The Evolution of Walter
The main character of Shoot Many Robots, P. Walter Tugnut, wasn’t always the goofy, beer-drinking, cross-dressing, RV-inhabiting, hillbilly he is today. But one thing has remained true throughout the game’s development: he loves to shoot robots.
When we first started exploring who our main character was going to be, we created a small, nimble character in an orange metal suit. At the time, we were imagining a sleek sci-fi world, and this avatar was inspired by aerodynamic motorcycles. To give him character, his antenna would animate to show emotions.
As the tone of the game shifted to a grittier, almost steampunk-inspired world of diesel machines and ramshackle weaponry, we changed the design of the protagonist. We played around with the idea that there were four kids who banded together to stop the robot apocalypse, but eventually abandoned it since we didn’t think that kids starring in the mature world we were creating fit the tone appropriately.
From there, we developed a mechanic character. He was a simple guy who just liked to tinker with machinery and create weapons. This was also when we introduced the concept of changing all of the gear the avatar wore for aesthetic customization, as well as affecting his abilities and stats.
The essence of the mechanic character being simple, blue-collar, and gritty was close to what we wanted, but we needed someone more identifiable. Drawing inspiration from Team Fortress 2’s Heavy and Zombieland’s Tallahassee, we created a goofy hillbilly called P. Walter Tugnut (the ‘P’ stands for Pickles). Much like Tallahassee, Walter has been stockpiling guns, ammo, and beer in his RV waiting for the robot apocalypse… and today is the best day of his life, because it finally happened.
Now that we had found the hero of Shoot Many Robots, we could have some fun. Dressing up Walter in the most ridiculous outfits we could assemble allowed customization to distinguish avatars in 4-player sessions, as well as giving players tons of loot to find throughout the course of the game. All of the gear affects Walter’s stats and abilities, making the crazy outfits more than just cosmetic.
We had a lot of fun exploring all of the characters our hero could embody. Check out the gallery for more avatar concepts.