What is a playtest and why do we playtest?
The main goal of playtesting is to assess the design decisions and make sure our players understand, find, and use all the features we put in our games. We want to make those features enjoyable. If we put this puzzle here, is it possible for you to solve it? If we add a side mission, can you find it? If we give you this ability, do you know how to use it? Playtesting helps us answer questions like these, and helps the development teams iterate on those features.
Playtesting is not quality assurance. While both QA and playtesting are crucial in game development (shoutout to Remedy’s amazing QA team!), playtesting serves a different purpose than QA. When you come into a playtest, we won’t ask you to find bugs. Ideally, you would play similarly to how you play in your free time.
Playtesting is also a great way to give you a glimpse of what we are working on and involve you in the process. It is a win-win situation! We get your invaluable input on a game we are working on, and you get to play a game that is not out there yet, and shape that game’s experience for others.
Can anyone participate in a playtest?
Anyone in Finland can sign up to playtest! Whether you play every day or a couple of hours a month, no matter what genre of games you like to play or what platform you prefer to play on, we are looking for all kinds of players to join our playtests. We are also trying to find players that have different levels of accessibility needs for future testing!
For participating in tests on-site, we usually recruit players in the Helsinki/Espoo area. But with the current remote testing, anyone in Finland can participate!
What do we playtest?
We organize playtests for all our projects and at every stage of production. You might play something “rough” (very early in development), or you might play a “polished” experience (right before release), or anything in between.
We playtest everything you could imagine! It can range from a single combat encounter to a whole playthrough. You might sit down and play for 30 minutes or for the entire day.
But how does it work practically?
When we have an upcoming playtest, we look through our playtester database to find the suitable players for that test. We organize all kinds of different tests, and for every test we need different players. If that happens to be you, we send you an email with the playtest opportunity. If you are happy to participate, we send you all the information you need. With the current situation, all our playtests are organized fully remotely, which is why we make sure you can participate from home.
Playtests happen a bit differently on-site and remotely. If you come to Remedy’s studio to test, we provide snacks and drinks. If you are playing remotely, you can play anywhere, including a cottage somewhere in the far north. Just be sure you don’t have lurkers observing the unreleased material over your shoulder! Whether you test on-site or remotely, you will get a Remedy swag bag and a gift card as a thank you for helping us out.
NDAs and other paperwork
When you come into a playtest, you will need to sign a consent form and an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). What does that mean? The consent form is to make sure you know what you agreed to during the playtest. It gives us permission to gather data from your playthrough, which we use to help improve the game. You can withdraw from the test at any point. If you no longer want to hear about future tests, or if you don’t want Remedy to store your information, we will remove your sign-up information and playtest data.
The NDA you sign means that everything you will experience during the test cannot be shared with anyone! It’s important that everything you play and everything we talk about does not leave the playtest’s on-site lab/Zoom call.
We value honesty!
Giving brutally honest feedback is hard, but it’s exactly what we are looking for. Of course, we don’t mind hearing what felt right and what you enjoyed about the experience. But, we also want you to share what didn’t feel right, what was challenging but not in a good way, what was frustrating and hard to understand.
If you have anything in mind, you can ask it at any point in the playtest. As a user researcher, my job is to make sure you feel comfortable enough to share your thoughts. The feedback you give will help the teams improve the features and provide an enhanced experience for future players. And in the end, it will help our game be the best it can be once it ships!
If you are still interested in playtesting, we would love to have you!