Exclusive Interview With Creator of Hyper Light Drifter: Alex Preston at Heart Machine

Recently I was able to have the privilege of getting some more info behind the upcoming stylish game, Hyper Light Drifter, from Alex Preston. Read on to hear some behind the scenes development from an indie dev.....

PSVH: First off, I am quite excited about your game. Ever since it was first posted, actually. The game just oozes style and emotion. I just read through the Kickstarter page and everything you describe it as (a mysterious world with both an ancient and future feel to it... filled with adventure and dangerous technology) is how I had perceived it from the trailers I've seen.

So here we go!

What are some of your inspirations for Hyper Light Drifter? (HLD). What did you play as a kid that inspired this? 

Alex: A Link to the Past: such a timeless graphical style, amazing presentation and tight gameplay. Everything about it is influential. Final Fantasy: especially the later SNES titles, which crossed old and new technology in a beautiful way. Lots of shmups (like Gradius): incredible focus and skill required, some of the most brutal gaming moments I've had as a child and young adult.

PSVH: How did you develop the idea? Did you you have an image in your mind? Are you a writer? 

Alex: It was over a long period of time, through a lot of physical hardship (major health issues). It's something that had been swimming around for some years, and it eventually started to take hold in 2012.

As for writing: I enjoy the creative task immensely (and have a fair vocabulary), but I lack the dedication to the craft to label myself as one.

PSVH: When did you know you wanted to make video games? What path did you take to be able to produce this one? (school, meeting the right people, etc). 

Alex: For a long time. I hadn't fully realized or committed to the idea until about 5 years ago, but I had always taken small jabs at development.

I was a freelance illustrator and designer for a number of years after I finished school. I began meeting more and more independent developers, playing and discussing games with them, and the intense desire to create my own rapidly built.

PSVH: What made you want to develop for the Playstation? Sony really pushed the Indie love, was that a big part of the reason?

Alex: Sony reached out early on, and they seemed to get it immediately. They were straightforward and very welcoming about putting the game on their platforms. It was a no brainer.

They've made some excellent moves when it comes to indies this generation. They keep the process simple and open, they know what games to look for, embrace a variety of ideas and know the community. It's really fantastic to have support from a major platform like this.

PSVH: This is a tough question since HLD isn't out yet, but will you continue the dream and make more video games? 

Alex: Easy question: absolutely.

PSVH: How do you feel about the Vita and PS4 build? Will you make use of the touch screen/touch pad for either system? 

Alex: It looks lovely on the Vita screen. I'm in love with that OLED. 

We don't currently have any plans for major differences between platforms as we want a unified experience. 

PSVH: What are some of the major ups and downs of developing video games?

Alex: So much hard work goes into it, which can be very creatively draining at the end of the day. It can easily overtake your life.

On the bright side: I'm able to work every day on a video game that I created, which is amazing each time i step back and take it in!

PSVH: How do you feel about E3 this year? How did it go for you there?

Alex: I enjoyed E3, and we did well as a team. I think the format needs some change, but it's still an important spectacle.

PSVH: How is your team working together? Any good stories you want to share about your experience? 
How close are you to a release date?

Alex: The team is the best part of developing the game. We're all total goofy idiots, so silly things are constantly happening. I'm not sure any stories would be nearly as funny without the context of the situation. We have posted some ridiculous GIFs on our site as a result of conversations or jokes or glitches.

Thanks, Alex, for taking the time to answer our questions. I'm particularly glad to hear that this game is looking excellent on the Vita! Looking forward to trying it out. 

What are you looking forward to, readers? Write some questions you might have for these guys down below. They're awesome people that are quite helpful. Check out their web page and read about the developers, info about the game, etc. I will keep you up to date with release times. 

Let us know below what you think!

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