PAX Prime 2015 Interview: ‘Mekazoo’ Producer James Hoag
Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Mekazoo is a 2D platformer in which players can tag team uniquely skilled “mekanimals” (an armadillo, frog, wallaby, panda, and pelican) to progress through various levels in a 3D world. In cooperative multiplayer, a single player controls one mekanimal, while the inactive player has the capability of switching in by transforming that mekanimal into their own. This fluidity creates a compelling cooperative nature while maintaining the game’s swift pace.
At the recent PAX Prime event, I spoke to James Hoag, a producer from The Good Mood Creators, about their upcoming title.
Mekazoo was influenced by the original classics of Mario, Donkey Kong Country, and Sonic the Hedgehog. These were the games that the developers grew to love throughout their childhoods, and what compelled them to want to make games. Hoag noted that they wanted to recreate this nostalgia within Mekazoo while bringing to light a next generation look and feel. This was achieved by the use of hand-painted textures with bright and vibrant colors to bring the cartoons to life. They were able to add depth by pivoting the camera around the various paths, providing a 3D space without jumping off the rails.
The music was composed by M.J. Quigley, who tried to create a happy medium between modern music and video game music. This produced a very eclectic mix of old and new themes, as seen in one of the worlds whose music was inspired by the game Caravan Palace. A sample 5-track EP is available at goodmoodcreators.com/EP (Be on the lookout for sample codes on this week’s The Drill Down podcast right here on Geeks Of Doom, as well as on Twitter.)
For Hoag, Mekazoo is “a book without words” where everything is conveyed through actions and the order of the events that they take place in. The cooperative nature creates a shared narrative that one can experience with friends. Ultimately, the main takeaway from Hoag is that they’d like people to have a good time playing Mekazoo, but not feel forced to constantly be playing it. That doesn’t mean that the game shouldn’t be compelling, but it should be easy to pick up and play over and over again. In a sense, Mekazoo will help generate those “compact nerd experiences” of yesteryear.
Mekazoo will be available in Q1 of 2016 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Wii U.