I’m Brad Flick, Design Director behind Penny’s Big Breakaway, an upcoming 3D action platformer, coming out early next year on PlayStation 5. Today, I will break down one of the bosses in our game.
If you are unfamiliar with Penny’s Big Breakaway, you play as Penny and her partner Yo-Yo. Your goal is to help Penny escape through the world of Macaroon. Within each level, like any good platformer, you will face multiple obstacles: an endless penguin army, deadly traps, challenging hazards, denizens in distress, and varied bosses. Today, we will check out one of these bosses, Mr. Q.
Check out the new animated trailer for Penny’s Big Breakaway
Mr. Q is the kingdom’s top scientist and a powerful magician. He is found in Zaphara, a power station in a desert with cobalt sands. You must be careful, as Mr. Q is both wise and unpredictable. Let me tell you how we developed this character and what you will do in this battle.
Mr. Q’s inspiration came directly from looking at Penny as our lead example. She uses a yo-yo, so the team began researching other skill toys for our other characters. This led us to the thought of a hacky sack – something Mr. Q could kick around. Mr. Q developed the technology that harnesses the electrical powers of the desert, so naturally, he juggles highly charged conductive footbags and tosses them at you.
The first part of the battle becomes a bit of energy tennis, as we like to call it. You must manage successful volleys with Mr. Q. I find using our game’s Pro controls easier during this battle. With this setup, the yo-yo is mapped to the right analog stick. You can stand there and easily aim the yo-yo in any direction. This may be easier than turning Penny to meet each shot.
After successfully kicking the electric ball back, you move to the second part, where you must scramble to pocket the many heads of Mr. Q on the giant billiards table.
Returning to Mr. Q’s inspiration, we had a separate idea for a snooker shot boss encounter. Looking at what we already had, we decided to merge the two concepts: Mr. Q is a powerful, long-legged magician, and his head is a billiard ball – in fact, he has several different heads with multiple personalities. He can be antagonistic one minute and empathetic the next.
We wanted the boss battle with Mr. Q and many other encounters, to focus on movement and evasion. This is a recurring and major theme in the game, and we want to reinforce that Penny is not built for combat. In the game, you must often answer the question, “How do you defeat a boss without using the yo-yo as a melee weapon?”
This nonviolent approach wasn’t without its challenges: as a designer, how do we communicate the personalities of these characters? How do we help you understand what to do? With Mr. Q, the camera angle is down low. This helps focus on the gameplay of energy volleys and lets you see his kooky battle animations. Finally, the billiard concept and giant table helped us immediately tell you your goal: Mr. Q’s head, corner pocket.
We can’t wait for you to see the rest of our cast of characters when the Penny’s Big Breakaway launches early next year. See you next time.