Baby Shark Do Do Do Do!
It would be hard to imagine that anyone alive today with access to the internet has never heard of Pinkfong’s Baby Shark. The song became a worldwide phenomenon towards the end of 2015 and has had more than 750 million views on YouTube. The craze around the song inspired a follow-up video titled “Baby Shark Dance” which has become the most viewed video on YouTube of all time.
The Baby Shark universe did expand into the realm of video games with a handful of mobile games for Google Play and the App Store. As for a console / PC / Steam version, there hasn’t really been any… until now with Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party which was released on September 15th, 2023.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Jaime Arcaya, who is the art director on the game for the development studio Recotechnology. Jaime was more than happy to talk with us and now we can share with you our Miketendo64 interview which deep dives into Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party:
Let’s Dive In:
Miketendo64: Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Jaime Arcaya: We are a team with a long experience in the world of video games. We have been developing and distributing video games worldwide in companies such as Erbe Software (now Nintendo Spain), Virgin Interactive (after Virgin Play) and in Recotechnology in the last eleven years with more than nine games developed and released in this period for different platforms (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, PC,…).
Miketendo64: And now to follow-up, what is your role at Outright Games/RecoTechnology S.L. and what is the extent of your involvement with Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party?
Jaime Arcaya: The leaders of the studio are myself as Art Director and Paco Encinas as CEO and Production supervisor. Regarding Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party we have been in charge of the design and supervision of all aspects of the game with our great and professional team. Working also collaboratively with our co-producer Outright Games with a very positive result.
Miketendo64: Now on the subject at hand, can you tell us a bit about Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party? What is it and how does it play?
Jaime Arcaya: Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party is a cooperative rhythmic adventure game where fans can follow and play as the Shark Family, as the journey across the ocean to vacation to the FIN-tastic Festival. The game features two modes; rhythmic which follows the same gameplay scheme as other musical games like Guitar Hero and Runner, where players must avoid obstacles and collect stars while travelling between scenarios.
Miketendo64: With 30 songs included in the game, are they all previously released songs prior to the release of the game or are there new and original songs as well?
Jaime Arcaya: All 30 songs included in the game are previously released songs from the Baby Shark franchise; fans will be able to keep an ear out for catchy classic tracks like ‘Baby Shark’, ‘Disco Sharks’ and ‘Shark Dance Party’. My personal favourite is ‘SHARK! SHARK!’, for which you’ll have to play to the FIN-tastic Festival to hear!
Miketendo64: Where did the decision to make a “Baby’s first Guitar Hero” come from? As opposed to making a platformer or adventure game?
Jaime Arcaya: Baby Shark is a fun and child-oriented IP and music is one of its core features. That is why we decided to create a rhythmic game to play with family & friends, based on the experience of watching the IP´s YouTube songs. This results in gameplay guided primarily by rhythm and colourful visuals, with simple but fun and engaging gameplay mechanics to go along with it.
Miketendo64: How will the visuals and animations of the game compare to that of the YouTube videos they are based on?
Jaime Arcaya: Our main goal was to reproduce the Baby Shark graphic style and animations as closely as possible. The creation tools are different but our aim was that the player would feel like they are playing an IP original You tube video.
Miketendo64: Who would you say is your target audience for? Is this just for kids or is it something you envision older siblings and parents getting into as well?
Jaime Arcaya: The primary audience for this game was created for, is 3-6 year olds, as they are the primary fans of the Baby Shark song and brand. However, we have worked to make this game enjoyable to older audiences, especially families, with the 4-player couch co-op that will allow the whole family to play together.
Additionally, the mechanics have ensured that the difficulty curve increases over time, so for younger players it increases in line with their skill level increasing – but it might just provide a slight challenge to older audiences.
Miketendo64: What is the control scheme? (button, motion, gyro, etc.)
Jaime Arcaya: For navigation and game control, the inputs used are the directional arrows and gamepad, leaving the analog stick as an alternative to the first. All indicated by clear and simple tutorials with both voice and text laid on friendly interfaces on every screen of the game. We wanted every child to be able to play the game, no matter how young he/she is.
Miketendo64: When approaching Baby Shark as a game, what were the defining elements you wanted conveyed into the game?
Jaime Arcaya: First of all is that this is a family game, in which all kids and parents have fun together while playing. Since this is a rhythmic and musical game, the children will play, listening to their favourite Baby Shark Songs. There are a variety of mechanics, focused on rhythm and coordination.
The game can be played in short sessions, so we can keep the attention of the players. This allows us to incorporate games that improve their visual and psychomotor skills, creating a more compelling and varied experience.
Another important feature is the repetition of mechanics with different results, in order to make the player more confident to play and learn by repetition, but keeping the surprising factor each time, they succeed.
Miketendo64: Was Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party always intended as a party game or were other genres considered?
Jaime Arcaya: We chose this particular genre from the outset; since everything about Baby Shark is based on music, the perfect genre for a Baby Shark game would be a rhythm or music-oriented game.
Miketendo64: From a development point of view, what difficulties did you face when trying to create a game of this nature and make it accessible to a younger generation of gamers?
Jaime Arcaya: The biggest challenges we have encountered have been that the player feels like they are interacting with the characters as they appear on Youtube. As it is also such a young audience, making the game visually understandable without requiring lots of on-screen text was essential. In general, we adapt to the age target of the brand and at the same time it is an educational, fun and family game.
Miketendo64: At this point in the interview, we like to give our interviewee the chance to talk about or recommend other games they have worked on, or games they love in general. With that said, are there any games you’d like to give a mention?
Jaime Arcaya: We are big fans of music and strategy and action games. Therefore, apart from the projects we are working on and we can’t comment now, we are very happy with our games like Yasai Ninja, 1971 Project Helios and Pocoyo Party, without clearly forgetting our latest development of Baby Shark.
Miketendo64: After all is said and done with Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party, what comes next for Outright Games? Do you have anything else lined up in the pipeline 2023 and 2024?
Jaime Arcaya: We have a number of games that will be launching across the remainder of 2023, including PAW Patrol World, The Grinch: Christmas Adventures and TRANSFORMERS: Earthspark – Expedition. We also have a lot of exciting games planned for 2024 – stay tuned!
Miketendo64: Last question of the day, is there anything you would like to say, or any additional comments you would like to add, for our readers and your fans? The floor is yours.
Jaime Arcaya: Thanks for the opportunity to share our work with you, we hope that the players have a good time as the one that we spent developing and playing the game.
Jaime, we are immensely grateful for your time and wish you and the rest of Recotechnology the best with Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party and your future projects. We would also like to thank Alice Beesley and the rest of the team at Outright Games for organizing this interview and for the many games that their company has published for the Nintendo Switch. As for our readers, we hope you appreciate this interview and would like to ask you what has been your favourite game Outright Games has published so far and which of their upcoming titles do you look forwards to the most?