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A few Bugsnax developers have been open about their inspirations for the game. Ape Escape, Viva Piñata, Pokemon Snap, Pikmin, Adventure Time, and The Muppets Show were among the listed influences the team had for their upcoming quirky first-person adventure title, which were fair enough. But there were two that stuck out: Bioshock and Dark Cloud. While seemingly weird games to list, Kevin Zuhn, creative director, writer, and level designer on the game, gave a more detailed explanation in our interview with him (which you can watch below) for this week’s The GR Show.
Dark Cloud was an RPG from 2000 (and 2001 outside of Japan) developed by Ni no Kuni studio Level-5, making it an odd reference point for Bugsnax. However, it’s not as much about the core gameplay as much as it is about some parts of the general structure.
“Dark Cloud in particular was kind of about the town structure and the collecting of villagers to your town,” he explained. “That is an aspect in Bugsnax — finding the lost villagers on the island and bringing them back to a central town and building that up over time. It is otherwise not that similar to Dark Cloud.”
Bioshock is a much more unique reference point. The mature title has players has players shooting humans, bludgeoning them, or otherwise disfiguring them with the game’s array of nasty gene-altering Plasmids. That core gameplay loop doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with the more serene world of Bugsnax, but Zuhn was able to make fair connections in other ways.
“The plot does involve you going to a strange location after being invited by this charismatic leader character,” explained Zuhn. “But also Bioshock, mechanically, has a lot of setting traps and playing different characters off of each other. It’s a very reactive world and very explorable world.”
Bioshock‘s multiple Plasmids and weapons did allow players to experiment in novel ways. For example, you could shoot a sticky mine on a barrel before using telekinesis to toss said barrel at a crusty Splicer or hack a turret and lure enemies into its field of view. Bugsnax probably won’t be that violent and will likely lean more on the Ape Escape side of the equation where you’re using tools to non-violently capture your target. However, given the more ominous parts of the trailer — the shallow skeleton-filled grave, the attacking monster at the end — anything is possible.
Watch the interview below:
And watch the full The GR Show: