Interview: Ponpu art director, Purple Tree Studio co-founder Pablo Cerrutti


If you’re old enough to remember classic Bomberman games, you may be interested in Ponpu.

The upcoming Bomberman-inspired action game Ponpu was just featured as part of Xbox’s Summer Game Fest and Steam Game Festival. We recently had a chance to interview Pablo Cerrutti, the game’s art director and co-founder of indie developer Purple Tree Studio.

Can you tell us more about how Ponpu started? How long has it been in development?

The game originally started off as a prototype of Bomberman built with the magical powers of HTML5. That web demo-based prototype ended up getting nominated for and won some indie awards, and after that, the development started to grow. It’s been in development for about a year and a half. There was a gap in there between when we won the “Best Console Game Award” at GameConnection and when we signed with Zordix Publishing.

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After playing the demo, it’s clear that the game draws inspiration from Bomberman. What other games inspired the team in terms of game design?

A lot of the other influences come from games like Super Smash Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. I have to say that the best mechanics are the ones that our artist came up with while designing the art for the eggs.

The art style is pretty distinct and gives the game a unique personality. Can you give us an idea of the creative process behind Ponpu‘s art style and character design? What all goes into it? Are there a lot of drafts before settling on a final design?

We actually set up three different art styles, each with unique concepts. After our artists finished, we chose the one that stood out the most. In one concept there was already a Ponpu and we’ve fallen in love with him ever since. For the animations, backgrounds, and enemies, we have a ton of concept art and I’m thinking of making an art book. We have a lot of cool stuff and the world must see it!

So, you select among different ducks to play as in single player. What can you tell us about them in terms of backstory?

I don’t want to reveal too much, but I can tell you this: our friend starts a quest to defeat his creator in order to keep the galaxy in balance. Who is his creator and why was Ponpu created? You’ll have to play the game to find out.

By the way, what does ‘Ponpu’ mean, if anything?

There’s no meaning behind it other than it being a cute name. We saw the character in one of our concepts and one of us said, “Aw, what a cute little guy. It’s like a… Ponpu.”

Can you talk some about how the multiplayer works?

Players will have three multiplayer modes to choose from and can play either local or online. Online matches will pair you up with players of similar skill.

Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about Ponpu?

I’d say that while the multiplayer is an absolute blast, the game is also a perfect fit for players looking for a good quality single-player experience. The boss fights are one of my favorite things in the game and every single one is unique, challenging, and visually really fun.

This interview has been lightly edited.

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