HAWKED Interview With Ron Spivak of MY.GAMES

Hristijan Pavlovski
Hristijan Pavlovski - Content Writer
8 Min Read
Ron Spivak - HAWKED Art Director

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a preview event for HAWKED before its official full release. One of the things that really caught my eye about the game is its art style, so, of course, I had to discuss it with HAWKED’s very own art director – Ron Spivak.

Congratulations on the full-release launch of HAWKED, how are you feeling?

It feels fantastic! The release is always a demanding moment; I doubt anyone can accurately predict how the audience will react to your game. Fortunately for us, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and has exceeded our expectations. We already have over 1 million players in the game, and I’m incredibly grateful that people are enjoying HAWKED. I’m excited about what’s to come next.

Ron Spivak of MY.GAMES
hawked art 1

What was, in your opinion, the most interesting thing to design for HAWKED?

Designing Gears and Artifacts is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my work during development. They represent a unique intersection of mechanics, art, and visual communication, and it’s immensely satisfying to find the right approach for each of them. What’s particularly fascinating is the collaborative effort involved across different departments – game design, art, and UX. While their intentions may not always align, we work together to find a middle ground and bring our ideas to life. An honorable mention goes to designing NPCs. When we receive these from Narrative, it feels like Christmas Day. It’s incredibly exciting and allows us to create cool, fun characters.

The game is obviously heavily inspired by comic book art, which I fancy a lot. Is there a specific comic book series or artist that directly inspired it or is it more of a general inspiration?

We actually had these discussions earlier in production when we were trying to internally understand how HAWKED should look. Mike Mignola, for example, was a recurring topic – did we want the visuals to be as dramatic as his works? As you can see, in the end, the visuals ended up being lighter and brighter. However, some influences from the current zeitgeist seeped through, whether from recent films with fresh visual approaches or (tons of) anime references and inspirations. We stayed true to the saying “steal like an artist” – drawing a little bit from here and there eventually goes a long way.

hawked art 2

Did you follow an overarching design principle when designing the artifacts or was it more of a spur-of-the-moment inspiration kind of thing?

No no, artifacts have very clear rules to their design. First – they must look expensive. Gold and precious stones are present in almost all of them. We always think about the fantasy we’re selling the players – your whole session revolves around finding these objects, so it should feel like it’s worth the trouble of fighting off reptilian Disciples, other Renegades, and avoiding traps. Second – seeing as these are magical objects, they all contain some Wonderium (our magical metal in the world of HAWKED), as the catalyst for magic. This leads me to the third point, which is linking the visual with the mechanical – an Artifact should communicate the powers it grants through its design, and its effects and animations in the loadout must match the effect in session. If your equipped artifact camouflages you by turning you into a shrub, then we make it look like a chameleon mask with a mane of leaves. We often get silly or poetic with it, but if players look at the mechanic and the design I hope they’ll have a moment of “ah I see what you did there!”.

What is something that you wish players paid closer attention to while playing HAWKED?

There are tons of different hints about the story and the world that have not been touched on yet, and they are spread all over the map or present in the design of the NPCs and monsters. I would love for some dedicated fans to start digging into the mystery and attempt to crack the secret behind X-Isle.

HAWKED’s roadmap for 2024 looks quite interesting. Which of the planned issues excites you the most aesthetics-wise?

They all have their own unique moments. Issue #2 is going to be a big shift in the tone and look of the island, that one really shakes things up. Issue #3 had some interesting technical challenges in terms of visuals, which required us to step up our game in order to deliver something high-quality. Issue #4 probably has the craziest mob designs, we really got comfortable with the production pipeline (both art and game design) by the time we reached content creation for it, and it shows in the way PVE looks and acts.

Hawked art 3

How do you like to play Hawked? What sort of artifacts do you usually equip before a raid?

I’m more stealth inclined so my builds usually support that. Anything that has to do with camouflage or invisibility is where I feel the most comfortable, so I’ll have Ambusher and Fringe Fader in the loadout for sure, perhaps matching it with the Pulverizer artifact for some biting headshots in ambushes. Definitely living out my ninja treasure-hunter dream with this, haha.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything you’d like to say to WhatIfGaming’s readers and HAWKED players?

Just that myself and the team are really grateful for the positive response HAWKED has been getting, and that we’re hard at work to make it even bigger and better for you guys. I’ll see you on X-Isle, and if you suddenly get sniped by an inconspicuous shrub – it might be me 😉

Can we get a glimpse at some behind-the-scenes concept art? Something you’d like to show our readers?

We hope you enjoyed the interview with Ron Spivak, what are your thoughts on the game or the behind-the-scenes images? Let us know in the comments below. HAWKED is currently available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

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By Hristijan Pavlovski Content Writer
Bachelor of Philosophy and Content Writer. In my free time, I also write fantasy short stories and the odd philosophy book here and there. I’m also an avid fan of strategy games and RPGs.
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