Rex is a self-made entrepreneur who, in his own time, was a widely respected alpha-beast of the wild. He’s here to tell his story in the autobiographical “Relentless Rex: The Game,” a “Rayman”/”Rampage” inspired platformer. We were able to convince Rex to, rather than kill us instinctively, sit down for an interview on his latest project to unveil an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the game about a misunderstood, violent reptile.
Review Fix: The “Relentless Rex” Twitter account was opened back in July 2016. Was Relentless Rex always a video game idea? Or is the game already two years into development?
Rex: Well, my name IS in fact Relentless Rex, so it was the obvious choice for my Twitter handle (@Relentless_Rex). That said, the account was set up with the idea that I would one day create a game, but exactly what kind was yet to be determined. I was in no rush… and anyway T-Rexes like to make their games like they make their human stews—we let them marinate awhile. Giving the game idea time to breathe and evolve also gave me some time to start making friends in the gaming community and growing an audience for my unique personality. I love that we live in a day and age where I can now find and stalk humans by the thousands… on Twitter I mean >:‑) So, long story shirt, I eventually landed on the concept of a platforming mashup, where sometimes players are chatting with friendly stegosauruses and going on bite-sized adventure quests… and other times they’re running and screaming for their miserable little lives.
Review Fix: What inspired “Relentless Rex’s” development?
Rex: Well, besides wanting to share all this sexy Hunkasaurus Rex with the world, I’ve always been into dinosaurs (obviously), illustration, animation, gaming, and toying with my food… So it seemed like a logical step for me to make a video game in which I share with humans the authentic experience of what it’s like to be chased down and eaten by a T-Rex. (You know, so people can properly prepare themselves in case we ever meet in person.) They say “write what you know,” and so I just applied that general philosophy to a video game.
Review Fix: “Rayman made sweet sweet love with Rampage” is what’s used to describe RR. Are there possibly any other games in that mix that could have inspired other aspects of the game, like power-ups or environment?
Rex: Rayman is definitely a major source of visual inspiration. That’s a platforming series filled with gorgeous animation, environmental art, and character design. I kept its aesthetic in mind when hand-drawing… er, CLAW-drawing the game’s first prehistoric jungle levels. But don’t let my pretty pictures fool you into thinking this is a game for kids—The danger, destruction, and light snacking starts right out of the gate. Another aesthetic idea for Relentless Rex: The Game was to use a color palette drenched in blacks to give it a moodier, edgier feel… something akin to Batman: The Animated Series. And when I wasn’t consuming shows like that in the 80’s and 90’s, I was playing my fair share of the NES and Super Nintendo—cutting my teeth on games like Castlevania and Contra. Special power-ups and weapons were a big deal in those games, so of course I wanted to incorporate my own twisted versions of special items and abilities like a Chainsaw Boomerang, Rabid-Squirrel Mind Control, and a “More-Than-Meets-The-Eye” Robo-Matrix Helmet. So yeah, I’m sure those kinds of childhood influences have seeped into my work.
A dash of Bit.Trip Runner makes it into my game as well (in my mind, he’s the family butler that RAISED Rayman and Rampage’s illegitimate dino-lovechild). There’s something smooth and hypnotic about Bit.Trip’s rhythmic platforming, and the series stands out from others of its ilk because you can tell each level has been carefully crafted (not randomly generated) and everything just feels “right” about it—even when the difficulty ramps up. My goal was to pull from the best parts of Bit.Trip 2 during the Rex “chase sequences,” including the integration of musical cues that tie into the action.
Aside from games, I’m also a big fan of film noir and the movies of Alfred Hitchcock—entertainment with suspense, style, and a dark sense of humor. I don’t want to spoil too much, but if you know what happens to Janet Leigh in the middle of Psycho, that may give you a hint as to what twisted surprises are in store for the poor characters in my game.
All that said, most of what I’ve been referencing is just the first few levels of Relentless Rex: The Game! We wrapped a successful Kickstarter campaign this past spring/summer, and now my generous human backers are submitting their own original game ideas which will be put to a vote and added to subsequent levels. So they’re being given the agency to make this game as bat-$#%&-crazy as they want—in a GOOD way of course :-) If backers want an Alien-Queen Rexzilla chasing a transforming robot out through a spaceship’s airlock, then that’s exactly what they’re getting! They think it, and I make it! I find it TRULY EXCITING to be taking all of these potentially outlandish ideas (for weapons, playable characters, side quests, etc), and bringing them all together into a unique and cohesive experience. This game is going to be something really special.
Review Fix: The game reaches to release on all platforms, including Switch, PS4, and Steam. Is a $7,000 goal enough? How did you come to this number?
Rex: Having crunched some numbers, $7,000 was the amount I determined it would take to bring in human help to put Relentless Rex: The Game into full production and flesh it out into the full-sized gaming experience it was always meant to be. And while I’m super excited about getting funded, the console ports were stretch goals that weren’t met. So for now, we’re just focusing on creating the best game possible on PC, Mac, and STEAM. That said, we’ve had a lot of requests to put this on the Switch in particular—and trust me, I want it on consoles more than anyone. So while we have to take the development process one step at a time (and I don’t want to over-promise anything), Nintendo and Playstation are definitely on my mind. And the more interest and support there is for this game, the more likely console ports will become a reality.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite meat?
Rex: Extra-rare human journalists that talk about food. Next question…
Review Fix: Is there any further information you’d like to entail? Could we expect anything after RR’s development?
Rex: Like most game developers, I’ve always got a few projects bouncing around in my head. And I really wanted to tease you with a couple high-concept ideas (I even had descriptions written up and everything). But it’s just too early, and I’m not sure which will ultimately rise to the top by the time we wrap on “Rex.”
Plus, the production of Relentless Rex: The Game is really where my excitement and energy are focused right now. It’s gonna be a fun, fast-paced action/adventure mashup that I think humans are really going to dig. What’s more is you can still get in on the creative game-making action by contributing through the Relentless Rex website. Just like with the Kickstarter campaign, $15 still gets you the game itself AND the opportunity to submit ideas for environments, power-ups, NPC’s, Rex mutations, side quests, and the NEXT PLAYABLE CHARACTER (try not to think too much about what that means for the first guy). I’ve even set up some of the previous Kickstarter rewards in case you also want a full-sized game poster with your head photoshopped in my jaws, a T-Shirt that says “I Made a Video Game with a T-Rex,” or a pair of Relentless Rex “replacement” undies (for when my game scares the poop out of you). You can even skip all the democratic voting crap by purchasing a handful of Create Your OWN Rewards still remaining—You tell me what you want, and then I create it and put it in the game! So if you’ve got a great idea for something you’ve always want to see in a video game, OR if you know someone that would love to be an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT in this game’s creation (without all the sleepless nights of hard work), head over to RelentlessRex.com/shop. Previous backers are already submitting their ideas, and we’re going to start voting for what gets added sometime in November. The opportunity to help make a video game doesn’t come along every day, especially at a $15 price point. Act now, and I’ll add the next 20 supporters to my “DO NOT EAT” List… Just kidding, ALL backers are added to my DO NOT EAT List.
Nice knowing the rest of you >:‑)