Craft Talks: Game Design insights from the developers at IO Interactive

Five podcast shorts posted on IOI website February 1st, 2022 designed to describe the video game development culture at IO Interactive for the purposes of attracting and hiring new talent.

While these podcast shorts are not designed for gamers, it gives the impression of expansion at IOI interactive, with multiple and new video game projects where many specialized game designer / programmers are needed. There is a shortage of good and experienced talent in the video game industry, and IOI are trying to advertise to potential hirees.

Game design insights from the developers of IO Interactive

The Craft Talks series is a video blog where experts from IO Interactive share their insights on the art of game development.

In this Craft Talk, you will meet Andreas (Lead Game Designer), Andrzej (Senior Game Designer), Sidsel (Senior Game Designer) and Eskil (Senior Game Designer).

#1 What does a game designer do at IO Interactive?

At IOI, we share a unique working environment to create innovative games. One of the things that set us apart from other companies is the creative freedom our designers enjoy— this goes not only for game design but all other disciplines!

“As Game Designers, we create experiences”

To make a game that feels like the people who built it, you need open collaboration and sharing your ideas with everyone. This is key to achieving success in our game development process.

#2 The power of collaboration in game development

As a Game Designer, you’re involved in every aspect of production. From programming, narrative design and animation to quality assurance or marketing, as games grow from concept through release – there is always an opportunity to leave your mark on the game experience.

Every great game designer has soft skills and aims to inspire others at IOI. The ability to put yourself in the shoes of others and understand what they are feeling can be a powerful tool to empower your peers.

#3 Design games that will amaze and excite players.

It’s always inspiring to see our work recognized! We’re also excited by the daily challenging mathematical problems and creating and balancing difficulty levels that keep players interested in playing and improving.

We work hard to create an environment where our teams can thrive. Trust, integrity and open communication are fundamental beliefs that we live by every day at IOI. You feel invigorated by the trust your team has in you, and that energy inspires a sense of creativity. It translates to effective collaboration on every project!

“To me, this is honestly the reason to wake up every morning and come to work. I love this!” – Andrzej says.

The feeling of ownership you get when your idea becomes a part of the game can’t be replicated.

#4 How to create organic and complex games.

Providing a successful experience of creative freedom in sandbox games is about giving the player a sense of being able to do anything at any time. You can view HITMAN as sort of like a living organism. We get a lot of enjoyment from allowing the complexities of the game mechanics to just play out on their own and surrendering to those unique experiences.

“Sometimes it messes up, but most times it kind of works together. The context of a specific situation makes it play out in a totally different way”. The organic sandbox experience invites players to freely use or “misuse” the gameplay systems, which leads to beautiful and creative moments that you never anticipate.

The outcome and context of every interaction in the game change depending on when and how you approach it. We’re continuously amazed by the creativity of our players and the new ways they seem always to be able to engage with the open world of HITMAN.

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#5 The future of game design at IOI.

With three different game universes in development, our studio approaches the art of game design with new perspectives. We have along list of new features, gameplay and stories planned for the coming years. We are also working on some technology updates to our Glacier engine to bring more design disciplines into play in future projects!

Andreas has been with us in total for over 11 years. He knows how game design at IOI is evolving, and he says that designers in areas such as combat, progression or 3C’s will be needed more than ever to collectively grow! “We get new talent in and learn a lot from them” – Andreas

Andrzej, who joined us recently, believes that this growing journey is done humbly. Learning from what is already established and having colleagues make him feel that he’s bringing something to the table is something he values.

Good advice for game designers wanting to join IO

We highly encourage having a curious and open mind. Game designers have their own principles that they stick to like glue. However, as projects change and the world evolves, it is essential for game designers to keep an open mind and try new things out. There might be a way of doing something differently or better than what you previously thought of!

‘The great solution can come from anyone” – says Sidsel.

Sidsel knows that it is essential for new Game Designers to listen and engage in conversation. She believes listening to everyone from all disciplines will make you a successful game designer at IOI.

Our Craft Talk series continues to cover more areas of our studio. Join us for upcoming episodes of behind-the-scenes insights as we explore the many ways in which our team develops games and encourages creativity.

Check our design roles, to work with us in Barcelona, Malmö or Copenhagen.

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I like how #4 actually describes the complete opposite of the Elusive Target Arcade :stuck_out_tongue:

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Because ET Arcade specifically tries to challenge you in doing the opposite of what you usually do in the normal sandbox game? :thinking: just like escalations in general…

Don’t really think these short videos were made with players as the intended audience, they’re primarily marketing material for IOI’s recruitment department (and there’s nothing wrong with that, btw).

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Kill those five targets in a very specific way in a specific disguise.
If you change your disguise, you fail.
If you get spotted, you fail.
All bodies must be hidden.
Do not pacify anyone.
If you eliminate anyone but the target, you fail.

…yes, I know, the main missions offer the described freedom and I love this game, I really do. But man does it hurt when you read this interview and then think about that for one year we did not get anything but restrictive Escalations :tired_face::sob:

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