A Q&A with RISING STAR 2 Developer Todd Gillissie

Gilligames recently allowed fans to try out Rising Star 2 where you get to pretend to get into your local music scene. It’s a simulator game that some fans will enjoy, but it’s definitely not for everyone. However, I did get to ask lead developer Todd Gillissie a few questions about the game including what fans can expect to be different when the full game experience launches later this August and his three favorite bands.

Tommy: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about Rising Star 2, Mr. Gillissie. What was your inspiration for Rising Star 2 and how did you and your team approach developing it?

Todd: I started messing around with programming when I was 10 years old, and I got my first bass guitar when I was about 16 or 17. Playing music and programming have always been two of my favorite things to do, so the original idea came to me while I was on a short tour with a band I was in. I started sketching up ideas in a notepad on the long drives between gigs.

Tommy: What is your favorite thing about Rising Star 2?

Todd: I like that you have to get involved with the local music scene, developing relationships with both bands and venues. It’s a much more realistic way for bands to progress than something like American Idol.

Tommy: What do you think will draw people to play Rising Star 2?

Todd: Many people love music, even non-musicians. This game lets a non-musician live out the life without the need to play an actual instrument. I think it will also appeal to musicians that love to get new gear, but it’s too expensive in real life.

Tommy: Myself and others have noticed that the graphics are not great in Rising Star 2. What went into deciding the quality of the graphics?

Todd: I think the graphics are pretty good for an indie game. All indie games are restricted by limited manpower and budget, which usually becomes most apparent in the visuals. When it comes to the quality of graphics, there isn’t really a “decision” – you just make it as good as you can. I don’t think anyone intentionally has bad graphics. Decisions about graphical STYLE are made, however.

Tommy: I was playing the demo and put together a little EP. How do I go around getting gigs? That’s one of the aspects not really explained well in the game.

Todd: In the early game, it’s critical that you develop relationships with other bands and venues. Your reputation at venues will help you get offers for gigs, but you have to visit the venues and look at their calendar. Other bands that you’ve developed relationships with will start calling you, inviting you to their gigs. The tutorial does explain it, but once a tutorial message is dismissed, there’s no way to see it again, so it’s very important to read them.

Tommy: I was shocked when there wasn’t any kind of rhythm game implemented into Rising Star 2. Was that deliberate? Is it part of the gigs that I didn’t get to experience?

Todd: There are no arcade game experiences. This is purely a simulation/RPG. This is very intentional, because I want the game to unfold based on decisions rather than twitch skills.

Tommy: What’s something that fans can expect to be different between now and when the game launches in August?

Todd: More guitars & basses, more clothing, more hairstyles, more makeup, etc. I have some ideas for new features, but the most important thing right now is launching with a lot of content to play with. I plan to continue adding features even after launch.

Tommy: I imagine music is a big part of your life. Who are your current top 3 musical acts of all time?

Todd: Iron Maiden, Clutch, and Mastodon are probably my top 3 all time favorite bands.

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