Date: 17/04/2019 Interviewee: Martin Akehurst Source: https://mailchi.mp/oddworld/read-the-first-of-our-new-oddworld-community-newsletters-right-now-with-issue-1?e=fae31699b9
Q: How long have you worked with OWI?
Martin Akehurst: I originally did QA on New ‘n’ Tasty before picking up on a little bit of everything as we needed to fill development gaps before release. That included helping out with some level design and refining layouts, which was a great opportunity to grow my skills. Then I started to hone my gameplay design skills, helping to create the Alf’s Escape DLC.
Shortly after production began, we started Fat Kraken and I began work on Soulstorm as a Gameplay Designer.
Q: Can you tell us briefly what your job entails?
Martin Akehurst: For Fat Kraken, we do a little bit of everything that’s involved with running a small studio and owning our own business. It’s exciting to see our own studio grow alongside the production of Soulstorm.
For Oddworld, I work on laying out levels and using the amazing new gameplay elements we’ve created to make fun and interesting paths for the player to explore.
Q: What made you want to get into games dev?
Martin Akehurst: I started out studying Sociology and Philosophy at university but decided to drop out as I wasn’t enjoying it. I took some time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life, rather than just rushing into things. I thought I would go and study something I know I would enjoy so I did a Game Design degree. Since then, I have really just worked hard and kept on track, knowing that this is what I wanted to do. I have worked many roles in the industry, moved around a lot and made many sacrifices but I wouldn’t change a thing…
Q: Favourite game of all time?
Martin Akehurst: It’s a difficult question, I don’t know how anyone can really have just one favourite! I’m a big fan of the Zelda series, I’m still making my way through Breath of the Wild and loving it. I’ve also played Hollow Knight and Stardew Valley recently and I really enjoyed those too.
Q: Why are you excited about Soulstorm?
Martin Akehurst: Not spoiling anything about Soulstorm, I think the thing I am most excited about is how the characters from Oddworld seem more alive and reactive to the world around them, especially the Mudokons. It really helps to make it feel like a totally believable, living world that we’re getting to explore.