Jesse Rapczak’s life in gamesThe creative director of Ark: Survival Evolved talks the games that inspired him to shape his Survivor meets Jurassic Park first-person epic.
The first game I ever played: River Run
I first played games on the Atari 2600, and I used to play River Run all day long, trying to get further and further down that darn river. I remember the first time I saw the NES, I felt like my parents tricked me because my friends had this awesome machine and I was still playing Atari games that we bought at sales!
I was really behind the curve, but when I got an NES, I remember going home and playing Super Mario Bros. for four hours and I was just blown away. So that was the start of my gaming on console.
The games that most inspired me: Zelda, Pokémon and Halo
I’m inspired by many games. If I only had one influence, Ark would probably be a lot more focused! Classic adventures like The Legend of Zelda inspired us, and for the taming thing [you can tame dinosaurs in Ark], we’re thinking of Pokémon and how you might interact with your creatures. When it came to the first-person action, I’m really thinking about Halo shooters.
The game I’d take to a desert island: Mario Kart 64
If it was me and some survivors trying to get along, I think the fun of playing Mario Kart would aid our greater issue of being stranded. I loved that game. It’s kind of why we have split screen on Ark—we realized we missed sitting down with friends and family in the same room and playing a game together.
My favorite game right now: Rise of the Tomb Raider
Recently I’ve spent a lot of time on Rise of the Tomb Raider because I really like the storytelling, and I think that they [Crystal Dynamics] did a great job with the environments and art. That game is really fun to look at.
My latest game: Ark: Survival Evolved
Ark is the game we’ve wanted to play since childhood. The dinosaurs were a big part of that. We wanted a game where we could throw in everything and just have a lot of fun with it, and that’s how we ended up with a survival game that’s also action based. Ark: Survival Evolved is out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on June 2.