With Peppa Pig: World Adventures, Outright Games recently launched their second Peppa Pig title. After our review, we also had the chance to talk to the development team at Petoons Studio about their work on the franchise and how they approached World Adventures – here’s what we found out.
How did you feel about the reception towards My Friend Peppa Pig and when did the work on World Adventures start?
We were thrilled with the reception to the first game and that it was so well received by our players and the press. Most of all we’re overjoyed that people enjoyed playing it. We did see that the game scored higher with fans than some other big AAA titles and whatever the reason behind those high ratings we really enjoyed it!
We started work on Peppa Pig: World Adventures in September 2021. We were very happy to be back and we were looking forward to the challenge of building on the success of the first game and taking it to the next level.
What can you tell us about your approach towards designing these games with a very young audience in mind?
All aspects of the game, both in terms of gameplay and visuals, are carefully thought out to offer an accessible experience tailored to the primary target audience which, as you’ve noted, are very young.
The game is aimed at 3-6 year olds but will also appeal to older kids who are fans of the show.
We worked on the below elements for the younger players:
● Menus that are presented to the player at the start of the game are very simple and intuitive to navigate, with the narrator guiding you through the process.
● During gameplay, the narrator and the non-playable characters constantly help with
explanations to guide the player as they enjoy the activities through the different locations.
● We also worked on Peppa as a companion and she gives directions, suggests activities and helps with quests, which guide the player in an open world with plenty of places to choose to go to.
● The mechanics in all the mini-games and interactions are very simple and always use the same buttons, so children can easily internalise which button to press. When they are asked to perform actions that are a bit more complex, reminders for the button controls are presented at the bottom of the screen and characters around you give regular reminders, too.
● All actions made by the player provide clear and simple feedback (audible and visual), which helps them understand the outcome of their input.
Peppa Pig World Adventures is structured a little differently than My Friend Peppa Pig – what were some of the design decisions that went into this?
Our first game only covered a small portion of the locations and characters from the series, and with this game, we wanted to utilise even more of Peppa’s universe and make it playable in our own special way.
We really wanted to find new and exciting locations for our adventures. There are many episodes in the TV series where Peppa travelled to different parts of the world and this approach opened up a lot of possibilities and variety for the gameplay, the visuals and the narrative.
We felt it would be interesting to create a world that is structured in a different way from My Friend Peppa Pig; this time, the player switches between self-contained spaces that are very different from each other. This allowed providing the player with a new experience, but since we wanted to continue with the open-world approach that was already present in the first game, the player can travel to the different destinations in the order they want.
How did you go about recreating the look and feel of Peppa Pig in these two games?
Peppa Pig is a long-standing franchise and we had the team at Hasbro providing us with the materials and guidelines that we needed during the creation process. This really helped simplify bringing the characters and environments to life for our art and animation teams. The characters in the game were all created originally by our development team, and when it came to animating them, a lot of time went into watching the show to ensure that the acting and cinematography were in line with what kids see on TV.
The environment assets and props have been either created originally by the development team’s artists or adapted from the brand materials. We were provided with style guides to help us make them look indistinguishable from the show.
For the sound, we were provided with licensed music that fans will recognise from the show, most of which is present in the game’s cutscenes. We also created plenty of original tracks as well, that worked better in the gameplay sections. Our composer (who also worked on My Friend Peppa Pig) did a great job in creating tunes that could perfectly fit in with the show.
We also worked with a scriptwriter who had previously worked on Peppa Pig, and writers from the show revised all the dialogue to help us get the right tone for all characters. It was very important for us to match exactly what they do and say on TV.
We work very closely with our friends at Hasbro on feedback to make sure that we understand the style of the brand and that the game looks and feels consistent. This was especially useful when creating new environments and props; thanks to their feedback, we were able to better understand the style of the series and make our assets blend better with the other elements of the game.
We think My Friend Peppa Pig did a great job in maintaining the aesthetics of the series and for Peppa Pig: World Adventures, we put a lot of effort into polishing the animation to make it almost like an interactive episode of the show, as well as building locations that are visually richer and more diverse. We also improved the sound, with a great variety of music in all the worldwide locations to really make each location feel as authentic as possible.
In terms of narrative content and themes – what were some of the focus areas in World Adventures?
In the very early stages of the project, we conducted a retrospective of My Friend Peppa Pig and then set several objectives of areas for improvement so that the new game would clearly look and play better than its predecessor. On a design level, the main challenge was to come up with a greater variety of mechanics in the mini-games and quests so as the player progresses through the story and the different locations, they would always encounter new and unexpected ideas.
We also wanted to focus more on the customisation aspect, as this was a popular feature from the first game. We wanted to allow the player to further express themselves, which is why we introduced more customisation options for your avatar, as well as the option to customise your own house, and even your own family. Diversity and inclusion are essential to us and we wanted to make sure that it was presented in a very organic way, so that all kids from different backgrounds can see their own family represented and can express themselves as they prefer.
What are your post-launch plans for the game?
We have already released a day one patch to help with loading times and other bugs that we were not able to address before the game was certified and set for release, so we suggest everyone to download the update to ensure that they enjoy the best experience.
No DLC is planned for this game but we hope to make more Peppa games in the future – watch this space!