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What makes a great in-game loot box? Devs weigh in

"We wanted it to be this festive Christmas experience," Halo 5 dev Christopher Bloom tells Kotaku. "But you can't do it all the time or you lose the specialness."

Alex Wawro, Contributor

March 20, 2017

1 Min Read

"We designed from a place of empathy. We wanted it to be this festive Christmas experience. You’re waiting for your kid to open a package, but you can’t do it all the time or you lose the specialness."

- 343 Industries' Christopher Bloom speaks to Kotaku about the thinking behind Halo 5 "REQ Pack" design.

So you've decided to work some sort of "loot box" analog into your game's core design -- great! Now how do you make it feel good for players to engage with?

Devs mulling that might want to check out Kotaku's recent article on the topic, especially if you appreciate the mystery box rewards in games like Duelyst, Halo 5 or Overwatch, because Kotaku talked to devs who worked on each game to get their perspective on what makes opening a virtual box feel special.

"When you start opening a loot box, we want to build anticipation,” Blizzard's Michael Heiberg told Kotaku. “We do this in a lot of ways — animations, camera work, spinning plates, and sounds. We even build a little anticipation with the glow that emits from a loot box’s cracks before you open it.”

But, Heiberg notes, the Overwatch team wound up pulling back a bit from their original vision of the colorful light show that precedes a box opening because it killed players' sense of anticipation. For insight into the loot box design of Overwatch and other games, check out the full Kotaku article.

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