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'Tokyo Jungle' game director says initial pitch 'wasn't received so well'

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who wouldn't be intrigued by that concept?

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The director of Tokyo Jungle, the post-apocalyptic survival game starring a Pomeranian and other animals, said that the initial pitch for the game "wasn't received so well" by Sony Japan.

In an interview with the PlayStation Blog, game director Yohei Kataoka said that he wasn't surprised by the reaction, since there were likely few people who thought the zany concept was enough to sell the game. When asked about the origin of the idea, Kataoka pointed out that both animals and a world devoid of humans are "universal [concepts]" in Japanese culture. "I felt that if we could combine these two ideas it could result in something very catchy, very new, and very exciting," he said.

The impressions from the public, which came when Sony revealed Tokyo Jungle at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, "pushed forward the development of the game." At that point, said Kataoka, the developers weren't sure if the game would continue to exist, let alone ever be released in Europe and North America. Luckily, the European audience "thought it was hilarious."

According to Kataoka, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida believed the concept would catch on, but he was less sure about the gameplay itself. That, coupled with the positive reception at TGS 2010, pushed the developers to spend more time improving the title. "We wanted that hook, first of all, to get the attention," said Kataoka, adding that he hoped players would then look closer and "find out that it's a real game with substance." Part of that substance is Kataoka's own cat, who made it into the game.

Check out our review of the finished product, which launched yesterday on PlayStation Network for $14.99. PlayStation Plus subscribers can pick up the game for $11.99, a 20 percent discount, during its first two weeks of release, and add four free DLC animals to the game for one week. Watch the launch trailer below.