Platypus Reclayed
Image: Claymatic Games

Claymatic Games, the developer of the multiplayer early access brawler Clodhoppers, has announced that it will be bringing out a remake of the cult claymation shoot 'em up Platypus for Steam and consoles (with icons for Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation being listed on the developer's website).

Platypus was originally developed by Squashy Software and was published by Idigicon for Windows computers in 2002 on CD-ROM. It was initially designed by the New Zealand game developer Anthony Flack and proved to be a particularly traumatic development for its creator, due to a fire that burned down his house, destroying everything he owned (including his computers, his camera equipment, and his entire stock of plasticine).

According to Flack, in an old blog post on Squashy Software's website, the "only relief" that came out of this terrible situation was the fact that he had managed to back up the game's files to a CD a few days earlier to show his friend what he was working on. If not for that, Platypus "would probably not exist today".

Squashy Software Website
Flack's Making Of has been archived online, thanks to Wayback Machine Image: Squashy Software

Following the disaster, Flack was able to rally himself and eventually complete the project with the help of his friends and family, but it wasn't initially successful. Instead, it wasn't until two years later that the game became something of a minor hit, thanks to a digital release from the publisher Retro64, who saw the potential in selling it online and made a deal with Idigicon to distribute it on their website.

In the wake of this success, Idigicon ended up licensing the rights to more companies to bring it to a range of platforms, including the PSP and Xbox 360. It also created a sequel Platypus II in 2007 though this was made without Flack's involvement.

Both Platypus and Platypus II have been available on Steam for several years now, but back in 2019, Claymatic Games (Flack's new workplace) acquired the rights to the series and announced that it was planning an enhanced version of the original once its work on Clodhoppers was further down the line. Now it seems that is finally about to happen, with the developer revealing the project earlier this month on social media under the new title Platypus Reclayed.

"[Remaking Platypus] has been in the back of my mind for many years," Flack told Time Extension. "People never stopped contacting me about the game, and much to my surprise there are people still buying it on Steam, despite it being over 20 years old and having some compatibility issues with modern PCs. The game seems to have stuck with people and it’s long past time we gave them the updated version they deserve.”

According to Claymatic Games, Platypus Reclayed "isn't just a simple remaster", but "a complete revamp". The developer states that it has been reprogrammed entirely from scratch and will feature all-new artwork in 4K widescreen, as well as new content (such as additional weapons and features that are still yet to be announced).

Flack said about these improvements, "Initially, I had an idea that I might be able to use some kind of upscaling process to convert a lot of the original artwork but after some tests, I decided that shooting new models with my nice modern DSLR camera just looked far too good, and there was no way around it but to remake everything from scratch and reshoot it all. I tried to get most of it done during the initial bout of enthusiasm before I or anybody else realised that was crazy.“

He continued, "I have had ideas about certain improvements to the gameplay which I have wanted to implement for almost as long as the game has existed. Hopefully, modern audiences will appreciate it, although it was a consciously retro game when I first made it and it’s doubly retro now! I guess that part of the game’s enduring appeal has been its simplicity. I never tried to reinvent the wheel, only to create something that had good feel and flow. I think those things are timeless…but yes, there will definitely be some adjustments made. With any luck, I’ve learned a thing or two in the last 20 years.

If you're interested, you can take a look at some of the screenshots of the new version above or wishlist the game on Steam to support the devs.