Fashion Police Squad is a fun, funny, and in your face (get it?) FPS starring you, the character, as an officer in the fight against fashion crimes. Although the game falls into the category of Boomer Shooters, it brings a surprisingly pleasing amount of color and life to a genre known for its doom and gloom. The game’s intuitive inclusion of comedy leaves a lasting impression of charm without appearing as obnoxious.
We recently spoke with FPS Developer Mopeful Games on how to strike that happy medium between boringly dull and trying too hard to be funny when developing a comedic game. FPS results from a natural combination of humor with art style, mechanics and themes.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to hit that sweet spot of just the right amount of comedy…
How does humor help you get more out of game design than you otherwise would with a different style?
Having a humorous approach gives you more freedom in the design process. The premise of FPS is so absurd that it made sense to add any idea you might think.
So that opened up design choices about what makes sense and what is believable. The more serious the game, the more grounded you need to be in reality. You couldn’t let the Doom guy do tricks on an electric scooter between gunfights because that wouldn’t make sense.
Humor is subjective, and it won’t come naturally to all designers. I chose a humorous approach for FPS because I like to joke around.
Designing a wild game was also a lot of fun during development!
Does color and art style affect how humor is used in game design? How?
The more humor you can link, the better. Art style, writing, mechanics, theme, etc. A light tone and cartoonish graphics play an important role in the scene. Whether Untitled Game of Goose looked realistic with ray-traced lighting, I don’t think it would have the same effect.
A humorous approach can accentuate character effects and proportions, making some animations more cartoon-like.
Is writing comedy for games different from writing comedy for stand-ups or movies?
I’ve never written for stand-ups or movies, so I don’t know if that’s any different.
Brainstorming ideas for a wild game was fun since every goofy idea you can think of can fit into the game. Usually someone comes up with an idea, and other members of our team bounce off of each other. others, adding to this idea. We had to be careful with the scope of the game because it would take years to implement every idea when everything fits together and looks funny. We ended up jotting down what we thought was the funniest and cut most ideas OK.
The story and the dialogues were written only by me. It relied on referencing memes, creating fashion-related puns, and being naturally humorous/trying to be funny.
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So the writing process was pretty organic.
Where are the best places to look for comic inspiration when designing games?
It depends on the type of game you are creating. You can start by consuming lots of fun games, comedy movies, stand-up shows, etc. Then see what makes you laugh when playing a physics-based comedy game like Goat Simulator or a meme fest filled with word games like FPS, and try to build off of that.
For the FPS, I watched a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race and a few cop buddy comedies like Naked Gun and Police Academy for inspiration.
Are there any tips or tricks you can share on developing a new game with a retro aesthetic?
Study the retro aesthetic you’re trying to recreate by playing older games and watching videos, and take notes and take screenshots. Find the right tutorials/tools so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep performance in mind and check it frequently if you plan to release on consoles!
What can small teams do to foster the best kind of work environment that leads to the results you’ve experienced?
Our development process for FPS was so much fun!
Every weekend I waited for it to end so I could go back to work. Our core team size was three people and we did everything remotely. We were only delayed two weeks from the original plan; this is an excellent result for a rookie team!
The main reason we had such a great time is careful planning. We establish milestones and content plans for each milestone. We tried to frame the game correctly, so there was nothing more.
After each stage, we reviewed what could be improved and our framing skills improved, so we knew how long everything was taking. We’ve cut some features so we don’t have to work long hours. So good planning, assessing the situation, and don’t be afraid to cut stuff to favor a healthy work/life balance!
When we launched Mopeful Games, we created four goals for our business that we would try to maintain with a few core elements…
An inclusive environment where everyone can say what they want leads to great ideas and lots of fun during development. Everyone also felt like an owner since we were able to contribute to the idea process.
Gameplay is king: We focused more on gameplay: meta elements were cut to allow time to improve the feel of the game and gameplay bugs were prioritized. This made the game more enjoyable to play and is probably why it has a good review score on Steam.
Health first, games second: Don’t overwork yourself, keep healthy habits and try all possible ways to avoid the crunch. Creating games is a passion, but it’s just a job. It shouldn’t affect your personal life by making you stressed and working late.
We had to cut the game content to avoid the crunch, but it was totally worth it. Duty cruncher is a failure in planning since you misjudged the time it takes to make the game.
Rigorous planning and aligned goals that we revisited several times during development worked well for us. It also helps if you find teammates who are good at communication and you manage. Most problems that arise can be solved by talking about it.
Thanks to Mopeful Games for your valuable insight into what it takes to develop a quality comedy game! On Steam, you can find their recently released game, Fashion Police Squad. For more content on their game, check them out on Twitter @FashionFPS.