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Defiance: Meet The Dev Team


meet the devs

Trion released another episode-interview from their “Meet The Dev Team” series. This time they introduce Nels Nelson to the community. Besides the intro, Elizabeth Tobey gets straight to the point about how the game can be in an harmonic link with the TV show and how difficult could be to succeed such a task.

Elizabeth Tobey: Can you start off by telling us your name, your title, and how long you’ve been at Trion?

Nels Nelson: I’m Nels Nelson, and I’m a Senior Game Designer. I’ve been here for about four and a half years.

Elizabeth: What exactly does a Senior Games Designer  do?

Nels: Well, I’ve been here since the very beginning, and the job has really evolved over the course of the project. The core of what a designer does is lay out the framework of what the game is going to be and help direct everybody else as they’re implementing things, make sure that everything’s going as planned, that sort of stuff. One of the biggest changes has been the game’s scope. When it started out, we had about ten or twelve people on the team, and now I think we’re pushing a hundred. At the very beginning we were just building a prototype, and now we have a huge playable game and a launch date, so it’s grown quite a bit.

Elizabeth: So what are some of the things you are most proud of, or excited about, since you’ve been here?

Nels: I would say the shooter combat that we have in the game is probably the most exciting thing, even though I’m not responsible for a large part of it. We’ve been able to hit, I think, what players are going to expect, people who are coming from your triple-A shooters. They’re going to feel pretty familiar picking up and playing our game, and their first impression is going to be a good one.

Elizabeth: Does working in tandem with the TV show kind of throw a wrench in your design process or give you more freedom?

Nels: I think it actually gives us more freedom because the show is able to handle a lot of the character story-based stuff that’s difficult to do in the game. It can get expensive if you try to work too much story into a game – it takes a lot of time and can kind of tie your hands. By allowing the show to tell a lot of that, we can make the game more about the player’s story and what the players are doing and experiencing together, which is very dynamic. That way, the show can focus more on the, “Here are the stories of the characters you’re meeting in the game” aspects.

Elizabeth: How does being cross-platform help or challenge you?

Nels: I would say the biggest thing it helps with is focusing on moment-to-moment gameplay. Shooter gameplay is standardized on consoles as far as mechanics, what to expect, how controls work, etc., so we can use those as a base to make sure players feel comfortable coming in. Then we can layer on a lot of abilities and online content afterwards and not scare people away by putting the massive and evolving aspects front and center. So I think it’s actually kind of helpful for us to be on console – as designers it forces us to focus the gameplay to accommodate the limitations of the platform.

Elizabeth: Other than Defiance, what games are you playing?

Nels: I just finished the recent Spider-Man movie tie-in game, and I’ve been playing the new Lego Batman. Played a bit of Spec Ops, which is a recent shooter. Those are the latest games I’ve been playing. I play a lot of console action and shooter games, so pretty much everything that comes out on console, I pick up and give a shot.

Elizabeth: Other than gaming, what do you do in your spare time?

Nels: To start, I have a big family at this point. That’s one of the casualties of getting older, so I spend a lot of time with them for sure. I do a lot of reading, go to movies, take care of my dogs and that sort of thing. Nothing terribly erratic or out of control, nothing too crazy. When I go home in the evenings I rarely use the computer at all. I’m just in front of one for so much during the day!

Elizabeth: I think that’s all we’ve got for today. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

Source: Official Site

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