Wrack: Starfall – Interview with creator Brad Carney

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We here at Gamer Giving love games. It’s pretty much a prerequisite of the site. No matter how good, bad or mediocre we can be (and I’ve demonstrated my ability to be mediocre many many times), we love video games. The thrill of overcoming an obstacle in your path, the beauty of pulling off a particularly tricky combo, basking in the warm glow of a screen and letting the experience wash you away. I can honestly never see a time when I won’t love video games (outside of having to review Barbie’s Horse Adventures again). One of the most amazing experiences I’ve got to encounter over the last year is talking to games developers. Their passion and drive to do what they do is utterly astonishing, and it always brightens my day to talk to someone who loves their job. No matter how hard it can be, or how stressful, the reward of seeing people enjoy what you do drives these wonderful folks to keep making games.

As such, I had the opportunity to talk to a long time supporter of ours, Brad Carney – someone whose work we’ve loved since we were nothing but a collection of morons streaming games. I mean, we still are, but now we’re official. He’s currently in the process of developing a follow up to 2014’s Wrack, a game we’ve played for many of our 24-hour streams in the past. The game’s kickstarter has just launched, and we had a chat about the game and the process of development.

Q: For those completely unfamiliar, could you tell us a little bit about the original Wrack?

A: Sure! Wrack is an old school shooter along the lines of Doom and Quake. It’s got a cel-shaded look to it like Borderlands, and we’ve added some elements arcade-style elements to it as well, like combos, lives and bosses. There were a bunch of influences on the game, but the classic shooter elements are the most recognizable.

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Q: You have a new game in the works; Wrack: Starfall. How does this follow on from the first game?

A: We’re definitely trying to do something new and unique with it. This is a tower defense FPS with rogue-like elements, which is something really cool and that’s never been done before. It’s important to us that a game has a great concept, and think we’re on to something here. We’re trying to take the elements from Wrack that worked well (the art style, arcade-style mechanics, character designs) and bring them over to Starfall.

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Q: What’s the thing you love most about video game development?

A: It’s hard, but it’s very rewarding. You have to use so many different skills and get to be so creative that it’s never repetitive or boring. There are new challenges every day (like trying to run a successful Kickstarter campaign!) and figuring out ways to solve them is a lot of fun.

You have to use so many different skills and get to be so creative that it’s never repetitive or boring.

Q: Is there anyone you’d say was your biggest inspiration?

A: I draw bits of inspiration here and there from various people, situations and stories and whatnot, but I don’t know that there’s anyone I really idolize. We definitely have a great deal of hero and celebrity worship going on in this country that I don’t particularly ascribe to. I also think people succeed and fail more than we realize thanks to the situation around them rather than their own actions, so I try not to get too caught up in “Wow, that person is successful! Let me duplicate everything they’re doing!”, because the results likely can’t be duplicated – they’re unique to that person’s situation.

It’s important to us that a game has a great concept, and think we’re on to something here.

Q: What were some of your main influences for Wrack and Starfall?

A: During the Wrack days, I was playing a lot of The Binding of Isaac, Don’t Starve, and Crypt of the NecroDancer – which were all rogue-likes. I was amazed at how fun they were day after day and playthrough after playthrough. At the same time, people were wanting more replayability and content in Wrack, and I thought a rogue-like would be a fantastic way to bring that to them. Plus, I had always been a huge tower defense fan going back to some oldschool Doom mods. When I came across Orcs Must Die and Sanctum, I thought a tower defense rogue-like would make for such a fantastic game. So far, it’s looking like my hunch is correct!

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Q: Any stories you’d like to share from your time as a game developer?

A: The best parts have been taking the game out to public events and interacting with all the great people there. Not only do you get fantastic feedback, but you also get to actually interact with your fans and people in general, which is awesome. The Internet tends to be way more negative that how people actually feel, and in person you see so much more love and appreciation and just general fun that you don’t get online. You don’t just meet fans there, either – sometimes you meet other developers as well, and in some cases, big developers. While promoting Wrack, we had the opportunity to meet both John Romero and Keiji Inafune, which was super awesome. The fact that they both really liked what they saw of the game was a gigantic thrill, too.

You can check out the Wrack: Starfall kickstarter here, and follow Brad and Wrack on twitter too!

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