From the Past to Present - Rogue Rocket's Nick Bruty and Richard Sun

Here at Rogue Rocket Games we have two co-founders: Nick Bruty and Richard Sun. They both have quite a past when it comes to developing and creating video games, and today I want to explore that a little. As Rogue Rocket's social media and community manager, I'm often throwing in some short and concise sentences about how experienced Nick Bruty and Rich Sun are, but I never get to actually explain why some of the games they made, or were involved with creating, are some of the greatest games I played when growing up as a young gamer. Working on these games undoubtedly made Nick and Rich into the leaders we have here today at Rogue Rocket Games. So, come explore these creations to see why they are unique, why people enjoyed them, and why it matters in relation to Nick's and Rich's experiences and skills. 

First let's chat about Nick Bruty. There are several big games that Nick was involved with, but this time the focus is on Earthworm Jim and of course Giants: Citizen Kabuto

 

Earthworm Jim (1994)

Originally the insane platformer that is Earthworm Jim came out on Sega Genesis in 1994, but it was eventually released to just about everything, like Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010 and before that PC, SNES and many other platforms. It was one of the most deliciously frustrating games I played growing up, with a punishing difficulty that meant you would be repeating levels and learning how to beat bosses in the most efficient way possible, but what made it unique was the design, the humor and the fresh take on platforming. 

While other platformers at the time focused on medieval fantasy, demons, or colorful charming worlds - Earthworm Jim instead threw you into a world of trash piles, vicious dogs, alien environments and satirical situations that poked fun at popular platformers that came before it. The main plot of the game literally involved saving someone called Princess What's-Her-Name from enemies like Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Slug-For-A-Butt. It was crude, it poked fun at so many things, and it was one of the best platforming experiences in its day. With Earthworm Jim, Nick Bruty worked mainly on the level design and art to create much of that absurd world. Bruty's old coworker, Doug TenNapel who voiced and created the character of Earthworm Jim, described Nick as being "the single greatest influence on making the Earthworm Jim game great. He's the game designer's designer." 

 

Giants: Citizen Kabuto (2000) 

We've probably talked about Giants: Citizen Kabuto the most at Rogue Rocket Games, especially since our current project 1st Wonder is meant to follow its legacy, but we've never really explained why it is worth creating a spiritual sequel to. Like Earthworm Jim, Giants: Citizen Kabuto has a fantastic sense of humor - but one largely based on a British sense humor. It has the type of humor that is filled with jokes and is constantly present without making itself a burden on the player. However, the writing, unique character design and humor is just a small part of why it was an amazingly different game than everything else out there. 

For me, as a gamer who loved strategy games, AI teammates and worlds that seemed to move on their own, Giants was something I couldn't put down. Sure, I didn't get a lot of the jokes as an obnoxious 14 year old when the game released in 2001 on PC, but I greatly appreciated the mechanics. Giants had you constantly switching between three races: Meccs, Sea Reapers and Kabuto. As one might guess, Kabuto is the large and terrible creature that is shown in the screenshot above, and you often controlled it throughout the game. However, you got to see each side separately and how they view the others as enemies. It was all culminated in the last few levels of the story that featured all three races battling on huge open maps, or in multiplayer that gave you the same atmosphere but with other players. 

Giants just had so much going on, and in a great way. For the most part it was a third person shooter, but you also had base building with the Meccs and it was one of the first games I saw that had a sense of survival attached to that as you scoured for resources to create a larger base, while the Sea Reapers and the Kabuto were constantly a threat. Each race wasn't equal to one another either, so it created a unique experience where everything was specifically not balanced in order to facilitate tactics, strategy and memorable situations. On top of the mechanics and humor, it was also one of the most  gorgeous games of its day and technologically impressive with huge open environments filled with moving AI. 

The multiplayer in Giants took all of those elements, and races, and threw them into the world as you fought to survive against the other races and players. The Kabuto scouring the environment for resources as it evolved, the Meccs with their numbers and their constantly growing base, and the Sea Reapers with their devastating weapons and quick speed. It was something that just did not exist anywhere else at the time. Like Total Biscuit said in his recent video on Giants: Citizen Kabuto, "This is the kind of ambition that frankly you don't see an awful lot anymore. A game like this wouldn't be made in 2014." He was right about that, a game like that wouldn't be made in 2014, but 2015 is another story. 

Check back later for a continuation on this post about Richard Sun's games.