Streamlining a dark roguelite tactical with epic boss battles.

Streamlining a dark roguelite tactical with epic boss battles.

Platforms: PC, XB1, PS4, Switch – Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

My Role

  • I led a design team of 4 people to overhaul the core experience during the last 6 months of production.
  • I performed an in-depth analysis of the project between the Alpha and Beta gates, that resulted in an exhaustive action plan to streamline the game, with clear priorities and target metrics. The plan was presented to, and subsequently approved by, the publishing team at Focus.
  • The plan included major tasks such as streamlining the existing game systems and mechanics, redesigning most of the game's UX (screens, user flows, control schemes, etc), and fixing major exploits identified during playtests.
  • We put in place rational design tools to monitor the current state of the game, compare against our target pacing, difficulty and progression metrics, and adjust design and production efforts accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Giving your team perspective can reinvigorate even the most worn-out veterans. Clear roadmaps and priorities are crucial to keep the big picture in mind and be productive in your day-to-day work.
  • "Less is more" is not just a famous saying. Streamlining what is already there, purposely pruning your design will not only rescue a difficult production, but can also enhance the final game massively.

Proudest Moments

  • Successfully organising (with Jérôme Smidt, our producer) the transition to remote work in the midst of massive worker strikes in France, right before delivering the Alpha build - and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Despite the difficult circumstances, and a boatload of changes added to a lengthy backlog just a few months ahead of release, the team rallied together and pulled off a major achievement. We successfully delivered the game simultaneously on 3 platforms, barely a month later than its originally planned release date, and with a 78 Metacritic score (>5 points higher than the most optimistic forecast of our publisher).
  • Waiting for the first reviews to drop on a call with the rest of the team, and suddenly seeing that 9/10 "best tactical of the year" review on IGN.
Paul Vauvrey

Paul Vauvrey