How Playables took its minimalist style further with upcoming game Kids

Co-founders Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei on experimenting and working with others

How Playables took its minimalist style further with upcoming game Kids

As part of Ludicious 2018, Playables co-founders Mario von Rickenbach and Michael Frei gave a talk on their design philosophy and how it applied to their upcoming game Kids.

The pair are known for their minimalist experiences such as Plug & Play. Kids was recently nominated for an award at the Independent Games Festival 2018.

Kids began life due to a rare colour sketch by Frei, as he experimented with the idea of identical characters and group dynamics through.

The sketch was then refined down to a simple black-and-white outline of the original character, before a prototype was built which could spawn hundreds of these simple characters.

Playables then created some additional assets and animations of these characters, before handing these off to five different programmers whose worked they liked to see what they could come up with in five days.

Give it a whirl

The five programmers created vastly different experiences with these barebones assets, ranging from poignant short animations to silly, music-based ideas.

"Some stayed very close to what the assets represented, and some went further away with their ideas," explained Rickenbach.

Taking inspiration from the prototypes, Playables began to iterate on the character designs further, in order to find a style they wanted to work with and which would work across mobile and PC.

Elaborating on the "more is less" idea, Frei noted that previous projects had taken a minimalist route to their style, and while working together, the pair realised they wanted to experiment with an even more minimalist style.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.