“People are afraid to be uncomfortable,” said Cold Furnace Level Designer Rebekah Wallace. “They are trapped in this world that they want to see, so they stay complacent.”
Rebekah was talking about one of the reasons she enjoys working at Cold Furnace Studios and designing the environments for its debut game, Atrocity: Field of Hands.
“A lot of military-type games do well with portraying what it’s like out there, on a battlefield or in war, but Cold Furnace takes it to the next level,” she continued. “It’s not always pretty, but it’s honest.”
She describes the world she is creating for Atrocity: Field of Hands as ‘chaotic’ and ‘unsanitized,’ and as ‘very real.’
This North Carolina native, who now lives in San Francisco, dreamt of a military career growing up and hoped to join the navy after school. She was Jr ROTC during high school and comes from a military family. Unfortunately, medical issues crushed those hopes. But her love of gaming, and the Call of Duty series in particular, offered new opportunities. Rebekah chose to pursue further education in simulation and game development.
“Being denied from the military was a big motivator for me,” she said. “I wanted to simulate that world, and thought I could do it in a realistic way.”
Cold Furnace Studios is focused on creating military-themed games that bring realism to the forefront, and Rebekah works with a team of military advisors at the company who help her design environments that look and feel authentic – whether it’s a standeasy, barracks or a battlefield.
“Sims was a great stepping stone because I was able to get into the engine (UE4) and create my own world,” she said. “But Call of Duty was where I started seeing the game dev side of things…when I realized I could be more than just a gamer. And for Cold Furnace, I feel like I’m really well suited to recreating the kind of reality we are looking for.”
Rebekah explained that it was important for her to “make an impact” in whatever she does, and also to give something back to the veteran community that has sacrificed so much.
She admits that an additional draw as a female gamer is the fact that Cold Furnace Studios has a female CEO, Lori Shepherd, at its helm.
“It’s a really good fit, in terms of company ethos and my own goals and approach to things,” she concludes. “I’m along for the whole ride, and I’m really enjoying it.”