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We built a strong team culture before SimCity BuildIt, says Johannes Peltola

We built a strong team culture before SimCity BuildIt, says Johannes Peltola

On stage at PGC Helsinki, Johannes Peltola emphasised the importance of team culture in making a game.

“In our team, everyone is brutally honest. We argue a lot, make so many iterations, and wrestle with design choices – but that’s because everyone cares about what they do. Every time something doesn’t make sense, someone stands up and says it.”

Work together

As the senior product manager at EA Peltola worked on SimCity BuildIt, where he learned a new acronym.

“Thinking about AS A Player, or AAP, is vital,” he says. “If your AAP value doesn’t make sense, the game won’t do well.” In other words, try to view the game you’re creating with the fresh eyes of the player who will play it.

Still, Peltola also advises that studios stop guessing and use data.

“Start with baseline estimates, but whenever you have a hypothesis you need to back it up and adjust it with real data,” he says. “By data I mean all feedback, not just statistical analysis, but looking at community pages, customer research, focus groups, and so on will help you make a great experience.”

Peltola’s third and final piece of advice is to constantly question yourself and your decisions.

“Every time you make a decision you’re living with the understanding of that moment,” he said.

“One month onwards you may look back and realise you’re totally wrong, but always look back and try to figure back whether the context still holds. The industry changes quickly, and what’s true now may not be true in 5 months. Change your mind regularly.” 


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