Exclusive Interview with Metronomik’s Wan Hazmer & Jarold Sng

By Intan Mawarni on Apr 6, 2018

We were lucky enough to meet up with the two driving forces behind Metronomik, CEO Wan Hazmer and CG director Jarold Sng during the Ctrl Alt Gaming event that was held at Sunway University’s Jeffrey Cheah Hall last weekend.

So, we sat down and had a nice short chat together before we dug into what’s new on their upcoming action-rhythm game: No Straight Roads.

Speaking of action-rhythm games, you might be thinking that it’s going to be something like PaRappa The Rapper, Patapon or the mobile game Cytus but in fact, No Straight Roads has taken a unique twist out of this genre.

Wan Hazmer described the game as “an action game that is based on rhythm, but it’s not a rhythm game.”

True to the studio’s name which inspired by a device widely used in music known as the metronome, the game’s core gameplay lies beneath the intricacies of music beats.

“I want to make a game where you use your musical instinct to play the game, for example, you are listening radio in your car and the radio plays your favourite song on, you know the chorus is going to come in 4 beats. A lot of people know this. Even if you don’t know the song, sometimes you can predict that upcoming beats,” said Wan Hazmer.

“So, we will use that instinct and make it a part of vital game design in No Straight Roads.”

To notch up the game’s music design to a higher level, Wan Hazmer roped in another Malaysian talent, Falk Au Yeong, who is known for being one of the mixing engineers behind the Final Fantasy XV soundtrack.

The game also features music genre showdowns such as a battle between Rock and EDM. The dynamic of the game’s music design is absolutely crucial in order for players to distinguish which music the players are listening to. During the battle, players should be able to feel the seamless transition from Rock to EDM consecutively again without feeling lost.

To bring these music beats to life, Sng stated that one of the biggest challenges in creating this game as a CG director is to translate all the rhythmic beats into stunning visuals where players can see and experience in the game tactically rather than just viewing an unmoving 2D image.

“Unfortunately, all of those things (movement and rhythm) are using your ears or your instincts. We work with crazy, talented art directors and concept artists to create these beautiful pictures that transforms into something that we can see in game,” explained Sng.

When asked whether No Straight Roads is regarded as an indie or AAA game title, the game director expressed that “the line is blurring really fast. The most important thing about game creation is user experience, then you adapt to what budget you have and the number of targeted people.”

The CG director also felt that producing a video game is not a far cry from film production. “If you’re making a product, you just have to service the market that wants to buy your product, no matter how many dollars you spent in the production cost,” he added.  

To reach this amount of success, there must be challenges that many Malaysian video games talents have to face. Both of them came up with two different answers pertaining to this question.

As Wan Hazmer who had worked as lead game designer for Final Fantasy XV, he recognised Malaysia as a goldmine for many video game talents and skills but lacking of directors and producers that could help to elevate Malaysian IPs to be on par with triple A games like Call of Duty.

After involving himself in the outsourcing business for a considerable time, Sng can see the main difference on how outsourcing in the West works when compared to the East.

“For example, if you compare CG or game development in the US, they started developing games just so they can have more experience doing it and make sufficient mistakes over time.But, we (in Asia) are extremely efficient with outsourcing. We are very good at it and we are trying to make our way back into (game) development,” said Sng.

Make sure to watch the full interview to find out more juicy details on what goes down at Metronomik and what advice they want to give to all budding game developers out there.

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Intan Mawarni
About the Author
Story-driven games like Uncharted and The Last of Us are my favourites. I write and play video games! Yay!
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