The day the Kickstarter for Hyper Light Drifter launched there was a rumble through social media. Everyone was talking about the unique design, aesthetic and amazing talent on the project. There was no question the project would soar, but one big question remained: who is Alex Preston?
At BigSushi.fm we are in the habit of trying to find out as much as possible about the people behind the games we love. We’ve met Beau Blyth and love his work. Rich Veerland (Disasterpiece) is infamous from the music he contributed to Fez. You can find information about Will Wiesenfeld (Baths) and listen to his amazing music. But Alex Preston, the person that came up with Hyper Light Drifter, is an enigma.
“Creatively, I’m very private. I’ve worked on my own games though out the years but I’ve never released anything to the public, so I’m fresh to this. I’ve been working on this long enough that I felt I could expose this to the public. I like things to have a certain level of polish before I’m able to let go of something, because it’s my child in a lot of ways.”
Despite Alex not being well known, he keeps good company and points to Glitch City co-op as a primary source for the connections and friends he’s made in the industry.
Everyone seemed to know Hyper Light Drifter was going to blow up and pushed pledges beyond what any Kickstarter can dream. The project reached its initial funding goal of $27,000 in 9 hours, nearly doubled that by end of Day 1, and is trending to surpass half a million.
There is a zeitgeist around the game. Those backing this project are much like Alex, they grew up with games like Legend of Zelda and Diablo. It’s those titles that continue to be cherished and provoke the inspiration behind Hyper Light Drifter. It’s okay to wear your inspirations on your sleeve and Alex is open in saying that developers like Supergiant, Capybara, and Thatgamecompany’s Journey made an impact on him. Films from Miyazaki, Gainax’s Neon Genesis Evangelion and spaghetti westerns have helped Alex define the aesthetic he’s pursuing with his game. “The core tenets are elegance, beauty and underlying it all is fun. I want to do a few things really well.”
Alex’s background as a fine artist has provided Hyper Light Drifter with its very unique look-and-feel which may be one of the biggest reasons for everyone’s excitement for the game. While this is Alex’s first game, his background and skills have always been in pursuit of game development. “I was a massive computer nerd. I always wanted to make games as a kid. When I went into fine art it was a way to further expand my toolset. I want to create interactive experiences for people in an engaging world. Everything else was supplementary, the illustration and painting and everything else. I’ve always wanted to make games.”
The excitement to the Kickstarter has been admittedly overwhelming, but Alex is quite humbly taking the response in stride. During our conversation, Alex mentioned the larger budget will allow for the team to grow and to bring on more talent to make the game even better.
We are very excited to see Hyper Light Drifter to continue to expand, grow and be refined. You can follow Alex on Twitter and get over to Kickstarter to back and track the progress on this incredible looking game.