Welcome to another installment of Let’s Make a Game! Last time we made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that may have been a bit prophetic, but I haven’t found anyone working on our subject this time; SpongeBob SquarePants. Let’s dive in and see what we can put together.
SpongeBob has a great art style already, but could benefit from the clean sharp look provided by the UbiArt Framework engine. Ubisoft did some amazing work in Rayman Origins turning Rayman and company into some lovable characters that just felt alive. Given that, the team I believe that could do the most justice to the SpongeBob universe is Ubisoft Montpellier.
SpongeBob has much much more interesting characters than Rayman Origins, but the starting four characters seem obvious as Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, and of course SpongeBob himself. Unlockable characters could include Mr. Krabs, Plankton, Pearl, Mrs. Puff, Larry the Lobster, and variant costumes and versions for the main characters.
We’ve seen SpongeBob and friends in a variety of games aimed at kids and therefore not given more than minimal attention when it comes to gameplay. Even though the breadth of stories in the SpongeBob show could easily fill an action or adventure game, I rarely find the transition from a 2D foundation to a 3D game works in favor of the source material.
The one exception that comes to mind is the new South Park RPG developed by Obsidian, but we have yet to see it in action. Something like Paper Mario could really be interesting, but I think we’ll save that for another project. For this game, let’s make a platformer, and again let’s see what Ubisoft can do for a follow-up to Rayman Origins. They did a great job with four-player simultaneous gameplay and as such, should have no problem implementing this for our SpongeBob game.
Being that we’ve chosen a platformer for our game, the mechanics are fairly simple. We need something to collect, gather, or rescue. Those could be gold coins, Krabby Patties, jellyfish, or just about anything featured on the show.
Since the characters are so varied, there’s no reason not to have a variety of different types of levels based on each character’s archetype. Plankton can play through levels with giant sized objects. Sandy can play through more combat intensive levels. Mr. Krabs can play a level similar to the Treasure Chest level from Rayman Origins shown above, collecting coins at breakneck speeds only achievable by his motivation for riches. Each character could have a specific type of level or perhaps the levels could simply be played differently based on the character you choose.
The music from SpongeBob SquarePants is enjoyable and inspired, and would fit perfectly in our game. Adapting it to the flow of the game would be handled masterfully by Christophe Heral, the composer for — you guessed it — Rayman Origins. You can clearly see where the inspiration for this game lies, and how can you blame me? Just take a listen and tell me the banjo, kazoo, and even didgeridoo, wouldn’t accommodate the whimsy and fun of the SpongeBob world.
(Please excuse my terrible design skills.)
Title: SpongeBob SquarePants
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: November 2012
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, PS Vita
Players: 1-4 Xbox Live, PSN
Considering the existing assets and polish of the Rayman Origins engine, we should be able to get this one out by holiday 2012. It’s a full-fledged console release and deserves pricing as such, and I would buy this day one.