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Mushroom Men - The Spore Wars

Designer James Clarendon talks boss battles.

TITLE: Mushroom Men – The Spore Wars


TITLE: Mushroom Men – Rise of the Fungi


DEVELOPER: Red Fly Studio

GENRE: Action Adventure

RELEASE DATE: March, 2009

An ichorous green meteor plummets through Earth's atmosphere, fracturing and showering the earth with glowing green space dust that affects all forms of life nearby. Some plant life - like mushrooms and cacti -acquire sentience. At the same time, the green glow twists and mutates other life forms like spiders and roaches, transforming them into semi-intelligent, warlike communities.



Written by James Clarendon, Interactions Design Lead

When I came onto revising the boss fights in Mushroom Men, we had some basic mechanics in place but they needed a lot of iteration to make them truly interesting. We didn’t exactly have a lot of time, so I looked back on some of the fun boss moments I’d experienced in the past. I’m a huge retro-game fanatic, with a big collection of old systems, so I spent an afternoon or two with some of my favorite old games to find out what made those bosses fun.

Bosses as Mechanic Reinforcement

Several of the bosses and mini-bosses were included to reinforce a specific mechanic, such as the Telekinesis-Throw (whereby Pax uses his Telekinesis ability on an object and tosses it back at the enemy). Players had the option to use this ability during the game to get the upper hand on an opponent, or could let Player 2 perform this to help them out in the midst of battle. But it was never enforced, as we didn’t want to force the player to use them. However, with bosses we had a chance to make a puzzle and to encourage the player to use those mechanics. Several of the bosses require this Telekinesis-Throw attack to dispatch. One of the mini-bosses actually acts as a tutorial for the Spore Punisher maneuver, flying out the player’s reach until they can successfully execute it.

Boss as Action/Puzzle

Some of the bosses had to be stand-alone encounters, and that allowed us to borrow a trope from the Zelda series: the boss as an action/puzzle exercise. In some of these encounters, the player wasn’t strong enough to hurt the boss directly, or couldn’t get at them, and had to use environment components and specific game mechanics to take them out. This framed the whole boss fights as puzzles to be solved, not simply a skill exercise (although there is some of that, surely!).

Bosses as the Level

In the Parking Lot, the player will face not one but FIVE bosses to deal with. The entire area is centered on these encounters, and I’m willing to wager it will be one of the most well-received experiences of the game. I won’t spoil it, but each of the bosses will use their environment in interesting and unique ways closely tied to them.

Mushroom Men – The Spore Wars and Mushroom Men – Rise of the Fungi will be available across Europe in March, 2009. For more information about Mushroom Men please visit www.southpeakgames.com. For more information about Red Fly Studio please visit www.redflystudio.com.

UK PR Contact:

Chaloner Associates Ltd

Keiron Fraser/Sally Robinson/Martyn Abbott


01954 270599

For more information please contact:

Rob Burman

European PR Manager

SouthPeak Games


Tel: +44 (0)203 176 0417

About SouthPeak Games

SouthPeak Interactive Corporation develops and publishes interactive entertainment software for all current hardware platforms including: PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, Wii™, Nintendo DS™ and PC. SouthPeak's games cover all major genres including action/adventure, role playing, racing, puzzle strategy, fighting and combat. SouthPeak's products are sold in retail outlets in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. SouthPeak is headquartered in Midlothian, Virginia, and has offices in Grapevine, Texas and Leicester, England. www.southpeakgames.com

About Red Fly Studio

Located in downtown Austin, Texas, Red Fly Studio is a young studio founded by ten-year veterans of the gaming industry with experience on titles such as Star Wars Galaxies, BloodRayne, Nocturne, FIFA Football 2005, Anachronox, SSX3 and Deus Ex. Red Fly offers a creative environment where the projects are driven by the team, and not by a sole individual. www.redflystudio.com

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