New project for Harmonious Games is putty in their hands

Melbourne game developer Harmonious Games stretch our imagination with a new 2D Platformer Putty Pals.

Creative Director Laura Voss spoke with us about forming the idea, focusing on a cooperative gaming experience and the support they received from Film Victoria along the way. 

1.How did Harmonious Games form and how was the name selected?

We formed Harmonious Games in February 2016 roughly three months after finishing at Swinburne University. ‘Harmonious’ was chosen as our company name because we felt it best described the perfect balance of our distinct personalities, and our desire to create positive and humorous experiences for players.

2.Where did the idea for Putty Pals come from?

Funnily enough the idea for Putty Pals came from a discussion about squishy potatoes and wanting to make a game with characters that were squishy and malleable. From that I found out about this putty stuff that was like Play-Doh but bouncy! So we based our characters on that.

3.How long has the team been working on this project?

The team started working on Putty Pals in 2015 as part of a university project, however it became clear that we could take this game further and turn it into a commercial product. So including Uni, it has been almost two years!

4.How did it develop? Did you design the characters first and fit the challenges around that or did you create the environment first?

The characters were designed first. We needed to work out exactly the kind of mechanics we wanted from this ‘putty’ substance that would work in cooperative gameplay. That’s why we have mechanics where players reach out and hold onto each other and swing, or use each other as trampolines. The environment is the antagonist in our game, there are no enemies, and we didn’t think enemies were necessary to create a space for co-op play, the environment can achieve that.

5.What made you decide to focus on an entirely cooperative gaming experience rather than a solo pursuit?

I was particularly fond of co-op games as a kid but as we got older online play became the new way to play with friends, except that now you lose that immediate connection and electric response when you’re sitting next to someone – those high-five moments! We wanted to bring that feeling and experience back by making a game that is solely about cooperation, you literally cannot complete it without a partner. We made sure to create an experience that forces players to solve puzzles by actually having to communicate with each other, rather than one more experienced player doing all the work like other ‘co-op’ platformers.

6.How did you find the support you received from the games team at Film Victoria?

The support from Film Vic has been incredible. They are so responsive to every question we have about the industry, and have been particularly helpful in providing advice about marketing, budgeting and production, all that stuff you forget about when making a game! Because this was our first year as a company and our first product, Film Vic have really helped to make sure we succeed in this industry, and we look forward to the chance of partnering with them again in the future, we wouldn’t be here now about to release Putty Pals without them.

Putty Pals will be available on Steam (PC) from 16 February 2017.