Meet the FK'ers is our new short interview format to get to know the folks working at Frostkeep who are responsible for Rend.
We're opening up the series with a brief chat with community superstar @FK_JarNod.
RF: What's your name and what do you do at Frostkeep?
JL: I'm Jordan Leithart, aka JarNod. I do anything and everything, except art... and naming things. I had my naming privileges revoked. Mostly I'm an engineer/community person. I've written almost all the UI in Rend and some of the systems. I also answer as many community questions as I can, so if you tweet at Frostkeep, I'll be the one responding.
RF: Tell us a little about your backstory, where have you worked prior to joining Frostkeep, what games have you been involved in making?
JL: I did all sorts of things before I got into the games industry, so I'll pass those by. I previously worked at Carbine on WildStar. I was a build engineer there. Then I moved over to AI, then I moved over to Combat/Spells for the F2P launch.
RF: What game most influenced you? Was it something in your childhood or in later years?
JL: Vanilla World of Warcraft had a large impact on my life, but the game that made me want to get into the games industry was actually a more recent one, Dragon Age: Origins. It was the first roleplaying game that I played through again immediately after I finished it for the first time. A year after I played that I went back to school for my Computer Science degree, and 3 years later I was working on WildStar!
RF: What are you main influences in your work? Is there anything outside of the gaming world you feel has helped you become a better developer?
JL: My whole life has been an influence on my work. In my opinion, games should reflect something about our world. I play lots of games, and I learn something from every single one, but outside experiences are how I became a better developer. Whether it's working at companies that weren't video game companies, to where I grew up and other hobbies I have. Everything I do helps me grow as a developer!
RF: There have been a lot of Early Access Survival games released over the last few years, what do you think makes Rend stand out from the rest of them?
JL: The biggest thing that separates us is our performance. We're mindful of having as performant a game as possible and that helps guide our development process. Another aspect that separates us is our focus on making a faction based survival game. We want to create a community so new players won't be lost and veterans will always have people to play with.
RF: The team have been pretty fantastic at engaging with the community so far, is that something you feel is a real differentiator between Frostkeep and your competition?
JL: I've seen many other studios engage with the community in a different but just as important way as Frostkeep. I've also been on the other side countless times, so it's important for me to treat the community how I wanted to be treated when I wasn't a developer. All I really know is that the Rend community has been amazing to work with so far. I don't think you can credit us at all when everyone has been wonderful.
RF: Being with such a small team, what benefits do you feel you have against working in a traditional AAA studio? What do you miss from previous work?
JL: Instant collaboration. If there's a problem, we can solve it quickly.
Ownership of the product. We all own the entire game, not just one pie slice.
Family atmosphere. We get to know each other very well.
I think the biggest thing I miss from my previous work is actually the developers. I've worked with many fantastic people already in my short career and I would love to work with them again. But I know that Frostkeep is where I belong and so I don't miss much!
RF: What's next after Early Access, are there any extra features you'd love to implement in Rend?
JL: The most important thing after early access launch is getting the game out of early access to a full launch. Once we've accomplished that, we need to figure out if we're gonna work on an expansion or a second game. I have a few ideas.
RF: And finally, which aspect of Rend are you most excited for players to get to experience?
JL: With pre-alpha going dark, there are a few systems that I can't wait to talk about, but we're gonna hold off for now. Mostly, I love the faction based gameplay. I love being a part of something greater than myself. It's gonna take a lot of work for us to get it right, but it'll be worth it!
Stay tuned for more interviews with the team behind Rend!