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Izel Moctezuma

Technical Artist | Game Designer


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Grab a friend and get cooking in this whimsical VR/PC co-op game! With only La Tia’s old recipe book and some hints from her trusty pet grub Basurita to guide you, work together to harness the magic of the land and heal people’s souls with your delicious empanadas. Will your baking live up to the family name or will chaos reign supreme?

Check out the trailer!

The World of Salamender

Step into a magical empanada shop tucked away in a sleepy Sonoran desert town where all your customers are desert critters!

The family shop has been passed down through the generations, and now it’s finally your turn to take on the mantle.

Can you handle the heat?

Designing The Style

Salamender is a celebration of the vibrant Mexican culture that is so often underrepresented in games. It took about 3 months to fully flesh out and define the unique and colorful style of the game, all the while incorporating as many traditional Mexican elements as possible.

From Mexico-native axolotls, to classic talavera tiles, and even a little grub inspired by the worms found in mezcal bottles, Salamender was a love letter to Mexico from the get-go in hopes of bringing more diversity to the VR gaming space.

Player 1 character sheet.

Player 2 character sheet.

Original, smaller shop design.


Salamender began as a solo thesis at Ringling College of Art & Design, but has grown into so much more. It received recognition in The Rookies competition as 2nd place worldwide in the Immersive Media category, the Best of Ringling Showcase with a Bronze Juror’s Award, and was met with enthusiasm on
the Expo floor at the
2019 Game Developers Conference and the 2019 Game Devs of Color Expo.

Project Summary

This game was created as my thesis at Ringling College of Art and Design over the course of about a year.

Tools: UE4, Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Adobe Suite

Personal Role

As the sole developer on this project, I was responsible for all visual, design, and code components seen within, excluding a couple small easter egg assets created by various students of the class of 2019.

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