rack n ruin

Interview With Tyler Hunter, Artist For Rack n’ Ruin

I had the absolute privilege to do an interview with creative artist Tyler Hunter, whose work I’m positive people have seen before in such titles as Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 and Prey. His newest creation, Rack n’ Ruin, is set to be released Tuesday, March 31, 2015. I got to ask him a few questions regarding Rack n’ Ruin and how all this came about and what else he might have in the future. Here’s what he had to say:


David : Where did you get your inspiration for Rack n’ Ruin?


Tyler : A lot of places.  I think it’s obvious that I enjoy classic Zelda titles, and other classic action adventure games like Crystalis.  Rack N Ruin started out as “An action adventure game where you play as a wizard”.   Slowly in the prototyping phase and eventually in the early design phase, I realized a wizard destroys things from afar so I would need to make the combat more shooter focused.  At the time I was really into Japanese bullet hellshooters and I started toying with the idea of injecting some more shooter esc elements into an action adventure game, and I sort of landed on the gameplay style that we currently have.

Then we come to Rack.  Making a game with a wizard as the protagonist, I felt that I wanted someone who wasn’t your run of the mill hero type.  I’ve always enjoyed villains that were in it for the fun, and had no end game in mind.  Rack is designed to allow the player to be a super evil while not really being overly grim and miserable about the whole situation.  I’m sure Voldemort sits in his private study wallowing in his own self-loathing while clutching a bottle of whiskey.  Rack on the other hand would probably be out using the whiskey to burn down his own house.


David : With a lot of developers adding extra content to their games, will there be any sort of bonus content for Rack n’ Ruin?


Tyler : That really depends, I have some cool ideas for extended content, but it’s largely going to depend on the community’s response and interest.


David : Do you have anything new in the works? Possible some teasers for the upcoming E3?


Tyler : We just finished Rack N Ruin, and the moment the PS4 launch is concluded we’re switching into PC mode.  After the dust settles I have a particular project in mind, but it’s another long haul.  So it will be a bit before I start talking about the next thing.  For now we’re going to focus on responding to community feedback to ensure Rack N Ruin is the best game it can be.


David : What was your favorite part about creating Rack n’ Ruin? Least favorite part?


Tyler : My favorite part was doing the art.  I’m an artist first and foremost, so just sitting down and literally painting an entire game was pretty cool.  Tossing on an audio book and getting lost in the colors has a certain Zen like soothing quality that I relish.  I also discovered the “Chronicles of Amber”, which rocks.  Well the ones with Corwin rock, the ones with Merlin aren’t so hot.  My least favorite part was probably all the business side of things.  I think that is pretty much par for the course though.  Artists in general don’t make good business people, and vice versa.


David : What are some games that you enjoy playing?


Tyler : I sunk a huge chunk of my life in the Souls series, with Dark Souls being my all-time favorite game.  I also love of the work of ‘Pixel’, Cave Story was one of the reasons I decided to make my own game, and Keroblaster was probably my favorite game of 2014.   I’ve been playing games since the Atari so the list is getting long, but some standouts are ALTTP, Final Fantasy 6, Baldur’s Gate 2, and …. Terrabattle.


David : I’ve heard that Rack n’ Ruin is only coming out for the PS4 and PC, are there any plans on porting it to the Xbox One?


Tyler : Once Rack N Ruin is out on PS4 and PC we will begin considering other platforms.  Right now I would really like to focus on a Vita version, but that is going to require some technical feats.


David : What was your reasoning for leaving Blizzard?


Tyler : I wanted to go and make a game on my own.  When I first started working in the games industry, small developers were pretty much unheard of and the industry was beginning its shift towards the AAA development model.  It wasn’t until the rise of indie games that people we began to realize that we could build robust games on small budgets, and have a chance at staying afloat.  So I set out to make a 2D game.  I really enjoyed my time at blizzard as it was a dream job of mine, but I wanted to branch and try something new.


David : Finally, do you have any advice for gamers that wanna make a living in the gaming industry?


Tyler : If you want to get a job in the industry that pays a solid salary then you need to develop a specific skill.  Most industry jobs are highly focused, so figure out which skill set you are the best at and focus on developing that skill in order to become marketable.  If you’re good at art then figure out which aspect of game art you accel at the most be it 3d modeling, texturing, animating, concept art etc.   The same goes for production coordination, programming, writing, music, sound etc.  Some focuses are more competitive or are in less of a demand then others, so that is certainly something to keep in mind.   Solid 3D Modeling, Animation, and Programming skills are probably the safest and most consistent ways to stay employed.


Be sure to be on the look out for Rack n’ Ruin on the PS4 on the 31st of March and find out for yourself why I loved this game so much.

From the creative mind of Tyler Hunter.

From the creative mind of Tyler Hunter.

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