Great games aren't created in a vacuum.
Being successful in the games industry requires a strong understanding of the medium and the market, and playing lots of games is inevitably a part of this.
Given how crucial this can be for insight and inspiration, and just how passionate this industry is, it's about time more people started openly talking about the games they play.
So PocketGamer.biz will be regularly reaching out to key figures in the mobile games industry to ask them what game (other than their own) is currently keeping them busy after hours. You can view all entries here.
This time, it's Nicolas Godement-Berline with his playing habits in the spotlight. Godement-Berline, former General Manager of Gumi Europe, is now COO and Co-Founder of Paris-based studio Mana Cube. He is also a regular contributor to Mobile Mavens.
PocketGamer.biz: What mobile game (other than your own) are you currently playing the most?
Nicolas Godement-Berline: I got into Full of Stars by AT Games recently.
It's an intriguing, story-driven, free-to-play arcade space opera - yes, all that!
How long have you been playing it, and do you see yourself continuing?
I've been playing it since its release on April 14th.
The game is excruciatingly difficult at first, so I was on the verge of quitting many times.Nicolas Godement-Berline
The game is excruciatingly difficult at first so I was on the verge of quitting many times, but now that I've got the hang of it I think I might stick around for a little longer.
A big 2.0 update just came out, expanding the storyline and adding a bunch of features, so it's nice to see the devs supporting the game.
What do you enjoy most about it?
It's a very innovative and elegant blend of many genres I like. Kind of like Out There meets Out Run, if you'll pardon the expression.
It's fluid and visually stunning. The audio from the composer of The Witcher 3 is fantastic. And the storyline, a captain running away as far as he/she can from a war waging in the galaxy, is very intriguing.
What does this game do that makes it especially unique and innovative?
Full of Stars is both a beautiful arcade chase game and a story-driven adventure with gripping decisions to make and resources to manage.
It's really unlike anything I've seen. I can't help but salute the developers effort at making a truly unique game within the constraints of free-to-play.
AT Games are no strangers to elegant genre-blending either, having created the excellent Puzzle Craft games.
If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be?
I'd ease up difficulty and tension across the board! The gameplay is absolutely unforgiving: make one single mistake and you die.
You only have three energy points, unless you shell out a $3.99 IAP for unlimited energy (which I promptly did).
Also, the decision mini-game consumes resources way faster than a beginner player may be able to gather them.
I'm always on the lookout for free-to-play games that do storytelling right.Nicolas Godement-Berline
So what I'd suggest is adding a life bar to make the gameplay a little more forgiving, and tweaking the game economy to release the tension a little bit. I suspect that would drive retention up.
Have you learned anything from this game that could impact your own work?
I love a good story, so I'm always on the lookout for free-to-play games that do storytelling right.
They are few and far between, so I'm glad to have come across Full of Stars. I'm super excited to see that there is still a lot of innovation to be made within that space.
More generally, how important is it for those in the industry to actively and regularly play other people's games?
I believe becoming a long-time player of a couple of games within the genre you are targeting is especially important in free-to-play.
What happens to players that reach the end-game? Are there cost-effective design decisions we can take that will prevent this small group of highly valuable players from churning?
Some simple solutions that other developers have found can have very far-reaching implications that may not be apparent at first.