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How Housemarque designed the vibrant bullet hell-scape of Nex Machina

Senior level designer Henri Mustonen explores how design decisions made for Nex Machina ultimately encourage players to explore and learn.
"Every single enemy needs to have a role and a place. The clearer the role is, the easier it is to, for example, find out what we're missing in a world and what kind of gameplay we want a world to include."

- Senior level designer Henri Mustonen explores how the team designed Nex Machina's enemies and levels.

Resogun developer Housemarque has released a handful of behind the scenes videos that highlight some of the important decisions and conversations that informed the design of its recently released game, Nex Machina

The most recent video in that series speaks with senior level designer Henri Mustonen to explore how the design team used bullet patterns, level composition, and enemy design both quickly communicate information to players and sharpen design themes for each individual world.

He says that one example of this in action is how the team opted to make the next Nex Machina level visible from the stage currently being played.

“We went through plenty of iteration in that," explains Mustonen. "We started off having much more space in between levels but we noticed that it felt much more interesting and immediate to always see the next level that you’re about to go to. It made the world feel a lot more believable [and connected].”

The decision to let players see the next area of the game also feeds into the visual language that Mustonen says leads players towards hidden levels in the game. By encouraging players to constantly be aware of the environment beyond just the current stage, Nex Machina is able to plant clues and teasers for secret level triggers in plain sight. 

Check out the rest of the video above to hear more on Nex Machina’s design, including a conversation about how the team decided on the bullet patterns and individual enemies for each area. And be sure to head over to Housemarque’s YouTube channel to catch more behind the scenes developer chats on systems and weapons featured in the game. 

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