This is a quick interview that we were able to do at EGX with Jack Bennett (@jack_bennett) from Oddbug Studio (@oddbugstudio).
Stuart: We’re here at Oddbug Studio’s stand at EGX and talking to Jack about their new game, the PSVR title The Lost Bear. Jack, can you tell us a little bit about the game?
Jack: So The Lost Bear is a 2D VR platformer. That might sound like a weird concept, but once you put it in the guise of a theatre show in which the world around you changes it makes a lot more sense. So you play as Walnut, who is a little girl, who’s going out adventuring with her brother, but on the way she happens to lose her teddy bear and so the story of The Lost Bear is that you’ve got to regain your teddy bear and come back home to your brother.
S: What about the studio itself? How big is the team?
J: So Oddbug Studio, who is the developer of the game and created the IP, is three guys. That’s the lead artist, the lead designer, and me, the designed, as well, but then we’re working in conjunction with our publisher Fabrik who give us the code support we need. So in total there are ten or eleven guys that worked on The Lost Bear.
S: What about the development time for the game?
J: So The Lost Bear was made really quickly. It was a six month turnaround so we had to make it super quick, but we really wanted to make a condensed, small game that people could enjoy in one sitting so the six months allowed us to do that.
S: What sort of play time are you talking about?
J: The full game from end to end is about an hour long. Just over an hour. Lie I say we wanted it to be a thing you could sit down, become immersed in that world, and complete it in one go without ever having to leave. We didn’t want you to be broken from the immersion by having to take that headset off because you were feeling a bit sick or having to go to work so that’s what we wanted to do.
S: Have you thought about then moving it over to any of the other VR platforms?
J: At the moment The Lost Bear is exclusive to PSVR, but who knows what the future holds.
S: So the game itself then, what’s the setting behind it? It definitely feels like empty countryside, but there are things like wrecked cars in the background.
J: The Lost Bear is based on an Eastern European puppet show so it’s got those layers in it, but we kind of say it has a post-apocalyptic vibe to it. If people pick that up they pick that up. We don’t want to force that on people, but maybe if they know that they’ll look for it.
S: What about the sound design? I’ve just been on playing the game and the music is really quite nice and everything, but there is a lot of 3D sound design going on in there as well.
J: There’s a couple of things about The Lost Bear. First of all the acoustic music was actually done by the lead designer’s granddad who plays the guitar and recorded all the songs, but then we had two sound designers, Jamie Finlay and Jey Kazi, who both worked on the audio for the game. We use a lot of 3D sounds to attract your attention around the room because, again, although the game is a 2D game in front of you a lot of the game can happen around you in that 3D space so we needed that to draw your attention away from the stage, and 3D sound was a good way of doing that.
S: The game itself is very impressive and we wish you all the luck with it.
J: Thank you and keep a look out for our next game.