Chris Bateman

Chris Bateman

International Hobo

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Award-winning game designer and narrative designer Chris Bateman has thirty years of experience in the games industry and has worked on nearly a hundred published games with his ground-breaking game design and narrative consultancy International Hobo Ltd. He achieved international acclaim as designer and writer for Discworld Noir and Ghost Master, and his most recent titles are Bandai-Namco’s Park Beyond, Team 17’s Border Bots VR, and Focus Entertainment’s Atlas Fallen and Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden. His most recent book is the second edition of Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, published by Bloomsbury.

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Chris Bateman is speaking at the following session/s

How To Make Easy to Learn Games

11:00am - 11:45am
Room 1

Everyone wants to make games that are easy to learn, but they also want to make games that are inventive and original. The hard truth is that these goals are in tension, and the more you innovate and create new experiences, the tougher it will be for players to learn how to play your game. But the flipside is also true: the easiest games to learn are those that do nothing new... and these will swiftly vanish from everyone's attention as forgettable. Navigating between these two extremes is a key skill in the delicate art of game design.

The age-old battle between the game designers and the marketing department takes on a new meaning once this issue comes into clear focus. Game designers often try to push for inventive changes to game concepts that the marketing department frequently cannot understand how to make into selling points. At the same time, game designers are frustrated by the marketing department's insistence on lining up with some existing game style, which feels lazy and unoriginal. Yet both sides want originality - they just don't quite mean it in the same way.

Unexpectedly, the marketing department is genuinely onto something here - but frequently doesn't know how to express it to the design team. Recapturing the original meaning of 'unique selling point' can become a means of delivering innovation in game design while keeping the learning curve manageable. The trick is to ask a different question: which player practices are we borrowing...?

Session Takeaway

  • Discover techniques for recognizing the player practices sustaining each market for games
  • Create surprising new common ground between game design and marketing!
  • Recapture the original meaning of ‘unique selling point’ as a tool for easy-to-learn game design

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