Last week, the highly anticipated release of Hohokum was announced via the Sony blog. Hohokum is collaboration between artist Richard Hogg and Honeyslug, a London-based game studio. In the words of Sony Santa Monica, "It is a whimsical colourful game with an emphasis on playful exploration and creativity. You take on the role of a curious flying snake-like character. A technicolor, calligraphic, worm-like, kite-like being! The way you move around the world is very expressive and kinetic and kind of mesmerizing to play."
Hohokum is released on PS3, PS4 and Vita, but not until 2014. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek into the wild world of Hohokum as Kwok Fung Lam, Lead Designer & Animator from the London office, talks us through his part in making Hohokum into a reality.
How did this project come about?
It emerged organically out of an ongoing collaboration between illustrator Richard Hogg and developer Ricky Haggett going back to 2007. They were playing around with lots of ideas and just generally trying to make a game with Richard's art. It went through loads of iterations. At one point it was a golf game! Hohokum, as we know know it, emerged around 2010-11 and is the version that I first worked on. This prototype was a finalist in the 2011 IGF and Indiecade which was what set them on the path to working with Sony Santa Monica to finish the game.
What role did you play?
Mainly animating a bunch of characters but Dick and Ricky were open to ideas for parts of game design. Those meetings were a laugh and pretty ridiculous sounding for someone listening in.
What were the highs and lows of the process?
The best bits were having the freedom to instill the character in the animation and they were pretty much happy with most of the stuff I did. I can't think of any lows really. Maybe dealing with so many outputs for each character? Each action had to be a separate sequence as it was all stitched back together with game code. Safe to say, it was very different to working on commercials or short films.
The promo has so many loveable characters... do you have a favourite?
There are a lot more in the game but for now my favourite is the backpack guy. He's just so damn cool. Someone should make toys of these characters!
Are you a gamer yourself?
Yeah, but I don't have much time as I used to though. I'm really into The Last Of Us at the moment.