DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS EN RUMBLEVERSE
At Iron Galaxy, we aim to tell stories about the people who make games from a place of love and sincerity. When we set out to create Rumbleverse, one of our goals was to be inclusive of different cultures. We wanted to build a world that was welcoming to all. On the advent of Día de los Muertos, we’re delivering some new in-game content to honor a beautiful tradition.
Starting Tuesday, October 25, the Rumblers of Grapital City will encounter the Día de los Headlock and Día de los Muertos Fiesta Dress accessory sets. To learn more about the creative process and inspirations for this new gear, we interviewed the following developers about their influences and contributions:
Rejess Marshall, DEIA Program Manager
Kimu Villalba, Jr. 3D Character Artist
Alex Voyles, Character Artist
Miguel Espinoza, Texture Artist
Soosa Kim, Concept Artist
Iron Galaxy: Hey there, Rejess. What would you say is the importance of representation of different cultures?
Rejess Marshall: For many of us, video games and digital media influence how we see others and ourselves. The effect of accurate and authentic representation can help us as players break down barriers, open us to new ideas, create powerful role models, and even be a source of inspiration. Seeing yourself and people who look like you in digital media can help increase self-esteem for people of marginalized groups, especially young people and children. Exposure to diverse representation in games can have real-world effects, like debunking stereotypes of underrepresented groups.
IG: Can you tell us about the committees of employees that help us review art?
RM: We consulted with our Latinx ERG and DEIA Committee to help us represent this set appropriately. We believe that DEIA shouldn't be an afterthought in our creative process and have included a check of our content by partnering with our Employee Resource Groups and the DEIA Committee.
IG: What major contribution did the Latinx ERG make to these sets?
RM: Our ERG was able to help us accurately portray Día de Los Muertos in a character accessory set that doesn't appropriate the culture but celebrates it. We were able to discuss and collaborate on the masculine and feminine names of the character sets, recognizing the nuances in the Spanish language.
Iron Galaxy: Hello, Soosa. What were the inspirations that drove the original concept?
Soosa Kim: The idea of the Día De Los Muertos sets came from a recommendation from our Character Ideation Team. We discussed how we would protect the beautiful designs found in its original culture, and how it could fit in the world of Rumbleverse. We wanted to capture what is visually enjoyed during Día de los Muertos, while respecting the original inspiration. We were technically challenged on how the skull and bones could be used with other sets of items, since a pivotal focus of Rumbleverse is to always allow the player to mix and match their accessories. It was so fun to explore this Día De Los Muertos concept art.
IG: Were there any influences that you referenced?
SK: We gathered reference images from Mexican traditional holiday events, Mexican Mariachi bands, and dancers.
Iron Galaxy: Hola, Kimu. What does the inclusion of Día de los Muertos in Rumbleverse mean to you?
Kimu Villalba: It's so nice that we get the chance to share culture with the players of Rumbleverse. I think combining what "Día de los Muertos" is while bringing the flavor of Rumbleverse and "La lucha libre!" is a fun way to introduce different kinds of traditions to people around the world.
IG: How did we take the original idea and develop content that players can experience in the game?
KV: I helped convert the concept art of the Muertos set skull to a stylized fun 3D design. A goal of mine when converting it to its 3D design was to make sure I maintained the texturing and vibrant passionate colors of the beautiful "Catrina" in its 3D form.
Iron Galaxy: Hey, Alex. What work did you do to bring this set to life?
Alex Voyles: I was responsible for creating the high poly sculpt of the Mariachi headpiece. The goal was to create a stylized representation of skeletons and pay homage to Día de los Muertos. We wanted these sets to be appealing and to fit with Rumbleverse’s art style.
Iron Galaxy: Hi, Miguel. How did you contribute to the important minute details of this set?
Miguel Espinoza: I worked on the textures for these sets. The challenge I faced while working on these sets was representing the different types of fabric such as velvet, satin, and silk. A big focus of mine was making sure that the fabrics would pop pleasantly from a distance without overpowering one another. Painting the different decorative shapes on the faces by hand was a lot of fun too!
Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to these Día de los Muertos sets! Like everything in game development, this was a team effort. The few we interviewed here are just a handful of individuals who helped bring these sets to life in game. We’d also like to take a moment to thank the Latinx Employee Resource Group and the DEIA Committee for assisting the Rumbleverse team with the creation of these sets.