Papo & Yo Update: Monster Evolved

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Papo & Yo Update: Monster Evolved

Hello everybody! We’ve been hard at work since we first unveiled Papo & Yo last summer, and the game has come a long way in the past few months. As we get ready to (finally!) show off more of the game next week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you all a little bit about how Monster – a character very important to both the story and to me personally – has evolved since my initial concept into the Monster you see today.


If you’ve been following Papo & Yo, you may remember that Monster represents my father, a man I had a difficult relationship with. To tell the story I wanted to tell – my story – I knew that this character had to show the positive aspects of the man I loved… and the negative aspects of the man I feared. This turned out to be challenging – I knew who Monster was, but not what he looked like. Luckily, I’m extremely fortunate to have friends like Nilo Rodis, a man who has worked on the art for movies ranging from Pixar titles to Star Wars, and the man who helped me find my father in Monster.


Nilo and I met during my time at EA, and when I started Minority as a way to make more personal games, he was one of the first people I started talking to. After I came to Nilo with the concept of Papo & Yo, we didn’t talk for a while – I basically buried myself in developing the game. When I finally had a prototype ready, Nilo liked it but saw problems with the way Monster looked – too much like a puppy, he thought. He asked me, “Do you see your father in that character?” and I honestly couldn’t say I did.

Nilo agreed to help us redesign our characters, and our final Monster, which you can see below, is big and powerful. He’s scary, but there is something that attracts you to him – something that makes you want to play with him, help him, even though he’s a beast who could fly into a rage and kill you.



Can’t wait to show you more of Monster and the game in the coming months!

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2 Author Replies

  • release date please

  • nice i cant wait to play this for sure looks quite interesting!… also which platform is it going to be released on?

  • They probably don’t have a release date yet because they’re not sure when it will be finished. And if they announced a release date and couldn’t make the deadline, some people would just fly into a rage for announcing a date they couldn’t keep.

  • your game Definately stands out to me. You have great inspiration and I’m enjoying following your progress. Can’t wait till the release.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been so interested in a PSN game this much ever.I hope it comes out during summer in a lull where it’ll have a chance to have more attention on it

  • Looking forward to playing this. Thank you for the update.

  • One of my most anticipated title! I can’t wait to read more information about this.

    I would prefer that they take their time developing this game rather than rushing to a certain release date.

  • I wan to to play this game since I first saw it long time ago. Looks really amazing. And its totally amazing using such personal story to develop a game.

  • btw, I think i like more the Rhino version. But it really dont give the idea of something more “human” like the new design. And thank god you didn’t used that “Monsters inc like” design from the first image! Specially for the boy.

  • I’ve gotta say I’ve been anticipating this one for awhile, but I’m sorely disappointed by the new monster look: It’s severely lacking in detail compared to the rhino looking one and looks more like an enemy that I’d wanna gun down ASAP so I wouldn’t have to look at his ugly mug anymore. And what’s the deal with the one to the right? Is that some type of enrage ability it has?

    This whole new concept does not look remotely human or make me care about it, nor could I ever relate to it–it’s very off-putting. It doesn’t even look fearsome if that’s what you were going for, it’s pitiful to be honest. Please, go back to the rhino esque one or to the drawing board altogether.

    • Hola I’m Vander, the creator of PAPO & YO, Thanks for your feedback on the monster, I really like the Rhino too. I remember going from the first sketches to a 3d model to putting him in the engine, but inside of me there was always something wrong with the character I couldn’t describe. Talking to my friend Nilo I realized what it was – I was mixing the monster with my dog! I love playing with my dog and got stuck in the loop of playfulness I wanted to have with my father which I never had. But when Nilo asked me if I see my father in the monster I had to be honest and admit that Rhino, as much as I liked him, was more my dog than my father.

      The monster looks a bit scarier now and that is how I felt when I was a kid. When Nilo sent me some concept art for the new monster I saw my father in it and I feel that is a more honest view of my past.

      We are still working on improving the texture and I look forward to showing you his animations soon, new monster is attaching too.

      I know many will not like the new monster but I really could not ship with Rhino knowing he is the representation of my father mixed with my dog.


  • oh so you changed the concept to the bottom image? The Rhino kind of creeped me out at first. I felt kind of uncomfortable with it. Like with my dad, I always felt uncomfortable around him as a kid yet I was still attracted towards him as a father figure. But there’s still that “Scary-but-loveable” idea in the bottom image.

    The first image kind of resembled a Chihuahua. The “having no hair and showing skin” thing kind of bugged me when I first saw it last year. The new monster does look a little different, but I’ll need to see more to get “comfortable” with it.

    Looking forward to more details! Keep up the good work!

  • Is that the final look to the monster or is it still in progress? The rhino at least looked finished where this one just looks worse because it doesn’t have as many details in the skin and so forth.

  • Monster still work in progress, We are working in his textures and animations, will keep you post it.

  • Did you guys downgrade the visual style over all? The first thing that really stuck out for me when it was first revealed was the incredibly sharp visuals (which actually made me think “This looks like more than a download title”) and I see none of that in the two shots you just posted. The monster’s visual (polygon and texture?) downgrade aside, the game doesn’t have that same superb crisp feel as the first images (even the one you posted of the old monster)… the textures look downgraded… the lighting isn’t anywhere close to what we saw earlier and even just the buildings look cheaper compared to the first reveal.

  • Also, I in no way feel anything towards that monster with his new look, other than I want to put a slug in his forehead. He lacks any kind of feature that would ever make me want to “Play with him” or “Help him out”. Not that I’m trying to tell you what to do, but if I were in the position, I would of kept the old style, forget the silly looking rage/fire attack and just made the monster shift into “BEAST MODE” in which his facial structure could change into that of something scary looking, perhaps various spikes erupt from his back, muscle bulk up and so on. Transforming him from your friend (or as you put it, Dog) into this beast of a being the likes of which you question if you can trust.

  • Hi Vander, do you have a Twitter I can follow? Your game is one of my most anticipated for the year.

    Also, you mentioned GDC. Will the game be on display at a booth? Which one? Sony Computer Entertainment?

  • Vander, I understand where your coming from. I too liked the Rhino version better than this new one mostly because he looked as if he would be a memorable character. A monster that could do plenty of harm but also possesed a look of innoocence. I really do think that your taking away something that could have been alot brighter. This new monster looks not only a bit scary but uncompassionate. I liked the idea of having an odd bestfriend who could turn on you in a minute, with the new monster I would be constantly wondering whether he just ate a frog or had one 20 minutes ago. So my biggest gripe is the fact that the Rhino version presented a sort of feel like that of Monsters Inc., where a tough looking monster can be innocent and loving while also getting his scare on was switched with that of something I’m fearful of and would continue to be fearful of.


  • I’m really excited for this game but I must say, I vastly prefer the original design. It looked much more original while the second just looks generic and doesn’t stand out as much.

  • I glanced over the pics before reading…and i thought it would have been cool to see monsters face morph with the story. Changing and flowing to show that emotional astetic of the current moment or inviroment.

    Sorry if this idea seems far out or crazy in light of the current game build and availble info, this is my first time seeing or reading of it.

    This is a Very neat looking game though…you have offically caught my attention.

  • I was wondering what happened to this game. haven’t heard much about it since E3. Glad to see it’s still coming and looking so good.

  • Vander, I understand you have a personal attachment to this character you wish to reflect your father, and I respect that. However, you’ve also got to remember that in order for your game to sell it’s got to appeal to a broad audience or at least the niche you’re focusing on; in order to appeal to others, people have got to identify with it in some fashion.

    He’s got to have characteristics that evoke empathy: Adorableness, charm, humbleness, charisma, etc.

    Now I don’t personally know your father, but from the looks of the new monster’s representation it seems as though you didn’t like him very much as a kid, or he came off to you as some satanic demon with no admirable qualities. Was that what you were going for?

    I just don’t see this monster as a likable character in its current incarnate, sorry. The rhino at least had a memorable face and the ability to evoke empathy. But it’s good you’re at least open to revising him to look more appealing with updated textures and such.

  • Hey, Vander Do you currently have any plans to integrate the Vita into this. I would love to play this on the go. You could even make an interactive AR Lula. I just want something to use my vita for.

  • This game looks interesting.

  • I think i prefer the new look but it needs better texture.

  • It would be really neat if rhino became a skin also! Moreover, I like your last name :P (Caballero = Knight or Gentlemen in Spanish!)

  • I’m really interested in this game. It touchs on addiction based issues. Hopefully it is released soon.

  • Thanks for the update and insight, I look forward to hearing more about details soon!

  • johnny_toastburn

    The premise of this is fascinating… making the monster scary yet compelling (making me want to interact with it) will be quite a balancing act, but this will be a masterpiece if you can pull it off! I’m watching with a great deal of interest.

  • This game really looks VERY interesting…i would love either one of the monsters and im sure the new one on the pic isnt finished as i can CLEARLY see…unlike some who are already saying it looks bad -___- like @Eternal-CMO who is being so anal about it…come on you are smarter than that..or maybe you just arent….shame.

    but OT this game looks REALLY interesting…really looking forward to it!

  • @Eternal-CMO I’m pretty sure the point is to relate to the kid, not the scary monster. Depending on the story, audio design, and how far the visuals end up being refined, this game could end up being an example of games as art. And I don’t think this is intended to be POP art, this is art for him and he is lucky enough to be able to market it and sell it, which a lot of artists never get the chance to do.

    On that note, to the developer: DO NOT compromise your vision for the sake of the masses. Make your game your way. If people buy it, awesome, if not, oh well.

    What if the guys and gals at “thatgamecompany” decided to say “Well, the Transformers movies make a lot of money, so lets put explosions in our game Flower!” It would have ruined the artistic integrity for the sake of popular culture. What if the guys who filed “Baraka” said “Hey lets put a plot and some dialogue in or film because it will have more mass appeal!” It would have ruined the message of the movie.

    Bottom line, “appealing to the masses” as you put it, does not always equal a better product or a guaranteed success.

  • Very nice and original concept! But I’m curious… Why the frog stuff? Why feed him frogs? From what I saw, this game every aspect is kind of a metaphore about your childhood with your father, so whats the story behind the frogs? I’m very, very curious to know what exactly this is related to.

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