A look at the mechanics powering the world of Dreva
It should come as no surprise that our foremost inspiration comes from the amazing world of Pokémon. Ruby and Sapphire served as defining moments of our childhood. The vast, tropical landscape of Hoenn, inhabited by strange and wonderful Pokemon. These titles, though simplistic in style, invited us into a magical world that has stuck with us to this day.
Later on, the football game Fifa would also make its mark. Captivating gameplay that allowed you to assemble a team of your favorite players. One of its more unique elements, the Ultimate Team subscription, allowed you to customize your team in its totality, so long as you had the right cards. An actual dream team of the best players from across the globe, under your careful management. I can’t be the only one who was happily sitting there, dreaming about the moment I might manage these players for real…
Fortnite also deserves an honorable mention, for its striking, cartoony art style that has delighted millions (us included). There’s an incredible charm to it.
Now, picture the pixelated landscapes of Hoenn rendered in a Fortnite style. Imagine a low-floor, high-ceiling battle system, with resistances and weaknesses, and moves of varying costs and power. Bundle that with the means to not just collect, but actually own the Pikamoon you obtain, and you’ve got a glimpse at the experience we’re looking to create.
Exploring the world of Pikamoon should be something truly special. Of course, there’s the traditional feel of adventure, the nervousness and excitement of exploring a new world, along with a hint of fear that we might not be able to save Dreva. Then, there’s the feeling of discovery. The butterflies in your stomach as you uncover a hidden path or a concealed cave, coupled with an uncertainty as to what lies within. Treasure? Monsters? Both? Finally, there should be a sense of vastness. That feeling that no matter how much of Dreva you’ve explored, there’s always more. Always another path, always another secret.
To distill all of the above into something simpler: “Exploring Dreva should make the player feel like they’ve picked up a video game for the first time.” Exploring should be something relatively calm, gently guiding the player through the world at their own pace. Give them the chance to spend as little or as long as they like, wherever they visit, but always be ready to escort them to the next marvel.
Then, we have the battle system. If exploration is the calm, then battling is the storm. Intense fights, pounding music, high-stakes. Battling should be quick, dynamic, and responsive. They should never last too long, because there’s always another fight around the corner. A player should feel like every choice they make could drastically alter the final result. Of course, the intensity of this does depend on the opponent the player is fighting. Not every battle with Newbie Jimmy should feel like the fate of the world is at stake… but a battle with the Gods should absolutely give you the impression that everything hinges on one button press.
Pikamoon’s main artistic inspiration is Fortnite. Stylized graphics that are fun, quirky, and above all charming. The cartoony style with deformed models is just brimming with personality. Something that we should seek to replicate for Pikamoon.
It’s important that each location is treated as its own character, with clear identities differentiating them from other areas. For instance, the Flame Empire suffered for a thousand years under the reign of the Water Kingdom. Its environments are harsh and sunless, and the few towns and cities have been crafted from solid magma. The Flame Empire is littered with harsh structures, and that should be reflected with sharp designs.
The Thunder Collective is a place of permanent storms, strange technologies, and filled with danger and uncertainty. Electric Pikamoon have also been rejected by other factions. They’re also the newest addition to Dreva, and thus its designs should be vastly different from other factions. Both the Thunder Collective and the Flame Empire should feel intense, almost suffocating.
The Water Kingdom and Earth Regions are calmer places. The Water Kingdom’s homelands have never seen war or battle, and their underwater cities have flourished over many hundreds of years. They show off creations on an epic scale, and fill their homes with riches. Yet there’s a hollowness to it all. A fragileness shown in the cracks we can find in the underwater dome or on ancient stone carvings. They’ve lost so much. Whose to say they won’t lose the rest?
Finally, the Earth Regions. They have embraced their connection with nature and allowed it to flourish, and in some cases overrun their home. Trees that stretch beyond the cloud tops, vines sprouting flowers of hundreds of different shades, and buildings that are half-sunk into the ground. The protection of nature is paramount to the Earth Regions, and this must be visible above all else.