Interview With PixelMetal's Nick Robalik on Sombrero | Resident Entertainment
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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the sole developer of Sombrero, an indie game from PixelMetal. If you didn’t catch Fergus Halliday’s preview of Sombrero you cant find it here.

1. Hi Nick! How about we get a quick introduction from you and your role in PixelMetal?

Hey there! I’m Nick Robalik and I’m from an indie game company located in New York City called PixelMetal. Sombrero is the game I’ve been working on for awhile now, and it’s getting (hopefully) close to release.

My role in the development of Sombrero is almost everything – the design, development, illustration, animation, and sound effects. The soundtrack is being handled by a very talented fellow named Nathaniel Chambers, who’s in the midst of creating a fantastic set of tracks in an appropriately Spaghetti Western style, which suits the somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone of the game.

2. What has been the most rewarding part of developing Sombrero?

The actual development of the game! It’s been a heck of a ride so far, but I’ve been getting good feedback from people who have had a chance to play it and with the end in sight, I look forward to hearing what a wider audience thinks about it.

3. How about the most challenging?

Learning to create efficient code was definitely the hardest part. I’ve always been on the visual side of things in my rent-paying career, and while I’ve done Flash, Unity3D and some Javascript coding, I’m not a full-time programmer. Thankfully, the experience that I had prior to starting Sombrero made it easier to get up to speed.

4. Was there a discussion at any point for Sombrero to be top-down rather than 2-D, or was it always planned to be in 2-D?

Sombrero itself was always planned to play more like a side-scrolling platformer from the beginning, but the code that it’s built on was initially intended to be used for a more generic 2D top-down shooter along the lines of something like Commando or Gun.Smoke. After I’d finished a test stage for that game concept and wasn’t really thrilled with the way it was going – when I say it was generic, I’m being generous – so I pulled out the idea for Sombrero that I’d roughly sketched out on post-it notes many years ago and decided to revisit that instead.

sombrero 3

Two of the more unique characters of Sombrero

5. The Spaghetti Western influence shows in the music, levels, and characters, as does Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Where does did the inspiration for characters such as ‘Jim from Cleveland,’ or ‘Ariel Futura’ come from?

Both Jim from Cleveland and Ariel Futura are the result of a very, very late night sketching out character concepts. I ended up putting a bad History Channel faux-documentary about ancient, pyramid-building aliens on in the background, and got sucked into it. It made me think of those bad 1950’s scifi B-Movies featuring monsters in rubber suits and, next thing you know, there’s a blue tentacle-faced alien getting chased across the galaxy by a futuristic space-cop with a bad font joke for a name in the game. It ended up taking Sombrero in a less serious direction on a couple of different fronts, which I think has worked out for the best. It also opened up the door to include characters from other indie games, and there’s going to be a few of them in there at launch, with more additions coming post-launch.

6. We don’t have the luxury of playing many couch co-op games today, what was the motivation behind PixelMetal’s decision to focus on local multiplayer?

I’ve been a big fan of local multiplayer games going back to my childhood and playing Mario Bros. on the Atari 7800, and I like the friendly rivalry gamers have when they’re playing shoulder to shoulder. I usually end up with a line of people waiting to play at the events I bring Sombrero to, so I’m doing my best to assume I’ve made the right decision and that people will pick it up to play with their friends at home once it’s released. Fingers crossed!

7. Does PixelMetal have any ideas about what types of future DLC will be released (i.e. more characters, or levels, or game modes etc) that players can look forward to?

Yes, and all DLC will be free. There’s going to be new stages, powerups and characters coming to Sombrero post-launch. I’d also like to add a custom mode where players can mix & match elements from other gameplay styles.

I’m a fan of how companies like Valve support their games after launch by adding new content and tweaking the old stuff to make a game that’s the best game it can be and keeps players coming back. So, I’m going to try that and see how it goes. People seem to like that approach :).


A Mysterious Stranger goes toe-to-toe with El Jefe Numero Uno

8. I sense a deep seated-rivalry between ‘El Jefe Numero Uno’ and ‘A Mysterious Stranger,’ care to elaborate?

This brings up one of the things I’m working on right now but haven’t quite figured out: how I want players to discover & explore the backstory of the world and characters in Sombrero.

I’ve written a bio for every character, and there are little hints in the background of each stage that define the geography of the world and how the locations of the stages relate to each other and some of the characters. I like including small details like that to flesh out the world without having to resort to in-game text dumps or cut scenes – especially since I’m building everything myself.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing some kind of web-based content that goes more directly into the relationships between the characters and the world of Sombrero, but I haven’t settled on what exactly that will be yet. And to get back to your question, there is definitely a rivalry between El Jefe & the Stranger, and I think it’s safe to assume it’s the kind that leads to a lot of shooting at each other.

For more info and spaghetti-western craziness, check out Sombrero’s website!

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Game Previews

PS4 News: Romance of The Three Kingdoms XIV Coming Soon



Koei Tecmo
Koei Tecmo is developing Romance Of The Three kingdoms XIV for PS4

Romance Of The Three kingdoms XIV is coming to the ps4 with the game currently being developed by Koei Tecmo. It is expected that it will be released in early 2020. The new strategy game dives deep into China’s lore to rewrite the history of the three Kingdoms.

What is Romance Of The Three Kingdoms XIV?

The latest iteration of the classic tactical series is once again set during the fall of the Han Dynasty in ancient China; where battles take place in a boundary-free scramble for land. The game’s map showcases the territory captured and the thrill of expansion using a simplified colour system – paying homage to the original Romance of The Three Kingdoms XIV, released on PC back in 1985. Everything from war to diplomatic affairs will be geared toward managing and gathering land as players attempt to spread their strategies at will across the vast China map.

In addition, RTK14 will adopt the ruler-based system from RTK9 and RTK11 in order to help return classic gameplay to the series. This means that all actions – from domestic, to political, to battle – will now take place on a single map. Greater individuality among characters will also be on display; with officers from the Three Kingdoms, like Liu Bei and Guan Yu, asserting themselves at various situations in order to fully immerse players into the game’s rich history. But that’s not all, as a new Evolved Artificial Intelligence system is also being implemented to challenge players across repeated playthroughs. With organizations now determined through each ruler’s ideals, different game experiences are now possible via different rulers. Even within the same faction; different policies now bring with them different strategies for expansion, making the wise use of various officers a cornerstone of advanced gameplay.

Source: Koei Tecmo

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Australian Release Dates

NHL Reveals Toronto Maple Leafs Star Auston Matthews As Cover Athlete



Electronic Arts today unveiled the first look at EA SPORTS NHL 20 to hockey fans during the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone in Las Vegas. Three-time All-Star and former first overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews, was revealed as the NHL 20 cover athlete while taking the stage at this evening’s NHL Awards.

“Growing up I always admired all the players who got to be on the cover of the game. This is a very cool honor and I am proud to represent my organisation,” said Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I’m also really competitive, so now I can’t wait to fire up NHL 20 in the locker room and play against my teammates.”

The NHL 20 Australian release date is September 13 2019 for Xbox One and PS4.

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Game Previews

A Nocturne for Heroes Event Goes Live In Final Fantasy XIV



From today until 27th May, the “A Nocturne for Heroes” event will be live. During this period, FINAL FANTASY XV hero Noctis Lucis Caelum will enter the world of Hydaelyn with the Regalia, where he joins the Warrior of Light in battle against magitek infantry, magitek armor, and even the Messenger, Garuda, hailing from Eos.

A range of FINAL FANTASY XV-themed rewards will be available for participating in the event:
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  • Noctis’ Hairstyle and Outfit – dress-up as the hero of FINAL FANTASY XV
  • Noctis Lucis Caelum Triple Triad Card – for use in Triple Triad matches across Hydaelyn
  • Various Orchestrion Rolls – featuring music from FINAL FANTASY XV
To participate in the event, players must have reached level 50 and completed the main scenario quest “The Ultimate Weapon”. The quest chain can then be started by finding Kipih Jakkya in Ul’dah on the Steps of Nald, where she’s seeking to uncover the truth behind some wild rumours for her latest article.

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