Features

INTERVIEW: The Team Behind PANN

Pann is a new computer game being developed now and currently raising money on Kickstarter. We had a chance to chat with the team behind the innovative new game!

AP2HYC: What is Pann?

Pann is an 2D Action Rhythm Platformer for the PC, Mac and Linux. We hope to release it for the consoles as well but this depends on the funding we reach.

 AP2HYC: Can you tell us a bit more about the story of the game and the world it’s set in?

The game takes place in the universe Pann. Pann is a parallel universe, the place where the deities live. Events of myths take place in this enigmatic world. Pann has it’s own ecosystem and governs over earth. The coexistence between Pann and Earth is all about ‘ the flow of flux’, a circulation of energy between the two universes. Although everyone in Pann is a celestial being there is a social hierarchy present.

Apollo is a teenage boy who never knew much about his parents. The only family member that he feels close to is his sister, Rosa. She raised him since he was a kid and fell ill with an unknown disease. As his sister becomes weaker, he wants to know more of his parents. One day when searching finds an odd shaped instrument and plays it for his sister. He gets magically warped to the world of Pann.

When entering Pann, Apollo encounters Mai, the god of music.

Apollo discovers that he’s a prince and quickly learns that it means something totally different than on his home universe. In Pann princes are in service of other deities and eventually can become one themselves. Mai offers him the chance to become one of his princes.

As he learns more about the world Pann, things seems to more complicated than meets the eye.

AP2HYC: Apollo is quite a unique-looking character. What was the inspiration for that design?

When designing Apollo’s current look, we took a lot of aspects into consideration. In the game we wanted to have the animations flow fluidly and smooth. Also we want to animate a lot of moves and attacks. Achieving this means we would have to produces a lot frames for the animations. The solution was to make the animation process easier by having a silhouette effect for Apollo’s character design. You can imagine the toll this would take on our artist (Thomas Rietbergen) if Apollo’s design had more detail.

Apollo’s flame effect was inspired by Thomas’ favorite element, fire. There is something mystical about flames. It just looked cool seeing it animated.

Since Apollo is from a different dimension, it opened up a lot of possibilities for his design, like the fast travel animation.

AP2HYC: Are there any games (or films or comics) that influenced you in creating the game?

As team we have many different influences, games like Journey and Metal Gear Solid really left a big impact on us. But what really created the idea of Pann was dance.

The idea came when Thomas and Gia [Nguyen] were working on our previous project. While taking a small break, they started to dance on some music. When suddenly Thomas said: “Hey Gia, we should make a game where you have to fight on the beat!”.

AP2HYC: Can you explain the gameplay a bit more, specifically the role the music plays in the game?

Music plays a big role in the combat and puzzle elements of Pann.

At the moment the combat system uses a button to interact with rhythm and two attack buttons, one for normal attacks and one for special attacks. Players can create combo’s by using the attack button in combination with directional buttons. Think of the ‘weak attack’ of many games like God of War, Devil May Cry, or even Super Smash Bros.

The ‘strong attack’ button uses instruments to perform special attacks.

Depending on which instrument Apollo has equipped, he can use different kinds of awesome abilities. These abilities vary from projectiles to stuns or launching the enemy, blowing them away.

In order to create unique combo’s we designed the Rhythm Cancel mechanic. This mechanic allows players to cancel their action into other moves by pressing the Rhythm button and another button simultaneously on the beat. Depending on which button is pressed with the Rhythm button players can perform cancels like, special attack cancels, jump cancels or even reset their whole combo.

The puzzle aspect challenges players to interact with obstacles in the level on beat. MIYA can activate nodes and other ‘switches’ to interact with objects in Pann, depending on which instrument is equipped. We also have more rhythm based puzzle/ platforming levels. For example, there is this level where Apollo has to dodge obstacles and jump from platform to platform to get to the other side. These obstacles and platforms are moving on the rhythm. At first it seems impossible to pass. But when you interact through MIYA with certain obstacles you can change the beat of the music. Which will change the way the level behaves. Other music based gameplay elements involve reproducing rhythm and melodies and matching sounds.

AP2HYC: How did you come up with the idea for “Groove Combat”?

Groove combat was the first thing we came up with when creating Pann. We didn’t have any idea of what type of game it would be as long ‘as we fought on the music’. Because three of our team members were break-dancers, we really liked the idea to be able to fight on music. At first we tried to approach the combat system with a free-flow battle system. This didn’t work out because the role of the music didn’t do justice. As break-dancers, you really feel the music when dancing and performing crazy moves on the beat this gives an amazing sensation! We want to recreate this sensation for gamers!

AP2HYC: What has been the most difficult part of the project so far?

Crafting the rhythm combat and level designs. We are trying to make gamers play with sounds and at the same time give sound a new level of gameplay. Most of the games use sound and music in general to enforce the aesthetics and as audio cues. Only a few games (except rhythm games) actually use sound as something interactive. Designing levels with this new unique idea can be quite challenging as we can’t look at other games. Although we focussed a lot on the combat aspect we don’t want the game to become just a beat’em up with music elements. We really push the platformer elements as well.

AP2HYC: What made you choose to hold a Kickstarter campaign?

There are a ton of good ideas we would like to see come to life. In order to expand the world of Pann to its full potential, we need the help from the Kickstarter Community!

You can find out more about Pann and support the Kickstarter here!

About the author

David Molofsky

David is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of AP2HYC.