Run, Poppy, Run! Jack Bloom’s Magical Red Panda Game

A screenshot of “Poppy Sanctum” by Jack Bloom. Photo: Jack Bloom

Welcome to the wonderful world of Spectra, the high-concept fantasy universe of designer Jack Bloom from Seattle. This magical land is divided into two halves: one side consists of representatives of mage cults that cling to the ancient methods of practicing magic. The other half is a new civilization that is rapidly developing and struggling to survive with tools.

In this fantasy world, there is a creature called “Poppy” – also known as Red Panda outside of Spectra. As – unfortunately – in real life, its beautiful fur arouses desires. This is the reason why in the adventure game “Poppy Sanctum”, set in the Spectra universe, Red Pandas are kept in a sanctuary. The king of the fantasy realm uses it to protect the Red Pandas from magicians who are after their skin. But Red Pandas wouldn’t be Red Pandas if they didn’t try to break out of their new home…

In an interview with Red Pandazine, Jack Bloom talks about his soft spot for Red Pandas, how realistically they are portrayed in “Poppy Sanctum” and where he got the inspiration for this unusual game.

Red Pandazine: A Red Panda as logo, designs with Red Pandas in your online store and now a Red Panda video game. What fascinates you about this species?

Jack Bloom: To me the Red Panda is one of the most unique animals in the world. Not only because of their appearance, but also they don’t seem to have any relatives as far as we know. They are a bit of a loner species except for each-other, which is kind of poetic.

GIF: Jack Bloom

Why do you start this project, and what exactly is your game about?

Jack Bloom: I’ve always wanted to be a game developer ever since I was a kid and played around with a RPG Maker. A couple of years ago, I started concepting a world for my game, one that would include a Sanctum for Poppys. My first game in this world is called Poppy Sanctum. The game is set in a sanctuary for Red Pandas, who are poached for their fur which has magical properties. In the game you play a young Poppy that tries to escape the sanctum along with some friends.

“The Red Pandas in my game are taking as much from nature as possible, while blending it with some magic from the world of Spectra.“

— Jack Bloom

Who is working on this game?

Jack Bloom: It will just be me for the foreseeable future! I would like to try and complete the game on my own.

Where did you get your inspiration for the graphic design, but also for the storyline?

Jack Bloom: A lot of the visual design of everything comes from multiple places: a major influence has been the work of Ghibli studios’ work, along with retro games like Megaman, Zelda, etc. The storyline is still a work in progress, however I tend to pull a lot of influence from movies I really enjoy.

Video: Jack Bloom

How much Red Panda is in the main character? Is its behavior based on a real Red Panda or is it more “humanized” like in “Turning Red”?

Jack Bloom: The Red Pandas in my game are taking as much from nature as possible, while blending it with some magic from the world of Spectra. In the game Poppys are sentient creatures that possess the ability to conduct three types of magic: Earth, Gravity, and Essentia. Each Poppy has its own personality, but their ecological qualities are closely tied to real Red Pandas (e.g. being poached for their fur, dietary need, environmental necessities).

When will the game launch?

Jack Bloom: There is no release date so far and I probably won’t know for a while. I’m currently in the process of learning gamedev while actually making the game, so I imagine there will be an infinite amount of problems before I can concretely say when the game will be available.

GIF: Jack Bloom

Is it true that 50% of the proceeds will go to the Red Panda Network?

Jack Bloom: Yes! That also includes any Poppy merch sold, so far I’ve donated $30 to the Red Panda Network.

How can our readers support this project?

Jack Bloom: There is a patreon for this project as well as the website which has some merch!

Read more

On Jack Bloom’s website.