It’s hard to believe that the Jackbox team have made it all the way up to the big ten in terms of their Jackbox Party Packs. But it’s true and in The Jackbox Party Pack 10 comes one of the most unique and enjoyable games yet – Dodo Re Mi.
We wanted to find out more about how the Jackbox team go about creating these wonderful experiences, injecting humour into every party session. And so when we got the chance to settle down with Brooke Breit – director on the musical masterpiece that is Dodo Re Mi – we jumped at it.
Could you please introduce yourself. What is your role at Jackbox and on The Jackbox Party Pack 10?
Hi! I’m Brooke Breit, a creative director at Jackbox Games, and I was the game director for Dodo Re Mi.
So, why should gamers be playing The Jackbox Party Pack 10
I truly think The Jackbox Party Pack 10 has something for all kinds of gamers!
There’s the tried and true classic (with some delightful updates) Tee K.O. 2, Timejinx is a new approach at trivia that has you question everything you thought you learned in history class, FixyText is my favorite kind of creative chaos, Hypnotorious is role-playing meets hidden identity, and Dodo Re Mi is a raucous rhythm party game.
It’s the kind of pack where everyone might have a different favorite, which I think is kind of magical.
Dodo Re Mi feels very different to what we are used to seeing in the Jackbox party packs. Was this intentional, or a happy accident?
It was very intentional!
Chase McClure, who pitched the game, brought something exciting and new-for-us to the table, and the team decided that we wanted to create a unique experience. One of my favorite things is that you decide how long you want the session to last. We really wanted a flexible game that people could jump in and out of, almost like a jam session. There were a lot of design decisions that allowed the player to choose what they wanted to play and then embrace the consequences of that choice.
There are some hilarious instruments to play (such as the gurgles). Are there any that didn’t make the final cut that you would like to see in the game? And why?
Our incredible audio team made all of those instruments from scratch. Nate and Avery even traveled to a university to record students playing scales on instruments that I had never even heard of before. And, they got really creative with ones like Gargles and Constant Screaming (which are two of my favorites), which Nate has shared that he almost died in the booth recording the gargles.
There were just a few that didn’t make the cut because they sounded too much like something we already had in the mix, but Potty Mouth got cut for other reasons. Avery did a masterful job making an instrument of “almost swears”, but in the end, it wasn’t working the way we wanted it to, AND it would sometimes accidentally swear with the way the “half-swears” lined up.
It’s really cool that you can download and keep performances in Dodo Re Mi. How did that idea come about?
I think Chase always wanted that to be a reality for this game from the moment he pitched it. We often think “what’s the shareable” at some point in the development process for these games, but we really had a unique opportunity with a music game for people to be able to share the wild things they made.
Syncing in order to avoid audio latency is clearly super important in a game like Dodo Re Mi. How much of a challenge was this during development?
Our team, especially the engineering and audio leads, were working on this from day one. Chase’s prototype had considered this when he pitched the idea, but the team spent a lot of time trying to make it as easy for the player as possible. Especially considering that folks jumping in might have never played a rhythm game before, and adding the fact that we need players to do the sync up before every song, we wanted to create a simple ritual that felt light and fun, but on the backend, is completely necessary to making the experience work.
The magic is how everyone can sync up on their own (especially if you are playing remotely), and then the game pieces all of that audio together in the playback. So, even if you are completely out of sync when playing, the playback fixes that timing.
On the subject of development, how did you tackle making Dodo Re Mi accessible to as many players as possible?
We really approached it from the mindset of a party game. We wanted everyone to be able to opt in to the level of difficulty that felt right for them, but still be working towards a common goal.
There’s a lot happening behind the scenes that might be complicated, but we wanted it to feel easy for any kind of player to just jump in and figure it out.
Music is a love of mine, so building any sort of playlist is always a bit of a nightmare. How did you decide on the mix of songs to include in the game?
We felt that for a Jackbox music game, that it made the most sense to have a mix of Jackbox songs, in addition to public domain and original tracks. This allows players to share their creations freely while showcasing a library that is very unique to us.
Obviously, public domain by its very nature isn’t necessarily unique, but Nate composed tracks that explored more unexpected takes on those familiar tunes. Our thought was that way you get the pleasure of something familiar with the surprise of how it’s presented.
What’s your favourite song to perform in Dodo Re Mi? And Why?
Habanera was the first playable song in the development process, so that one always holds a special place in my heart. But I also absolutely love In the Hall of the Mountain King because it goes so hard.
And I highly recommend playing the 1812 Overture with everyone on the Cannon.
What has the reception been like to Dodo Re Mi?
It has been beyond wonderful to see people enjoying this game. The team put their absolute everything into making it.
One of my personal favorite things is watching players really take advantage of the freedom we give them to do what they want, whether they all go in on the same instrument or try to perfectly balance the arrangement.
We wanted to create an experience that lets you play in whatever way brings you the most joy. I’ve even seen people who just want to get eaten every single time, and to them I say, you do you.
It’s no secret I love Dodo Re Mi. In fact I said it was one of the best Jackbox games I had played in years. What does the future look like for music games in the Jackbox Party Pack series? (Maybe a sequel?)
I really appreciate the studio’s willingness to try new things. This was not a typical game that you would find in a Party Pack, but we challenged that thought with “why not”? We tried to find familiar touchpoints in the gameplay that would resonate with Jackbox players, but also we freed ourselves up to try something that people maybe wouldn’t expect from us. I can’t promise anything for the future, but it’s exciting to think of what we’ve learned from this process that we could apply to future games.
And finally, can you give us any clues as to what to expect in the Jackbox Party Pack 11?
Sure can’t! Gotta go! Byyyeeee!
Huge thanks go out to Brooke for giving us a bit of an insight into how that crazy Jackbox Games team go about creating some of the wonders found in their packs.
Dodo Re Mi is present and correct in The Jackbox Party Pack 10, a personal favourite in a pack that scored 4.5/5 in review.
If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of The Jackbox Party Pack 10, then get to it. The Xbox Store will sort you out with a copy of the game on Xbox. You’ll also find it on the storefronts of PlayStation, Switch and PC. And the best thing about it? As long as players have an internet enabled device – a phone, for instance – they can get in on the fun by heading to Jackbox.tv.