If a game that combines all the best and most beloved elements of Pokémon, Animal Crossing, and Harvest Moon sounds simply too good to be true, then we’re delighted to introduce to you Ooblets: the upcoming exploration, farming, and creature collection gem by studio Glumberland. We had the pleasure of catching up with developer duo Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser to learn a little more about their adorable Ooblets indie. Spoiler — there aren’t any ooblets plushies planned for production… yet.
|| In a nutshell, what’s the history of studio Glumberland? We know Ooblets is your first official title, and that there’s possibly a lovely pair of people called Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser behind it all. How did you meet?
We met over a decade ago when we were both still in university. The studio is really just the two of us working on the game. You need a company to do stuff like pay taxes but we’re not like a company with drop ceilings and water coolers and receptionists (besides our cats). We’ve got a bunch of lovely freelancers who help make the game though, like Sander Verdickt, Slime Girls, Rachel Little, David Orr, and more!
|| How has fan support helped promote the development of Ooblets? We hear Patreon may have had a hand in helping you move to a new office, even.
Ooblets has been built around the fan community from the beginning. When we first had the idea, we didn’t think it would make sense for us to make it since it was such a huge game, but the first few art tests got way more interest than the other stuff we were working on, so we decided to just go for it.
Our Patreon has been really valuable both in getting closer to a group of our more passionate fans and lowering some of our economic pressures. The income we’re getting from Patreon lets us rent a one room office and get out of our apartment (which gets pretty claustrophobic after a few years of development in it).
|| What would you say to people skeptical about the change from battle to dance battle gameplay in Ooblets? You announced this development in your E3 2018 trailer, and mentioned elsewhere that some people may have tuned out because of it.
We honestly didn’t think anyone would have a problem with the dances, but there were a few people who were against it. The vast majority liked the change, but we did still stop to think about why some folks didn’t like it.
We were pretty transparent about how the dance stuff was basically a (very time-consuming) reskin of the earlier battles and that it was mainly a thematic change. Having your cute creature friends physically attacking each other didn’t really match the overall theme of the rest of the game, so if the switch to dancing turned someone away, they probably wouldn’t have liked the game for a bunch of other reasons.
|| Why the emphasis on friendship and fun in Ooblets? It’s possible some people could mistake Ooblets as a title intended only for a young audience, given how astoundingly adorable and PG it seems to be. Who is Ooblets for, and why?
Ooblets is primarily designed for us (the creators) but we’re also trying to make it suitable for a young audience. Right now most of the fans are in similar demographics to us, but we’re hoping it expands once it’s released. In the same way that Pokémon fans run all ages, we’re aiming to cast a wide net. Lately we’ve also noticed that there’s a lot of overlap between the Ooblets audience and the more creative and roleplaying audiences of The Sims and Minecraft, which we think is great.
|| How much of Ooblets is farming, and how much is creature collection? Will players who prefer one or the other get to choose what they focus on, or are the two wholly intertwined?
We’re still working on all the balancing and progression stuff so we don’t really know! They’re pretty intertwined in that you have to grow your ooblets and upgrade their moves with the items you harvest and you discover new crops by exploring with your ooblets, but it will be up to players which they spend more time on.
|| You’re being forced underground by the apocalypse, and you get to take two consoles and two games for each console with you. What are your consoles, and what are your games?
Ben: PC (is that allowed?) with The Sims 3 (with all expansions, obv) and a Game Boy Color with Pokémon Crystal
Rebecca: Gamecube & Dreamcast with The Wind Waker & Jet Set Radio
|| Can we look forward to eventual Ooblets plushies?! It’s too soon to ask. But we have to know.
We actually had some Ooblets plush prototypes made but we’re holding off on getting them manufactured since it’s a big investment and we need to focus on the game right now. Hopefully one day!