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 Lasse Seppanen with his playing habits in the spotlight. Seppanen, formerly of Sumea and Remedy Entertainment, is now CEO of mobile strategy games developer PlayRaven.
PocketGamer.biz: What mobile game (other than your own) are you currently playing the most?
Lasse Seppanen: Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.
How long have you been playing it and do you see yourself continuing?
About 18 months now, almost daily! I think I've been max level for almost a year now, and I'm definitely in it for the long haul.
What do you enjoy most about it?
Collecting all the familiar Star Wars characters is definitely a big part of the experience, but it's also cool to get to know some lesser-known characters of the extended Star Wars universe - e.g. characters from the various video games and animated TV series.
The team at EA Capital also knows how to surprise the players every now and then.
The social aspect is another important factor for me.Lasse Seppanen
As an example, they recently introduced Darth Nihilus, a lesser-known character that originally appeared in the video game Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
In Galaxy of Heroes, he's a supercharged Sith squad leader who can insta-kill enemies and gives all the Sith in his squad the ability to steal health from the enemies they are dealing damage to.
So if you have an all-Sith team, they are basically fighting at full health all the time! I had been collecting various powerful Sith characters from the very beginning and I was very pleased to discover that adding Nihilus to the mix catapulted my existing Sith squad to an entirely new level.
Now I hunt the Jedi whenever I can because they are easy prey for Nihilus and his gang.
The social aspect is another important factor for me. I'm in a guild called Nerfherders and it consists mostly of professional games developers.
It's great to fun to go on raids together, share tips and tricks, trade some equipment and just in general chat about the game.
Being in the same industry also has the added benefit of allowing us to arrange face-to-face meetups at various games industry conferences.
What does this game do that makes it especially unique and innovative?
It lets you play with all the familiar Star Wars characters in any way you want.
An all-Sith team? Sure, that's an obvious thing.
It's like a virtual playground where you can freely play around with cool Star Wars toys.Lasse Seppanen
But you have complete freedom to experiment with all kinds of unorthodox combinations, say Chewbacca and Princess Leia joining forces with Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.
The choice is yours. It's like a virtual playground where you can freely play around with all the cool Star Wars toys in any way you want.
If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be?
I love the game but I have to admit that I would enjoy it even more if it just technically worked faster. I spend a lot of time waiting in loading screens, or waiting for user interface elements to render.
Maybe my phone (iPhone 6) is just slow for some reason but making the UI work faster would definitely be a big convenience for an end-game player like me.
Technical issues aside, I haven't really felt much engagement with the recently-introduced fleet battles.
I'm very driven to unlock and level up characters, but just can't find the same passion for X-Wings and TIE-fighters.
Not sure what the fix would be, but at least from my point of view the fleet battles would require some kind of an overhaul to make it more interesting and better connected with the character-based core gameplay.
The recent addition of animated pilot portraits really didn't change anything for me, and I'm still only doing very minimal fleet stuff required to get my daily goals done.
Have you learned anything from this game that could impact your own work?
Oh, absolutely! I've been playing games for almost four decades now and I've never spent this much money on a single game, ever.
I've never spent this much money on a single game, ever.Lasse Seppanen
It has been professionally extremely helpful in getting a deeper understanding of how spending bigger sums of money should feel in a F2P game, not just from a developer point of view but from the gamer's point of view.
This feeling just can't be simulated at the office in any way; it has to be genuine or it isn't there.
More generally, how important is it for those in the industry to actively and regularly play other people's games?
It's super important. There are always things we can learn from the masterpieces our peers have created.