It's a whole new world out there
Today I moved the mock-up world map from the war/design room to my desk window. Even though it is currently mostly post-its and bookmark stickers, I like the way it looks and the possibilities it offers.
Using a world map is quite a departure from the world- and level based setup seen in the previous Toki Tori game. It took some courage but we ditched the classic linear level progression for a world that is more open (but not quite, ehrm, open world). The two main reasons for this change are: immersion and replayability.
Let’s talk a bit about immersion first: One of our main goals for Toki Tori’s sequel is to give the you the feeling that you are visiting a living, breathing world. It is our intention to create a place that suggests it will keep going even when you’re not around. If we would stick to the regular level structure it would be difficult to give the player a sense of place in the world and the connection between levels would be easily lost.
In the previous game we used a sort of cutscene to ease the player from one world into the next. We like the premise of those levels but there wasn’t a whole lot to do for the player but walk. Now, most levels will smoothly transition from one theme into the next, giving each level a unique, distinctive look. The look and theme will also help get your bearing in the world. For example: if the background shows mostly clouds with some undisclosed landmark peeking through, you know you must be somewhere in the upper regions of the (world)map.
Next up: replayability. The levels in the original game used to have, more or less, one solution and once you knew that solution you had very little reason to revisit that level. This changed a little when we added achievements, especially the “get-a-tan” achievement, to the game that added an alternative puzzle within an existing level.
Because we use a world map all levels will be connected by one or more exits (marked with the sticky bookmarks in the picture above). This means that in each level there are multiple routes that lead to each exit. What we consider a “route” in Toki Tori 2 is probably more like a level in the original game. Some routes will be harder than others and there will be routes that are completely optional too. As a player you are free to find your way trough the level and try to reach any exit you like.
You might think that getting from one end of the world to the other end might become tedious if you had to solve each and every puzzle on the way every time. Well, we think so too! So there will be a fast travel option that allows you to pick any exit you’ve once activated and instantly start playing from there. This should make it easy, and less frustrating, to explore and discover new routes in previously visited levels.
There is, however, one exception that does not let you fast travel but I’ll leave that to a next post. What do you think that will be?