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Interview with Iris, Lead Designer at Mi-Clos Studio
What do you do as a Game Designer?
On a technical point of view, being a Game Designer means documenting interactions between players, their machine (PC, mobile and console) and making sure when someone looks at them, they can tell they are playing a video game.
The job of a Game Designer is to create worlds, imagine how people interact with them, take into account all the technical aspects and the data related to it. This is all to make sure the data and concept is useable for the other members of the production team.
I was always driven to this career by Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien or Hayao Miyazaki, who are willing to create fantasy worlds with their own cultures and share them. Video games are a medium allowing to share such worlds, but they also have the unique ability to put the player as the main protagonist. A Game Designers’ job is to define how they interact with the world.
There was huge work done on the expedition, notably to remove endurance. What were the difficulties to remove it?
I worked twice on the production phase of the gameplay. First, as a freelancer, I created a prototype of the expedition system in 2019. It was done from a boardgame previously made by the project team. This expedition mechanic is inspired by systems found in boardgames and 4X games.
I worked again on it in 2021, on the final stage of production of the game. At that point, the team had realized the system was too rigid and did not go along with the new game dynamic present in Out There: Oceans of Time.
Removing endurance was a way to allow players to explore further and this decision was approved after several tests. We aim to create mechanics to encourage curiosity from our players, so they can discover the galaxy we have layed out for them.
We started by deactivating the endurance system. Then we reharmonized several gameplay elements which were related to it. We kept the turn by turn way of playing to keep the essence of a boardgame. Furthermore, we wanted to keep this pace to allude to the several jumps needed between spaceships and solar systems to progress in space.
We did not have any difficulties to do all this but it was a delicate process. Each detail is important and touching one can alter everything done before.
If you were an alien in Out There: Oceans of Time, which one would you be?
I would have loved to be able to say an Osqueam, I think I am a Void Surveyor. With their iris looking at all the corners of the Out There: Oceans of time galaxy, it is me.