Puppeteer (video game)
|Developer(s)||SCE Japan Studio|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
Puppeteer (パペッティア) is a platform video game developed by SCE Japan Studio for the PlayStation 3 It is directed by Gavin Moore, who served as lead animator on The Getaway, Forbidden Siren 2 and Siren: Blood Curse. The game was released worldwide in September 2013.
It is playable in both traditional 2D and in 3D. Gavin Moore says Puppeteer plays better in 3D than other games because the camera doesn’t move and his team used a method of 3D that hasn’t resulted in a reduced frame-rate.
Puppeteer is a side-scrolling platformer in which the player controls the character 'Kutaro': a boy changed into an animated puppet, and immediately decapitated. Throughout the game, Kutaro obtains various heads to replace his own, each enabling access to certain animations, and referring to the adjacent scenery. If Kutaro is damaged by an enemy or obstacle, he loses his head. Should the player not retrieve the head within a few seconds, it will disappear. Kutaro can hold three heads at a time, and when they are all lost, he restarts from the last checkpoint. The player can earn an extra life by collecting 100 "Moonsparkles" in a given section of the game. Throughout most of the story, Kutaro is armed with a pair of magical scissors, known as 'Calibrus', enabling him to cut through some portions of the scenery, and thus to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. His stated object is to acquire the shards of 'Moonstone' from the game's villains (in the process removing their influence from the scenery) and to free the souls of children like himself, from the malevolent figures containing them, all the while saving a Goddess in distress.
The game is playable by one or two players. If two are playing, the second player controls Kutaro's companion (initially a ghostly cat named 'Ying-Yang'; later the fairylike 'Pikarina'), who can examine foreign objects and find interactables, moonsparkles, and new heads for Kutaro. In single-player mode, the two analog sticks on the joypad each control a character. At some points of the story, Kutaro acquires four more weapons:
- the Knight's Shield, which repels attacks by enemies;
- the Ninja Bombs, which destroy obstacles or re-arrange the scenery at locations marked by the stylized outline of a bomb;
- the Pirate's Hook, which draws designated objects toward Kutaro to form pathways, or may be used to free souls or dismantle enemies; and
- the Wrestler's Helmet, which enables Kutaro to destroy designated obstacles or strike an enemy with especial force.
The game is presented as a puppet show in front of an audience, who can be heard cheering and laughing when impressive actions take place. It is divided into seven "acts", each of which comprise three "curtains". Each curtain has a set number of heads to collect, a set number of souls to rescue, and a hidden area. For 100% completion, the player must revisit old curtains.
The story occurs in a concave world representing Earth's Moon, inhabited by pseudo-folkloric characters: the first half on the dark side of the Moon, and the second half on the Earthward side. Its premise states that the world's ruler, the Moon Goddess, was overthrown by her subordinate, Little Bear, when the latter seized her 'Black Moonstone' and the scissor-set 'Calibrus', and declared himself 'Moon Bear King'. Throughout the game, each of his twelve generals (the animals of the Chinese zodiac) has set part of the moon-world in disorder: each holding a portion of the Goddess' 'White Moonstone'. The player-character 'Kutaro' is one of many children changed into animated wooden puppets and enslaved in the King's mobile fortress, Castle Grizzlestein. In the dungeons thereof, Kutaro is found by the Goddess's cat, Ying Yang, who leads Kutaro to his current mistress, the Moon Witch Ezma Potts, who orders Kutaro to capture Calibrus. This weapon allows Kutaro to fight the King's puppets and release the souls within, allowing them to escape back to Earth. When the Witch demands the scissors, they adhere to Kutaro, and she allows him to oppose the twelve generals. During the defeat of the first (General Tiger), Kutaro rescues Pikarina, Princess of the Sun, whom the Moon Bear King had captured. Under Potts' guidance, Kutaro and Pikarina venture to the various realms of the moon, to vanquish each general in turn:
- General Rat, in the 'Moonwood' forest;
- General Snake, in a desert created by himself;
- Generals Pig and Sheep, in an ocean inhabited by whales, fish, cephalopods, and mermaids (here, too, Kutaro and Pikarina must recover Poseidon's trident from the Kraken);
- General Horse in a railway-themed racing-track, and General Bull in a lucha libre match (both in a Wild Western scenery);
- General Dog in a Halloween-themed forest;
- General Rabbit in an obstacle course resembling Victorian England; through a maze of playing cards, and finally in a contest of legerdemain;
- General Rooster in a topiary garden and upon a clock tower;
- General Dragon in the sky; and
- General Monkey in outer space, through the Western Zodiac, until arrival at the Sun. Here, Pikarina's father challenges the Moon Bear King; but is instantly defeated, and returns Kutaro and Pikarina to the Moon.
When the White Moonstone is re-assembled, Potts becomes the Moon Goddess; but is instantly trapped by the Moon Bear King, and must be rescued by Kutaro. Propelled thereto by a cannon, Kutaro and Pikarina disable Castle Grizzlestein and reduce the Moon Bear King to his former shape of Little Bear, who surrenders the Black Moonstone in exchange for Kutaro's friendship, and restores Kutaro's head. All the twelve Generals are resurrected and converted from evil to good; and Kutaro, accompanied by Calibrus and Ying Yang, returns to Earth.
On July 21, 2010, Sony filed a trademark titled Puppeteer. It has been speculated that it would be a game that would make use of the PlayStation Move technology in order to control the main character. Two years later, the trademark was later revealed to be indeed for a game with its official announcement at Gamescom 2012.
In December 2012, Gavin Moore, the director of the video game, posted an entry on the European PlayStation Blog, stating that the video game is "Shaping up nicely, playing great and looking awesome. From January we will be polishing, refining and adding extra little details, to make the whole experience something fantastical and wonderful that PlayStation fans deserve. I will be in London for two weeks doing the Voice recordings in January, popping across to Budapest for the music recordings, then back to Japan with all my wonderful assets to shove them lovingly into the game. This is one of my favourite parts of game creation. Getting the final assets into the game really brings everything together." 
- 『パペッティア』の発売日が2013年9月5日に決定！ 価格は5980円[税込] (in Japanese). Famitsu. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- Sony Japan Studio Unveils Puppeteer
- Rutledge, Daniel (26 October 2012). "Puppeteer - a weird, wild PS3 adventure". 3 News NZ.