How We Picked a Bilby as Our Main Character

Hey all!

Welcome to the Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey development blog. Today I will tell you the story of how we decided to use a bilby as our main character.

The story goes back to before we became an official studio. One day Özgür got an idea for a game where the main character is chased by a flood caused by the rain. The character would have to go underground because there is nowhere to run to on the ground level. The first brainstorm sessions led us to consider a few options about the game. We wanted either a survival game, an adventure game, or a combat-oriented game. Finally, we decided to go with an adventure platformer.

At that time, we had no idea how to proceed with the story. So, we started to search for animals that could be used as our main characters. After an intense week of brainstorming, we established the major features we wanted, what our main character would encounter and how she would handle them. We also decided to make our main character a mother of three, an adorable but strong female rodent. Later, Özgür and I researched creatures that live underground, can gnaw and handle a rough environment. Our first decision was to not use a rabbit or a rat as they are already used in a lot of products as mascots or main characters. We wanted something a little more original, an animal that was not known or commercialized much. A little more research revealed some interesting animals such as the shrew, the jerboa, and the bilby. We ruled out the jerboa because it can jump to extreme heights and we thought if we stuck to reality the gameplay would be a train wreck and if we limited its jump height that would be unfair to the animal itself. Our second option, the shrew, was eliminated since it is an extremely hyperactive animal with strong fighting abilities and we didn’t want to introduce combat mechanics for our game. With two of the three options dismissed we were left with the bilby.

Another week of analysis showed us that indeed the bilby was the best option for us. Bilbies have sacks, where the character could store items to be used in the game. They do not need to drink water, which makes having to deal with a flood more poetic. The father leaves early on and the mother raises the children, which is good for us as we didn’t want another character. It’s also an endangered species, so hopefully, we may even raise some awareness about it. All in all the bilby really fits in perfectly with our story elements and environmental challenges.

And that is how we got a bilby as our main character.