Bugsnax was one of the biggest talking points to come out of Sony's Future of Gaming digital event back in June, proving that PlayStation 5 isn't just about the biggest AAA games on the market. It's a weird and wacky game from Octodad: Dadliest Catch developer Young Horses which takes inspiration from all corners of the gaming industry to produce an experience quite unlike anything else. We couldn't be more excited about Bugsnax here at Push Square, and the best thing about it is that it'll be launching right around the time we all welcome the next-gen PS5 into our homes. To learn more about this wonderful project, we caught up with programmer Devon Scott-Tunkin to learn how the team has reacted to going viral in the time since the reveal.
Push Square: It's been more than six years since Octodad: Dadliest Catch launched. How long did it take for the team to settle on working on Bugsnax next, and were there any wacky game concepts that it passed on?
Devon Scott-Tunkin: We spent a few months prototyping and pitching different ideas. There was at least a year where Bugsnax changed complete genres from its humble beginning as an on-rails Pokemon Snap-like and momentary dating sim. We had tons of wacky ideas: A game inspired by Burger King’s Sneak King but involving physics arms giving hugs, a train mystery where every car was someone’s dream, a banana that peels and eats itself, the list goes on. One game idea we passed on was even about high school students playing sports with monsters from Hell. Given that a new Pokemon Snap was just announced and Goodbye Volcano High was in the same Future Games Show as us, we are very glad Bugsnax became something different!
When did you find out that Bugsnax would be revealed at the PS5 Future of Gaming Show? What was the reaction like amongst the team?
We had an idea there would be an event and had been working with Sony for close to a year, but the exact date and whether we were going to be in it at all was kept a secret until very soon before. Seeing your hard work in such a big event, with so many people talking about it, really is an exciting experience, exciting and frightening. The reaction amongst the team was a lot of us realizing people outside of ourselves are as excited as we are, and that is a great feeling to have but also a reality check. This is real, it has to be really good.
Bugsnax feels like it has been very quickly thrust into the spotlight, thanks to both its catchy song and unique gameplay elements. How are you coping with that? Do you feel a heightened sense of pressure to deliver a great experience?
The level of spotlight (millions of people watched the PS5 Future Games Show!) is incredible. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. Seeing some of the negative responses is always hard when you are that visible, but the amount of fans and Bugsnax stans really inspires us. We love the jokes and the publicity, but there is a lot of pressure to work hard to be something more than a meme or a catchy song. People are going to have an unforgettable adventure when the game is released!
Did you ever expect the Bugsnax theme song to ever go quite as viral as it has?
I think once we heard the first demo from Kero Kero Bonito, we were all pretty sure. But the level of virality is not something we’ve experienced or comprehended, even with Octodad’s previous popularity and catchy song.
How did you end up working with Kero Kero Bonito? What was it about them that drew you to their sound?
Our soundtrack composer, Seth Parker has always been a big fan. A few of us went to their show in Chicago a couple years ago and had a great time. Their cute and mysterious synth pop has a lot of similarities to the music style we had already worked out in the game. The song Flamingo has a lot of similar themes to the game we latched onto. But what really pushed us to contact them was putting Picture This in a temp version of a trailer and just how right it felt with their sound.
What is your favourite Bugsnak and what does it taste like?
My favorite Bugsnak is Wee Mewon, the baby watermelon ball. I think it tastes like Pastèque La Croix. There was a time where we called it the Weeweewewon which I still laugh at.
Can we look forward to even more catchy tunes as part of the Bugsnax soundtrack?
Seth Parker has cooked up some tasty bangers we can’t wait for people to hear.
What is one thing we don't know about Bugsnax that you would like to share?
There was a time when Bugsnax screamed in delight when they were eaten. That was too much, the Bugsnax you will catch now no longer scream audibly.
With Bugsnax scheduled to launch at the end of this year, should we expect it to be a PS5 launch game?
We don’t even know when the PS5 is launching, but we are working hard to have it done whenever that is!
Bugsnax comes to both PS5 and PS4 at the end of this year. We would like to thank Devon Scott-Tunkin for taking the time to answer our questions and Nicolas Verge and Geneviève St-Onge for making the interview possible. Are you just as excited about Bugsnax as we are? Share your favourite Bugsnak so far in the comments below.