As part of an in-depth Gamasutra article
published today, the team at Rare has been discussing the genesis of Viva Pinata
, illustrating its genesis from a PDA/mobile phone game through the original Xbox to the Xbox 360.
Earlier in the illustration-filled article, the creators at rare discuss "the original design [concept] written by Rare founder Tim Stamper many, many years ago", noting that:
"Although short, it still puts forward the core gameplay seen in today's Viva Piñata: gardening, animals and the ability to trade. During this early period, Xbox Live had not really taken off to the extent that you see today and so the chosen platforms were mobile phones and PDAs. The screenshot hearkens back to this time."
Later in the piece, discussion is made of name changes that were necessary for some of the Helpers in the game, illuminating some interesting design/legal decisions:
"Some have wondered why "Dedos" became "Leafos". When creating a global franchise many things have to be taken into consideration, not least of which is language. [Original full title] "Verde Dedos" is "Green Fingers" in Spanish, and while the Spanish isn't a problem, using a common phrase as a main character can be.
Eventually, Dedos took inspiration from the leaves on her mask and changed her name to Leafos by deed poll. Summary: legal reasons. While it was unfortunate that a good name was lost, the "-os" was picked up and used to name the entire family of Helpers within the garden. Given "Storkos", "Seedos" and "Dastardos", you may have guessed that already."
You can now read the full Gamasutra article on the subject
, including many more illustrations of the game and its concept art as it evolved to the final Xbox 360 version.