By Jim Rossignol on December 17th, 2007 at 11:18 am.
With delightful gardening/breeding game Viva Piñata having recently turned up on PC, I thought it appropriate to link to this rather interesting design article over at Gamasutra. In it developers Rare discuss the unique visual design of the game from initial conceptual art to commercial product. They discuss things such as the problems of stuff a game with quite so much cuteness:
In the original plan, non-resident Piñatas would retain their colors and markings while being indistinguishable by shape, only morphing into full form in the garden. All Piñata subsections, e.g. birds, quadrupeds, small things, slimy things etc. would have their own non-resident shape. On this slide you can see it next to their final form. The Mallowolf and Macaraccoon were almost just jellybeans on stilts; the Parrybo and Crowla retain some distinctive bird features. The cut duo of rattlesnake and cane toad both look like baby salamanders, while the Whilrm and Taffly appear to have grown ears. Pleasingly, the Whirlm has gained an eye. Although he still looks sinister.
One of the main reasons this feature never made it to the final game was because it would require yet another model for every Piñata. Given the overheads we had already, trying to free up the space would have been very stressful.