Yuki revolves around the titular character, a Space Ranger whose duty is to guard the Star Flower, a celestial body responsible for nurturing the universe with creativity. The object of desire of the evil Yokaliens, Yuki sees her beloved universe in danger once they steal all of its creative force, setting the universe towards a destructive path. Joined by the immeasurable powers of a kid’s wild imagination, Yuki will blast through infinite bullets and chilling creatures so that together, they can save the universe.
Now that you are on board for this adventure, you might as well know a bit more of the universe you are about to delve into! In this article, we share with you the game’s core fantasy, an important pillar that helped us sustain most of our design choices.
With the immersive capabilities of PlayStation VR, Yuki takes us back to our childhood, when, with our favorite toy in hand, the four walls of our bedroom would suddenly become too small to fit the worlds we would imagine. Being a game that revolves around creativity, we wanted the player to feel like a kid again, and with Yuki’s action figure in hand, embark on a perilous adventure to save the universe. Basically, every design choice came from that principle, which we called the core fantasy of the game, and helped us base every major decision during the making, including the bedroom, the game’s entryway.
It was very important for us that each player had their own take on the game while still feeling like they belonged there, and most importantly, we wanted each player to have a unique connection towards Yuki’s action figure, just like they had with their favorite toys growing up. For that, we decided to set the game in a reality based on our own, but without any specific mention of where the story takes place apart from a kid’s bedroom. Not any bedroom, this one belongs to a clearly huge fan of Yuki, a decision made in order to strengthen the player’s sense of who they are in the game straight away.
The key to entering the imagination world, picking up Yuki transports the player to where the real action takes place. While the main focus here was to create a challenging mix of bullet hell with roguelite elements, it was important that the game’s core fantasy remained present. Therefore, obstacles and bullet patterns that constantly reminded the player that they were holding a toy were created. At the same time that it’d be fun to see if Yuki could go through the narrow bars of a gate, or experience the thrill of dodging seemingly infinite bullets, it’d also be an instinctive way to strengthen the bond between Yuki and the player. It was interesting to see this happening during our playtests, where testers would hide Yuki behind them, once too many bullets would risk her safety, or even apologize to her once she got hit.
A game with roguelite elements, the player’s permanent progression is an important aspect of Yuki, and when playing, the workshop is the place that serves that function. It was fundamental for the team to get this right in order to keep the players motivated, but it was also crucial that this place followed the game’s core fantasy, something we experimented with from the early prototype stages. Still considered a place built upon a kid’s imagination, the workshop brings elements from the kid’s bedroom, such as the toybox and the desk, to ground the player’s experience, while allowing a more tactile moment in a sort of holographic hangar, where they can grab capsule toys that contain power-ups and charms and decide which ones to buy in order to become stronger.
Being able to build a game where childhood plays such an intrinsic part in it, allowed us to craft it through our fondest memories. In consolidating each one of them in the game’s core fantasy we were able to create unique gameplay, where we are invited to go back to the days where our favorite toys would travel with us to the farthest galaxies, to help us achieve the impossible. We hope Yuki takes you back to those days, and encourages you to, once again, play like a kid.
Yuki will be available next week, November 16 on PS VR and you can check the trailer now
Also, since you’re here, how about sharing with us some of your childhood memories? Did you have a favorite toy? We’d love to know.