Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures producer explains character reboot

You may have missed it, but Namco Bandai has rebooted the Pac-Man brand. Through the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon series on Disney...

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You may have missed it, but Namco Bandai has rebooted the Pac-Man brand. Through the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon series on Disney XD, the publisher has given the yellow blob much more than arms and legs. Not only does he have a surprising childish personality, but he has the ability to eat things with a giant tongue a la Yoshi and absorb powers a la Kirby.

We spoke with franchise director Konito Komori about Pac-Man's new identity and whether or not he thinks he's aping Nintendo's classic characters.

Komori argues that the similarities between the new Pac-Man and other characters is simply due to how easy these powers are to explain to children. "Firstly, we need to think about who is the target market? When thinking about kids, ice and fire are pretty natural weapons in the cartoon world," Komori said. In both the TV series and the upcoming game, Pac-Man can absorb fire and ice power-ups, amongst others. "Because it is simple, other games and animation may have that idea too. But, that's just a detail, not a big thing."

Ultimately, what's driving Pac-Man as a ratings success is the world Namco Bandai has created. "We have a new 3D world called Pac-World. And Pac-Man is the only one who can save the Pac-World. This is important. The type of new power-ups is a detail thing," Komori told us. "The important thing to remember is we have to make it easy to understand for kids. If we make some complicated outer space material, then kids will be confused."

Once Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures launches later this year, the brand reboot will have come full circle: from game, to cartoon, and back to game. However, what else is in store for Namco Bandai? Well, they could certainly look at their other legacy IPs. "Maybe it's another homework to do something about Galaga," Komori said. "My production is in charge of classic titles, not just Pac-Man. But this year, we're focusing on Pac-Man first. For our company, the Pac-Man IP is pretty important."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 14, 2013 1:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures producer explains character reboot.

    You may have missed it, but Namco Bandai has rebooted the Pac-Man brand. Through the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon series on Disney...

    • reply
      October 14, 2013 2:53 PM

      Dude should be embarrassed for himself over this and then fired. What a terrible idea and execution.

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      October 14, 2013 9:37 PM

      Pac man is simply not a portable character. His design as a flat puck is more iconic than all of the other attempts since the 1980's to anthropomorphisize him.

      Pac-man might look good on a Namco logo some day but Mario he is not. Dig Dug probably has more potential for a reboot in an immersible world than Pac-Man does.

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        October 14, 2013 10:09 PM

        I think it has a lot to do with the core gameplay doesn't evoke narrative. When people see the 80's Pac-man, sure there are characters and objectives but even some of your most imaginative children don't see something immersible when viewing ghosts chasing a puck in a maze. You are Pac-Man and have to grab dots. You really don't know what the dots are but you want them. Ghosts are after you but you don't know why or how they kill you when they touch you. You don't even know why it's imperative you grab all the dots.

        Compare that to Donkey Kong. There are characters and objectives too but also familiarity. The game establishes that a gorilla stole your girlfriend. This combines objective with narrative. You can establish a setting from Donkey Kong, that being a construction zone. Why is Donkey Kong throwing barrels at you? The hurt you. Why does he want to hurt you? Because he wants to bang your girlfriend. Why do you die when you get hit by barrels? Because almost any mind can deduce that a stampede of barrels thrown by a giant ape will probably hurt bad.

        If we were to put game narrative in a spectrum, Pac-Man would be closer to Tetris (being a quintessential zero narrative game).

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      October 14, 2013 9:59 PM

      Not again. It reminded me of the animated one from (19)80s! :/

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      October 14, 2013 10:05 PM

      The best new Pac-Man game was CE:DX. That was pretty much the perfect follow-up.

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      October 14, 2013 10:10 PM

      Hey, it's hardly worse than the cartoon we had back in the day. And Pac-Man CEDX+ still exists.

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