Explode into life
Black Tusk’s visual-effects artist switches weapons for saplings
Black Tusk’s weapons expert branches out
day job involves creating visual effects at Microsoft’s Black Tusk Studios, which has taken up the reins of the Gears Of War series. But constant exposure to explosions, weaponry and war zones has pushed his personal project, Shape Of The World, in a very different direction.
“For seven years now, I’ve been blowing things up in triple-A games,” Maxwell tells us. “I’ve been dying to build a game where things just grow. It’s nice to come home and build up a world that doesn’t want to kill you!
“I’ve been watching truly stylised and beautiful games slowly emerge onto the scene, with legends like Flower and Limbo making a statement that’s been resonating with me for a long time.”
In PC game Shape Of The World, which Maxwell is working on alongside creature designer Athomas Goldberg and audio designer Brent Silk, you explore a world made up of distinct regions. Each step you take grows the surreal land’s flora around you. You will also encounter a variety of indigenous lifeforms along the way, as well as different weather and times of day.
“[The game] is designed to encourage the player to explore and get a little disoriented,” Maxwell says. “Since the forest only grows when you enter it, you can’t see where you’re going in advance. There’s always a surprise ready to pop up in front of you.”