Naughty Bear First Impressions

This cuddly teddy could use some anger management classes in this upcoming open-world action game.

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Don't let the cute teddy bear face fool you. Behind those dark brown eyes and fuzzy exterior is a demented and psychopathic bear that is ready for revenge. Publisher 505 Games stopped by our office to show us Naughty Bear, an open-world action game about being as naughty as possible to score the most points. It's tough to see past the bright and colorful environments and think that these bears could do any harm, but the main character, NaughtyBear, will surprise you, because he does not fool around when it comes to giving the other bears what he thinks they deserve.

Meet NaughtyBear, he's the angry type.
Meet NaughtyBear, he's the angry type.

In the opening cutscene we learn from the narrator that several other bears have gathered together in celebration of Daddles' birthday. However, NaughtyBear wasn't invited, and judging by the peeved look on his face--and the large kitchen knife in his hand--this bear is about ready to snap because of it. The build we saw was in pre-alpha, so we weren't able to see too much in this demo, but it gave us an idea of what to expect from this strange world of teddies.

As NaughtyBear, your goal is to harass and cause as much grief to the other bears as possible so that you can score maximum points. It's an open-world game in which you'll have objectives to complete, but how you complete them is entirely up to you. The AI of the other bears will adjust based on your actions. For example, you can grab a bat and start beating the snot out of another bear, which will earn you points, but there are ways to score higher. If you use your boo button--the left trigger--to scare the bear first, you'll get points for that too on top of the points that you'll get for clubbing him in the face later. For even more points, you can scare him in front of other bears and pound on him then. But for maximum points, you must scare and torture a bear enough in front of others so that he eventually winds up committing suicide. Disturbing? Yes, but there's no blood, just stuffing when their heads explode.

The game is built so that you can manipulate your environment as well with a variety of items that you'll encounter. You'll score points constantly by doing things such as picking up another bear's cupcake lunch and tossing it into a fire or flushing it down the toilet. Breaking things is just standard, so if you want to really get the points, you'll need to find a way to cause mass panic--like flattening a bear's head in front of others. Sabotaging an object like a telephone will cause the bears to come over and fix it, because they need a way to call in reinforcements.

Your rank and score will determine how naughty you are so that you can compare your level of mischief with friends and other players on the leaderboards. As you progress through the game, there are different costumes to unlock to change the stats of NaughtyBear. Some of the outfits we saw included a doctor, a cop, a ninja, and a homemade robot. To fight the upgraded bears later in the game, you'll also have to unlock the appropriate costume in order to have the stats to go up against military or SWAT bears.

We didn't get a chance to see how it would work, but there will be four-player online multiplayer (no local multiplayer) in which you can play in teams. There will be games such as capture the flag, king of the hill, and search and find, and throughout these games--depending on your actions--in-game bears can be recruited to help your team or they can try to meddle with your objective.

What's deceiving about NaughtyBear is that beneath the kid-friendly exterior and the lovingly hand-stitched fluffy bears, there's something a little crazy about all of them. You can view it all as comic mischief, but it can also be unsettling to watch one bear with hate-filled eyes pound the stuffing out of another bear, or watch a bear go completely off the deep end by having its head explode. It's still early to see what other kinds of trouble we can cause, so we'll keep you updated with more information as soon as it becomes available. NaughtyBear is scheduled for a June 2010 release.

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