‘Bounty Star’ director Ben Ruiz talks fusing genres and working with Brother Dege

"I like the element of wondering — from the player side — what they're looking at"

Following an appearance at the Annapurna Interactive Showcase today (June 29), Dinogod founder Ben Ruiz has spoken to NME about Bounty Star, their studio’s upcoming base-buiilding mech game.

Announced last year, Bounty Star follows ex-soldier Clem, who must build up her base of operations while hunting bounties in her mech. Thanks to Bounty Star‘s elements of farming, base-building and 3D mech combat, along with its “post-post-apocalyptic” Western setting, fans have been struggling to find an existing game to compare it to — something its director, Ruiz, is pleased with.

“I think it’s cool that that’s the response,” Ruiz tells NME. “I like the element of wondering — from the player side — what they’re looking at. It’s obvious there’s an action game, and it’s obvious there are these farming, chores and base-building elements. Players know what those are, but I like that they don’t really know how that would feel. That’s fun for me — I’ve always done that, I like mixing genres in unexpected ways.”


While Ruiz jokes that Bounty Star has pulled from the likes of Stardew Valley and Big Buck Hunter, the game draws more on his own experiences of growing up in Arizona and exploring the Southwestern United States.

“A lot of this game had to do with wanting more things to take place in my desert,” says Ruiz. “This feels like an opportunity to get my desert out into the world.”

Ruiz’s own taste in music has also slipped in, as songs from delta blues musician Brother Dege — best known for ‘Too Old To Die Young’ — form much of Bounty Star‘s soundtrack.

As for how that collaboration happened, Ruiz says he reached out to the musician while he was still the only person working on Bounty Star in pre-production. In an email, he told Dege that he was “already the soundtrack to this game, in my mind and in my heart,” and asked if he’d be interested in working together.

“He was instantly into it,” says Ruiz. “I really lucked out there! I’m glad I knocked on his door — he’s been game from the start. I’ve got his music in the game, and it’s so much fun. It’s a funny thing because normally when you make a game, you hear a song 10million times and it’s a bummer, and your brain stops hearing it. I already love Brother Dege so much that I’m having the time of his life, hearing his music all day.”


While the collaboration mostly consists of music from Dege’s existing catalogue, there are some “custom licks” that have been created for Bounty Star. Ruiz says that his approach — fitting existing songs into a wholly new story — works largely thanks to Dege’s own style.

Bounty Star
Bounty Star. Credit: Dinogod / Annapurna Interactive

“With his music, it’s a lot of folk-lore style lyrics in most of his songs,” Ruiz explains. “It’s kind of open-ended, and it feels like that’s intentional. One of the reasons I like him is because I can envision him talking about any character, or envision him talking about Clem. Absolutely some of the songs I requested makes me think of Clem, and then where I’ve placed them in the game, hopefully that fusion happens for the player as well.”

Elsewhere, Ruiz shares some other tidbits from Bounty Star. The game isn’t open-world — players will use Clem’s base of operations as a hub, and then depart to complete missions. “It’s all about improving that hub,” says Ruiz, who explains that Clem is able to take on bigger missions and travel further as her home is developed.

While Bounty Star doesn’t have an exact release date just yet, Dinogod’s game is eyeing a 2024 launch and will be available on PC and PlayStation.

In other gaming news, fellow Western game Red Dead Redemption may be getting a remake or remaster.

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