I've taken the last two months for studying. I went to Southern England to see the barrows, have been tracing my own family history from Newfoundland to England, and have been photographing and sketching each bit of history I can fit into Bear. 

This project may seem small, but with each day that goes by a new detail is added. Me and the team are world building, slowly but surely. We are discussing puzzles, history, the occult, death practices, character backgrounds - and most importantly - how to translate this information into a game.

No one wants to be told all this information, so Bear's best asset is the idea of discovery. Spend as much or as little time in this world that you want - you won't be punished for doing the minimum, but not rewarded either.

From left: Skunk, Badger, Bear, Rabbit, and Toad.

From left: Skunk, Badger, Bear, Rabbit, and Toad.

The characters are going through constant transformation. We are consistently updating character ideas and traits, and a prototype of Bear's room is well on the way. They are a ragtag group, but like in real life each one has a perspective to offer.

The Beginning of Toad's Conception.

The Beginning of Toad's Conception.

Studies of mushrooms that could be found among the burrows. From top-left: Cep, Blewit, Chanterelle, Fairy Ring, Morel, Armillaria, and Oyster.

Studies of mushrooms that could be found among the burrows. From top-left: Cep, Blewit, Chanterelle, Fairy Ring, Morel, Armillaria, and Oyster.

While in England, I ventured to Brighton, Salisbury, Cheddar, Wells, Glastonbury, Steyning, among monuments such as the Kingley Vale and Stonehenge. Some of my favorite references were from Highgate Cemetery and the Stonehenge barrow downs.

Between the teams day jobs, hobbies, and families, Bear is an uphill climb. Like any great hike, there will be a great view at the end. I can't wait to continue to share our progress as the months go on.

- Jess



Embalming began as a practical way to give families a last viewing of sons who died in war. Of course, it was also a great way to make some cash. As a society, why are we still concerned with preserving the dead? This is one question that has inspired the creation of Bear Who Paints.

BWP is a 2D narrative adventure game. Though inspired by the movement to be death positive, the story has grown to become a reflection of a neighborhood that has lost a community leader. As the player, you will follow these interweaving stories of characters with different ambitions, hobbies, and reactions to death. By the end of the game, you will choose how to host a funeral ceremony, and learn the intricacies of grief through different view points.


The world of Bear and friends is cozy burrows, juxtaposed against the ancient burial ground they live in (Barrows vs Burrows). The art is inspired by children's books and stories, and paper puppet theater. BWP will have crafting mini-games, different endings, and a world to explore as much or as little as you want.


Right now BWP is in the concepting phase. The characters, when finished, will all be drawn as paper puppets. The character style has gone through plenty of iterations, and at this point we've decided that unlike these early concepts, the finished designs will have a more realistic face design.

Finding the tone of the game is one of the biggest hurdles. BWP needs to be accessible to a diverse audience. Death is a sensitive topic, and the game will be as comforting as possible. Cuteness can soften the blow, but it's more important not to completely detach the subject from reality. 

If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to follow along on this journey, please follow me on twitter @jrubishop, or email us at sassychickengames@gmail.com