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The UnknownHappySticker.png Journalist is the protagonist player character in Bugsnax. They work for GNN at the mercy of their editor, Clumby Clumbernut. Upon Elizabert Megafig's invitation to bring the discovery of Bugsnax to the world, the Journalist sets off on their journey.

For "relatability" as a player character - they go by gender-neutral pronouns, communicate non-audibly and are, on a meta level, non-voice acted, and lack an explicit design aside from simple cues such as height and fur color. However, with their history, specific mannerisms, opinions and lifestyle, they are to be considered their own full persona.

LizbertHappySticker.png I've read your work: "The Shadow of Grumpfoot". "The Secret of Soylent Grump". STELLAR pieces of journalism. Like me you have a passion for discovering unknown truths- and also like me, few truly recognize your talent. You are just the Grumpus I need to share my story with the world. I've send you a map to our settlement. Come to Snaktooth Island. Together, you and I will share the incredible tale of Bugsnax.  


Over the course of the game, the Journalist meets the Expedition Team members on Snaktooth Island, conducts interviews and catches a whole lot of Bugsnax, replacing Lizbert in such a position but never explicitly mentioned as such.

After eating a Strabby, the Journalist learns the hard way that they are presumably allergic to Bugsnax, and as a result does not eat any themself.

Story

The Journalist arrives "late" as pointed out by Filbo. At the point of arrival everyone has already left Snaxburg, including Filbo who went searching for Lizbert on his own. The Journalist is bumped out of their flying ship by the Mothza Supreme and knocks themselves unconscious when falling off a cliff due to the quakes. The reason they are late is not elaborated on.

Personality & Character

While it is the player's choice to make the Journalist behave a sort of way, the different answer options are barely different and rarely result in varied response from the Grumpuses, let alone it having consequence to the story development.

The journal entries are to the point but can sometimes have a sense of judgement and irritation to them. When speaking of the cast, they tend to be collected.

Assuming the player completes all sidequests, the Journalist is "helpful" and somewhat of a pushover, aiding others with their problems regardless if they test their patience or if they're getting anything out of it themself. They are on relatively good terms with everyone due to this and as Filbo puts it; "nobody hates you yet". The Journalist does have some tension with Grumpuses, such as Floofty (who is oddly out for them), Cromdo (who they see as "a blight on society"), and Shelda (they get frustrated by one's manner of speech).

There is only one occasion where they are referred to by (they/them) pronouns - by Filbo, when introducing them to Wambus.

The Journalist is not referred to by name as the game is fully voice-acted and is thusly referred to by nicknames. Wambus even makes note of this where he finds it odd to continue to refer to the Journalist as "stranger" because you are no longer one to him. However, he is not creative enough to come up with anything else (even though one of his 'bye'-lines is "so long, amigo").

The Journalist is an amateur cryptozoologist but has not been very successful with their monster hunt findings. While supposedly a good writer, it was so bad that Clumby had to step in to give a public apology for the Journalist mistaking a football mascot costume for a cryptid. The very newspaper with said story is found on Snaktooth Island, but whether the Expedition Team know about the aftermath is not made clear. They at least never mention it and even consider the Journalist trustworthy in their findings. The Journalist owns a flying ship (and knows how to fly it) and has a living space with spare room.

The promo song It's Bugsnax! is sung from the Journalist's perspective, wherein they show a sense of wonder and excitement.

Relationships

The Journalist is set to bring the community together upon Filbo's request and are confronted with every member's baggage.

As the Journalist is an outsider, the expedition team itself is oddly comfortable to lay a lot of personal issues on the table for the Journalist to make note of.

In the left corner of Snaxburg stands an unfinished hut which Chandlo ever so often is shown to work in. He tells the Journalist to "chill, bro" as "he will finish it soon enough". While never explicitly stated, this hut was meant for the Journalist[1], likely to 'officially' become part of the community.

Filbo, who has trouble gaining the trust of others as a leader, especially after the events of the fight, requests the Journalist to not only aid with chores but also to talk with everyone about their feelings, all in favor of finding out what become of Lizbert.

Filbo is very excited by the Journalist's flying balloon ship that has crashed right in front of the town; he assures them that he will patch it up and hopes that the Journalist will allow him to fly it at some point.

Beffica is the Journalist's self-assigned bestie, which she decides upon meeting them due to them working in the same field, and thus being similar; stating that, while she does not believe in "the Grumpacabra", their interviews are always "on point" and they take good pictures. While the Journalist initially questions their status in their journal with "my bestie, apparently", they get upset when Beffica argues in the end of their final quest that she does not have someone to trust: the only option to answer being "what about me?" and "no seriously, what about me?".

The Journalist is the only one willing to aid Wambus in his idea, even if the both of them get growing doubts over time. When Wambus deems himself a failure at the end, the Journalist tells him not say that.

Filbo makes the observation that Wambus is warming up to the Journalist.

Gramble is a bit distrustful of the Journalist initially, but quickly becomes friendly, and even trusts them with his beloved Sprout, saying the Strabby has always been a good judge of character. While it is possible for the Journalist to feed Gramble Bugsnax while he is sleepwalking, he is unaware they did so, and as a result this leads to no tension between the two.

When meeting them for the first time, Wiggle views the Journalist as one of her fans, giving them an autographed picture of herself; however, as evidenced by their description of said picture (stating that they "have no real use for this"), they do not seem to have great interest in her. Wiggle is one of the few characters that prove the Journalist wrong when they expected the Giant Bugsnak to not be attracted by her siren song.

As mentioned by the Journalist during her interview, they had "Do the Wiggle", Wiggle's hit song, stuck in their head for a month.

Like the Journalist, Triffany has an interest in cryptids; they explore various ruins together to find out the history behind Bugsnax, and the previous inhabitants of Snaktooth Island.

As Triffany reveals that she is looking for her grandma, though, the Journalist apppears to have compassion for her, following her to Frosted Peak despite neither of them going to its ruins.

While the Journalist appears to dislike Cromdo (as evidenced by them calling him "shifty", and a "blight on society"), they figure they have to play along to progress.

At 5PM when everyone in town halts their daily chores to relax, Cromdo walks over to the Journalist's boat and is staring at it. No further note is made of this.

Chandlo is a sociable type and mixes well with the Journalist. Upon convincing Snorpy to go back to Snaxburg with him, he will not hold back to hug the Journalist. When passing the trial in the final battle, Chandlo wants to hug them again but it will have to wait due to pressing matters.

Snorpy and the Journalist are very in tune with each other, the Journalist only options of interaction with Snorpy being admiration and affectionate. This makes way to conclude the Journalist leans towards Snorpy's Grumpinati theories.

Snorpy is not trusting of the Journalist at first, but their good intent quickly gets Snorpy to care about them, enough so that he even goes out of his way to aid the Journalist in his final quest because he would hate for them to do such a dangerous task on their own. He also trusts the Journalist enough to tell them about his difficulties with his relationship towards Chandlo.

Floofty has a lot of negative things to say about the Journalist, referring to them in the description of the Paletoss Grande where they assume their lack of grace and ability will result in their end or failure.

FlooftyHappySticker.png "Brutish, dim, and won't last long here.
Much like you."
  

Floofty's insults are part of their character, but the Journalist specifically is seen as a simpleton as Floofty assumes the Journalist to be like other journalists; judgemental of Floofty's research and unable to see its worth.

FlooftyHappySticker.png "I am not here to spew gossip for that obnoxious rag you call a newspaper."  

They see no use in dwelling on ethics and refers to the Journalist as an 'emotional parasite' for wanting to discuss feelings and opinions. The Journalist notes Floofty's disrespect towards them, regardless if the player is to react with sense or praise towards them. Floofty is sensitive to being sweet-talked where they react positive if the Journalist refers to them as the Great Floofty and the smartest Grumpus in town.

Floofty has no consistency towards the Journalist in tone as they do not register them as an assistant while demanding assistance and receiving it as well. Once going back to town they state they look forward on working with them further. In the battle, they speak of the Journalist having a healthy capacity for violence and cheer them on by stating that "you are useful for something after all."

Shelda is concerned with the Journalist's toxin feeding but also demands the Journalist bring her whatever she long for. As the Journalist voices they expect Shelda to be a fraud from as early as her interview, Shelda does not feel to keep up the act because there is no point to it. The Journalist is the only one on the island who Shelda reveals her true identity to.

Throughout the story, upon retrieving members of the Expedition Team and conducting interview, the Journalist gets access to more personal information of Eggabell and Lizbert and more of an idea of what problems played out through film reel recordings. The Journalist themself does not comment on the footage.

Upon meeting her, the Journalist describes Eggabell as "concerned for their (the Journalist's) safety".

Lizbert is the main reason the Journalist came to Snaktooth Island. As Lizbert states in her video message, the two are both unrecognized talents in their search for revealing the unknown - mostly on legends, myths and the supernatural.

Finding Lizbert is essential to The Journalist, especially because their job depends on it.

Throughout the story, upon retrieving members of the Expedition Team and conducting interview, the Journalist gets access to more personal information of Eggabell and Lizbert and more of an idea of what problems played out through film reel recordings. The Journalist themself does not comment on the footage.

Design

The model used for the player's shadow

Since Bugsnax is a first-person game, the only visible and modeled parts of the Journalist are their arms and lower body. The Journalist has a full visible shadow which is the reflection of a separate, invisible Grumpus model.[2] This model's face shape is an overbite with two rounded tusks and two shorter round teeth on the inner side of each tusk. They have a round nose alike Filbo, long arms that reach the ground alike Floofty, and a waistline alike Wambus. They are about the height of Filbo and Eggabell.

The Journalist's fur color originally depended on the save file chosen, first save file being red-brown, second yellow, third aquamarine and fourth/final black. The player can now freely choose the color of their character in the options menu with the save file changing its color to match the fur chosen. Two additional colors were added, blueish white and purple.

Bugsnax menu save files.png

References & Notes

  1. Pastuffy, the enviroment and UI artist for Bugsnax, confirmed on Reddit that the hut was being built for the Journalist.[1]
  2. Young Horses Discord, UI channel
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