At Fingerprint Play I worked with Day 6 Sports Group to re-launch the Backyard Sports franchise, licensed by the leading professional U.S. sports leagues: Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). The classic game, originally released for consoles and computers, came out in 1997 and featured a group of original kids, as well as popular MLB and NBA Pros as kids. We sought to bring the brand to a newer audience and make a mobile App for both Baseball and Basketball. We worked closely with Krome Studios to build the two games.
Backyard Sports Baseball features the pros as kids, including Andrew McCutchen, David Ortiz, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, and more! Select your pitch or swing-style then swipe to control the action. Intuitive controls ensure the pitching, hitting & running are easy to pick up & play, but difficult to master.
Backyard Sports Basketball features the pros as kids, including Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and more! The app includes an arcade style 3-on-3 pick-up game. Select your own team of pros and the original Backyard Sports characters to defeat your opponents!
I worked with Krome Studios to design the visual look and feel of the characters as well as the User Interface for both games. I used high contrast bright colors, and half tone comic-patterned elements in the UI to re-enforce the playful cartoony nature of the game.
REMAKING A CLASSIC
Since it’s initial launch in 1997, Backyard Sports became a beloved cult-classic game. The nostalgia surrounding the brand encouraged us to stick closely to the original characters while bringing them to a new era.
Pablo Sanchez is by far the most beloved character of the brand. He is always one of the best players on the team despite his small stature, giving him the nickname “Secret Weapon”. When designing his character I wanted to stay true to his origins, including his backwards hat and potbelly to reinforce the fun, humorous nature of his character.
We made 10 of the original Backyard sports kids, and chose some of the fan favorites. I included more cartoony big hands and feet to make animations look and feel over exaggerated.
I designed a total of 18 pro baseball players, and 15 pro basketball players as kids, here are a few. I used a lot of reference when drawing these characters to make them recognizable, but still feel like cartoony kid versions of themselves.
FINAL 3D MODELS
Here is a sample of the final 3D models created by Krome Studios. I spent some time going back and forth with the 3D modelers to make sure the characters were working well with my original designs.