Hi, I’m Laura from Reflections, one of only two artists who worked on Grow Up! BUD, our procedurally animated stumbling red robot, is back for a new adventure. After his mission to grow a giant Star Plant in Grow Home, he’s off to a new planet and heading for the moon in an acrobatic adventure to save MOM. BUD is a much-loved character, but we thought players might enjoy him even more if he had some cool new outfits!
They’re not just a fashion statement — the abilities you get while wearing them are delightful. Equip the BUG suit and an army of swarming insects will follow you around. The aviator has a double speed boost glider — it’s crazy fast. And the others? They’re just waiting to be discovered. Complete the challenges dotted around the world by POD — BUD’s new best friend — and you can find out for yourself!
BUD’s not alone with his new ensemble — his upgrades get a new look, too, and some of the abilities will change the way you explore the planet. The world of Grow Up is massive in comparison to Grow Home, so exploration and traversal are key to the core experience — the suits will help you get around in style.
We needed lots of unique ideas for the visuals, so I drew from British culture. The BUG suit’s goggles are inspired by Dame Edna Everage’s famous spectacles, and the Aviator is a classic outfit from the 1920s. For one other surprise suit, I recalled a childhood memory of a scarecrow named Tatty Bogle. Though not all the ideas made it to the final game, we had loads of fun discussing over-the-top abilities that would have taken way too long to make playable!
When designing the suits, I envisioned how childlike BUD is in his vocalisations and movement. I remembered my own happy experiences of having fun in the garden, digging around in the mud and playing with insects. At an early playtest, one player left a comment: “The BUG suit is going to be my son’s favourite.” That’s why I love making games. Nothing compares to seeing someone enjoying content you created. The suits add another layer of fun to a very exciting game and I hope people enjoy playing with them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Before Grow Up, I was an artist on Tom Clancy’s The Division — you can’t get a much bigger jump in terms of style and content. I had to adapt to a new art direction, from a dystopian and ruined New York to a bright, beautiful, triangulated world. Grow Home’s style was really appreciated by the community and I knew it would be a challenge to deliver an experience of the same artistic quality on a much bigger scale — the whole planet!
The tiny team dynamic is totally different to working on AAA; it’s refreshing to be able to spin around on your chair and see the whole team. The transition meant I had much more ownership of many aspects of the game. Most of what you can see on screen I’ve played a big part in, but so has everyone else — and it was great to take the lead in the creation of BUD’s suits.
I’ve hidden some secrets in Grow Up and although I know where they are, as soon as a player notices them, it’ll be like finding them all over again. There are even a couple of surprises my art director didn’t know about until the very end!
So enjoy your planetary playground, make something beautiful with the plants, and see what you can find — whether you’re dressed as a bug, a pilot, or an adorable red robot!