If you’re not aware of Wholesome Games, do yourself a favor and take a browse through what must truly be the most wholesome Twitter feed in the whole gaming industry. They did their most recent indie game showcase near the end of August, which saw the announcement of a couple new games from various studios and developers. Among them was Pupperazzi, an upcoming title from developer Sundae Month and publisher Kitfox Games, which puts you behind the camera—and adorable dogs in front of it! With the showcase over and the new Pupperazzi trailer released, we had a chat with game director Isobel Shasha of Sundae Month.
The premise of the game is simple and relatable. See good dogs. Appreciate them. Take photos of them. Post those photos on social media. Become a canine photography social media mogul. It’s pretty much the dream, to be honest. The concept is so good, it’s getting a more fully featured game than the developers originally intended. “Pupperazzi started as a very small arcade-style dog photography game. We made it in a short span of time and were originally planning to release it in that early state,” said Shasha. “But we thought the concept was too cute to not take further, so we scrapped it and rebuilt it into the game we have today.”
Some of the features in the full game include a long list of breeds to photograph, camera upgrades to collect, and a world that’s as close to a perfect world as I can imagine—that is to say, a world entirely populated by dogs. (Although it’s possible there are a couple exceptions to that rule. “We did consider adding other animals as joke “dogs,” such as cats or lobsters,” Shasha told us. “Some of these might sneak their way into the final game…”) And yes, if you were wondering, according to the trailer, you can pet the dogs. (Side note, CanYouPetTheDog is the other most wholesome Twitter feed in the gaming industry.)
One of the things that’s so charming about Pupperazzi is the variety of dogs featured—not just different breeds, but dogs with different styles and personalities (like Tony Bark the skateboarding dog, who’s featured in the trailer). “Several of the team’s pets made their way into the game,” according to Shasha. “But my favorite [aspect] is actually the robot vacuum cleaner, modelled after the one in the Sundae Month office! In the game, players can deploy it to chase the dogs around!” I find these kinds of personal touches in a game particularly charming, knowing the developers have put something of themselves into it.
Also lending to its charm is the art style, which is as cute as the concept. I would describe it as a pleasant, comforting combination of the gameplay of Pokemon Snap and the style of Katamari Damacy. Toripon and Tokyo Snap were both games Shasha cited as sources of inspiration for the team, and fans of Sundae Month’s existing games may find something that specifically appeals to them as well. “We try to carry forward the sense of humor that you can see in Dad Quest and Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor into Pupperazzi in small ways,” Shasha also noted.
I love that Wholesome Games pointed me in the direction of Pupperazzi. I’m always excited when they bring new games to my attention in general, especially when those games give me a break from the world for a while—and I’m not alone. Based on the cultural phenomenon of Animal Crossing and the popularity of projects like Wholesome Games, I think a lot of people are finding comfort recently in games that are seen as ‘cute’ or ‘wholesome.’ “I think that for most people, life is getting very difficult these days,” Shasha observed. “And in that environment, people turn to games as places for healing, social connection, and self-care.” And I can’t think of a better way to heal and take care of myself than to be surrounded by a whole world full of friendly dogs.
Pupperazzi doesn’t yet have a release date set, but you can check it out on Steam and wishlist it if you’re interested in its development!