Maddy Kenyon on Blubber Busters
Blubber Busters is one hell of a stylish side scroller that has just graced Kickstart. Featuring colorful art, bizarre creatures, and fluid gameplay, Blubber Busters is definitely a title to keep your eye on. As a big fan of platformers, I'm genuinely excited to see how this project turns out. Players get a chance to choose between multiple characters, each with their own unique abilities, which adds a lot of variety, especially with the game's crazy weaponry. I manged to reach out to Maddy Kenyon, one of the developers, to learn more. Maddy worked for several large companies before deciding to jump ship to tackle this project with her team. We got the scoop on Blubber Busters, and if you're as excited as me, go check out their Kickstart page, and help get this project off the ground.
Who are you? How did you get into game development? What is your role on the project?
My name is Maddy Kenyon and I'm one of the founders and artists at Thar Be Monsters. I grew up with video games and art in my house, and they always lead me to be interested in creating artwork digitally. I studied graphic design and some 3D for about a year in college before dropping out to focus on 3D character art. After a few years of practice, I was picked up by Vigil Games as a contracted intern. After 9 months, there was a layoff, and I was hired by Riot Games to work on the skins team. I just recently left my job at Riot after 4 1/2 years to work on Blubber Busters full time. It's been an amazing ride so far!
You have a pretty small team. How did you guys meet? What inspired your team to work on this project?
Two friends and I were casually bouncing game ideas off one other a few years ago, and we came up with the idea of creating a game that was based around the humor & colors you'd find in Saturday morning cartoon shows. We started off with a concept for a tiny run and jump game, but when we began discussing stories and ideas, we decided that we had to make it something bigger. Many of us don't know each other in person, but we've met through other friends in the industry. The majority of our team works remotely from across the world in places like Australia, Greece, Russia, the Netherlands and the US.
What is Blubber Busters? What is the story and how will the game play?
Blubber Busters is a 2D action platformer about saving space whales from a mysterious disease. Due to a series of unfortunate events, the hospitals that were filled with staff to cater to sick whales are now dead and gone - leaving a mere janitors and a few other non-medically trained staff behind. It's now up to them to find a way to save the space whales.
Players will be able to rebuild the hospital and customize their care through base building. They will need to make hard choices on which whales they want to save, and which they need to sacrifice (increasing difficulty). There will also be upgrades and unlockables for playable characters to customize your play even more.
The art style and animation is fantastic. What was your process and inspiration for the art? The characters look sprite based, but they almost look like they were made using 3D Rotoscoping.
Thank you! Our art style is completely derived from the mind of our lead concept artist, Avery Coleman. Avery’s work is inspired by comic book artists like Joe Mad (who created Battle Chasers and worked on comics for Marvel), which we think will give Blubber Busters a unique look. All of our characters and enemies are 3D models that are rigged, animated, then converted to 2D sprites. This allows us to harmonize our 3D & 2D assets better in game, and stay true to the 2D platformer genre.
What can we expect at launch? What features will we see?
Expect a ton of crazy enemies and bosses and tons of ways to fight them! We're also exploring how we want our combat system to work with multiple playable characters in mind. We want to make sure the game feels fresh and modern with a retro twist.
What is the future for Thar Be Monsters? What other projects can we expect to see from your team?
We have other games on the backlog that are exploration and RPG influenced, as well as ideas for smaller games based on the Blubber Busters universe. Whichever we end up doing, we want to make sure we make a game that players can love as much as we do. There are lots of directions we'd like to walk, the hardest part is choosing which way to run!