looking back on Butt Quest

today we will talk about the most legendary princess game, a game that's been in development since 2014 and might never be finished: Butt Quest.

butt quest

every burger gives you 10 HP

you may have some questions, like...

"princess why did you make a game called Butt Quest"

*long wistful sigh* it was a joke at first, but everyone and their kids loved it and we were young and sad and impressionable and got carried away,

butt quest

explore many colorful worlds as a butt

"what exactly is Butt Quest?"

it's kinda like Mario or Zelda or any other puzzle-platformer-adventure, except you're a butt. the gameplay is pretty straightforward, but the challenge of controlling this awkward wobbly physics-based character makes it interesting. (or does it? more on that later.)

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platforming is difficult when you're a butt

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talk to NPCs

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watch out for enemies

the story has changed a lot over the years, but it's basically this: the Wishing Stars have fallen from the sky, and you have to go find them and return them to the Celestial Beacons so everyone's wishes can come true.

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please make this rubber duck's wishes come true

travel the world, make friends, collect stars. this butt is also a magical girl, so it can use crystals to transform into different kinds of butts with elemental powers like wind, water, fire, mushroom, etc.

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Topiary Butt: summon a gust of wind to blow dandelions, spin propellors, or fly your starship

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Sponge Butt: absorb water...

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...then use your extra size & weight to solve puzzles, or just water some plants

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Hot Butt: light torches, navigate dark caves, use the power of sparks to jump higher

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Psychic Butt: use telekinesis to grab items, pull levers, open doors, and climb ladders

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Thunder Butt: walk on clouds, or use lightning to zap from one conductive surface to another

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Mushroom Butt: spawn smaller mushroom butts...

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...which can be controlled separately

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Neapolitan Butt (this one never really worked, it was replaced by Aurora Butt)

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Aurora Butt: hover through the air for a moment so you can cross gaps and avoid traps

"please finish this bad game so i can play it"

i literally spent six years trying to do that lol

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concept art

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early prototype, 2014

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boarding an enemy ship in the overworld, the Sea of Stars. the enemies were called Star Eaters(?)

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the hub world, Dandelion Town, where you receive the power of wind. see you in court Genshin Impact

"surely you could just make a smaller version of it??"

ok so heres the interesting thing about Butt Quest: the scale is not the only problem! there are a lot of problems. Butt Quest is inherently flawed.

1. the butt is not fun to control. it looks funny when princess is doing it, but for most people it's barely playable, not in a funny way but in a boring way. no one ever completed the tutorial except for a few people who were already extremely skilled at physics-based games.

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probably should have thought of that before designing all these butt villagers

2. where to begin? there are too many concepts and mechanics, most of them aren't even good, some contradict each other, and a lot of the code doesn't work. if you trim it down, you're left with an empty shell of a game that's barely anything and doesn't seem worth saving.

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3. a lot of it has already been recycled into other things like Celestial Hacker Girl Jessica, Bomb Dolls, and the Dreams Come True video.

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"ok but the style and concepts are cute, so why don't you just rework it into a different game? maybe a game that's not about a butt"

yeah we're doing that. obviously it will take time. we're also a different person in 2020 than we were in 2014, so the style won't be exactly the same. it doesn't really matter because art is fake and everything gets recycled into something else eventually!

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butt quest

"how much work did you put into Butt Quest, anyway?"

it was very on-and-off. here's the timeline:

2014: basic prototypes.

2015: got wisdom teeth removed, spent two weeks in bed on painkillers making most of what is recognizable today. prepared a demo and showed it at a local event. (we met our wife there!)

2016: tried to make progress, but the game was a mess, and eventually it became so unhealthy it was physically damaging to our body. had to take a break and start making Jessica instead.

2017: designed some new characters, but it was still triggering unhealthy reactions from our body, so we focused on Jessica.

2018: Jessica was done, started working on Butt Quest again, got distracted by life and ended up making Bomb Dolls instead.

2019: started a new game, a reimagining of Butt Quest.

2020: worked on the new game, made a lot of progress, but too sick with Covid-19 to get anywhere near finishing it. currently on hiatus.

2021: ???

most of these phases happened in short bursts, so it wasn't too much of a loss. we probably spent more time thinking about it than working on it.

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these frogs are laughing at me because i'm a game developer

so, in the end, what is Butt Quest? vaporware? performance art? a learning experience? a testing ground for other games? a game that only exists in our collective imagination? a game that will be released in 2030 and set a new record for the longest-delayed videogame in history? (probably not. but maybe.)