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Creating an anthropomorphic world of backbones for PS4 and PS5 – PlayStation.Blog

In 2017, the game that ultimately became the backbone was completely different. A stealth game in a science fiction setting. During a conference call brainstorming session, the team was interrupted by a crash from the home of external co-founder Nikita Danshin in Vancouver. The raccoon attacked his compost box, so to scare them, Nikita (who is also the composer of the game) picked up the biggest thing he had, his trumpet. We couldn’t stop laughing at how much fun it was to play as a raccoon that strategically steals people’s trash. And after a few iterations, the backbone anthropomorphic animal world was born.

Left: Sword-wielding Samson character art / Right: Final appearance in the game

Character designer and senior artist Christina Dashevskaya elaborated on the concept of a raccoon Howard Rotor in a taunting trench coat. We soon fell in love with this character, and the rest of the world’s buildings were born from it.

In this world, apes are at the top — they are the architects and rulers of society, and ultimately everyone else decides where to sit. Lions and bears are a little lower, cats and dogs are lower (but still in the upper class), raccoons and foxes are tapped in the middle, and rodents like mice and rabbits are working class. .. As in real life, these rules are often violated, but deviations are overlooked while conformance is celebrated. Due to the cluster of species inhabiting different regions, players may notice subtle separations as they explore the backbone world.

Left: Sketch of the location of Granville in the backbone / Right: Final destination in the game

Unlike boring humans, anthropomorphic animals have many ways to tell a cohesive story through costumes, facial features, tails, and colors. Every mouse and lion comes with a unique set of stereotypes that the characters in the game believe, as each species has heavy implications for backbone lore. However, apes and hamsters can be the same height and size, and their species are most often examples of social composition rather than setlists of biological features. Like humans, we all have different faces and bodies, but it is artificial order, economy and publicity that determine where we are placed on the ladder of society.

The backbone looks like a story about animals, but it’s really about the human condition and the beauty and pain of our common struggle. We do not rely on biological determinism in design or writing, even if in-world characters judge other characters based on species. Animal factors help to examine and dismantle these real-world prejudices about real people, but keep them away from home and are not appropriate and real human experience. There is a very fragile balancing act of not compromising.

Left: Sketch of backbone waistend settings / Right: Final-in-game location

Howard Rotor was always supposed to be a raccoon, but through development I realized that it was the perfect choice for the player character. The raccoon is stuck in the middle — neither the upper class nor the lower class. They are looked down upon by everyone and struggle with their identities. Howard’s story focuses on the crisis and transformation of his identity, and his relevance made it work for us.

We are pleased to bring the world of Howard and backbone to a wider player base by releasing the game on PS4 and PS5 and offering a total of nine languages ​​on all platforms starting October 28th. Languages ​​include English, Japanese, French, German, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, and Spanish. We look forward to seeing how new players will experience this deep and personal story around the world.

Creating the anthropomorphic world of Backbone, coming to PS4 and PS5

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