Interview with Diego Ras

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Do you remember that one game from back in the 90s that always made you pull out your N64? Back when platformers were the most popular video game genre? Our media managers got to interview the developer for Raccoo Venture, with the goal to bring that nostalgic feeling back to you! Raccoo Venture was inspired by many popular games from the old Video Game platforms like N64, GameCube and PSOne.

Can you tell us about your game Raccoo Venture for those who may be new to the game?

Raccoo Venture is 3D platform collect-a-thon that brings the old playful mood from the 90’s games. In this game you take control of Raccoo, the last heir of guardians, who must retrieve the sacred relic pieces and maintain the world’s balance. For this you will need to solve puzzles, defeat enemies and discover a lot of secrets around the world.

A developer working on a game all by himself is quite unique. How did you handle working on this project alone?

Certainly it is quite laborious to develop a game alone. But I always try to keep things organized and keep up with work. Planning timelines and goals is also very important for you to have a direction to follow. I usually separate the developmental stages of each level in small parts, which gives me the opportunity to be working on concepts on paper and in other time modeling 3D scenery, this helps not to let the work get tedious.

How long did it take you to make the game? Raccoo Venture has a very nostalgic feel and is easy to learn as well. How did you come up with the Raccoon Hero concept?

I have been working on the game since the middle of 2017, when I created the first gameplay concepts and improved some mechanics. And then in early 2018 the game took more shape and I really started to develop the story and stages of the game. I was looking for a protagonist who was sympathetic and aroused some sense of empathy for the audience. At the same time this hero should be some little animal because he would defend the nature, as I always saw in the games I used to play when I was young (As you can see, I had a lot of inspiration from 90’s). It was when I came up with the idea of the raccoon that immediately captivated me, because besides being an animal that is not much seen in games as a hero, he also has his natural hero mask.

The Relics you need to collect in the game are related to a chess board game. What part did the chess game play during the development?

I have always enjoyed playing chess despite not being a great player and have always admired the way the game is set up. It really is a game that has great beauty. You will not find chess-related mechanics in the game. But it fits perfectly when we make a match between chess and balance. When a single piece is moved, a dispute begins and the balance is lost. This is what happens when tattooed Tatus decided to steal the pieces, they endanger the balance of the world.

The entire scenery of the game has a very adorable and classic touch to it. Even the enemies in the game fit into it well. Did you have any challenges when designing them? And what is a good strategy to fight the special ones for example the ones with the spikes?

Absolutely, every new scenario is always a big challenge because everything needs to make sense. You need to think “why should this stone be here?”. One of my biggest concerns about the game is to keep it fun and intuitive and at the same time it needs to bring a certain level of challenge to the player. For this, I try to keep the scenario as clear as possible, bringing items that are relevant to the gameplay. Always trying to avoid very polluted visuals or distracting objects. Each enemy has their best strategy of being defeated. Some of them you can simply avoid. Others you need to distance yourself and attack them with “bomb-shrooms”, or even wait till they get distracted and fool them with a smelly truffle. This is one of the fun things in the game. you are not required to defeat enemies, but you can have fun figuring out the best way to do it.

Which character was the most fun and which was the most challenging to design?

I think Pru is a good answer for this question. Because Pru was a character who needed to be both clumsy and wise. These are two things that do not seem to work well together. But they looked great for a tired and clumsy old pigeon who knows a lot about the great secrets of the world of Verta.

How did you come up with the feature to be able to select different outfits for Raccoo?

When I came up with the Raccoo concept, I wanted a character that had a simple and clean look. However, the first few times I showed Raccoo to some close friends, I often heard things like “he could have a scarf” or “put on a hero’s cape”. So I decided to leave this decision for the player, the way he wanted Raccoo to dress. But for that, players must search and find new costumes around the world, because it couldn’t be that simple, right

There are quite a few puzzles in the game and every puzzle comes with a unique way to solve them. What are your favorite puzzle mechanics you have implemented in the game?

I am always looking for innovating in puzzle mechanics, so I look for references and ideas in completely different places, ranging from other video games to board games. I don’t believe there is a favorite mechanic, but certainly there is a pattern in some of them. And yet there are secrets that you need to abstract a bit to find the solution. I think this is the essence of the game, the pleasure and rewardness of discovering secrets.

Do you have plans for additional content in the future? What features can we expect?

I do have some improvement plans for the game in its final version, with further polishing the gameplay, making the game more solid and improve the player experience. The game will end up with 17 levels. But about new features I still prefer not to promise anything. But I can assure that you will have a lot of things to discover in the game.

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