There are few games that I have replayed – and then again, and again, and again – as much as I did with Guacamelee!.
Each playthrough emboldened me to become an even stronger, faster, more magical luchadore, but they also revealed new layers to the game’s world. Guacamelee! was brimming with secrets, hidden between the difficulty spikes and its signature atmosphere. That attention to detail only went further in its recent sequel, and luckily I got to hear & write all about it.
For my second longform piece on Engadget, I had the pleasure of talking with the series’ creators, DrinkBox Studios. Guacamelee! 2 became an opportunity for them to revisit a world they loved building in the first place, only to discover how rewarding the creative process could still be. I spoke with the team’s co-founder and producer, Graham Smith, art director, Steph Goulet, and concept lead & animator, Augusto Quijano, to better understand the sequel’s new landscapes, narrative beats, color palette and more.
As delightful as Guacamelee! 2‘s slapstick self-aware tone is, what stuck with me were its quieter moments – and how personal Augusto was in drawing inspiration from his Mexican upbringing. It’s clear that DrinkBox made even more thoughtful design decisions this time around, managing to distinguish the sequel from its already hyper-stylized predecessor along the way.
It’s been nearly half-a-decade since Blizzard Entertainment disrupted the card game scene with Hearthstone. Its community is still going strong, and is now enjoying one of its most fun & balanced seasons thanks to The Boomsday Project: an otherworldly expansion pack filled with mad scientists and happy accidents.
In our fourth episode, we discuss not only the state & direction of Hearthstone, but also revisit the foundation it was built upon. Returning from our debut episode to talk through it all is my dear friend, Alex Koval.
We also welcome an additional and very special guest: concept artist & illustrator, David Kegg. David has had the unique pleasure of creating some of the excellent artwork found in Hearthstone’s latest set and trailers. Today he joins us to talk shop about the look & feel of the game, his artistic contributions and the process to bringing aspects of Hearthstone’s world to life.
Additional Credits & Notes:
Alex Koval is a full-stack web developer, an independent short-filmmaker, and a fan of the horror genre. We’ve been best friends since 2nd grade, and some of his favorite games include Resident Evil, Final Fantasy Tactics, Eternal Darkness, and Banjo Kazooie.
David Kegg and I went to art school together at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and he has been a professional concept artist & illustrator ever since. His work can be viewed online through ArtStation, as well as on Instagram and Twitter (@DKeggArt).
Music in this episode is from the OSTs to both Hearthstone and its latest expansion, The Boomsday Project.