Starting today, we are kicking off a series of interviews where we talk to various members of our development team on what they are working on in our projects and what life is like at Remedy in general. One of the best things in having a multinational team is that we have many different people with varying and interesting backgrounds, so getting to know them should be fun.
In our first interview, we talk to one of our veterans. Mikael “Mixu” Kasurinen is a blonde warrior who worked on Max Payne 2, Alan Wake and then did a tour of studios in Scandinavia (working on Battlefield and Mad Max) before coming back to Remedy to help wrap up Quantum Break. He is currently Game Director on Remedy’s working title game Project 7 aka P7.
As the Game Director at Remedy you have a lot of responsibility over our gameplay direction and game mechanics especially in P7. What exactly does your role entail?
Crafting a game experience is all about piecing together a complex package of creative and technical elements. You need to understand the basics of all the different areas of what makes a game – animation, audio, physics, environments and so on – and then to make sure you have compelling design that ties those elements together to create an immersive and engaging experience.
On top of all of this is the context of player motivations and goals: why are you doing the things you are doing? Are you making interesting decisions? In addition, it’s important to know when to break the rules. Best practices are good, but to be able to evolve, you need to continuously challenge established conventions. That’s the only way move forward if we want to evolve as an art form.
Being a game director is all about having awareness of what you want to do, where the medium is going, and ensure those are aligned with the experience you are crafting.
We spend years on building these worlds for our games, but the experience is over relatively quickly. This is something we want to change: we want gamers to spend more time with our games. But how do you create an experience like that? How do you build mechanics and game structure and – above all – the story to support that? All this with a small dev team like we have.
The key thing is to not only have mechanics to pull the player back, but it needs to happen from a place of genuine excitement of the experience, a desire to be there. On top of an engaging and deep combat system, the world needs to be built in such a way that it feels like there is always more to uncover. Crafting such an experience boils down to creating a strong foundation for the universe, filled with lore, events and mystery, and an engaging sense of purpose for the player. Naturally, it helps to have satisfying rewards and variety in gameplay that stands the test of time.
We have talked a bit about how we want to incorporate some cooperative multiplayer into our games for a while now. Some of the reactions online seem to be that “oh no, Remedy goes multiplayer”, thinking that’s all we’re going to be doing. Suffice to say we’re just taking the first steps in building an cooperative feature alongside a single player experience. It’s not like we’re going into competitive eSports right off the bat. Can you elaborate on what our thinking is in terms of having multiplayer functionality in our future games?
We are all about creating gripping and immersive experiences, and they are best when shared with others. When we speak about multiplayer, we are looking at it from a perspective of immersion without forgetting meaningful gameplay. It is about creating memories with friends, fighting alongside them and overcoming almost impossible odds together.
Adding co-op multiplayer meshes well with Remedy’s core expertise of creating compelling worlds with interesting characters. When done right, it can elevate the world-building even further, giving it a strong foundation and an internal logic that can expand into new and exciting directions.
Having said that, this is our first step in establishing this kind of technology within our games and we want to ensure that the experience is as smooth and fun as possible – without breaking the creative pillars of the game. As we create more games in the future, the more mature and rich our multiplayer feature set will become. Down the line, we will explore possibilities beyond co-op, but we will always ensure that the storytelling supports the gameplay opportunities within the games we create.
Overall that summarizes the Remedy approach on technology: we’re always building features with the intent of fulfilling a creative goal. You can see this pattern in our history, from the dynamic lighting in Alan Wake to time-manipulation in Quantum Break.