Bringing a diverse group of characters together: creating the world of World Flipper

Six months have passed since World Flipper first released in November 2019.

We first visited explored the game’s appealing and cheerful worlds when it first released, but in honor of its half-year anniversary, we’ll be diving further into World Flipper’s one-of-a-kind locations.

We interviewed the development team to find out how they were able to create a world with so many colorful characters and adventures that delight their players!

You can find our first interview at the link below.

Planet-sized pinball?!

As its title suggests, World Flipper is a story that involves traveling through a multitude of worlds. What inspired this idea?

The original concept of World Flipper came from pinball games.

While we were brainstorming ideas for a story, someone suggested having each ball represent a single planet or world. We thought that this could make for a deep and interesting story. This led to our current setting, where the main characters are able to traverse through various worlds.

What kinds of things did you keep in mind when designing and balancing the gameplay?

The first thing we really wanted to focus on was making sure the user would never get bored. We felt that it was imperative for an adventure-based game like ours to have visually distinct stages.

Images of stages found in Chapters 1 to 3. You can see the variety in worlds at just a glance.

We figured that by designing such an assortment of different worlds, we could also provide a wider variety of gameplay experiences. This gives each world a lot of individuality, which will come in handy when we update the game with regular story updates.

The balance between the simplicity of the gameplay and the uniqueness of each world is perfect! The characters in every stage are just as distinct as the worlds they inhabit. How did you go about designing such interesting characters?

We made most of the initial character designs while we were designing the worlds. Some characters started as just pixel models during the prototype. But as we solidified the game play and world building process we also set some standards for creating each character.

The characters in World Flipper have different physical features depending on the world they’re from. Did you have to pay close attention to anything in particular when designing them?

We needed to give characters a “gimmick” in order to really flesh out their design.

For example, after Regis evolves, the drones that were floating around him combine into a giant cannon arm. We endeavor to make each character’s illustrations pre- and post-evolution play out like a two-panel manga, so players can have fun envisioning the change.

The Gentlebot: Regis (Left: Pre-evolution/Right: Post-evolution)

While we have a lot of different characters and the worlds for each stage vary quite a bit, we’ve always tried to unify our character designs so that they still look like they’re part of the same game.

That being said, we don’t follow any strict rules regarding their designs. The illustrators will talk amongst themselves and incorporate whatever good ideas they come up with into the characters. It’s a very flexible process. I expect it to continue evolving as well.

Accepting diversity and winning freedom

How did you go about creating the characters’ personalities and backgrounds?

The entire team gets together to throw around any ideas we can come up with. We often prefer to incorporate themes from classics and tales people may remember from their childhood into the series.

Chapter 7 just wrapped up. What kinds of things do you consider when creating the overarching story?

We wanted the story to focus on how Alk and his counterpart, Stella, change and mature.

Stella changes as she meets different people.

World Flipper isn’t just about defeating enemies, but has a lot about learning to understand and accept others. Was this something you wanted to focus on from the beginning?

World Flipper is all about freedom.

In order to highlight this idea, we wanted our story to follow a process. First, running or breaking away from a curse, followed by accepting others and turning that diversity into a weapon, and finally, fighting to find meaning.

This is a technique often used in Hollywood films and in mythology. We felt the need to incorporate the theme of accepting differences into World Flipper as well.

Alk, a protagonist with modern-day struggles

Unlike other characters in heroic fantasy tales, Alk is somewhat unique in that he doesn’t have any particular goal or reason for his travels. Why did you choose to take his character in this direction?

Alk’s character was a necessity as a result of game design.

The game allows you to create a party with whichever characters you’d like. While Alk is considered the main character, you can easily remove him from your party. I’m sure there are many players who don’t incorporate him into their teams.

Alk was created to bridge the gap between needing a main character that could be an integral part of the story while not necessarily showing up in actual gameplay.

Instead of being burdened with some grand calling, he ventures off in order to deal with the rather real and modern problem of trying to figure out who he really is. We felt that many players would find him to be very relatable.

Are there any particular moments centered around Alk that do a good job of representing the world of World Flipper?

I think Meteor Break is the perfect example.

I’ll leave out the details to avoid any spoilers, but it clearly defines Alk’s role as a protagonist and the overarching theme of freedom despite his relative meekness. The fact that it’s a character episode and not part of the main story is classic World Flipper I think (laughs).

Meteor Break, a character episode about the main character Alk, a boy who has lost his memories.

I also think that Gerard’s character episode also stays true to the game’s concept.

Gerard talks with Alk, whose values are completely different from his and realizes what it is that he truly wants. This allows him to tear himself away from his anguish. All the while Alk thinks he’s just messing around with a buddy. It was a great way to depict the balance of their relationship.

The Knight of the White Helm: Gerard’s character episode “More Than Truth”.

The main story will continue to unfold as even more interesting characters pop up in the game’s many different worlds.

Please continue to look forward to what World Flipper has to offer!