Kill Strain is an upcoming top-down PS4-exclusive arcade shooter and MOBA that has two teams of five battle to gather the most resources and kills for their team. All the while, a two-man team of mutants will do all they can to spread their infection to the ten humans, claiming each infected to fight on their side. Finally: a game you actually want to be picked last for!
When a player joins the mutants, they’re stuck there until the end of the game, which will have teams that were once at an advantage, hopelessly outnumbered. This also creates a unique twist on a genre that is, quite frankly, starting to get a little stale. Like most MOBAs, Kill Strain will be a highly competitive title that demands a fair bit of strategy and skill to get good. However, Kill Strain doesn’t only call for talented players – but also talented artists.
Power Up Gaming editor Austin Flynn was recently given the opportunity to interview Kill Strain senior artist Ryan Benjamin and ask him about the game, his favorite character, the comic book industry and more in this Power Up Gaming one-on-one.
Austin Flynn: What do you do for Kill Strain?
Ryan Benjamin: I am a senior artist for Sony, and I’m working on Kill Strain. I design all of the characters and I’m one of three guys that tag team and do a lot of stuff for the game – and that’s basically it.
AF: Before I even get into the game, I have to ask: You just told me you’re a senior artist at Sony. How does that feel?
RB: It feels pretty good. I don’t know how else to explain it – well, right when I started, I started as a senior artist and typically when you start, I think you start at artist level one or something and then you get to level two and then you become a senior artist and I just started as a senior artist, so I’ve always been a senior artist and I don’t know how else to compare it.
AF: So, it’s like you’re born and you walk out of the womb instead of them having to take you out?
RB: Pretty much, pretty much.
AF: Okay, so a little bit of a badass then. What other work have you done?
RB: I’m also a comic artist. I’ve done a lot of work for DC Comics. I’ve done work for Marvel, Image Comics, Darkhorse Comics; so I’ve been in the comic book field for the longest time and I still touch into it every once and a while. I do a lot of games now, though, and I do a lot of stuff in film and television, too.
AF: Right, well all of our comic book readers are going to be like, ‘How do you not know this guy is? You are such an idiot, Austin!’ I mean, I read a little bit. I just got into a new comic by Image called Rumble.
RB: Oh, yeah. Image is making a comeback right now, so that’s pretty cool, you know? That’s my roots. That’s where I started, so its good to see it coming back.
AF: Do you get any kind of inspiration for the stuff you do on Kill Strain from anywhere, or is it just stuff you pull from your head?
RB: Most of it’s just kind of in my head. Usually, the rest of the team might try to give me a lot of reference material. They say, ‘Hey! Ryan, we want you to design this character and here’s all this reference.’ And 90 percent of the time I say, ‘Yeah, okay, thank you’ and put the references to the side because I don’t want any influence anything in my head.
AF: Well, they hired you for a reason. Because you know what’s going on in your mind and you know how to put that onto paper.
RB: Yeah, it’s just from here *points to his head* to the paper.
AF: I feel like anyone who creates characters, gets attached somewhat. Do you have a favorite character in Kill Strain?
RB: Yes. Right here: Charlie. This is my favorite character, right here. Charlie is a pretty dope character. She has this mech suit that covers the upper part of her body and she does a lot of pretty cool stuff. She does all of these leaps and she can walk on her hands.
AF: So, she’s the person you call in when crap needs to get done?
RB: Hmmm. No, actually there’s another guy who you’d call in for that.
AF: Is that him there?
RB: No, this right here is Miasma, he’s a different guy. He’s more like the mad scientiest. There’s another guy right now we call Hacksaw. Hacksaw’s the one that you want to call in. He’s the one that goes ‘RAHHH’ and runs in head first with grenades in his hands. That’s Hacksaw. So he’s that guy.
AF: Have you spent any time playing the game?
RB: Oh, yeah. We play this game all the time. As we’re making it, every two days or so, 4 p.m. is game time. We just sit down and start playing this game in our studio and we’re just playing and playing and playing and playing – and it’s fun, man. We had a meeting and we were talking about it like ‘Come on, guys. We get paid to make games. This is the most fun thing on the planet, you know?
AF: This is going to be a silly question because you’ve done so much, but for everybody reading this, how can they look up your (work)?
RB: ryanbenjamin.com. It’ll take you to my hubpage, which has all the links to my Facebook, my DeviantArt, Twitter, Instagram, everything.
AF: Alright, Ryan, thank you so much. For those of you reading, you’ve probably already seen his work a million times but be sure to check it out again.
RB: Maybe only 999,999 times. *laughs*