likes of another PSN indie hit, Joe Danger, as well as a much older classic, Ecco the Dolphin. Were our assessments correct? Were there other inspirations?
Gordon: You are pretty spot on there yes. It was intended to be a kind of mash up of Ecco and Sonic, so underwater but very fast paced and with lots of high octane action. As we were creating the game then Joe Danger did become a major focus of reference; it is to my mind perhaps the finest arcade downloadable title of the past few years.
There were other inspirations that might be a little more hidden too. When I was working on the level designs I would play 30 minutes of Mario Galaxy 2 every night once I had stopped on Derrick. I love that game, and definitely tried to emulate the variety you get between levels and in some way ape the astonishing quality of the game design.
DD: Was Derrick the Deathfin always going to be a PSN exclusive? If so, how did this decision come to be made?
Gordon: It was pretty simple really. We always intended Derrick to be a downloadable console title, so we approached Sony first, they loved the concept and we went from there.
DD: Now that the game has been on the market for some time now, do you feel that a multiplatform release would have been a better option?
Gordon: Interesting question. I have no idea to be honest, I have no points of reference to compare to. The reality is that we are a 2 man team, with me doing all the programming, debugging etc. so it would never have been possible to release on multiple platforms simultaneously & we are certainly happy that we chose PS3 as our launch platform.
DD: We’ve (sadly) read that Derrick the Deathfin won’t be receiving any DLC. Where does Different Tuna set sail to next? Are the portable and/or mobile markets a viable option for the company?
Gordon: We didn’t set Derrick up to receive any DLC, although we haven’t completely ruled it out. To be honest anything is possible for Different Tuna next, we will certainly be hand crafting more juicy organic videogames in the near future.
DD: We’ve got to ask – is papercraft going to be a sort of trademark for future titles from Different Tuna?
Gordon: There may well be more papercraft titles yes – in fact I had an awesome idea for one earlier today – but I wouldn’t expect it to become our trademark style. We do intend to create games with a very hand-crafted, analogue feel to them though, of which papercraft is one part.
DD: Lastly, as an independent developer, when you visualise the gaming industry a decade from today – what does it look like?
Gordon: It looks like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doAnB5_eDnw
We would like to thank Gordon for his time.
There’s also a few more copies of Derrick the Deathfin (PS3) available in our Frequent Flyers Rewards Program that can be redeemed for only 2,000 points. So if your curious as to what all the fuss is about, your copy of the game is on us (while they last, of course).