Regular readers will know that we recently shone the spotlight on a series of videos by Matt Hamlin, which aim to fully recreate the Rick and Morty episode "Look Who's Purging Now" In Fallout 4. Check here for the full article and the latest episode of the soon-to-be four part series. We managed to track down the creator in a remote English town known as "London" and get some thoughts on his plans for the series, the future, and more.
TechRaptor: Good morning Matt, it's great to meet you. Let's get right down to it if we can?
Matt Hamlin: Nice to meet you. Absolutely, fire away.
TR: Your recreation of Rick and Morty, that we recently covered, is by no means your first video made in Fallout 4's Creation Engine. Can you tell us what inspired you to get into creating these 'Machinima' pieces?
MH: Like most of the things I do, it was mostly unplanned at first. Even now, when I start to create a video I don't always know what the end result will be. I recently did a video recreation of Bob Ross [The Joy of Painting] in Fallout 4, and the idea I started with for that was just painting with weapons. I didn't know how I would turn that one joke into a three or four minute video, but it just came together better than I was expecting.
TR: That's interesting, you say that it was mostly unplanned, care to elaborate?
MH: Well I basically started out on Youtube just looking for a career. I was working in pharmaceuticals, for a company making cancer medication, but I reached a stage where I realized I just didn't want to be there anymore. Essentially I just left, so was in a situation where I needed something to do. Machinima seemed to be getting views, it was content that people wanted to see. I love 'let's plays' and that kind of thing, but there are already a lot of good commentators out there and I wanted to do something to stand out.
TR: So was it about finding something that you wanted to do?
MH: Yeah, definitely. At first, I did a bit of game commentary and reviewing, but it wasn't really for me. I tried a few things because although I wanted to do something people liked, I also wanted to have something I could be proud of. I found I could get lost when making Machinima and really put in the time needed to make them perfect. I now find myself working from about eight am to six pm every day on the videos and it flies by, I've become a little addicted to perfecting them. The fulfillment comes from the feedback, people really seem to respond to the longer videos and it's surprisingly positive. The internet can be just, you know, these awful negative reactions you see - but almost everything in - but almost everything in my comments section is overwhelmingly positive.
TR: Does it help that you're drawing from source material with an established fan base?
MH: For sure, it can be frustrating in that I don't own all the content. The crowds initially come because 'it's Rick and Morty' or 'it's Fallout 4' but I needed to start with something that would catch people’s eyes. I do have plans to create some original material, but as for when or what form it will take ... who knows?
TR: What made you decide to use Fallout 4, in particular, over another game or engine?
MH: Again, that was mostly coincidence. Fallout happened to release about a week after I left my job, and it just happened to be exactly what I needed. Almost everything I've used in the videos is present in the base game, and I use console commands to give basic instructions to characters.
TR: Do you use the GECK [Creation Kit] at all in your work?
MH: Not directly, no. I've used some mods, adding crossbows into the game for example, but I wouldn't actually know where to begin on creating that stuff. I did try to use the Creation Kit when I was starting out, I nearly gave myself a heart attack trying to take it all in [laughs]. Oh, one thing I did myself; Rick's sweater was originally green - I made it blue. [laughs]
TR: It's pretty amazing then that you're able to create this original content within the limitations of the engine without significant modding or design experience.
MH: Thanks. It's funny; the more I've come to use Fallout in this way, the more I see the game itself as a Machinima design tool. It's amazing really, everything you could need is there without needing to know anything about programming.
TR: Would you say you're learning as you go then?
MH: Oh yeah, I learn something new with every video. Even simple things can change a lot. When I was making ... I think ... the Futurama scenes, I found out you could order characters to draw their weapon - I was so excited, that changed everything. [laughs]
TR: The Rick and Morty remake is happening episodically, can you tell us how many parts it will be in total? What's your schedule for finishing the project?
MH: I looked at where we were after the last episode, and I think it's about half way. I think there'll be two more parts. The original episode is roughly twenty minutes, and my videos are between 4-5 minutes. That should roughly work out, given that I have cut a small amount of dialogue - short conversations between Summer and Jerry, for example. As for schedule, I want to have this finished up by the end of next month.
TR: What about your next project, do you have any plans so far?
MH: Nothing set in stone. Skyrim remastered is coming out roughly when I'll be finished with Rick and Morty, so it might happen in that rather than Fallout 4. I'd really like to try something 'Game of Thrones' inspired in Skyrim. Those settings just seem like they would go together. Other than that, I wanted to do another Bob Ross based video. I love him, it seems so benign but it's actually crazy. In the show, he's always bringing on these animals like 'this is a wood pigeon I rescued' so I wanted to build something around that. I'm not sure how it would work in a full episode, but as I said, sometimes that comes from running with the initial idea.
TR: You mentioned feedback earlier, is that something that means a lot to you as a creator?
MH: Yes. The feedback has been incredible, better than I could have hoped. Especially when it comes to the longer videos like Rick and Morty, people really seem enthusiastic.
TR: That's interesting, so the positive feedback corresponds to the depth of the content in a way?
MH: It seems like it. That's something that's really satisfying, the more effort you put in [to a video] the more people seem to respond to it. It kind of makes those long hours obsessing over scenes feel more worthwhile when you can see a direct response.
TR: Thanks for filling in the blanks for us Matt, it's been great talking to you. Before we let you go, though, we have to know one thing; other than Fallout 4, what are your favorite games?
MH: Actually, I'm not as big a fan of Fallout 4 as you might think. Maybe it's because I've spent so many hours dealing with its minute animations, but compared to say New Vegas or Fallout 3, I wouldn't say Fallout 4 is necessarily one of my favorite games. I seem to have less and less time to game these days. It's different to when I was younger and would just complete something like Metroid Prime over and over again [laughs].
I tend to like what you might call 'difficult' games. I'm a big fan of Dark Souls 1 & 2, games like that. I like to feel like I've been challenged in a game. I have a weird fondness for dying a lot I guess. If I go through a game and I never felt like I was going to die, it kind of feels like 'what was the point?' I started gaming on a NES so maybe it comes from that a bit.
TR: Well now you've said that, we have to have a definitive answer, which was better: NES or MegaDrive?
MH: NES, no contest.
TR: Your opinion is incorrect, good sir, but we could fill a whole new interview on that topic.
TR: Thank you for your time Matt, it's been enlightening, and good luck for the future of your videos.
MH: No problem, thanks to you and my viewers for all the interest.
Matt Hamlin's videos, including the Rick and Morty remake, can be found on his YouTube channel, Upisnotjump. "Jump" down to the comments and let us know what you think.