Game Rant talks to Sergio Garcia and Dani Del Amor of Petoons Studio about ‘Ratoidvania’ Curse of the Sea Rats’ Disney influence, art style, and more
Curse of the Sea Rats brings back the golden era of 2D hand-drawn animation as a pirate-themed action-adventure ‘Ratoidvania’ platformer that places iconic rat characters front and center. Cursed by an evil pirate witch, players must venture across the 18th-century Irish coast shortly after the golden age of piracy as one of four playable rat characters, with the option to team up in local co-op for their adventures.
Game Rant recently spoke with Petoons Studio’s co-founders, Sergio Garcia and Daniel Del Amor, ahead of Curse of the Sea Rats’ upcoming launch in April 2023 about the game’s various inspirations, including the influence of Disney, its stand-out hand-drawn art style, and beyond. The following transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: Could you tell us more about the game story and were there any key story inspirations?
Sergio: Okay, Curse of the Sea Rats started as our second break. Petoons Party was our first game which was a party game. We decided to explore a new genre. And well, Dani and I, more specifically Dani who is the Creative Director of the company, love Metroidvanias. It was kind of ‘okay, why don’t we scratch a little bit of Metroidvania with all the things we made with the first game?’ And also, how we can move from the kids and family category to a new game with more mass appeal? And then, because we’re always working with ideas, Dani came with this funny and shameful rat with a sword during the Christmas holidays, and we were like, ‘that could be a beginning.’ He came up with this crazy idea of people in a ship that turn into rats.
We are also super fans of Monkey Island and other classic games. And that’s how it started. Everything started with a mouse – remember this. So, we really wanted to have something iconic and start from this idea.
Q: So why rats? Was it because of their connection to ship life, or was there anything else behind that decision?
Dani: At the very beginning, it was more like rodents in general, because rodents have different abilities, so it’s different from a rat, a mouse, a mole, or even a flying squirrel. We started stretching that idea, but in the end, we decided to keep all the story with a single species with the rats because it was more solid and better for our purposes. We were stretching different options at the very beginning.
Q: Were there any other creatures you considered instead?
Dani: Not really, it was always about rodents because of the classic films. Also, we are very influenced by the classic movies of Don Bluth and Disney ones like Basil The Mouse Detective. Mickey Mouse also. Rats have something special.
Sergio: Yeah, and it was growing you know, because you’ve got rats, and we’ve always loved pirates so pi-rats, with puns and everything. It was kind of very natural. At the beginning, it was like, ‘let’s connect the things we love, and we’ll see where it goes.’
Q: Were any of the game’s characters inspired by real people or maybe real pirates from history?
Dani: Yeah sure. We always like to dig a bit, like in Wikipedia. It’s fun to study what happened in that age, and it’s a huge amount of information to process and to be inspired with. Flora Burn, for instance, the pirate witch – there was a pirate woman called Flora Burn in the past, maybe it’s not at the same exact year, but I mean, we had these kinds of inspirations. Bussa, who is a free man who was a slave in Barbados – there’s a historic man who was called Bussa there. So yeah, we had these kinds of influences. Also, the witches, the Samurai girls really existed at that age, so we always have this in mind. Even the colors of the outfits of the British Soldiers or the Americans, everything.