Those lucky enough to visit Joystick Labs have the opportunity to meet our longest running tenant, Lab Rats Studio. Their first title M.U.S.E., an iOS shooter, is slated for a December release, so now presents a great time to update those unable to visit us at the American Tobacco Campus on their story.
The Lab Rats’ journey to nearly completing an iOS shooter begins rather unconventionally — waiting tables in Italian restaurants. Lab Rats Studio founders Alan Rueda, Shadie El-Haddad, Rion Holland and Adrian Schmettau shared two things: a passion for video games and a burning desire to change their line of work.
However, they agreed waiting tables instilled willingness to work and motivation to pursue any opportunities related to their skills. They all possessed a talent for art and creating 3D worlds, so video games were a natural fit.
They became proactive, and the Triangle residents enrolled in the Wake Technical Community College Simulation and Game Development Program. There they created Lab Rats Studio; a name reflective of their work. Like a gym rat that spends hours perfecting their basketball game, the Lab Rats devote their time to perfecting their creative work.
With their work ethic they combined a knowledge of video games. The virtual worlds of Max Payne and Duke Nukem served as major influences on their work, particularly with M.U.S.E. They also saw opportunity with the rise of mobile gaming platforms and the lack of quality mobile shooters. Mobile technology for gaming only improving, they targeted that opportunity by creating console quality shooters for mobile.
With their vision in mind, they said the key was to find opportunities to make their plans real.
Enter us at Joystick Labs. After hearing a presentation at Wake Tech about the Joystick opportunity, they said it was like a light bulb going off for them. They entered an application based on their ideas for Lab Rats and M.U.S.E. Our founders were intrigued by their ideas and the chance to work with them, so they were chosen for the fall 2010 accelerator. They went through the program and decided to stay on at Joystick until their game’s completion.
But the Lab Rats aren’t entirely just about work. It’s known around the lab they enjoy a good prank here and there, and they are quite competitive. Fruit Ninja battles, among other popular games (such as Joystick team wefiends’ Sushi Boy Thunder), are common amongst the Lab Rats.
Their road to Joystick wasn’t straightforward, but their growing team is about to become developers of a finished iOS title. They plan to continue working at the Labs up until the finishing M.U.S.E. and look forward to continuing their future work on mobile platforms.
Here are a few photos of the Lab Rats at Joystick and a promo for M.U.S.E. Keep an eye out for both in the near future!