Based in Seattle, WA
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DescriptionRefract Studios is a Seattle-based independent game studio made up of Jordan Hemenway, Kyle Holdwick, and Jason Nollan. They were a few of the developers behind several award-winning games like Solstice, Nitronic Rush, Solace, and several others. The team has a burning passion for creating impactful, engaging experiences that really push the boundaries of what it means to be a game.
HistoryWhile at DigiPen
The team met while attending DigiPen Institute of Technology. During their time there they worked with various teams to create experimental indie games. Kyle worked on AI systems for the ASCII game Sowlar (finalist in IndieCade) and functioned as a visual engineer and world designer on Solstice (presented at Tokyo Game Show for Sense of Wonder Night). Jason did the art and graphics programming for the 2D stealth game Subsonic (finalist in IGC) and most of the work on a Tetris prototype which won $20,000 and Grand Prize in the Tetris Design Challenge. Jordan was a game logic programmer and lead composer for Solace (winner in IGF, PAX10) and Solstice. He also contributed music to The Fourth Wall (finalist in IGC, Freeplay).Nitronic Rush
For their final project, the team worked with 8 others to create an over-the-top arcade racing game called Nitronic Rush (http://nitronic-rush.com). Since its release in 2011, the game has been played over 1.1 million times, and it's picked up several award nominations/wins in competitions like Indie Game Challenge, Independent Propeller Awards, IGF, and the Inside Gaming Awards.After graduating
After graduating from DigiPen, several of the other developers on Nitronic Rush took jobs in the AAA game industry or went to work on other projects. When looking at what the Refract team wanted to do next, they realized that they're too passionate about making smaller independent games to stop now. That's when they turned down AAA job offers, started their own studio, and focused on games that they're incredibly passionate about.Distance
Distance is Refract's debut title. It's a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush, taking what people loved in that game and amping it up to the next level. In short, it's Trials Evolution + Rush 2049 + Halo + Tron. The game takes the intense action of arcade racing and fuses it with the exploration of an atmospheric world.
Distance Kickstarter Time-Travelling Update (New Digital-Only Tiers) YouTube
Distance Pre-Alpha Gameplay #2: Parkour Action YouTube
Distance Pre-Alpha Gameplay (Work in Progress) YouTube
There are far more images available for Refract Studios, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!
Awards & RecognitionWorking together and with other teams, we've been able to consistently earn finalist and winner status in several independent game competitions. These games weren't created solely by the three of us, but were team efforts including several other students at DigiPen. The name next to each game indicates who collaborated on each project.
- "Freeplay Awards Finalist - Best International Game" - The Fourth Wall (Jordan), 2012
- "IndieCade E3 Showcase" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
- "Independent Propeller Awards Winner - Technical Excellence" - Nitronic Rush (Jordan, Kyle, Jason), 2012
- "Independent Propeller Awards Finalist - Grand Prize" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Independent Propeller Awards Finalist - Best Audio" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Independent Propeller Awards Honorable Mention" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
- "Independent Propeller Awards Honorable Mention" - Solstice (Jordan, Kyle), 2012
- "Indie Game Challenge Winner - Gamer's Choice Award" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Indie Game Challenge Finalist" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Indie Game Challenge Finalist" - The Fourth Wall, 2012
- "Independent Games Festival Honorable Mention - Technical Excellence" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Independent Games Festival Honorable Mention - Student Showcase" - Nitronic Rush, 2012
- "Inside Gaming Awards Finalist - Best Indie Game" - Nitronic Rush, 2011
- "Gamasutra's Best Of 2011 Honorable Mention - Top 10 Indie Games" - Nitronic Rush, 2011
- "Tokyo Game Show Sense of Wonder Night Selection" - Solstice, 2011
- "Independent Games Festival Student Showcase Winner" - Solace (Jordan), 2011
- "Indie Game Challenge Non-Professional Finalist " - Solace, 2011
- "Indie Game Challenge Non-Professional Finalist " - Subsonic (Jason), 2011
- "IndieCade Finalist - Most Fun and Compelling" - Solace, 2010
- "IndieCade Babycastles Showcase" - Solace, 2010
- "PAX 10 Winner 2010" - Solace, 2010
- "Tetris Design Challenge Winner - Grand Prize" - Tetris Besieged (Jason), 2009
- "IndieCade Finalist - Top 10 Finalist" - Sowlar (Kyle), 2009
- "Even if you’re not a big racing fan, the intuitive controls and fun atmosphere will keep the pedal to the metal for some time to come."
- Rob Manuel, G4TV (about Nitronic Rush)
- "In Solace, music is integral. Music is everything. With every stroke of a piano key or roar of the electric guitar, it writes a story far more compelling than anything I've seen or read in recent months."
- Cassandra Khaw, Gamasutra (about Solace)
- "And the music [...] is utterly sublime. Oh, look, you just have to play it to understand. It’s free, and it’s utterly brilliant."
- John Walker, RockPaperShotgun (about The Fourth Wall)
- "It looks fun when you watch someone play but spectating doesn’t do it justice. It’s a wonderful experience to play it yourself."
- Colin Northway, Northway Games (about Solstice)
Team & Repeating