Last week, the Arizona game developers behind Aztez and Grave attended E3 2014 in Los Angeles to showcase their work. I caught up with them to get their thoughts on this year’s expo, what it was like to present their games there and what moments stood out to them.
Ben Ruiz makes up half of Team Colorblind, the minds behind fighting game/real-time strategy hybrid Aztez, coming this year to PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and more.
Tristan Parrish Moore is the creative director for Grave, a survival horror game with randomized gameplay a surrealistic elements. The game recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and is shooting for a release date in early 2015.
Q: What did you think of this year’s E3 Expo as a whole?
Ben: It was kind of hard to get a holistic view of the event since we were hovering around the Aztez kiosks in the Microsoft booth. I just know that I saw a lot of great new games coming up, and it finally got me excited for this new generation of consoles. I have them, I like them, there’s just not much to do on them yet. So that was nice.
Tristan: This was my first time going to E3 – I’d never actually been in any capacity before. It was a bit of an interesting experience. it’s definitely different from many other conferences. We got a lot of support from Microsoft, which was really cool – we got presented in the Microsoft press briefing as one of the ID@Xbox games, so that was super great… It was really awesome to see that Microsoft is going a long way to represent the indie crowd.
Q: What was it like to showcase your game at the event? How was the response?
Ben: Showcasing the game was awesome. It was great to be in that environment and the response was great.
Tristan: So far we’ve gotten really strong responses. We’ve been demoing it heavily as this surrealist, changing world, and we’ve been really excited that a lot of people think that’s a totally different experience that they haven’t really had in a horror game… Everybody seemed really enthusiastic and we’re looking forward to showing our next update soon.
Q: What announcements, games or moments stood out to you personally?
Ben: The thing that sticks out to me the most is when the creative director of Ninja Theory’s DMC: Devil May Cry came up to one of our kiosks and played Aztez. We had a really good chat, he [had] some useful things to say and then he gave me his business card and made himself available for further conversation. That was excellent of him and he seemed like a great dude.
Tristan: I think it’s really cool to see some of the stuff happening with VR… we’re still waiting for an announcement from Microsoft- we don’t know if we’re going to be able to do virtual reality on their platform or not. I think that it was awesome seeing all the games represented, probably the biggest highlight was seeing some of the crazy new indie games like Cuphead and Hyperlight Drifter.
Q: Was it a worthwhile trip for you overall, and do you plan to return in the future?
Ben: It was; coverage at E3 is really far-reaching, and if you can sneak yourself in there it will put your product in front of a lot of eyeballs.
Tristan: Totally. It’s interesting because E3 is more of a mainstream experience. It caters really heavily to AAA developers. But we got some really solid contacts with some people who will be very important moving forward… E3 is becoming more accessible to indies every year and I think that compared to previous years… indies wouldn’t have gotten the same kind of attention that we got this year, and that’s pretty awesome.