“We have received many requests for the return of the Puzzle Bobble series”

Image: Taito

We are big fans of Taito’s Bubble Bobble spin-off. Puzzle Bobble around these parts. We knew him as Bust-A-Move in the West, and the news that a new game in the series is coming to Switch next year, courtesy of publisher ININ, has made us very excited.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is a four-player co-op classic tile-matching bubble pool shooter game in which the new dragons Peb and Pub join Bub and Bob in a story mode that is the first in the series.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Game Director Tsuyoshi Tozaki a few questions ahead of the game’s launch next spring…

The Puzzle Bobble series has been around for almost 30 years. Do you remember what first inspired you to create a spin-off for the Bubble Bobble series?

Tsuyoshi Tozaki, Game Director: The original Puzzle Bobble was a puzzle game called “Billiardesu”. As the name suggests, the game was inspired by billiards where you have to either throw your ball directly or let it bounce off the walls to hit other balls.

In the early 1990s, when Puzzle Bobble was created, many companies focused on puzzle games. Among prototype games, Billiardesu proved so attractive that Taito decided to commercialize the game. And to make this puzzle game more appealing to women, who were the main target group at the time, they decided to use the popular and pretty Bubble Bobble heroine.

Why is now the perfect time to bring back Puzzle Bobble?

we want to keep growing and developing Bubble Bobble IP

The Puzzle Bobble series has continued to be released as gaming platforms have evolved with games such as Puzzle Bobble Journey (Overkill travel), which is still available as a smartphone app. There were also arcade machines like the Bust-A-Move Frenzy. In addition, we have released Bobble 3D Puzzle: Vacation Odyssey for PS4, PS5 and PSVR last year in collaboration with Survios, although the 3D experience is very different from previous games.

We decided to work on Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! as a game developed by Taito after the positive response after the release of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, when we received many requests for the return of the Puzzle Bobble series. Moreover, we also want to continue to develop and develop the intellectual property of Bubble Bobble. We hope that the new game will appeal to the same wide range of players and fans as Bubble Bobble.

What was it like returning to a spin-off series with Bub and Bob back at the helm?

As this is the first console game in a long time, we’ve revisited the Puzzle Bobble series and taken a fresh look at what makes the game what it is.

The first thing that comes to mind is the game system that defined the bubble shooter genre, but we also think that the characters of Bub and Bob are important to the game. Also, we thought that since there is a four-player mode this time, we should also make the story mode available for four players, so we introduced Peb and Pub.

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends marked the surprise return of Bub and Bob. What made you return to the general series?

Back in 2019, when we were thinking about resurrecting some of our famous IPs for the console and PC market, Bubble Bobble came up because, unlike shooting games like Space Invaders and Darius, Bubble Bobble has a broader appeal thanks to their cute characters. . Our expectations were met and Bubble Bobble 4 Friends was bought and enjoyed by over 200,000 users and continues to be popular even long after its release, especially in Europe and Asia.

Puzzle Bobble was last on Switch with the 2020 Touhou Spell Bubble. What did you learn from this crossover game, and did any of it influence Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!?

The two development teams are mostly separated, but there is some overlap between us and the Touhou Spell Bubble team, so we had some understanding. Among other things, the “empty bubble” system, which changes color to the color of the balloon you shoot at it and disappears if three or more bubbles of the same color touch it, was very well done, which is why we included it as an empty bubble in Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!

However, Touhou Spell Bubble implements some elements of rhythm games, which makes it quite unique and greatly influences the player’s experience. Game system Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! focuses more on solving puzzles to get through the various stages, which gives it that familiar Puzzle Bobble feel.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble
Image: Taito

This new entry will be playable by up to four players. What made you want to add two more players to the game?

There were games in the Puzzle Bobble series that supported a four-player mode, but the story mode (puzzle mode) was always single-player. Japan-only arcade game, Azumanga Dayo Jigsaw Bobble there was a two-player co-op mode where both players had to work to blow bubbles together, but this time up to four players can cooperate to solve puzzles, as well as play in 2v2 competitive mode, but more on that later.

We made a four player co-op game because Bubble Bobble 4 Friends co-op was very popular among the players. Also, since it will be released exclusively on Nintendo Switch, we wanted to make it a game that can be played with friends and family.

Can you tell us something about possible single player modes?

While you can play with up to four players, each stage is designed to be completed by one player. It took a lot of work to balance the game, but now we’ve implemented stages so that they adjust themselves in the size and location of the bubbles according to the number of players, so it’s fun no matter how many people are playing.

In addition, we are preparing a lot of different stages: difficult, exciting, as well as more difficult stages, as well as unlockable items to complete the stages with three stars, as we did in Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, but you’ll have to wait a bit for all the details!

Are there any plans to return characters from previous Puzzle Bobble games?

As shown in key art, Wool and Packs from Puzzle Bobble 2 will reappear alongside Bubble Bobble series favorites like Bonner and Chak’n. We also have many other characters from past games, so please look forward to what’s next.

You can also spot some new characters in key art such as Lieber, a braided girl who wears glasses and mint-colored clothes, and Hutwit, an old owl. [who] debut.

We hope you look forward to seeing each character in action as they each have a unique storyline and personality.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble
Image: Taito

What do you think made Baba and Bob such popular characters after so many years?

Probably because they are so cute – their design has changed little by little over time, but they have always remained charming. Also, I think their simple design is easy to remember.

Posting photos and videos on Twitter Baba as well as YouTube channel “Bub’s Broadcast”and we’re always happy to see so many people respond “nice” and friendly. We also love seeing all the fan art posted and the best ones are always shared with the team and we have a lot of fun discussing them.

Apart from the four player mode, are there any other new features in Everybubble?

The best feature, without a doubt, is the two-versus-two game mode, where two teams battle it out on the same screen. I think teaming up and playing together is a completely different level of fun and excitement.

When two players work together, you can erase bubbles even faster and send even more bubbles to the opponent’s side to thwart them. It also brings a new element of strategy and teamwork to the game: each player’s position means they can hit different bubbles, but they can also shoot the same bubble.

Even if you don’t have all four people, you can ask the computer to come up with numbers for a 2v2 game, so please try that too. For example, if there are two players, they can play on the same team against computers, but it is also possible to have a human and a computer on each team and play the same way.

Other new modes will also be added to Everybubble, so please wait for more information.

What do you want to do with the Bubble Bobble franchise in the future?

First of all, we will continue to make Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! as enjoyable as possible for the countless fans of the series, but beyond that we want to keep making new games in the Bubble Bobble/Puzzle Bobble franchise. This includes games like Rainbow Islands, which we would like to expand as well.

Bub is also hard at work as a YouTuber on Bub’s Broadcast, where he not only introduces new games from the franchise, but tackles challenges like radio broadcasts, tap games, drumming, and more. I think he has a secret desire to be famous and loved all over the world! As part of this, we also want to see products on store shelves around the world!

Our thanks dir.vector tozaki for taking of time to answer our questions. Puzzle Bobble Everybubble is scheduled to launch in Q2 2023 on Switch. While we wait, we leave to check import prices on this amazing Bub backpack.

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