Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft Paris. Expert in system design, economy, progression. Views are my own and do not represent my company.
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A Lead Game Designer from Ubisoft Paris helps us understand how a character who murders hundreds can still claim hero status

In the 2010s, Naughty Dog became a studio universally recognised for its expertise in crafting outstanding linear story-driven games. The Last of Us is among the top titles of the decade, and Uncharted remains a flagship PlayStation franchise. Its charming central character, Nathan Drake, has quickly become a beloved video game hero with his funny lines and generally likeable personality.


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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Twelve months, twelve articles. How much did I get out of them?

I used to hate people who make New Year’s resolutions. Then I become one.

I realised I only hated people, myself included, who’d put more effort into brainstorming their goals & telling the world than working towards them.

Exactly a year ago, I decided to start writing again. I set myself a goal of one article per month; small enough to be manageable in my schedule, ambitious enough to be proud at the end.

I reached the goal, and it feels good. I got praises and claps, but more importantly, I learned along the way, about writing, about myself, productivity…


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GAME DESIGN ANALYSIS

The ‘Play as Anyone’ breakthrough hints at the extraordinary possibilities of open world design

Picture yourself playing the next instalment in your favourite open-world franchise (The Witcher or Grand Theft Auto for instance). As you’re roaming around, one passerby catches your interest. There is no icon; he doesn’t look like a merchant, a quest giver or a law enforcer. Nothing. In any game, you’d keep going.

“It’s just an animated 3D model serving a decoration purpose.”

In this game, though, every person you meet is an individual going about their life in this world, commuting to work and engaging in their preferred hobbies.

Better yet, it’s not just a simulation for the sake of…


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There are no guarantees, but here’s a 3-steps universal strategy to drastically increase your odds

Is 2020 the year of gaming for you too?

We live in an uncertain world where games are easily the best sources of escapism. There is something comforting in spending countless hours in your go-to titles or returning to a cult classic. We can enjoy new games with fresh and fun social experiences at home, like Fall Guys or Among Us. Board games claim back their throne of indoor family activities.

Like many, I’ve been an avid gamer my whole life and could easily play hundreds of hours on a specific title. …


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Exploring the production mindset shift, which changed niche options into vital marketing tools

While the game industry certainly had its fair share of deserved controversies in recent years, there is at least one area where it has significantly improved, and that is accessibility.


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GAME DESIGN CASE STUDY

Reflecting on what I learned about exploration design from building Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

Video games convey the exquisite sense of escapism like no other medium. Documentaries about exotic places, exciting fantasy tales, and delicious novels are like open windows to extraordinary worlds. Yet only video games provide the opportunity to become the discoverer; not merely the spectator.

Exploration of virtual worlds is among the most entertaining aspects of gaming. Hence, game developers like myself would love to crack the code to enrich our creations with these immersive, fulfilling, fascinating moments.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ in design, no pre-baked recipe: everyone needs to come up with their own, based on what they observed and…


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GAME DESIGN ANALYSIS

Deconstructing its core system teaches us a lot on Naughty Dog approaches game design

The Last of Us became an instant classic the day it was released, back in 2013. At the sunset of the sixth console generation, it felt like Naughty Dog managed to raise the bar in all critical areas of game development simultaneously. The authentic characters, compelling story-telling, both the technical and artistic excellence: this game nailed everything.

The Last of Us has so many outstanding attributes to mention that relatively few people discuss its game design qualities. That’s a good problem to have if you ask me.

People tend to overlook it precisely because game designers have put a tremendous…


Announced a few days ago, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla seems to continue in the action-RPG direction of the last two episodes of the franchise and here I am, feeling nostalgic of the older ones made of parkour, social stealth and a formulaic game structure.

I played most games of the series but never Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the follow-up to the beloved second episode. End of last year, I visited the beautiful city of Rome for the first time: in these pandemic times, international travel feels like an artifact of the past, treading a virtual reconstitution is a close as it gets…


“5 years of experience in similar position needed.” A simple sentence you can read on many job offers. A harmless one for those who passed the threshold. But frustrating for those who didn’t yet.

Why though?”, I’d ask myself. “How did they figure out you need 5 years of experience to do the job, but that 3 or 4 isn’t quite enough?”

Confronted to this type of seemingly arbitrary requirement, I’d start thinking in extremes: what if I had spent 5 years in a similar position and never achieved anything? …


Why does it creates such compelling experiences when every single gamer despises it? I chose to explain it with pizzas.

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Photo by Thomas Tucker on Unsplash

The gaming landscape changed a lot during the 2010’s.

Technological innovation continued to bring new platforms & ways to play.

Developers perfected their recipes to create and maintain all sorts of games for years; engaged players keep coming back for more.

There is even a new game genre, Battle Royale, which emerged out-of-nowhere and suddenly became huge.

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