A Small 2D Animation Masterpiece Released Too Early from Its Shell
On September 7, 2023, Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo, a captivating and surreal slapstick comedy, was released for PC and consoles, and it seems it has stirred quite a controversy.
In this article, I want to delve into the game itself because it truly deserves attention; it’s a gem, to say the least. However, my focus will be on Nacho Rodriguez, the mastermind behind Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo. Post the game’s release, he expressed a particular grievance on his X profile, a matter we’ll discuss shortly.
When confronted with a creation like Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo, one wonders if it’s an artistic experiment rather than a mere video game, reminiscent of what happened with Papetura. And Nacho Rodriguez is one of those solo developers who shoulders the bulk of the work.
A Few Words About Gammera Nest
Before we dive into the heart of the video game, let’s briefly discuss the company that recognized Nacho Rodriguez’s work and decided to invest in his project.
Since 2013, Gammera Nest has taken on the mission of exploring the creative potential of video games. This company not only develops and publishes games but also trains new creators and creates educational experiences to study the impact of this medium on societal evolution.
Gammera Nest’s video games are not mere pastimes; they aspire to become the focal point of conversations among their target audience, emerging as artworks engaged with the surrounding reality. For Gammera Nest, video games represent a multidisciplinary artistic expression. In their development process, they involve a diverse array of artists, including graphic designers, advertisers, writers, illustrators, musicians, and more.
This is evident from their website, and indeed, there are intriguing elements among their projects.
One of their most successful endeavors is the Nubla saga, a magical experience immersing players in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, one of Spain’s most prestigious art galleries. This initiative also provided Gammera Nest with the opportunity to explore how the dialogue between painting and video games can innovatively strengthen both languages.
Another notable work by Gammera Nest is, precisely, Mr. Coo.
Mr. Coo Falls into Pieces in a Mad World
Said like that, it sounds tragic, but it’s exactly what happens to our protagonist, Mr. Coo, a character trapped in a senseless world, a surreal dimension populated by iconic and bizarre figures.
The protagonist, fragmented into pieces scattered throughout this distorted reality, requires the player’s help to piece himself back together. But beneath this apparent madness lies a philosophical meaning, an enigma shrouded in the mystery of surrealism.
Humor, a powerful tool in this game, transforms absurdity into comedy. Unique characters like the Giant Chicken, the Faun, and the One-Eyed Woman captivate attention, adding a layer of eccentricity to the game. The surrealism of the absurd is what makes this world so immersive. Every interaction, every dialogue is imbued with this controlled madness, transporting the player into a reality where anything is possible.
The plot, though seemingly alien, offers a chance for reflection. Each puzzle piece, every interaction, can be interpreted as a fragment of meaning, a clever metaphor, or simply an enigmatic beauty. Deciphering the true meaning behind this work is a challenge, but it’s also one of its greatest attractions.
Probable Stylistic References
Nacho Rodriguez, in Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo, expresses a rather peculiar style that immediately brought to my mind three great historical authors.
The first is Mordillo, an Argentine cartoonist, illustrator, and animator who passed away in Spain in Palma Nova on June 29, 2019. Most popular in the 1970s, his work was so widespread that it appeared in numerous publications, including puzzles, diaries, and posters.
Another reference Rodriguez’s style reminded me of is Bruno Bozzetto, an Italian animator, designer, and director, whose most famous character is the iconic Mr. Rossi.
Lastly, Osvaldo Cavandoli, who with his character La Linea, represents a little man traversing a virtually infinite line, of which he is intrinsically a part. Along this line, he encounters obstacles and communicates in “grammelot” (derived from the Milanese dialect) with the creator, asking for solutions to his problems by drawing them.
I’m reminded of the initial scene in Many Pieces of Mr. Coo where two human arms stretch towards our protagonist to give him a gift. Here too, there’s a form of interaction between creator and creature.
Nacho Rodriguez’s Post on X
On September 12, 2023, Nacho Rodriguez posted a statement on X concerning the release of Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo, which I faithfully reproduce below:
“Hello everyone. I am Nacho Rodriguez, author and animator of The Many Pieces of Mr Coo. On the 7th of September, the video game was released without my approval. I have been working on this game since 2012, Full-time since 2018. My goat was to create a unique experience For the player, of the highest quality.
Tens of thousands of Frames of animation, drawn by hand, hundreds of hours spent structuring the sequences to create a Fascinating gaming experience. This has been recognised with international awards and nominations, even before the game was Finished. To complete the production, I partnered with Gammera Nest in 2018, so that they would be in charge of the port to consoles and PC, white I would take care of the art and give precise instructions to the team.
My animation and art work was completed in 2020, and the instructions have been available since then. But Gammera’s programming got messier and messier. Eventually, they began to cut me out of the decision-making process, white continuing to promise that they would deliver on their end.
At this point, I can’t tell you much about the inner workings. I’ll just say that I waited patiently because I was told that “we both had the common goal of releasing the game with the desired quality”. When it became clear that it was too late, I asked For the release to be cancelled or at least postponed, but it was released in a bad state anyway. Now that the game has been released, numerous bug reports confirm that the promised quality was never achieved. Critics point out the technical flaws and give the game a low score, while praising the artistic part.
Players have encountered all kinds of bugs and poor gameplay, especially in the last third of the game. Although it can be played From start to Finish, and the experience sometimes reaches the desired quality, it eventually degenerates into something unpleasant and not very satisfying. We can see this in the reviews and in the gameplays on YouTube.
In addition to my work, there have been very creative people who have struggled to make a good game. Because of all these efforts, I would like to make it clear that the game that has been released is not faithful to the instructions given, nor is it the experience that was designed for the player.
It makes me sad, because I had hoped to Finally be able to share the Fruits of so many years of work. I will continue to Fight For the quality of the game, as I have done For more than a decade. I urge you to inform Gammera Nest of any bugs you find in the game, so they can Fix them. And I ask Gammera to include all the content that has been left out.
We await a response From Gammera Nest. Perhaps they will decide to do the right thing and honour the commitment they made when they started the project to port my work. Or perhaps, on the contrary, they’ll do the bare minimum and deprive players of a complete and quality experience. At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude for the generosity and expressions of appreciation From so many players and Friends who have been able to look beyond the technical problems and still manage to enjoy the game.
I’m sorry I can’t yet offer you the work that Mr Coo should have been.
Thanks for listening”.
I would say it doesn’t need comments.
Many bugs have already been reported, and there has even been a recent update to the demo, so things have definitely been set in motion.
However, the situation that has seen Nacho Rodriguez struggling with the premature and incomplete release of his creation has deeply impressed and saddened me.
At times, there is a tendency not to give the proper respect to those who not only conceive ideas, characters, situations, images but also bring them to life with their own hands, imparting that small part of themselves that makes a work special. A work that must remain authentic and presented according to the precise standards of its creator.
This happens in many fields, where those who invest in a product or an author, aiming for a just and rightful profit, often risk distorting that product or author, or even risking mutilating it, with the result of encountering an unjust failure.