With our first game production, our goal was to create an experience that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their gaming experience, and where players laugh and chat together while playing.
Not visible In the end it was just that, a game that is very easy to play but has enough depth for players to repeat, improve, and still have fun. It was great to hear feedback from couples and families with young children playing together.
I came up with this mix of hide and seek and modified Turing test party game idea while experiencing a bug in a fighting game. The game no longer showed a user interface and left me confused about who I controlled and who the opponent was. It was a lot of fun guessing which character is mine and understanding who the real opponent was among the NPCs (non-playing characters)! This idea allowed us to develop a core gameplay that is very easy to learn, yet has many options to twist the concept and reduce the fun in many different ways.
The key mechanism of the game is to guess who the real players are among a crowd of AI. However, all players share the same screen, so there is no visual indication of which characters are being controlled by the players. Because of this, the first task for any player is to guess who they are controlling while still fitting into the crowd. Then they have to watch to find the opponents and sneak up on them to strike.
As a game developer, my favorite aspect of the game was experimenting with AI in ways that are very different from other games. Instead of working towards ever more accurate and realistic AIs with complex behavior, I was able to simplify it as much as possible and make it the player’s goal to copy the AI to incorporate it.
I took it even further, at the factory (my personal favorite) where the AI is intentionally broken. The characters move faster and more irregularly, turn in circles or get stuck on walls. That forces players to do the same when they want to blend in, and it was great fun, as a game designer, to see players run into walls pretending to be broken robots!
The first game demo was released on Xbox One as part of the 2020 Summer Festival and we were blown away by the response from players with nearly 10,000 downloads and so many great comments from Xbox One players. That answer was a big boost for a very small team like us. There are only three of us: Maxime Granger, Yohan Lebret and me and it really helped to find the motivation to overcome the many different challenges we faced this year.
I’m so pleased with what we’ve achieved this year by releasing our first game, getting great feedback from gamers and now releasing on an Xbox console what has always been a dream of mine. It shows that it’s more accessible than ever for small independent studios on platforms like this one.
If you want to play fun couch party games with friends or family please stop by Not visible.