Fashion Police Squad is a fun, funny, in-your-face FPS(Get it?) featuring you, the character, as an officer in the fight against fashion crimes. While the game falls into the category of Boomer Shooters, it brings a surprisingly enjoyable amount of color and life into a genre known for doom and gloom. The game’s intuitive inclusion of comedy leaves a lasting impression of charm without appearing as obnoxious.
We recently spoke with FPS Developer Mopeful Games about how to find that sweet spot between boringly drab and trying too hard to be funny when developing a comedic game. FPS results from a natural combination of humor with art style, mechanics, and themes.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to hit that sweet spot of just the right amount of comedy…
How does humor help you get more out of game design than you otherwise would have with a different style?
Having a humorous approach gives you more freedom in the design process. FPS’s premise is so absurd that it made sense to add any idea you could think of.
So it opened up the design choices regarding what makes sense and what’s believable. The more serious the game, the more you must be grounded in reality. You couldn’t have the Doom guy doing tricks on an electric scooter in between shootouts since it wouldn’t make any sense.
Humor’s subjective, and it will not come naturally to every designer. I chose a humorous approach for FPS since I enjoy joking around.
Designing a wild game was also so much fun during the development!
Does color and art style affect how humor is used in game design? How so?
The more you can tie together the humor, the better. Artstyle, writing, mechanics, theming etc. A lighthearted tone and cartoony graphics play a significant role in setting up the scene. If Untitled Goose Game looked realistic with raytraced lighting, I don’t think it would have the same effect.
A humorous approach can emphasize the effects and character proportions, making some animations more like a cartoon.
Is writing comedy for games different from writing comedy for standups or movies?
I’ve never written for standups or movies, so I don’t know if it’s different.
Brainstorming ideas for a wild game was fun since every wacky idea you can think of can fit in the game. Usually, someone comes up with an idea, and others in our team bounce off each other, adding to that idea. We had to be careful with the game’s scope since it would take ages to implement every idea when everything fits and sounds funny. We ended up rating what felt the funniest and cutting most of the OK ideas.
The story and dialogue were written solely by me. It relied on referencing memes, coming up with fashion-related puns, and being naturally inclined to humor/trying to be funny.
Scroll to Continue
So the writing process was pretty organic.
Where are the best places to look for comedic inspiration when designing games?
It depends on what type of game you’re making. You could start by consuming a lot of funny games, comedy movies, standup shows, etc. Then see what makes you laugh when playing a physics-based humor game like Goat Simulator or a pun-filled meme fest like FPS, and try to build off that.
For FPS, I watched a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race and some cop buddy comedy movies like the Naked Gun and Police Academy to find my inspiration.
Are there any tips or tricks you can share on developing a new game with a retro aesthetic?
Study the retro aesthetic you’re trying to recreate by playing older games and watching videos, and make notes and take screenshots. Find the right tutorials/tools, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep performance in mind and check it frequently if you plan on releasing it on consoles!
What can small teams do to foster the best type of work environment that leads to results that you’ve experienced?
Our development process for FPS was so much fun!
Every weekend I waited for it to end so I could return to work. Our main team size was three, and we did it all remotely. We were only delayed by two weeks from the original plan; that’s an excellent result for a team starting!
The number one reason we had such a good time is thorough planning. We set up milestones and plans for content for each milestone. We tried to scope the game properly, so there was nothing extra.
After every milestone, we went through what could be improved, and our scoping skills improved, so we knew how much time everything took. We cut some features so we wouldn’t have to crunch working long hours. So good planning, assessing the situation, and not being afraid to cut stuff out to prioritize a healthy work/life balance!
When we started Mopeful Games, we created four goals for our company that we would try to maintain a few essential things…
An inclusive environment where everyone can say what they like leads to great ideas and much fun during development. Everyone also felt ownership since we got to contribute to the idea process.
Gameplay is king: We focused more on gameplay: meta stuff got cut to give time to improve the feel of the game & gameplay bugs were prioritized. This made the game feel better to play and is probably why it has a good review score on Steam.
Health first, games second: Don’t overwork yourself, keep healthy habits and try every means possible to avoid the crunch. Making games is a passion, but it’s just a job. It shouldn’t affect your personal life by making you stressed and working late.
We had to cut content from the game to avoid crunch, but it was super worth it. Having to crunch is a failure in planning since you misjudged the time it takes to make the game.
Rigorous planning and having aligned goals we revisited a few times during development ended up working well for us. It also helps if you find teammates that are good at communication and that you gel. Most problems that arise can be solved by talking them out.
Thank you to Mopeful Games for your valuable insight into what it takes to develop a quality comedy game! On Steam, you can find their recently released game, Fashion Police Squad. For more content on their game, check them out on Twitter @FashionFPS.