Charlottetown Studio Develops game for Nintendo DS

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Gameplay screen shots from Puffins Island Adventure. Used with permission from Other Ocean.

Puffins Island Adventure, the first solo project of Charlottetown video game development studio Other Ocean, will be released for the Nintendo DS in April, says game producer Owen Watson

The game will be published by American gaming company Majesco, the company behind the hit Cooking Mama series and the importer of the Japanese fighting franchise, Guilty Gear.

A team of 10 people is mostly responsible for the games development, said Watson.

 “The team of 10 people did spend the most time on the game but everyone in the studio had a part in developing the game over the year and half.”

 Watson said the game’s concept revolves around a puffin created by the player. The created puffin becomes involved in a series of mini-games, quests and over 100 levels of gameplay.

 “The puffin must build a burrow home, fish, join a flock, gain the respect of the flock, finding a mate and raise a hatchling.”

“The game will also feature extra content such as footage of real puffins in their natural  Newfoundland habitat, as well as music from Great Big Sea’s Allan Doyle.”

The production and development of a video game is filled with many challenges, said Watson.

“There are always the challenges of the day to day fine tuning of the game as it is in development.”

Watson said the game is great for the company. The content of the game really speaks to home with it taking place in the Maritimes and it is a big deal for the studio as a whole to develop the game for Nintendo.

“It’s a great opportunity and it shows how the gaming industry is growing in P.E.I. It’s really exciting to see some exposure in the gaming market on the east coast rather than the west coast.”

Chris Sharpley, learning manager of the Video Game Arts and Design program at Holland College, said the development of a game begins when people with money have a few discussions on what to do with it.

“If it is the developer who is developing the game they’ll fix the budget and develop it to a certain level, a demo or a prototype and they’ll sell it to a publisher for some sort of price.”

Sharpley said development cycles can last four to five months but the majority of cycles averages about 14 months. Some games can even take several years.

The industry has been drastically expanding over the past couple of years and employment in it is continuing to grow as well, he said.

“Hardware is being marketed towards audiences it hasn’t been before like the DS and The Wii are aimed at a wider age group and both sexes and the more games that are in production, the more jobs that are available.”

Sharpley said he had his own experience working with Other Ocean. He was one of the artisits for the iPhone port of Super Monkey Ball.

“The development of the game only lasted about four or five months. We didn’t have to design the whole game since it was based of previous titles.”

For more information regarding Puffins Island Adventure, go to www.puffinsislandadventure.com or you can check out the official Facebook page which has additional gameplay photos as well as the game’s official trailer.

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