Community Spotlight - Daniel

Catch up with Killer Instinct diehard, Daniel!

In our last Community Spotlight we spoke with devoted Sea of Thieves fan Mike, who told us everything from the beginnings of Pirate Port Radio to the story behind his buccaneering beard. Today, we’re speaking to Daniel, another star of our E3 2016 trailer and one of the biggest Rare and Killer Instinct fans we personally know. He took the time to answer our Ultra Combo of questions, and here’s what he had to say…

During a recent visit to Rare HQ, Daniel met music legend Robin Beanland!

[Q]: Tell us a little bit about what got you into gaming.
[A]: My first experience with gaming was when my father came home one day with a Nintendo (NES) and a copy of Super Mario Bros. I was three years old at the time and fell in love with the medium. There was just this fondness of holding a controller in my hands and taking control of that little red man on screen that really captured my attention and hasn't let go since.

[Q]: What’s your favourite Rare game and why?
[A]: Very tough question, but I'm going to have to settle for Banjo-Kazooie, with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest a very close second. Banjo, to me, is one of the most charming videogames to have ever been developed. I love it for its enduring gameplay, the unique challenges it presents, and its cast of unforgettable googly-eyed characters that are both humorous and sometimes daunting (I'm looking at you Snacker and Big Butt!). Banjo-Kazooie mastered the 3D platforming genre in my opinion and I find myself returning to play it year after year and always smiling from beginning to end.

[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: For the past couple of months, I've really gotten into streaming and I seem to have carved out a little niche for my audience with games particularly in the "horror" genre. So I've almost exclusively been playing through the Resident Evil series which has included all of the remasters from this generation. My personal favourite amongst them has been the most recent release of Resident Evil 4 and it has been a total blast. I'm currently on my second playthrough on Normal difficulty and preparing to take on Professional Mode afterwards, which is certainly going to be the ultimate challenge!

A bounty of Rare loot that would tempt any sailor to steal...

[Q]: Killer Instinct Central has been going for a long time now. How did it get started?
[A]: When Killer Instinct was announced at E3 2013, I was originally covering all KI news on RareFanDaBase (a dedicated Rare website I run) since it is a Rare property after all. There was a lot of news needing to be covered after its announcement and in the following weeks, so it was important that I remained as up-to-date as possible on anything related to the game. So, one day I'm browsing the Internet in search of any new news and a thought occurs to me to seek out any websites that were exclusively dedicated to the series, of which there was only one. It was that discovery and leftover excitement of the 10 or so hours of playtime I experienced of it at E3 that led me to the decision of creating my own KI website.

I didn't particularly want to run the website on my own, so I contacted fellow Rare fan Amir, told him of my ideas for the website and asked if he would like to join. He agreed and within just a few weeks the site was named, built, and launched with an incredible exclusive (thank you Mick Gordon!) on July 26th, 2013.

[Q]: What kind of affect has the Killer Instinct reboot for Xbox One done for your Community?
[A]: The Fighting Game Community (FGC) is a very passionate community that takes the genre very seriously. It's pretty massive, particularly with Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. Killer Instinct, though, has grown immensely in the past three years and has now been accepted positively in the FGC. It went from being booed at EVO (the world's largest fighting game tournament) 2013 to now being a game that generates crowds and excitement from both players and non-players alike. Heck, it even had its own World Cup this past January! With over six million unique players as of March and continued support by the community and Microsoft, I believe KI has a bright future ahead of it!

[Q]: Of course, we have to ask… who’s your favourite Killer Instinct character?
[A]: Fulgore, hands down. His story of being a cyborg created by UltraTech coupled with his really cool design and unique moves really makes him stand out amongst the other characters. He was the only character I ever really played with in the original KI and he's a blast to watch when in the hands of a good player!

You can take on a host of unique characters in the Killer Instinct series!

[Q]: What was it like to realise you were one of the stars of our E3 trailer for the first time?
[A]: If I were to use a single word: surreal. I was sitting there in the audience of Microsoft's E3 Media Briefing, highly anticipating the reveal of the new Sea of Thieves trailer. There was not only one, but TWO and I was in one of them! I honestly couldn't believe it. Having just arrived home a couple of weeks prior from actually visiting Rare and playing the game for the first time, I didn't expect to be so surprised yet again so soon!

[Q]: Are there any other highlights you have from your trip to Rare earlier this year?
[A]: The tour of the studio. I've been a fan of Rare for over 20 years, starting with Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, so getting a tour of the studio with the company head, Craig Duncan, where so many of my favourite childhood games were developed, was insurmountable on every level! Even before the tour happened, getting to spend time with several people from Rare at dinner, getting a few drinks from a pub and even going on a treasure hunt across Birmingham! The entire trip at Rare was a journey in and of itself and I'll carry the experience with me for the rest of my life.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?
[A]: Hmmm... You know, I'm very fond of the pirate name given to me by Sea of Thieves lead designer Gregg Mayles, which is Daniel Drunken. It's perfect! But if I had to choose my own? Probably Captain Strug-a-Sword because I'm struggling to come up with a name and need a weapon in there to hide the fact!

We're pretty sure we recognise a few of the pirates photographed here...

[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: Going to catch a movie every weekend and hiking. There's always something new to watch but unfortunately, living in Los Angeles doesn't allow for much of the latter. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and the countryside of Georgia, so I used to hike quite often though! I also love to read anything involving ancient history from the dinosaurs to the very early beginnings of civilization. It's fascinating how the ancient world once was compared to the present of today. So much has changed!

[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: Exploration. If there's one thing I love to do more than anything else in a videogame it's exploring every nook and cranny to see what it has to offer. Sea of Thieves has an enormous, gorgeous sea and islands spread across all directions just ripe for exploring! I can't wait to discover them and see what potential treasures and secrets lie in wait!

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: I currently work as a background actor in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas and have been in several shows including – but not limited to – Supergirl, CSI: Los Angeles, Rosewood, Jane The Virgin, and the upcoming Westworld from HBO. It's fun, it's different, and it's always a unique experience every time I'm on set. I love it!

Well, that was another good read – thanks to Daniel for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll definitely be looking out for you in HBO’s upcoming show! For all of our readers, you can be sure that there are more spotlights to come, so keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels to stay up to date with all of the latest on Sea of Thieves.