If you’re an indie fan, chances are you’re familiar with Kickstarter, and, if you’re the type to keep up with Kickstarter, chances are you’ve heard of Hyper Light Drifter, an upcoming indie action-RPG by Heart Machine that took the community by storm. Not too long ago, Alex Preston, lead designer of the game, took the time to answer a few questions.
Elle: For our readers who may have never heard of it, can you tell us a little bit more about the game?
Alex: Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D, top-down action RPG. You’re going to be exploring vast landscapes, huge temples, and dungeons and slashing through hundreds and hundreds of enemies. I want[ed] to create something with beauty and epic scale.
Elle: This is your first game development project that you’re “releasing into the wild.” Have other projects come close?
Alex: There have been probably like two that I’ve actually wanted to push out to the public, but they kind of fell by the wayside for other reasons.
Elle: What special quality did Hyper Light Drifter have that made it different?
Alex: I really just had the right people to help me realize the vision, and it was the right vision at the right time.
Elle: You’ve referenced the game using elements similar to those found in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo. What other sources did you find big inspiration from?
Alex: I have inspiration from so many sources, but I guess the biggest is probably excellent animation. As far as gameplay goes, Secret of Mana and that entire series are big inspirations as well. They have a lot of great mechanics, and it’s a fun series to play.
Elle: When you launched the Kickstarter, did you refresh the page repeatedly to watch progress, or did you leave it be and hope for the best?
Alex: I kind of just, I tend to jump in and out of that mode. So sometimes I’ll be sitting there monitoring the pledges, monitoring the messages, and monitoring the comments and trying to respond and be as transparent as possible. Other times, I let it go for hours at a time so I don’t drive myself crazy.
Elle: Your Kickstarter has met with incredible success. You’ve already received ten times the original goal. Did you expect to get this kind of support from the community?
Alex: No, as an artist, I’m pretty secretive about my work, so I only show it to a select few people, usually, whether it’s my drawings, my games, or whatever else I’m working on. I’ve never really opened up to a large audience, so the response kind of blew me away. It blew my mind. It’s still blowing my mind. Constantly mind blowing, but you know, I can’t really ask for more than for my work to resonate with people, and it seems to have done that with a good deal of people.
[Hyper Light Drifter has since reached its funding deadline, receiving over twenty times its initial goal.]
Elle: How hard has it been coming up with new tier goals every time one of the goals is completely destroyed?
Alex: Not hard at all. I have a lot of ideas for this game and a lot of stuff I was dreaming of putting in, and now those dreams are becoming more and more possible. They’re already realities in a lot of ways. I can expand the game to this huge scale that was originally only a twinkle in my eye.
Elle: The $300,000 tier promises a new developer to the team. Do you already have someone for the role, and can you tell us who?
Alex: I do have a couple of people who might fill that role, friends and friends of friends, because I’m part of the indie community in Los Angeles, so there are people out there, buddies and whoever else, who have a lot of experience and have released their own games. I definitely have people in mind, but I can’t release any finalized names until there’s actual paper work signed and stuff like that.
[At the time of this interview, the $300,000 tier had not yet been reached. Teddy Diefenbach of Rad Dragon has since signed onto the project. Check out more of his work, here.]
Elle: What kind of experience are you hoping gamers get from Hyper Light Drifter?
Alex: A beautiful one, a lasting one, something that makes an impression, and something that makes them think.
Elle: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers/fans who are following the game?
Alex: Thank you! The community has really propelled this into something great, and I can’t say thank you enough.
Check out the Kickstarter page to get more information on the game, and keep up with the project via its official Facebook page or Steam. You can also pre-order the game, as well as extra goodies, here.
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