Next up in our Meet the Team series is Austin, a writer, level designer, and our "resident Skeptic" at Dystrophic! He has a background in philosophy and biotech, and he was one of the creative founders for the vision of Hexile early in its conception.
How did you get involved with Hexile?
I've known Eddy since childhood, and we've worked on several creative projects together. This is the first time we've done something so important together though. I was involved with initial storyboarding, and after I graduated from college I officially joined the team.
What kind of stuff do you do for the game?
I was heavily involved in writing the script. I also did a lot of the research for the game, including reading Camus, one of our story influences. I’m transitioning to level design, though it’s been quite the adventure because I have zero computer science background.
What kind of stuff do you like to do outside of Hexile?
My main hobby is tabletop RPGs. I started on Pathfinder, but switched to Dungeons and Dragons when 5th edition came out. Since then, I’ve started experimenting with other systems and styles, though I tend to stick to the swords and sorcery genre. I love TTRPGs because they allow players to express their creativity and to problem-solve in a way that no other platform does. I enjoy the limitless possibilities, the true unfettered freedom you can experience in the games. It’s a social game, where you can hang out and have a good time with some friends.
What’s your favorite video game? (Alternatively, what are you playing and loving right now?)
My favorite videogame is, hands down, Minecraft. It’s the game I’ll be playing at 96, when I’m slamming my wrinkled fist on the table screaming, “YOU DARNED KIDS KNOW NOTHING OF GOOD GAMES THESE DAYS! BACK IN MY DAY...”
I like it for the same reasons I like tabletop RPGs: there’s a lot of room for self-direction and creativity, so it’s very much what you make of it. You can build pretty structures, farm, fight, mine, or use redstone, and those all use very different skills. I’ve recently started a world where I switched to creative to make a nether portal, then jumped in. Every time I die I just jump back in the portal. A lot of resources have a different value, and I don’t have the supplies I’d use to survive in the nether in a normal game. This has forced me to play differently and to innovate in ways I normally wouldn’t. It just shows how the gameplay opportunities are really only limited by your imagination, and those are the types of games I love.
Why do you think Hexile is a cool project?
It’s a good concept - a beautiful environment you can explore with fast-paced abilities that encourage creativity. But it’s more than that. It’s a story, one that makes you think about important things you might not think about often, like environmentalism. It’s heavily influenced by Camus, who is one of my favorite philosophers, and it deals with existentialist themes. Most importantly, it satisfies both my love for a good adventure and my love for a thought-provoking experience.
Thanks for reading, and thank you, Austin!