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Encouraging players to try something new through design

How do you get players to try something new, instead of doing the same thing over and over again? God of War: Ascension's lead designer Mark Simon looks at how to push gamers to experiment.
How do you get players to try something new, instead of doing the same thing over and over again? God of War: Ascension's lead designer Mark Simon looks at how to push gamers to experiment. Simon believes the key to teaching players to try something new -- and to quickly get novices to the level where they can play like experts -- is to provide feedback somehow when they do something effective or ineffective. "You can give them messaging when they die, he says in Gamasutra's latest feature. "It doesn't seem like much to do something like that, but what if it's related to how they die? Then when they die, every time they die, that's a learning experience." He adds, "You can give them clues based on things that happened while they're playing, in terms of readability, which is huge in fighting games, for sure. Because if you get the feedback that you did something well, then you'll continue to try to do something well." Simon notes that in God of War III, for example, players couldn't tell if what they were doing was effective while fighting the first boss, because there were no reactions whenever they hit and hurt the boss. If you don't give players any feedback, you've lost an opportunity to teach players that they did something right or wrong. Gamasutra's newest feature, in which Simon shares more on designing combat and Kratos' vulnerability in God of War: Ascension, is now live.

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