Bitey is an opportunist, stealing food, dominating smaller creatures and treating them as playthings. It’s not that he’s really a bully; he simply has no sense of empathy because he has grown up alone and wild. Some of the most entertaining moments in his story are when he is punished for this behaviour – Bitey of Brackenwood, Prowlies at the River, LittleFoot, Waterlollies all have this karmic thread ending in satisfying retribution. To most of us it’s a little sad watching him be cruel to little creatures.
So in BrackenSack we have a problem. You play as Dashkin, beating the shit out of a poor innocent creature who is obviously alive and making efforts to escape. But there’s no consequences. Without payback it’s just cruelty.
I wrestled with some story ideas and justifications for using a live creature as a ball. There’s one where I thought maybe fatsack creatures require hard impacts to reproduce. With such impact they release spores into the air which are inhaled by female fatsacks, leading to fertilisation! Genius huh?
Well as much as I like that idea (it may even be the justification for a mini-game in the single player) I finally settled on this origin story:
The Origin of the Ball
Originally it was played with waterlollies which break after a few heavy impacts. The game rules were simple – hit the ball until it breaks. Whoever breaks the ball is rewarded with a refreshing explosion of water. Game over.
The Viccans love the spectacle of Dashkin games; they were thoroughly delighted by the acrobatic skill and speed of play. In order to prolong games, they crafted a new, more durable game ball for the Dashkin and called it a BrackenSack. With a durable ball, the game rules evolved to include goals, generally hollows in trees or simple woven hoops. This added ball control and accuracy to an already thrilling game. Taking it even further, the Viccans even imbued the occasional ball with a wild, unpredictable magical force, causing it to wobble through the air, altering its trajectory and requiring an extra level of skill to control.
Pretty sure I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes – I want BrackenSack to have various ball types for different game modes – including waterlollies. SPLOOOOSH FX. I like animating water.