The gang discusses Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the latest entry in the long-running tactics RPG series. We dig into how Three Houses uses its character development mechanics to encourage the player to invest in their characters both mechanically and emotionally. We then contrast this approach with those taken in XCOM 2 and Darkest Dungeon to see how each game uses its systems to reinforce its unique themes and tone.
We discuss Fantasy Flight Games' recent 'unique deck game', Keyforge, in which every deck you buy is a randomly generated, unique, and unchangeable combination of cards. We look at how this system makes the game more approachable than traditional trading card games, how it affects high level and competitive play, and what other developers can learn from this approach, even if they don't have access to FFG's custom printing processes.
The gang compare the card combat systems in Steamworld Quest and Slay the Spire and analyze how one simple difference massively changes the focus of each game.
Jon and Rob discuss how the developers of 2016's Doom reboot pursued a philosophy of 'push-forward combat', utilizing smartly-design systems and AI to give the player a sense of agency and empowerment.
(We also referred to Doom 2016 as Doom 5, thinking that there had been a previous, underwhelming Doom 4. No such game was ever release -- we were probably thinking of Quake 4 instead. Our bad!)
Jon and Rob are back from vacation, and we're ready to deliver some spicy hot takes! This time: Jon can't stand playing Dungeons & Dragons, despite loving lots of other tabletop RPGs. Improv comedy technique, homebrew magic systems, and bad fantasy novels are all discussed within.
This week we're discussing one of the most important skills for a professional game designer to cultivate -- workplace communication! We share thoughts and personal anecdotes on how to clearly get your ideas across, how to foster a non-toxic work environment, and how to align your whole team behind the same set of goals.
Continuing on from last week's discussion of non-standard RPG stats in games, we dig into the confusingly named stats that make up Bloodborne's progression system. Designs will be analyzed, honor will be challenged, and in true From Software fashion, one of our hosts will die.
The gang discusses Digimon World's Brains stat and how it allowed the designers to tutorialize the game's combat by abstracting the player's access to each monster's moves until they had gained a certain level of familiarity with them. Also: the start of a bitter feud that threatens to tear the world of Pretentious Game Ideas apart.
Rob and Jon take to the mics alone to discuss Ladykiller in a Bind, Christine Love's 2016 visual novel about queer romance and mistaken identities. Specifically, we're digging into Ladykiller's innovative dialogue system, breaking down what makes it work so well and what other games can learn from it.