Project Postmortem

The Polar Express - 2004

Platforms: Windows, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube

Development Schedule: 12 months

Developer: BlueTongue Entertainment Pty Ltd

Publisher: THQ


Project Description

The Polar Express is an action-adventure platform game developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment and published by THQ. Based on the film of the same name, the game follows the same plot. The game was developed for PC, Sony PlayStation 2 with EyeToy support, and for Nintendo GameCube, using the RenderWare Game Engine written primarily in C/C++.

The game follows most of the main plot of the film. One major difference is that the Ebenezer Scrooge Puppet, who only makes a minor appearance in the film, plays a much bigger role as the main antagonist who attempts to prevent the children from believing in Santa Claus by stealing their tickets, and trying to get them thrown off the train to keep the children from getting to the North Pole. The game is broken down into six chapters, giving the player the opportunity to explore areas like the train, the North Pole, and more. The player controls a young boy in each of the 6 chapters. The game also contains puzzle-solving as well as some minigame-styled elements.

My Role

I was responsible for the design and development of entire game levels and sections of gameplay, in partnership with an artist. We designed and then implemented mechanics and scenes for the final product, with myself implementing all code required for the following sections:

  • The Puppet Food-fight carriage
  • The Wind-up Mouse carriage
  • The Jack-in-the-Box Toy-fight carriage
  • The Ice-cube Crush carriage
  • The Kitchen stealth carriage
  • The Conveyor-belt levels

I was also responsible for much of the game menus and UI, localisation, and the Windows installer wizard.