Dubbed “a frantic new smash ’em up” by UploadVR and a slice of “chaotic rock star mayhem” by Destructoid, Hotel R’n’R lets you play as a failed musician who makes a deal with the Devil for talent, fame, cold hard cash. Since launching on the Rift Platform last week, it’s let players wreak havoc on virtual hotel rooms while building up a custom arsenal from Hell’s own pawn shop. Today, we sit down with Wolf & Wood Creative Director Ryan Bousfield for a behind-the-scenes look at this devilishly good time.
What was the inspiration behind Hotel R’n’R? How has the game changed over time?
Ryan Bousfield: It started out in the first game, A Chair in a Room: Greenwater, a dark, narrative VR title about a murder. To add realism to this gritty drama, I put a couple of breakable items in, such as mugs and bottles, but found that people loved to smash them up. The prototype of Hotel R’n’R came soon after, a four-day test project with a lot of features that are still in the main game today.
Any cultural references players should be on the lookout for?
RB: There is a bit of topical satire in there along with plenty of rock’n’roll clichés, from cars in swimming pools and amps that go up to 11 to smashing up “Pump” towers in Las Vegas. Your soul even comes in a frame inspired by Banksy’s work—the Devil apparently bought it at auction.
Any notable highlights you’ve seen from the fan community since the game’s release?
RB: We’ve already watched a lot of people streaming, and almost everyone radiates towards the “Big Wet Fish” weapon, a wobbly salmon that we put in as a reference to the Monty Python sketch.
What influenced the character design and overall art direction?
RB: We stride somewhere between a warped cartoon and realism; we always wanted the scenes to look more realistic because breaking an expensive looking guitar with chrome details and varnished wood just feels more satisfying. The character, on the other hand, is more of a cartoon, with out-of-proportion limbs and three fingers—we still put detail stitching in the jeans and realistic cuts on the hands as things get out of control.
Who did you work with on the soundtrack and sound design?
RB: We produced it in-house—mainly in my house on a laptop! That’s the "do it yourself” punk rock attitude coming through: Learn three chords and get playing. You can hear a lot of different styles through the different areas, the Devil’s vintage heavy metal, gritty blues in the elevator, and the pawn shop has a weird mix of theromins and drum machines. The mini-games were probably the most fun to make, from ridiculously over-the-top hip-hop to an ’80s workout mix, it’s an eclectic mix of styles that all come from a love of music.
What’s your favorite part of the game and why?
RB: We’ve been working on it for around a year, and we’re still coming up with new ideas to cause more damage. While testing, I put the Fireworks bundle in my Rider—that’s the system we use to take weapons around with you. The Fireworks are really unpredictable; you can easily lose a hand if you try to hold them. So I glued them to a wall and quickly hid around the corner. It’s not all about how many plates you can smash. Planning and working out the emergent gameplay is part of the magic. It’s amazing that, as the developers, we’ve not yet uncovered all the things you can do!
What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?
RB: We’re in Early Access, so there’s a whole load of things we’re working on for Hotel R’n’R. We’re already in the process of adding a firing range to the store that will be available in the next big update. There are already big updates to existing weapons such as the T-Shirt Cannon and fire system, and we have new weapons, items, and systems planned on our roadmap for future updates, so stay posted.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy hotel-smashing schedule to chat with us, Ryan. We can’t wait to see what the Devil cooks up next.