Eric Ruth is well known for his excellent “de-makes” online, such as last years Pixel Force: Left 4 Dead. He is now developing a new Valve themed game-Team Fortress 2 Arcade.
I got the opportunity to interview Eric to find out a little more about his latest project.
Q: You said on your website that you were influenced by classics such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. What was it about these games that inspired you to start developing your own games?
A: When playing a lot of those games as a child, the thing that really hooked me was the escape from reality. The player traversed these new worlds and met all these characters that would become so important if at least for the duration of the game. I too wanted to create a place that others could visit, define some characters and entertain the audience who was playing. I had so many ideas as a kid (and still do) that game development was also the perfect way to get those ideas out of my head and into some sort of reality. I used to do all sorts of concept art for games that I had made up in my head, and I remember having a lot of fun it too.
Q: You're currently working on Team Fortress 2 Arcade. What are we to expect on your re-imagining?
A: Well, my ultimate goal was just to funnel the exciting world and characters of Team Fortress 2 into a classic 90's style "beat-em-up." I saw the potential in the team based multi-player game play that defined the original so well and thought of numerous ways it could be altered to fit a side scrolling setup. In the final product, you will see payload races, capture points and even a stage where you need to capture the Red intel and run it out of the stage. It was important to me to keep a lot of recognizable elements from the original IP, which is why the stages are mostly not just run-n-gun.
Q: The original had online multiplayer functions. Will this version take advantage of this too?
A: Honestly, I'm hoping to get online functionality up and running for release, but I can't PROMISE anything at this point. I may wind up releasing the game to get it out the door and later introduce online play with an update, but again, I have no solid answer to this yet.
Q: Have you had any feedback from Valve on Team Fortress 2 Arcade yet?
A: Nope. I don't know if I ever will, either. When I released Pixel Force: Left 4 Dead back in 2010, despite its rampant online popularity, I never heard a single word from Valve. I guess as long as I don't offend them in any way, shape or form, I've done my job well enough.
Q: You've created several 8-bit inspired remakes, such as Halo, Left 4 Dead and DJ Hero. Why do you enjoy making retro remakes of modern games?
A: Its simple, really. When you love something as much as I do, you want to pay tribute in your own way. Some people show love and respect by cos-playing at conventions. Some show it by producing fan art and subsequently uploading it to their Flickr or deviantART pages. I show mine by redeveloping the franchises I love with a retro Nintendo style re-imagining. And as for the era of choice, I chose the NES era because its the time frame in which I grew up. I am 30 years old now, and some of my best gaming memories are when I was a child playing Mega Man 2, Mario Bros 3 or Mike Tyson's Punch Out on my NES while sitting in my basement eating "Fruit by the foot."
Q: Personally I feel that your games would work perfectly on consoles such as the Xbox Live Arcade, the Playstation Network, and even Steam. Have you ever considered approaching these companies with your creations, or has anyone shown any interest in them?
A: I would love for my creations to be available on networks linked with current generation console gaming, but I'm afraid that due to my limited ability to code, I just don't have the skills necessary to bring these titles to a new platform. It would ultimately require me to hire someone to port the code and assets to another engine like Unity and re-output the game for the various platforms you mentioned. I mean, Yes, I would be interested in doing so and I personally am a big fan of Steam, but in the end, its not really up to me. Its up to money. Money I really don't have.
Q: After Team Fortress 2 Arcade is completed, have you got any other ideas in the pipeline?
A: Absolutely. I have no less than 30 ideas for games running through my head at any given time. I will never run out of things to work on and expect to stay busy forever. I have a few original IP games coming through the pipeline now and of course, more in the "de-make" division coming too. Rest assured, there will be no shortage of games being exported by Eric Ruth Games at any point in the foreseeable future. *smiles*