He, like everything else in his world, is made of paper.
That's the basic setup of Derrick the Deathfin, a new downloadable game coming to PS3 this summer. It's the work of developer Different Tuna, a collaboration between Lilt Line developer Different Cloth, Cletus Clay's Tuna, and artist Ronzo -- supported financially by Channel 4 and Screen Yorkshire.
"In terms of gameplay, you could consider Derrick to be the illegitimate lovechild of Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin," explained Different Cloth "head of everything" Gordon Midwood. "So lots of fast paced action, but also some swimming too." Derrick will bring his reign of terror through 32 levels (in "3 different level types") across four continents. You can see gameplay in the above trailer -- Derrick swims at high speed, rocket-jumps out of water, eats everything in his path and routinely burps bones.
As for the look, artist Ronzo took it as a challenge. "When the first feedback from the people involved was: 'Underwater world made out of paper – that's impossible'. I thought: Let's do it," he said. "Gordon is very open for new angles and has a great sense of humour. He immediately loved the idea and so we went with it. It's always a great start to a project when you get given free range and the people your work with encourage you. That's the best basis to create something crazy and wonderful."
The papercraft style is based on Ronzo's previous work, but more "colourful, friendly and vibrant." Surprisingly, it all starts with real paper models. "First I sketched the characters and environments to get an idea what it should look like," Ronzo said. "These drawings then got turned into paper models at my studio. It's a mixture of origami and old school kindergarten model building technique. Once the models were made, we shot in front of a blue background them from all sides. From the pictures I comped together scenes of the worlds in the computer. These comps then got handed over to the specialist CGI production house ten24. They did a great job re-creating and animating all the characters and objects in 3D." Ronzo is "super happy" with the resulting look. "It looks mega papery and I have never seen anything like it done in games before." You can see more of the process that turned paper into fish, then into 3D models in our gallery.
Different Tuna is self-publishing the title ("Is it that obvious?" Midwood joked) on PSN. "The intention was always to make a console game," Midwood told us, "so we decided to try Sony out first and see what they would say." Sony agreed to let Different Tuna publish the title on PS3, and "the rest – as they say - is history. Or at least the rest is stuff that happened in the past."