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Exclusive: 2XL Games Interview

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Well here we are yet again with another exclusive interview. This time we’re speaking to Robb Rinard of 2XL Games; so sit back, grab a brew and enjoy reading the latest Invision Game Community exclusive. Let’s get started… Check out their Latest Game which we have reviewed Click Here for more details

Well to get started, why not introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Robb Rinard. I am the Creative Director here at 2XL Games in Phoenix. We are a 60 person game development studio in Phoenix, Arizona. We’ve been self-funding and publishing our own titles since 2008.

Great, how about you tell us what made you want to get into the gaming industry? Is it always something you’ve wanted to do because of a game you played growing up, or do you just like working with computers?

When I was a kid my goal was to become an air force pilot. I grew up living on an airport and aviation had been a huge part of my life. I took my first solo flight on the morning of my sixteenth birthday as the sun came up.   An accident changed all that and set me on a course to become a game designer. I love what I do and I think it shows in our products. Our whole team is committed to making great game and together we’re proud of how JMO turned out. It’s a great game!

Cool. Now tell us a little bit about 2XL Games for our viewers who may not know who you are; what was the motivation behind setting up the company, what sort of games do you focus on making and how did you come up with the name “2XL”?

My partner Rick Baltman and I started 2XL Games in 2005 after being at Rainbow Studios for many years. I was one of the first folks to join Rainbow back in 1992. Our lead artist Dave Dwire started at Rainbow a few weeks ahead of me and we still work together now 20 years later. When THQ bought Rainbow back in 2002 Rick and I stayed for several years and built the MX Unleashed and MX vs ATV franchises for them.

In 2005 we felt the time was right for us to branch out on our own. We began developing the XL Engine for our first title which was Baja: Edge of Control that was actually funded by THQ as well. We learned a lot of lessons during that first game, especially in terms of managing a team on our own.

The name 2XL is derived from two words that inspire me: to accel – to go fast, and to excel – to achieve high standards. That coupled with the fact that all the good domain names in the universe are already taken, and shazam! 2XL Games.

Awesome stuff. So what’s a typical day in the office like when working for 2XL Games?

Rick and I are both big believers in the culture of creativity being very important in our business. We have a really nice office that I feel spoiled to be able to work in. We all work really hard creating the products that we make. But we also take time to smell the roses. Last Friday we took the whole team to go see the new Batman movie. We all really enjoyed it.

That’s a really good balance, and I hope you enjoyed the film. I’ve not had a chance to see it myself yet. Anyway moving on you’ve got a good few titles behind your name now and your latest game is Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad which has been recently released on both the PSN and XBLA marketplace. Tell us a little bit about the game; did you get to work close with Jeremy McGrath during the development, were there any difficulties you faced during the development and what’s different about this game compared to similar titles?

Jeremy was very involved. We always look forward to his feedback, because he’s an advocate for passion and authenticity when it comes to motorsports. His input was invaluable.

Our biggest challenge was making the best game we could possibly make, keeping it affordable and fun. Luckily, we were able to make a game that is a lot of fun and runs at a beautiful, solid 60 frames a second.

What makes the sum of the game is its parts; it’s fun, affordable, accessible and high-fidelity. The package deal is what we think makes this game most compelling.

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So in one sentence sum up why the visitors on our site should go out and buy Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad?

Best off-road racing game on XBLA and PSN in the world today and a steal at only ten bucks!

 

That’s just tempted me to go get it myself. What are the biggest achievements and challenges you’ve had to face as an Indie Game Studio?

Managing resources is difficult. As a passionate developer, you always want to pour everything you’ve got into your craft. But then again, we’ve got a business to maintain, and maintaining it is best for the gamers – we need to be able to make even more great games.

So what’s next for 2XL Games? Are you looking to start work on the next title to add to your collection, or will you be taking a break for a while?

I’m really interested in developing a flight combat game for digital download.

 

Now as Invision Game Community is powered by students and as they’re our target audience, what advice would you give to budding young students wanting to get into the industry?

Easy: if you are mathematically inclined, go download a free copy of Microsoft Visual Studio Express and start learning C#. It’s a great language and a gateway to C++. Try learning the XNA framework to make your own student project. Or grab a copy of Unity and try making your own mobile game.

For those interested in art, go grab an educational version of Autodesk 3D Studio Max and start learning it and Photoshop.

If you are interested in sound design, I highly recommend Adobe Audition. It’s a great package that does everything you need to start creating high quality sound effects.

And one last random question; if you drive, what car do you own?

I drive a Sport Truck. It’s a modified F-150 that I sent out to Rousch in California. That’s the folks that designed the Ford Lightning a few years ago. You can see my truck featured in a recent video we made for our XLR8 mobile app that turns your car into a race car once you connect your mobile device to your car stereo.

Check it out in this video

Awesome stuff there from Robb. It was great he could take the time out to do the interview. Hopefully you all enjoy the read and maybe even go and buy their latest game Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad. For now that’s it from us at Invision Game Community, so keep your eye out for the next interview we do.

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