Rush Team Interview: Behind the Steering Wheel
Every project starts with an idea: a thought turned to a note, turned to a plan. An essential, endlessly repeated formula without a mention of the main ingredient — the mind behind the concept. Today, we are updating it by putting some spotlight on one of the most significant contributors to the idea behind Hash Rush and the paver of creative roads it continues to take.
“Being with the project from its inception, I have been involved with the design of the game from the earliest point. Everything from Lore to the overall look and feel of the game has been on my shoulders from the get-go.”
For all those unfamiliar, we introduce Nathan Ziedonis! And here’s only a part of why we think he is just the right person for the job.
“Greetings from Nathan. I am the Creative Director and Studio Lead at VZ Games.”
With the dynamic nature of game development come many requirements to adapt and overcome, so what does “being a Creative Director and Studio Lead” mean in the context of Hash Rush?
“Go over the designs and try to find places we can improve even further, run the Studio to make sure we have the most experienced managers, developers, and designers to make sure the game shines on every level.”
Being the person to turn to for some of the most important functional parts of the company and the features that could make or break the game’s image could easily be the sole definition of “stressful.” Even so, many tangible successes make up for it! We have asked Nathan to point out what he thinks of as a highlight of his engagement with VZ Games:
“Hmm, it must be presenting the game at Tokyo Game Show back in 2018. What a way to visit a country I have been dreaming of visiting if not to present your own game at one of the biggest events of the year.”
While the events like such are a great testament to the team’s success, the effort behind them is often overlooked. Naturally, we all love to see a good chapter in the game development and hear about progress. Still, we had to ask just what presents the most significant challenge within the process through the eyes of a Creative Director?
“We all know that the perfect design does not exist, but getting to it as close as possible is a daily challenge.”
And a daily challenge requires some quality downtime to balance it out and recharge batteries. We wondered what Nathan does when he takes off his VZ Games hat at the end of the day:
“Uhm….playing some of the latest games or an older classic! Recently it has been Elden Ring. Might sound like a bad game to unwind with, but it has been rather therapeutic, really :).”
If “playing Elden Ring to relax” isn’t clear enough proof of his endless patience and focus, we don’t know what is!
Being a part of the team and working with Nathan is a fantastic experience, and we are sure he has many positive things to say about the Hash Rush crew, but there is that one person he enjoys working with the most. “Who?” and “why?” we asked:
“That would be Tenzin for sure. In smaller teams, practically everyone wears multiple hats, and as a producer, he wears many and gets stuff done.”
Where there’s functionality, there are results. In the end, results keep the ball rolling and make room for future achievements. We had to give it a shot and ask: What’s on the horizon for Hash Rush?
“With the Playtest now behind us, we really feel confident that the core is set, and we want to build on it with more features, game modes, and much more. Right now… Dungeon mode is one of the next big things to unveil.”
If you are yet to discover the latest updates, including the addition of Dungeon mode, hurry up and catch up with the latest news about the development! While all the roads lead to a better, more satisfying experience for the player, what is the true vision of Hash Rush from the Creative Director’s perspective?
“A game that can stand on its own legs and has the depth and roadmap that everyone can look forward to. Not just a few new locations to visit in the Hermeian Galaxy, but new modes and challenges as well.”
Finally, the recipe for success is never a flawless formula. Instead, it is based on numerous trials and errors and enforced with constant tweaks and novelties. Just like with other creative roles, a Creative Director is expected to find their own way of simply making things work before they can make them uniquely theirs. On this journey, errors are bound to happen, but starting with a bit of help is always welcome.
With all of you fresh designers and game design enthusiasts (or those simply as curious as we are) in mind, we have asked for a piece of professional advice to leave you with:
“With every idea, there needs to be a follow-up. Like when you have a new….anything come to the game, what is the next step to improve it. Designs are constantly being looked at and improved over time, but taking each individual piece and pushing it further is key to making a great game.”
Properly introducing all of the ins and outs of Nathan’s work processes and the assignments of the Creative Director and Studio Lead roles would require much more space than we have left. However, intriguing you into the further investigation was the goal!
What do you say: Would you like to know more?
Which team member would you like to read a bit about next?